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The OTM Red Sox 2014 Lineup #6: Napoli's in

Again, no surprise here: Napoli is the preferred backup for Big Papi. Time to start the "home stretch."

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

It was perhaps inevitable that Mike Napoli should end up being the #5 hitter: there really isn't a comparable reliable "big bat" in the rest of the roster to back up David Ortiz in the clean-up spot. Of course, that comes with the high strikeout rate but also the highest pitch per plate appearance in the majors last year. Again, though, the consensus vote was essentially unanimous, with only a handful of players getting any votes at all, and bizarrely Grady Sizemore was the only player with more than just one vote.

There are some ramifications of the choice, however. With both 1B, LF, and RF all filled, this makes the further decision calculus a little trickier. In principle, I should have taken Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp out of the potential lineup. However, it would be possible to decide that Daniel Nava should man right field, and that Shane Victorino should stay on the bench. Note, I don't think this is exactly a recommendable option, but it is an option. So for now, we still don't have anybody eliminated from consideration on positional grounds.

So now we head into the "home stretch." into the hairpin turn before heading into the back part of the lineup, and vote for the Number 6 hitter. There are plenty of viable candidates left:

  • 3B: Will Middlebrooks: 0.244/0.412
  • CF: Jackie Bradley Jr.: 0.308/0.414
  • RF: Shane Victorino: 0.386/0.510
  • C: A.J. Placeholder: 0.286/0.438
  • LF/1B: Mike Carp: 0.367/0.537
  • LF/1B: Jonny Gomes: 0.341/0.404
  • CF: Grady Sizemore: 0.300/0.452 (note: data from 2011)
  • C: David Ross: 0.298/0.382 (note: no splits because of small sample size)

Same rules as before apply. Vote for one candidate; top vote-getter becomes the number six hitter. Note also that this is not a prognostication poll; the goal isn't trying to guess who Farrell will slot into each spot, but crowdsourcing preferences. It's just a poll, so just go for it.* You'll have until Tuesday night to cast votes.

*Don't forget to stretch out before voting strenuously. It's going to be a long rooting season ahead.