When you think of a high powered offense, a few traits often come to mind; a table setter, a professional hitter, power at the clean up spot, and depth at the bottom of the order.
Thinking more specifically about recent Red Sox history and the potent offenses past, there have been players within the lineup to hit each of these roles. From Johnny Damon to David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, rounded out with batting champions like Bill Mueller bringing up the tail, the “post-Theo” lineup has been as potent as any in baseball.
Looking more closely at this season, the Red Sox offense has been a top five unit. Scoring 472 runs with a .792 team OPS is impressive, especially considering the slow start of David Ortiz, extended slumps by Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and Jason Bay.
Looking up and down the lineup, the Red Sox have top ten OPS from all spots in the lineup aside from two. With David Ortiz’ monumental slump to start the season while in the three hole, it shouldn’t be a surprise that #3 is was one of the culprits.
The other culprit? The leadoff spot.
New Poll Question: Better or Worse: Jon Lester’s innings pitched in 2009?
Jon Lester pitched a yeomans-like 237 innings in 2008. There is debate over whether Lester will be a candidate for the now famous “Verducci-effect” in 2009. Can Lester’s arm hold up for another 200+ innings this season? Vote in the poll to the left and give your community projection for Lester here.
Find out how you all responded to our previous poll, “Will Josh Beckett drop a sub-3.50 ERA in 2009?” after the jump.
New Poll Question: Better or Worse: Josh Beckett’s ERA in 2009?
Josh Beckett pitched better than his 4.03 ERA might suggest in 2008, so it’s safe to assume he’ll better that total in 2009. The question is, “by how much?”. How low can he go? How does 3.50 sound for a bar? Vote in the poll to the left and give your community projection for Beckett here.
Find out how you all responded to our previous poll, “Will Jason Varitek hit .240+ in 2009?” after the jump.
New Poll Question: Better or Worse: Jason Varitek’s Average in 2009?
Coming off a career low batting average of .220 in 2008 and one of the lowest averages for a primary catcher in the past ten years, will Jason Varitek be able to right the ship and break the .240 barrier this season? Vote in the poll to the left and give your community projection for Varitek here. Find out how you all responded to our previous poll, “How many bases will Jacoby Ellsbury steal in 2009?” after the jump.
New Poll Question:
Better of Worse: Jacoby Ellsbury’s 2009 Stolen Base Total?
Early last season it seemed like Jacoby might steal 75 bags, but a mid-season slump hit both his bat and his legs and he ended up with only 50. Can he top 60 in 2009? Vote in the poll to the left and give your community projection for Ellsbury here. Find out how you all responded to our previous poll, “Will Jason Bay hit 30+ HRs in 2009?” after the jump.
Recently, ESPN ranked the Sox system 7th in all of baseball. This was quite a compliment to a team that just this past season graduated four of Baseball America’s top five Sox prospects (Buchholz, Ellsbury, Masterson, Lowrie). Led by Director of Amateur Scouting Jason McLeod, the Sox quickly stocked up their system through the amateur draft and international free agency. Their 2008 draft class has arguably the highest potential of any team, and all of that was made possible by the Sox willingness to go over the slot to obtain guys that are considered to have signability issues. Part of the reason that has caused this has been the emergence of top prospects Pedro Alvarez and Matt LaPorta, two unsigned draft picks in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Spending over the slot should be a continuing trend for a team as rich in resources as the Sox, allowing them to remain as one of the top systems in baseball.
While most people are dreaming of an off chance that Dontrelle Willis could recreate himself in a Boston Red Sox uniform, there is recent precedent that might point towards not rushing Julio Lugo out of town quite so quickly.
Tell me if this story sounds even remotely familiar?
An under-performing veteran coming off an injury plagued season, having never fulfilled his promise present at his debut as a member of the Boston Red Sox, has found his position usurped by a rookie down the stretch before entering Spring Training in the unfamiliar position of a high priced back up. Common logic from fans and the greater baseball community already has that player traded to fill other holes and to allow the rookie to take the mantle of their position without impediment.