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Building The Red Sox Lineup: Papi Rounds Out The Middle

Shock! Surprise! Awe! David Ortiz bats sixth! Nobody saw this coming!

OK, so that was a bit obvious. Papi was the last elite hitter, depending on how you judge J.D. Drew, so it wasn't a big leap to figure he hits sixth. He'll have to do it with less "protection" than some would like, but it's hard to say if that's really even a thing to begin with.

Anyways, with the obvious pick out of the way, it's 7-9 that are rather more interesting.

To repeat, some clarifications:

  1. I'll include both Scoot and Lowrie. After one has been chosen, the other will stop being an option. Ditto for Varitek and Salty.
  2. Darnell McDonald will also be included, while Ryan Kalish will not. Consider that my guess at the 25-man.
  3. 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

4. Adrian Gonzalez, L

5. Kevin Youkilis, R

6. David Ortiz, L

My Pick: Jed Lowrie

Alright, so my faith in the Jedi is finally enough to put him in the six slot. It's a tall order, batting behind these guys, but Lowrie is a doubles hitter with, if last season is to be believed, some occasional homer pop. And by doubles, I don't mean the stretched singles of Ellsbury, which will get him to second but not help get anyone home from first.

So what do we know about Lowrie? A lot has been written about that around these parts, but I think the easiest way to sum it up is that he could be great. Lowrie's success came over only 200 plate appearances in 2010, but they were 200 elite plate appearances done the right way.

I really can't stress that enough. People talk about flash-in-the-pans guy, and yesterday the comparison between Jacoby Ellsbury's 2007 and Jed Lowrie's 2010 came up. But Jacoby was the same player in 2007 as he was in 2010--or, well, 2009 at least. He didn't walk, he didn't strike out much, and, really, he didn't have a whole bunch of pop. His .509 slugging mark is half a matter of his average, and half about getting that one extra home run compared to his typical rate. It's just another player getting a super-high BABIP for a little while and looking like an MVP as a result.

Lowrie, on the other hand, showed great discipline, had his slugging come regardless of his fairly standard average--which was the product of a very typical BABIP. Maybe his homers were a little higher than we might expect in the future, but the guy was hitting by taking the correct approach to the game. It's that sort of discipline that has eluded Ellsbury his whole career.

Will we get 2010? No, probably not. But I bet we're a lot closer than the naysayers expect. And that'll be plenty enough for the #6 slot, especially since he'll do what Youk does to any manager seeking to get three outs from one lefty.

1. Carl Crawford, L

2. Dustin Pedroia, R

3. Adrian Gonzalez, L

4. Kevin Youkilis, R

5. David Ortiz, L

6. Jed Lowrie, S