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2022 Red Sox Season Preview

Meet the team: 2022 Red Sox roster at a glance

Can the Red Sox build on their surprising run to the American League Championship Series?Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

The Red Sox will be in the Bronx by the end of the week, marking the beginning of the 2022 season. Finally.

Let’s meet some of these Red Sox players.

Bobby Dalbec hopes to build on a dynamite finish to the 2021 regular season. He hit .299 with 14 home runs and a 1.087 OPS in his final 45 games.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Infield

1B Bobby Dalbec

He got off to a slow start last year, batting .219 in the first half while trying to adjust to first base. But Dalbec turned the corner in the second half, hitting .269 with a whopping .955 OPS. He finished the year at .240 with 25 homers. Look for him to build on that.

2B Trevor Story

New team. New city. New position. Big contract. The $140-million man is a key part of the here and now. He hit just .251 last year, and is due for a bounceback season.

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SS Xander Bogaerts

He remains the linchpin to the team and organization and is as consistent as they come. But for how long? Bogaerts has an opt-out at the end of this season that he’ll almost certainly exercise, but for 2022, you can expect the same level of consistency that has made him a household name in Boston.

3B Rafael Devers

He hit 38 homers to lead the team last season. His 113 RBIs led all third basemen in the majors. You should expect Devers to make that type of impact again this year.

Catcher

Christian Vázquez has never been an All-Star, but he's been one of the most productive offensive catchers in the majors the last three seasons, while catching a league-high 293 regular-season games.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Christian Vázquez

He didn’t have a great season last year, batting just .258 with six homers. But Vázquez’s importance is in his durability and that he’s serviceable, catching the most games in baseball at 132. He’s a free agent after this season. Expect him to be locked in.

Kevin Plawecki

Starters enjoy throwing to Plawecki and he can swing it a bit also, hitting .287 last year in 173 plate appearances.

Outfield

RF Jackie Bradley Jr.

JBJ is back. The Sox traded for Bradley mainly because of their holes on the defensive side. He’ll be at a new position and only play when righthanders are on the mound, but he should enhance the defense tremendously when he is in the game.

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CF Kiké Hernández

He hit .250 with 20 homers in his first full season as an everyday player. Manager Alex Cora said he thinks Hernández is more confident and comfortable now and will receive most of the playing time in center.

LF Alex Verdugo

The 2020 season was shortened to 60 games because of COVID-19, so 2021 was Verdugo’s first taste at a full 162. He hit .289 with 13 homers. He’s a consistent bat-to-ball hitter capable of hitting to all fields. That will benefit the Red Sox again this year.

Utility

Christian Arroyo

Injuries and COVID-19 resulted in just 181 plate appearances, but it was enough to prove himself as an everyday big leaguer, batting .262 while playing a solid second base. Arroyo will move around the infield this year and platoon with Bradley when a lefthander is on the mound.

Jonathan Araúz

He came up big in some crucial moments last year. Araúz, a former Rule 5 pick, is a gamer who can play all around the infield.

Designated hitter

J.D. Martinez has been a stalwart in his first four seasons with the Red Sox, cracking 114 home runs with a .917 OPS and playing in all but 48 regular-season games.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

J.D. Martinez

He, too, is a free agent after this season, the last of a five-year, $110 million contract he’s delivered on. Martinez hit .286 with 28 homers last year, and will once again be at the heart of the Red Sox’ order.

Tanner Houck was a rare highlight in the latter days of the shortened 2020 season, and struck out more than 11 batters per nine innings during 18 appearances in 2021.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Starters

RHP Nate Eovaldi

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He was a first-time All-Star last year, finishing with a 3.75 ERA in 182⅓ innings. Eovaldi is in line to make his third straight Opening Day start due to Chris Sale’s rib injury. He’d be the 12th pitcher to start in three straight for the Sox.

RHP Nick Pivetta

His ERA was 4.53, but the Red Sox trusted him as a starter last year which helped Pivetta’s confidence. He brings energy and fire to the rotation and can eat innings.

RHP Tanner Houck

Houck has a chance to stick with the team all season, following a 2021 in which he pinballed between Boston and Triple A Worcester. He posted a 3.52 ERA in 69 big-league innings last year.

RHP Michael Wacha

He had a bad 2021 with a 5.05 ERA in 29 games for Tampa Bay. Wacha finished strong, though, and is looking to redeem himself this year.

LHP Rich Hill

The 42-year-old keeps on pushing and is back in Boston, with whom the Milton native pitched from 2010-12 and in 2015. He’s a good ear for the younger guys and should be able to eat some innings if healthy.

Bullpen

Matt Barnes was one of the premier closers in baseball the first half of last season before a dramatic late-season collapse.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

RHP Garrett Whitlock

He registered a 1.96 ERA out of the bullpen, his first professional action higher than Double A. Whitlock, who might be needed in the rotation, is a key piece to this team’s present and future.

RHP Ryan Brasier

He was on the injured list for much of last year, not pitching until September. Brasier should serve in a mid- to late-inning role this year.

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RHP Matt Barnes

A first-time All-Star last year, Barnes fell off a cliff in the second half and lost his closer role as his ERA ballooned to 9.26 in August and September. He was left off the American League Championship Series roster. Now, he’s looking to reclaim a role.

LHP Matt Strahm

Pitched the last four seasons with San Diego, though only 27⅓ innings the last two years. Finally healthy, he gives hitters a different look as somewhat of a finesse arm.

LHP Jake Diekman

A 10-year MLB veteran joining his sixth organization, Diekman is inconsistent, but can be a powerful and dominant arm when he’s on.

RHP Hirokazu Sawamura

Sawamura had a 3.06 ERA in 53 innings last season, his first in the US after 10 years in Japan, and can serve multiple roles in the bullpen.

RHP Phillips Valdez

He can eat innings, and with Josh Taylor (back) likely to start the year on the injured list, the Sox will need him to.

RHP Kutter Crawford

Crawford harnesses some of the best stuff on the team and rose from Double A last season to make his MLB debut with the Sox. Now he has a chance to make a sustained impact.

LHP Austin Davis

He’s a lefty and a different look, and perhaps could fill a void until fellow southpaw Taylor returns from the injured list.

RHP Hansel Robles

Signed late and was delayed to spring training due to visa issues, but could still be ready for the season. He’s a big arm and pitched well after the Sox acquired him at the deadline.

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Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.