Thursday, March 31, 2011


The Red Sox scored the 2nd most runs in baseball last year. They were 2nd in homeruns, 3rd in OBP, 2nd in slugging, 1st in OPS. In other words, they were pretty good at the plate. And they should be even better in 2011.

Adding Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez were the big stories of the off-season. Not to mention the returns of Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia, who only played in 102 and 75 games last year, respectively. These newcomers and returning producers should more than offset the loss of Beltre and Victor Martinez.

The middle of the lineup will be fierce. Gonzalez, liberated from San Diego's pitcher friendly park, should hit over .300, with an OBP close to .400, slug near .600, and approach 40 homers. Youkilis should hit nearly 30 homers, with an OBP well over .400, and slug around .570.

Putting Crawford and Pedroia ahead of them will result in abundant runs. Gonzalez could knock in 120, and Youkilis should easily surpass 100 RBI.

JD Drew's contract is up, so I think he'll actually play more than 140 games and produce. Then there's Ortiz, whose 32 homers and 102 RBIs were impressive in 2010. But he really struggled against lefties. Drew also can't hit southpaws. So against righties, the Sox will have an excellent 5-6 to keep the pressure on. Against lefties, you'll see plenty of innings ended by Drew and Ortiz.

The bottom of the lineup will be solid enough. I like Ellsbury as a 7th or 9th hitter, either keeping the middle of the orders' rallies going, or helping Crawford and Pedroia start a new one. He should hit .300, with a .350 OBP that keeps him from being a good leadoff option. Minimal power, but plenty of speed.

Scutaro had a decent year last season. But we've all sort of forgotten. So did Lowrie. Having both of them as options is a nice luxury. Both play good defense, and neither are easy outs. That's all you really want or need from the 8th spot in your lineup.

Speaking of easy outs, we come to Varitek/Saltalamacchia. They'll ground into so many double plays. That is, if they even make contact with the ball.

Anyway you stack it, this lineup is pretty sick. Mike Cameron can fill in for Drew against lefties. And the speed of Crawford and Ellsbury can help keep the whole batting order from slumping. And even if a tough lefty is on the mound, guys like Youkilis (.404 against LHP last year), can still give them problems.

The Sox scored 818 runs last year, or 5.05 per game. If they stay healthy, they'll score over 900.

You have an amazing offense, and suspect pitching. I'm reminded of the Cleveland Indians from 1995 to 1999. They'll be fun to watch. They'll win 100 regular season games. And they'll lose the World Series to a team with superior pitching. I'm thinking the Phillies. 1946 all over again.

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