Projecting the Boston Red Sox Batting Order for 2013
Boston Red Sox Batting Order for 2013 Projections
The Boston Red Sox open the season on Monday, April 1 in New York, against the New York Yankees. After the worst collapse of a season in Red Sox history, John Farrell and the Red Sox will look to set the tone early in the 2013 season.
The opening day lineup has yet to be officially set, as we are only a couple weeks into spring training, however, the Red Sox have added and subtracted a few names from their lineup since last season and will have a different looking batting order this season.
Since taking the manager’s job with the Red Sox, Farrell has been tinkering with what the opening day batting order will look like, scribbling on napkins, scraps of paper, and receipts the potential lineup. With the addition of, power bat, Mike Napoli in middle of the order and Shane Victorino’s speed at the top of the order it will make it interesting to see what impact they have on the Red Sox. Of course, we all know that certain names will always sit between three and five, David Ortiz and most likely Jacoby Ellsbury sits at the top. Come April 1st, after a few different lineups used during spring training, Farrell will have made his mind up and put out, what he thinks, is the best lineup available to win the Red Sox a World Series.
With many options, projecting the opening day batting order is easier to predict than one would think.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (CF)
2012 Statistics - .271 AVG, .313 OBP, 4 HR, 26 RBI
Jacoby Ellsbury is one of MLB’s best leadoff hitters, when healthy. He has the ability to make contact with the baseball, speed and the great ability to run the bases. In addition, Ellsbury showed that he can also hit for power, blasting 32 homers in 2011.
John Farrell will start with Ellsbury at the top and look for a big season from the center fielder. If he can stay healthy, look for Ellsbury to hit closer to .300 and steal 30 or more bags in 2013. The 29-year-old will become a free agent after this season and is playing for a long-term deal.
2. Shane Victorino (RF)
2012 Statistics - .255 AVG, .321 OBP, 11 HR, 55 RBI
Shane Victorino spent 2012 between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his first year with the Boston Red Sox, the right fielder will fit perfectly into the second in the batting order. Yes, Dustin Pedroia has perennially batted second for the Red Sox, but Victorino’s speed fits perfectly closer to the top of the batting order.
Last season Victorino stole 39 bases and scored 72 runs. Having Victorino and Jacoby Ellsbury at the top of the batting order puts the speed threat on base and distracts the opposing pitchers.
3. Dustin Pedroia (2B)
2012 Statistics - .290 AVG, .347 OBP, 15 HR, 65 RBI
Dustin Pedroia has succeeded in the number two spot in the Boston Red Sox for years, but moving to the third spot makes sense with the addition of Shane Victorino. Luckily, Pedroia just wants to be in the lineup and does not care where he bats.
His power, speed and ability to get on base all combine for a great number three hitter in a lineup. The one, two, three combination in the Red Sox batting order, will be one of the best in the major leagues.
4. David Ortiz (DH)
2012 Statistics - .318 AVG, .415 OBP, 23 HR, 60 RBI
David Ortiz played in only 90 games in 2012, but got the multi-year deal that he has been fighting for the past few years. He can focus on hitting and not his contract situation. Cleaning up for the Boston Red Sox, Ortiz will have plenty of times to hit with Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino or Dustin Pedroia on base.
If the designated hitter can stay healthy, look for him to get on-base, hit for power and hit for a high average. He improved his ability to hit off left-handers over the past few seasons. Look for Ortiz to crush 30 or more bombs this season, if he can stay healthy.
5. Will Middlebrooks (3B)
2012 Statistics - .288 AVG, .325 OBP, 15 HR, 54 RBI
After taking over for, longtime Boston Red Sox third baseman, Kevin Youkilis, Will Middlebrooks took Red Sox Nation by storm. If Middlebrooks was able to play the last two months of the season, he could’ve hit 30 plus homers and batted in over 100. He missed the last two months of the season due to a fractured bone in his wrist, taking him out of the running for Rookie of the Year.
Middlebrooks has power and the ability to get on-base, which are great abilities to have when hitting fifth in the batting order. Projections see him with 30+ homers and 100+ RBIs this season.
6. Mike Napoli (1B)
2012 Statistics - .227 AVG, .343 OBP, 24 HR, 56 RBI
Mike Napoli joins the Boston Red Sox after a couple of seasons with the Texas Rangers. The Red Sox originally had him signed to a 3-year-deal worth $39 million, but after his physical, they negotiated back-and-forth and signed a one-year-deal worth only $5 million.
Last season wasn’t one of Napoli’s best, but he has hit 20 or more home runs in the past five seasons. Hitting behind Will Middlebrooks and David Ortiz will be beneficial and will give Napoli the opportunity to hit more bombs and drive in more runs for the Red Sox.
7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C)
2012 Statistics - .222 AVG, .288 OBP, 25 HR, 59 RBI
Jarrod Saltalamacchia won’t hit for much average, he gives the Boston Red Sox some power towards the bottom of the batting order. Saltalamacchia started the season off great in 2012, but down the stretch, like others on the Red Sox, he didn’t play that well.
Saltalamacchia is still the starting catcher for the Red Sox, at least for now. Rumors have circled that he might be on-the-block with Ryan Lavarnway having the ability to play in the majors. Saltalamacchia will split time with David Ross at catcher this season and Ross will most likely hit in the same spot in the batting order.
8. Jonny Gomes (LF)
2012 Statistics - .262 AVG, .377 OBP, 18 HR, 47 RBI
Jonny Gomes will not play everyday for the Boston Red Sox, but will play enough to put up numbers at, hitter-friendly, Fenway Park. He will also give the Red Sox some power at the bottom of the order.
Hitting down in the order will motivate him to perform and he may possibly hit as high as sixth, depending on the pitching matchup and how the others are performing. John Farrell will have some decisions to make once the season gets going.
Others that may play left field include Daniel Nava and Mike Carp. Ryan Kalish would’ve had some chances in left field, but went down with another injury and will be out until at least July.
9. Stephen Drew (SS)
2012 Statistics - .223 AVG, .309 OBP, 7 HR, 28 RBI
With Stephen Drew joining the Boston Red Sox, Jose Iglesias can wait down at the Pawtucket Red Sox until the September call ups. In addition, Red Sox top prospect, Xander Bogaerts can do the same or wait until 2014.
Drew, the brother of former Red Sox J.D. Drew, has the ability to steal bases and hit double digit home runs. He has the ability to get on-base at the bottom of the lineup. Drew has the ability to have a break out season in 2013.