Quantcast

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

Being the former ball player that I am, I’ve listened to many a great coach speak about our timeless game. As I sit and watch my beloved team, the Red Sox, I can’t help but think back to one quote that made a whole lotta sense to me.

I bought into it and I believe in it. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but it truly does make sense, at least it does to me anyway.

The coach said, “I want my two best on-base hitters batting first and ninth. I want someone to get on base to start the game and I want someone to get on base to turn the lineup over.”

Before I go further, please remember this is an opinion piece and this happens to be my opinion. I’d love to hear yours, so please comment at the end. (Carry on…)

Throughout his career, Dustin Pedroia has been the prototypical 2-hole hitter for the Red Sox. He’s a contact hitter, good for moving your leadoff runner up a base, whether by sacrifice or hit, and setting up the heart of the lineup with a runner, or runners, in scoring position.

I’d like to keep him there. But that means moving Victorino (.278 BA/.348 OBP) down in the order and finding someone to fill in the third spot. To me, the third spot is a spot reserved for someone with power. Not your 4-5 type power, but a guy that’s going to hit 25-30 home runs. In my ideal world, that person would be Will Middlebrooks. Chipper Jones was my favorite player growing up and he’s bound for the Hall of Fame. I compare Middlebrooks to Jones, mostly because they both play third base, but also because of how much Middlebrooks reminds me of Chipper.

I’m going to propose two lineups: 1) one that is my ideal lineup based off my quote from earlier and what I’d personally like to see, and 2) another that is more geared toward how the Sox players are playing right now.

Lineup 1:
1) Ellsbury
2) Pedroia
3) Middlebrooks
4) Ortiz
5) Napoli
6) Nava/Gomes/Carp
7) Ross/Salty
8) Drew
9) Victorino

Lineup 2:
1) Ellsbury
2) Pedroia
3) Napoli
4) Ortiz
5) Nava/Gomes/Carp
6) Middlebrooks
7) Ross/Salty
8) Drew
9) Victorino

Now, I know this looks like I’m demoting Victorino, but I’m not. I want to put someone at the bottom of the lineup who I feel is going to get on base. Right now, the 7-9 spots are mostly reserved for Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.224 BA), Middlebrooks (.195) and Stephen Drew (.177).

Also, I don’t want people to think we need to look at OBP every day and determine who should be in the leadoff/ninth spot. This is a “what are you most capable of doing” lineup. Ellsbury is a leadoff hitter, plain and simple. Victorino is also a leadoff type. We experimented with that the past two years, having Ellsbury and Carl Crawford 1-2 and it did not work. Of course, no matter where Crawford batted it did not work. We’ve seen Ellsbury have power and gap-power. If Victorino gets on and Ells puts one in the gap, Victorino scores, Ells is on second or third and that brings up 2-3-4 with a run in already. Right now, when Ells gets on, Victorino hasn’t shown the ability to split the outfielders consistently, so at best you get first and second. That’s not a bad spot to be, I agree wholeheartedly with that.

My point is, you get a solid top-to-middle of the lineup with what I proposed, capable of getting on base and driving in runs. Then, when your bottom third comes up, you’ve got someone down there who can get on base and be a threat on the base paths, turn things over and get the top batting again.

I know, I know. What John Farrell has done so far this year is working. The Sox have the best record in baseball (20-10). But is it really the best fit for the players we have?

Whaddya say? Leave your comments below or let me know your thoughts by posting to me on Twitter (handle below).

Like what you read? See more from Ben here.
As always, give me a shout on Twitter: @thebenwhitehead


Ben Whitehead 5/05/2013 11:35:00 AM Edit
_________________________________________________________________________________________
« Prev Post Next Post »
_________________________________________________________________________________________

comments powered by Disqus
    Celtics Life LogoPatriots Life LogoBruins Life Logo
    Powered by Blogger.