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Building The Red Sox Lineup: Jed Lowrie, Jarrod Saltalamacchia Wrap It Up

SEATTLE - JULY 23:  Jed Lowrie #12 of the Boston Red Sox singles in the fourth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on July 23 2010 in Seattle Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE - JULY 23: Jed Lowrie #12 of the Boston Red Sox singles in the fourth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on July 23 2010 in Seattle Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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Well, that's a wrap. Over The Monster readers have voted, and this is their--your--lineup against righties:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, L

2. Dustin Pedroia, R

3. Carl Crawford, L

4. Adrian Gonzalez, L

5. Kevin Youkilis, R

6. David Ortiz, L

7. J.D. Drew, L

8. Jed Lowrie, S

9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, S

The final choice of Lowrie - Saltalamacchia earned some ire in the comments section thanks to its positioning of slow Salty in front of speedster Jacoby Ellsbury. Alright, on some levels that's an issue, but I feel the need to add that, while different situations, a not dissimilar sentiment has been expressed before. Something about clogging up the basepaths.

Even ignoring the fact that the steal is of relatively little consequence in the long run, let's consider the situation that will actually make a difference:

  1. Both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury must be on base. This is an unlikely enough scenario in its own right, given what we expect out of Salty.
  2. Jarrod Saltalamacchia must be exactly one  base ahead of Jacoby Ellsbury. This means that Salty didn't double. In fact, nearly a quarter of all Salty's trips to the basepaths, excluding fielder's choices, don't involve him stopping on first.
  3. The steal has to make sense. When you've got a runner on ahead of you, this is far from a given. Since Salty would have to be in scoring position to begin with, there probably wouldn't be a lot of steals with two outs. Given that it's the heart of the order coming up, makes it even less likely we see running.

So how many situations are we really gonna be looking at where Salty holds Ellsbury a base short? Probably not a lot. Really, if we are running into this situation a ton, we should be too happy that both of our question marks are performing well to care.

But either way, having a potentially really good player like Jed Lowrie get even just 10 more plate appearances over Salty? Probably worth about as much. Maybe more. Especially when you consider the chance for him to drive in the remainders of the strongest part of the lineup. More on that later.

I'll finish up my lineup after the jump.

My Picks: Jacoby Ellsbury at #8, Jarrod Saltalamacchia to round it out.

Which makes my lineup:

1. Carl Crawford, L

2. Dustin Pedroia, R

3. Adrian Gonzalez, L

4. Kevin Youkilis, R

5. David Ortiz, L

6. Jed Lowrie, S

7. J.D. Drew, L

8. Jacoby Ellsbury, L

9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, S

Thanks to having Carl Crawford lead off, I was going to end up with one of these Salty - base stealer conundrums either way, but we've just been talking about why that's not a huge deal.

The main goal here, though, was to have Jacoby sort of act as the actual cleanup hitter. Not in the traditional sense of a cleanup hitter--the big, powerful number four hitter who can clean up the loaded basepaths with a big homer--but just a guy who will make consistent contact.

With most lineups, there's a really easily recognized point where it drops off. For me, this is the obvious point. The carousel of baserunners just isn't all that likely to continue through Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. So what the first batter after said carousel needs to be able to do is score the runs. A guy on third? We need a ball in play. A guy on second? We need a hit. Doubles and such to possibly score a guy from first are all well-and-good, but are more of a secondary thought. If there's one time that Jacoby Ellsbury's batting average is of significant value even compared to his OBP, it's here.

Against righties, Salty may have the slightly higher OBP, more raw power, and is just generally a slightly better hitter. But neither of them is really a force, so we may as well go with the situational considerations.

Alas, Marco Scutaro, it was not meant to be.