|The big damn hero|
If Hanley does rebound, there's a chance that this team will have the best player at both SS and 2B, where Dustin Pedroia is holding down the keystone. Winning up the middle gives a team a big advantage. The corners are iffier, especially at 1B where Adam Dunn was the worst starting player in all of organized sports last year (narrowly edging out JaVale McGee and Blaine Gabbart for the honor). He'll also need another catcher after the ASB, when Russell Martin starts his annual tailspin. Regardless, with a healthy Hanley, this is a strong group. Without him, Pedroia's the only lock to be above fantasy-average at his position.
|Hero of the big dam|
|The damn hero of Big|
Anyway, in Carpenter's absence, the rotation is fronted by Zack Greinke, flanked by Max Scherzer.After that, we're down to even-year Josh Beckett, which any Sox fan will tell you is a daunting thought. I do like Edinson Volquez as a sleeper candidate in San Diego this year, although the change in parks won't help him as much as you might think, because his biggest weakness is BB%, not HR%.
The upshot is that this is a perfectly fine rotation in a year where there are multiple very good-to-great rotations. It will take a healthy Carpenter plus one other elite performance (by Volquez or a trade acquisition) to boost them into the elite tier.
Comprehensive, with four closers plus two other lurking closer candidates. This points out an interesting split in the league this year. The closers are concentrated on 4-5 teams, each of whom have guaranteed themselves at least 8 points in saves. BDH is one of those teams. Another two teams are functionally punting saves.
The interesting part will happen in the middle. Somebody is going to fall into 7 save points without having really kept saves or targeted them in the draft. If that team used those resources wisely elsewhere (a big assumption, I admit), they should have a leg up on the megapen teams. Something to keep an eye on.
In any event, this pen will serve this team well.
I hate to go back to the good-not-great well, but I think that's where we're at. Yes, a triumphantly resurgent Hanley could lead this team back to the board. But as constituted (and assuming a deep discount on Carpenter's performance), they look a little short. Still, the owner clearly knows what he's doing. If he can swing one more good trade, look out.