Sean Riley, Contributing writer

Mike Napoli went from having a big multi-year contract with the Red Sox to quickly not knowing if or what team he would end up on. A pre-hire physical if you will, lead Napoli to be diagnosed with avascular necrosis in both hips. That big multi-million dollar deal quickly vanished and Napoli signed a one year 5 million dollar deal with Boston. For a guy who got below average money due to his potential durability, Big Napi hasn't missed one of Boston's 38 games this season.

Napoli is among the league leaders in several batting categories including RBI's and extra base hits. He also has a stellar slugging percentage at .537 and a .864 OPS, on base percentage+ slugging. Besides Clay Buchholz, Napoli has been the most valuable player for Boston so far this season. As good as his numbers are now I think they could greatly improve by where he bats in their lineup. Not that I forsee a change coming in the batting order, but since day one I have not liked the 2-3-4 spots. I know some of my colleagues here at RedSoxLife would agree that Dustin Pedroia should NOT be hitting 3rd. Having Pedroia in the 2 spot and either David Ortiz or Napoli hitting 3-4, I'd prefer Napoli 3rd, would give him more opportunities to drive in runs. Pedroia is on base constantly and Napoli would also gain more at bats throughout the course of the year.

Regardless of what I think, Napoli could bat 8th in this lineup and still get the job done. Ownership made a few good signings this off season but Napoli was by far my favorite acquisition. With only a few kinks in the Sox batting chain, Big Napi, Hacksaw or whatever you want to call him can lead this offense game in and game out. Can you imagine Mike Napoli not on this team right now? I don't even want to, and to think that he might not have been due to his hip condition. Thank your lucky stars that he is the silver slugger for the Red Sox and not someone else.

Sean Riley 5/13/2013 09:33:00 PM Edit
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