It seems that Dustin Pedroia is firmly ensconced as the Red Sox' #2 hitter, as the former MVP second baseman doubled up Carl Crawford (who has his second straight second place finish).
No surprise here, really. With a lefty Ellsbury leading off, Pedroia is one of the best right-handed on-base guys on the team, and actually seems to perform slightly better against righties despite being one himself. His contact ability (4% swinging strikes last year was a career high) and patience should build up pitch counts early, and if nothing else, he'll likely move Ellsbury along should he get on ahead of him.
My pick (following my own lineup's leadoff of Crawford, mind) is again after the jump. Before you click through, though, make your pick for #3.
To repeat, some clarifications:
- I'll include both Scoot and Lowrie. After one has been chosen, the other will stop being an option. Ditto for Varitek and Salty.
- Darnell McDonald will also be included, while Ryan Kalish will not. Consider that my guess at the 25-man.
- Put it together the way you want it, not the way you think it will be.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, L
2. Dustin Pedroia, R
(Worth noting: An issue with the poll system lead to the last piece's poll switching to "who should bat third" late last night. If you voted in that "new" poll, just vote again here. All results from there will be ignored.)
My Pick: Dustin Pedroia
I toyed with the idea of Jed Lowrie for a fair while, but really, the choice was always Dustin Pedroia.
The Red Sox really should kill righties next year. It's ridiculous how many players they have that kill them. I could easily see five players with an OPS of .900 or greater against them, even. The key, then, is to get all those players plenty of at bats against the righties without leaving the lineup completely exposed against lefty relievers.
Briefly, I thought about moving Kevin Youkilis to the #2 spot and sliding Ortiz in at #3, basically making it so that anyone who wanted to pitch to both Crawford and Ortiz with a lefty would have to risk leaving him out there against Youkilis, who hit .404/.513/.798 against southpaws. Yeah.
However, I decided that the end of the lineup's high-OBP, low SLG ways would likely lead to a fair few stranded runners, which left only Lowrie to challenge Pedroia. There, the question was settled by the same uncertainty that kept Lowrie out of the leadoff spot. As far as I'm concerned, Jed Lowrie will kill lefties next year. But against righties, I'm not quite as certain.
So it's Dustin Pedroia with his 3-year .315/.373/.488 line that gets the nod from me. He may not discourage the LOOGY like a Lowrie or Youkilis would, but they can be used elsewhere, and the reliever might well be lucky to get to his third batter with fewer than 15 pitches on his arm already.