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Let’s build some Red Sox lineups

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It’s probably too early for this, but rules are for chumps

Divisional Round - Houston Astros v Boston Red Sox - Game Three Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

This offseason has been a total drag and I’ve spent far too much time talking about labor issues and the implications of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and far too little time discussing, ya know, baseball. I’m not happy about this development, and while I can’t control what happens in free agency I can control my own enjoyment of the winter. So, I’m going to pretend it’s not way too early to look at the construction of the Red Sox lineup. It’s true that we don’t even know what players are going to be on the roster, but the basic structure of the lineup is clear. So, let’s take a quick few minutes and look at four different potential Red Sox lineups. We’ll build two lineups against right-handed pitching — one with J.D. Martinez and one without him — and do the same against left-handed pitching.

Vs. RHP, without J.D. Martinez

  1. Andrew Benintendi, LF
  2. Mookie Betts, RF
  3. Rafael Devers, 3B
  4. Hanley Ramirez, DH
  5. Mitch Moreland, 1B
  6. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  7. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
  8. Christian Vazquez, C
  9. Marco Hernandez, 2B

To be clear right off the bat, this is the lineup I’d go with rather than the one I think Alex Cora will go with. In fact, Cora has already said that Mookie Betts will be his leadoff hitter. I don’t think there’s a ton of different between Benintendi and Betts and wouldn’t be upset if they were flipped here. That being said, I think Benintendi should be a little more patient than Betts next year, and Betts should have a little more upside with power. Either way, these should be the one-two hitters. The middle of the lineup was something I went back and forth on, and ultimately wanted to keep the left-righty flow going. I could see swapping Moreland and Devers, but I couldn’t bring myself to making Moreland a number three hitter. I could also see swapping Bogaerts and Ramirez, but I have a little more confidence in Ramirez’ bat at this point.

Vs. LHP, without J.D. Martinez

  1. Andrew Benintendi, LF
  2. Mookie Betts, RF
  3. Hanley Ramirez, DH
  4. Rafael Devers, 3B
  5. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  6. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
  7. Christian Vazquez, C
  8. Mitch Moreland, 1B
  9. Deven Marrero, 2B

There’s not a ton of difference between this lineup and the one versus right-handed pitching. I moved a couple of the righties up a spot each and moved Moreland way down. The only other big change is that I put Marrero in at second base over Hernandez. I’m not entirely sold on Marrero at the plate, but he was really good against left-handed pitching last year and it’s not as if Hernandez is so good that it’s not worth seeing if Marrero’s success was a fluke.

Vs. RHP, with J.D. Martinez

  1. Andrew Benintendi, LF
  2. Mookie Betts, RF
  3. J.D. Martinez, DH
  4. Rafael Devers, 3B
  5. Mitch Moreland, 1B
  6. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  7. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
  8. Christian Vazquez, C
  9. Marco Hernandez, 2B

Clearly, the lineup is a lot deeper with Martinez there than not. This is not breaking news, nor is it my way of starting an argument for or against the need to sign him. We’ve done enough of that this winter. Either way, that top three is terrifying for opponents, and if Devers hits as well as we think he can all of a sudden the first inning is going to be hell for every pitcher. Additionally, the addition of Martinez allows for a straight platoon of Ramirez and Moreland, though the performance of each could change just how strict that platoon is.

Vs. LHP, with J.D. Martinez

  1. Andrew Benintendi, LF
  2. Mookie Betts, RF
  3. J.D. Martinez, DH
  4. Hanley Ramirez, 1B
  5. Rafael Devers, 3B
  6. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  7. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
  8. Christian Vazquez, C
  9. Deven Marrero, 2B

There’s not much to say here. The Red Sox get to sit Moreland against lefties in this scenario, which is the best way to approach this. Additionally, and it’s hard to reflect here, they will get a chance to sit Bradley or Benintendi against lefties at certain points. That would involve Moreland getting back into the lineup and Ramirez shifting to DH with Martinez in the outfield, but they can survive the loss in outfield defense here and there to get some of their outfielders a break.