Carl Crawford says he wants to bat third, and the OTM readers see it the same way--at least against righties.
While Crawford doesn't have the traditional numbers of a middle-of-the-order batter on the Red Sox (who have been able to slot in players like Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Jason Bay, and Kevin Youkilis for the last decade), he does against righties.
At .332/.379/.552, Carl Crawford killed them in 2010, putting up numbers very similar, if not quite as good as Kevin Youkilis. His ability to swipe bags may also be more useful behind the faster runners you readers have in the first two slots.
The cleanup spot is next. I'll be interested to see how handedness concerns play into this pick.
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
3. Carl Crawford, L
My Pick: Adrian Gonzalez
It's always fun to think about what new players can bring to a lineup. This is especially true of Adrian Gonzalez. Nobody will deny that the Red Sox picked up one of the game's elite hitters when they traded for Gonzalez, who combines great plate discipline with power enough to show up in Petco Park. The real question is how much better is Fenway going to make him.
We've had some projections based on his spray charts from last year imposed on Fenway, and oh, are they ever pretty.
Gonzalez should be one of the best, if not the best hitter on the team next year, vs. righties and overall. There aren't many players you'd rather have in the middle of your lineup.
I did consider putting Ortiz third for a minute or two. His incredible .297/.416/.643 line last year against righties is pretty hard to beat. But that was kind of a unique renaissance year I'm not entirely sure he'll be repeating, and I'm not about to bat Gonzalez fifth when I sort of expect him to hit that well anyways. Did I mention those projections were pretty nice?
Just for the record:
1. Carl Crawford, L
2. Dustin Pedroia, R
3. Adrian Gonzalez, L