2016 Red Sox home runs: 208, AL rank: 7th
2017 Red Sox home runs: 53 (full-season pace: 153), AL Rank: 15th
Even after accounting for the retirement of David Ortiz, that’s a jarring dropoff. Still, small signs of hope are starting to creep up. Rookie phenom Andrew Benintendi launched two homers Sunday against the Orioles, halting a steep slump and showing off some of the all-world potential that Boston's brass believes will turn into results soon. Jackie Bradley Jr. has finally snapped out of his own season-long funk, posting an OPS near 1.000 over his past 22 games, with six long balls in that span. Meanwhile, the team’s back hole at third base almost certainly won’t last much longer; the Red Sox figure to trade for a veteran with pop like the White Sox' Todd Frazier or the Royals' Mike Moustakas, or call up 20-year-old masher Rafael Devers from Triple A.
In the meantime, Boston might have to rely on its pitching and defense to hang close in the AL East race. The team's defense ranks fifth in the AL according to Baseball Info Solutions’ Defensive Runs Saved, which bodes well for the team’s run prevention hopes, as does David Price tossing seven lights-out innings Saturday in his second start back from an elbow injury.