The Boston Red Sox enter the 2018 season with a lot of familiar faces in the lineup and pitching rotation. They return their corps impact players in Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Chris Sale, and Craig Kimbrel. The new faces in town this year are manager Alex Cora and slugger J.D. Martinez.

Alex Cora will be replacing outgoing manager John Farrell in the dugout. Farrell was relieved of his duties after winning 93 games, and finishing in first-place of the AL East last season. Most would've assumed that would've been enough to keep his job, especially after having brought the organization a World Series victory in 2013.

This just shows how high expectations are in Boston. Alex Cora does have experience with these types of lofty expectations. He played for the Red Sox from 2005-2008 and won a World Series with the team in 2007.

The other new addition to the Red Sox is outfielder J.D. Martinez who signed with the club to the tune of $110M over 5 years, as reported by ESPN. He brings a much needed power bat into the lineup for a team that desperately lacked power last season.

Can the returning corps players rebound from a sub-par offensive season?

The loss of David Ortiz to retirement at the end of the 2016 season left a large void in the middle of the lineup in 2017. The impact was substantial. The Red Sox went from scoring the most runs in the entire MLB in 2016 to finishing dead last in home run totals in 2017.

There was a significant power drop off from Betts, Bogarets, and Jackie Bradley Jr. In 2016, Betts finished second in MVP voting, racking up 31 HR and 113 RBI. Then, comparing that stat line to last season's 2017 totals, there's a drop in HR to 24 and RBI to 102. The drop-off in production becomes even more staggering when we take a look at Bogarets and Bradly Jr.

Xander Bogaerts went from 21 HR and 89 RBI in 2016 to 10 HR and 62 RBI in 2017. Jackie Bradley Jr.'s production dipped from 26 HR and 87 RBI in 2016 to 17 HR and 63 RBI in 2017.

There was a major bright spot though in the lineup last season with the emergence of OF Andrew Benintendi. Outside of Aaron Judge, he was the most productive rookie in the AL last season.

He was so impressive that comparisons to Red Sox great Fred Lynn were being thrown around. Benintendi ended the season with 20 HR and 90 RBI.

With the New York Yankees adding Giancarlo Stanton to a lineup that already has Judge and Gary Sanchez, the Red Sox will need a major production increase from Betts, Bogaerts, Bradley Jr., and Benintendi. The addition of Martinez should help supply an offensive jolt to this group.

Red Sox pitching staff looks to rebound

Coming into the 2018 season the Red Sox pitching staff has a lot of question marks. Outside of Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel, the rest of the staff is in a "prove it" season.

David Price's 2017 season was one he and all Red Sox nation would like to forget.

It was marred by poor play, injuries, and notable off the field feuds with fans and broadcaster Dennis Eckersley. Price did ease some fears within the Red Sox organization with solid pitching performances out of the bullpen to end the season.

Along with David Price, starting pitcher Rick Porcello will be looking to get back to his 2016 Cy Young type play. Porcello had one of the biggest drop-offs in production for a CY Young winner last season. He saw his ERA balloon to 4.65 and lost 17 games in 2017.

Other pitching question marks include starting pitcher Steven Wright and relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg, both are returning from an injury that caused them to miss most of the 2016 season. Knuckleballer Wright will be fighting for the 5th spot in the rotation, while Thornburg will be counted on to be one of the Red Sox's top 3 relief pitchers.