As a team, the Boston Red Sox have a lot to prove in 2023.
They finished the 2022 campaign with a 78-84 record, dead last in the AL East.
They need to show the world they belong higher in the standings.
To do that, several individual players must show up.
Here are two of them:
1. Masataka Yoshida
Masataka Yoshida has been tabbed as the perfect top-of-the-order hitter.
His career in Japan has been marvelous.
In 2022, he hit .336/.449/.559 with 21 home runs and a 1.007 OPS without being a true power hitter.
He is capable of walking twice as much as he strikes out, which is a rarity these days.
He is on this list because he needs to prove he can translate that production to the MLB level.
Japan is the home of many talented hurlers, but the best in the world are in MLB.
He needs to show the world he can handle high-octane velocity and spin rates.
Many Japanese and Korean stars have struggled to adapt to MLB in recent seasons.
The Red Sox are hoping Yoshida is not one of them.
2. Adalberto Mondesi
Adalberto Mondesi is, basically, a player with loud tools who still hasn’t been able to prove over an extended period of time that he is legitimately above-average as a hitter.
He can steal 40 bases per season and hit 15 home runs if he sets his mind to it, but his rate stats are mediocre, at best.
Over the course of his career, he has slashed .244/.280/.408 with a strikeout rate over 30 percent.
By wRC+, he has been 21 percent worse than the league average hitter (79 wRC+, 100 is considered average).
Yes, he can run and yes, he has some power, but if he can’t get on base or hit, he will be of little use for the Red Sox.
He does field his position admirably, which can help him get playing time.
If he can’t increase that on-base percentage, though, the Red Sox will be disappointed and so will fans.NEXT: Red Sox Fans Are Still Recovering From A Haunting Trade