BOSTON (CBS) -- Dingers. Long balls. Round trippers. It doesn't matter what you call them, people love home runs.
And the Red Sox should hit plenty of them once again in 2022.
Boston mashed 219 homers last season, leading to a lot of rides in that laundry cart of theirs. That total was good for 10th in baseball and sixth in the American League.
The Red Sox going to have to hit even more to keep up with the arms -- or rather, bats -- race in the AL East, with the Jays, Yankees and Rays all going yard more than Boston last season. Those bats won't be quieting down this year, either.
And with their current pitching staff, the Red Sox are going to have to plate a lot of runs to keep pace in the AL East race. So who will lead the Boston power surge this season?
It doesn't matter who tops that list, but this is the preseason and we're here to ask silly questions like that. And as we made it very clear leading up to this point, people dig the long ball.
Chances are it will once again be Rafael Devers leading the launch pad for Boston. The 25-year-old just keeps getting better, and after he smacked a career-high 38 homers in 2021, expecting a 40-plus-homer season in 2022 isn't an unreasonable expectation. He took some mighty big swings for Boston last year, blasting three homers in the final two games of the season -- including a go-ahead two-run shot in the final game.
It was a welcome sign after he hit just three homers in all of September. He'll have to avoid a slump month like that in 2022 if he wants to reach that 40-homer mark, but he's looked great thus far this preseason and appears to be a little slimmer than last year, so bigger things could be on the horizon.
If it's not Devers leading the way in dingers for one reason or another, other candidates are J.D. Martinez (28 homers last season) and Xander Bogaerts (23 homers). Both swing a big bat, and both will be swinging for a new contract this season. While Martinez led the way for Boston in both 2018 and 2019, the X-man has never had his name atop that category. Power has never been his main attribute or contribution to the team, but he has the capability, as we saw in 2019 when he went yard 33 times.
Newcomer Trevor Story could also lead the way, though he was never the team leader in Colorado. He has a 37-homer and 35-homer season on his resume, and while some will question his home/away splits, he actually hit more homers on the road than he did at Coors Field in each of the last two seasons.
Want a dark horse candidate? Turn to Bobby Dalbec. His already beautiful swing looks all the more lovely this spring. He launched 25 homers in 133 games last season, and his bat should be even more potent this season. The addition of Story to an already stout Boston lineup will put even less pressure on the 26-year-old, who should still provide plenty of pop in the bottom third of the order.
Does it really matter who will lead the way in homers? Not really, not if everyone hits their share and the Red Sox plate plenty of runs. But it's a fun discussion to have before the real games start, and will be equally as fun to monitor throughout the 2022 campaign.
for more features.