Thursday, April 02, 2009
2009 RED SOX PREVIEW: DESIGNATED HITTER
No more Manny Ramirez, and no more David Ortiz... at least, not the David Ortiz we grew accustomed to from 2003 to 2007.
Last year, Papi played in 109 games, hit .264, only 23 HRs, 89 RBI, an OBP of .369, and a SLG of .507. All of these numbers are significantly lower than those we've seen from Ortiz for several years now.
Perhaps most alarming were his postseason stats. 4 for 17 in the ALDS, with 1 RBI. 4 RBI in the ALCS, but only 4 hits in 26 at-bats (.154).
Even when Ortiz was apparently healthy, you could tell his wrists weren't translating the sheer force he's usually driven into the ball. There were seemingly dozens of times when he'd hit the ball with the sweet spot, hit it with a perfect swing, and the ball would only reach the warning track.
Are those wrists back to the shape they once were? They've been repaired, and I doubt he'll miss any significant time because of them, but can they transfer the power they used to? Will Ortiz return to being a .620 SLG type of player, or will he remain in the lower .500s.
It's a vital question for the Red Sox, one that can be the difference between a playoff spot and a 3rd place finish. Ortiz's power is even more important in '09 with no Manny Ramirez.