The Duel

3 Red Sox Players Who Have a Make-or-Break Season Ahead in 2020

By michael obermuller
Three Red Sox players with a make-or-break season ahead in 2020, including Nathan Eovaldi.
Three Red Sox players with a make-or-break season ahead in 2020, including Nathan Eovaldi. / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images
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It has not been the most inspiring off-season for the Boston Red Sox. After a regime change and the fallout of the sign-stealing scandal left the Sox with almost entirely new management in place, cost-cutting and bargain deals became their agenda in free agency. This culminated in a sell-off trade of former MVP Mookie Betts.

It didn't help that ace starter Chris Sale has struggled with both pneumonia and injury in the months leading up to Spring. There are a lot of friendly faces still playing for Boston from the recent World Series team, but after a questionable 2019 all around, these three stars need to put up in 2020.

3. Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr. must display some offensive ability in 2020.
Jackie Bradley Jr. must display some offensive ability in 2020. / Michael Reaves/Getty Images

It's no secret that Jackie Bradley Jr. is a Gold Glove caliber fielder, but his bat has never lived up to the expectations he once had as a prospect. Aside from one outlier season in 2016, Bradley Jr. has not batted above .250, or hit for more than 65 RBI in a year. His career isolated power (ISO) is .174 with a strikeout rate of 25.5 percent. Entering a contract year with a new cut-throat general manager in Chaim Bloom running the show, JBJ will have to prove his worth in 2020.

2. Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi will look to bounce back from his worst career numbers in 2019.
Andrew Benintendi will look to bounce back from his worst career numbers in 2019. / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

After showing steady improvement in both 2017 and '18, Andrew Benintendi's numbers took a dive last year. His RBI totals fell from a two-season average of 88.5 to 68, with only 13 home runs while playing 10 fewer games. He also stole just 10 bases after notching a combined 41 in 2017 and 2018. His batting average, slugging, and on-base percentage all dropped as well, and the most alarming statistic was his strikeout percentage. It jumped from 16.0 percent to 22.8 in 2019. With Alex Cora's coaching tenure now in question, Benintendi must show us that the player we saw in 2017-18 was his true self.

1. Chris Sale

Nathan Eovaldi throwing a pitch during a spring training game.
Nathan Eovaldi throwing a pitch during a spring training game. / Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Nathan Eovaldi trade was looking like a good one for Boston in 2018, when he posted a 3.33 ERA over 12 games after being acquired from the New York Yankees. Things fell apart in his first full year with the Sox, however. His ERA exploded to a career-worst 5.99, backed by an ugly 4.86 skill-interactive ERA. His walk rate also spiked to 11.6 percent, which is the highest mark since his first major league season (a 10-game 2011 campaign). The 30-year-old needs to turn things around quickly to prove to the organization that his best years are not behind him.


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Michael Obermuller is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Michael Obermuller also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username king_mizzard. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel. 

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