May 12, 2021

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Will the Red Sox regress this season? Numbers suggest that might not be a sure thing

The Red Sox just traded Mookie Betts. They paid half of David Price’s salary to get him off the roster, they let Rick Porcello leave via free agency, and they elected not to re-sign Brock Holt.

So how much worse will they be in 2020 than they were in 2019?

According to one set of statistics, maybe not much.

Using FanGraphs’ version of Wins Above Replacement, as well as their Depth Charts method of predicting upcoming performance, it seems the Red Sox might have built a roster nearly identical to last year’s, and it’s entirely possible some parts of the roster are quite a bit better. Other aspects are clearly worse.

With veteran outfielder Kevin Pillar added to the mix, FanGraphs projects the 2020 Red Sox position players to be worth 27.5 wins above replacement. That’s exactly the level at which they produced last year, and that predicted consistency comes without Betts and despite both Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers projected for…