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Leadoff or Left-off? Coco vs. Youkilis

One of the early debates of Spring Training was where to play Kevin Youkilis versus Coco Crisp. Co(Co)nventional thought has Crisp leading off for the Sox, but many posters and pundits have kicked around the idea of Youk's OBP prowess sitting atop the lineup.

Granted, KY has been HOT since moving up to the #1 hole. How hot? Well....

Crisp was batting .333 in his 5 games with a .383 OBP and a .843 OPS. I'd be estatic if he put those up over a full season. Hard to believe then, that Youkilis' OBP is a full 100 POINTS HIGHER at leadoff.

The question becomes then:

"What happenes when Coco comes back?"

Francona has long been a manager that shows loyalty. There's no question about that. A newer trend, is his willingness to go to the hot hand (Papelbon). This makes the debate even tighter.

To be fair....Youkilis is simply not going to keep up that pace. He'll be solid, but there's a lot of ball to play. Same however, for Coco. Even in that short period where we saw CC atop the order, we saw what his tools brought to the offensive rubric. There's no doubt we'd be fine with him there. Then again, Youkilis can't simply slide to the #2 hole (Mark Loretta OWNS that real estate). In fact, the nearest place you can really put Youk, is 6th. Considering how hot his bat is (especially now), you have to get him as many at-bats as possible, not to mention get as many baserunners for Manny and Tizzle.

This is where Coco for leadoff is strongest. He's not as strong batting 7th, or 8th...Youkilis is a versitile enough to do so.

Personally, I hope we can ride Youk to the tune of a .430 OBP until Crisp returns.


The Red Sox are primed to have a strong draft again in 2006 with 4 of the first 44 selections (including 27th and 28th, a pick from the Yankees for Johnny Damon) and also receive a compensatory pick at 40, also for the loss of Damon. The Sox also receive a compensatory pick, the 44th pick for Billy Mueller.