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Has John Farrell revealed his lineup?

John Farrell isn't committing to anything just yet, but with 10 days to go until Opening Day, it's not too hard to get a sense of what he's planning for April.


Consider these two batting orders:

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Daniel Nava, LF
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  4. Mike Napoli, 1B
  5. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
  6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  7. Jonny Gomes, DH
  8. Shane Victorino, RF
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS


  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Shane Victorino, RF
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  4. Mike Napoli, 1B
  5. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
  6. Jonny Gomes, DH
  7. David Ross, C
  8. Daniel Nava, LF
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

These may well be the lineup against right- and left-handed pitchers respectively come April. At least until David Ortiz and Stephen Drew get healthy.

Some things are obvious. Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli, Will Middlebrooks, and Jose Iglesias will be starters, likely regardless of who's on the mound for the other team. Jacoby Ellsbury will lead off, Jose Iglesias will bat ninth. Not many people would argue otherwise given what we've seen so far in spring (and, y'know, the past few years).

Other things Farrell has said himself. For instance, Daniel Nava could be his number two hitter against righties, and so far Nava has done well in that role in spring.

More: John Farrell drops hints about Red Sox' lineup

The rest requires a bit of thinking, and is obviously not set in stone, but given the lineups we've been seeing out of Farrell recently, it's not too hard to piece it all together.

For starters, by saying Nava is his second hitter against righties, Farrell is implying he won't be completely static just for the sake of consistency. We have to assume, then, that given his splits Nava will not hit second against lefties. From there, it's not hard to guess Shane Victorino will take over for those games. He's doing so today against Cole Hamels, and had a very healthy .323/.388/.515 line against them last year. With both him and Nava struggling against same-handed pitching, it makes sense to simply swap them out with one another between the #2 and #8 slot depending on if they're up against a lefty or righty.

Of course, that means Dustin Pedroia has to go somewhere. While we've seen him get some time batting cleanup in the past, Farrell seems to have settled on the third spot in spring, which makes sense if he's looking to make the lineup feel a little deeper on a game-by-game basis. That leaves Napoli fourth, which is the obvious spot for a hitter of his caliber.

Spots five through seven are the only real question marks left, but if we can't really nail it down we can make a pretty good guess. A couple weeks back, Farrell told Tim Britton that his aim was to have a consistent top five. While obviously David Ortiz' injury has now put a bit of a kink in that plan, forcing Farrell to switch around his number two hitters, he can still have the other four spots consistent. And there's only one way to do that.

On some level, both Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are platoon hitters (Daniel Nava and David Ross being their other halves, respectively). They might be given the starting designation, but each will give over some amount of time to their partners when the matchup dictates. That leaves Will Middlebrooks. The Red Sox have no other options at third, and even if they did they're looking at Will Middlebrooks as a core piece for the future. Both for now and for the years to come, the fifth spot makes sense for Middlebrooks.

That leaves spots six and seven, and really those are just a function of Jonny Gomes, the catchers going where he is not. Against lefties he should absolutely be hitting sixth, against righties he absolutely should not. Fill in Saltalamacchia and Ross where Gomes is not, and voila.

Things will get a bit more complicated when David Ortiz returns and John Farrell is forced to decide what he wants to do with Gomes and Nava against right-handed pitchers. But at least or now, while both can play on any given day, these two orders make a lot of sense. Much in the way that Nick Punto batting first does not.

Note: Sorry, Jackie Bradley Jr. fans, but 11 days.

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