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Who Will Leadoff?

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Not only are the Sox still trying to plug holes at short and center, they've got to re-tool their lineup around a new leadoff hitter.

At this point in time, what are the options?

Given our projected starters:

Youkilis 1B
Loretta 2B
(TBA) SS
Lowell 3B
Manny LF
(TBA) CF
Trot RF
Ortiz DH
Varitek C

Manny, Ortiz, Lowell, Trot and Varitek are all locks to NOT leadoff. That leaves us with SS, CF, Youk, and Loretta.

I'm inclined to believe that it's down to Loretta and Youks, even with the other two positions still vacant. Both have above-average OBP and and nice situational hitters. Youkilis will likely have at least a .380 OBP next year, and may even make a run at .400, something no Sox leadoff hitter has done since Wade Boggs in 1991. Loretta, being a better situational hitter, would then be the obvious choice for the two hole in front of Manny/Ortiz (depending on how the approach that one this year). If Youkilis can throw up a .275/.400 with Loretta batting .300, that'll beat last year's .366 leading off with .276/.335 behind it.

This all may change depending on who we pick up, but I'm all for giving Youk the shot to leadoff, and pick up 400-500 at bats this season with Snow backing up and defensive-subbing, with Loretta further setting the table for the thunder.