Brian Hines (@JonLestersGhost)
Projecting the starting lineup for the Red Sox a few days seemed like an easy task, but with the injury bug sweeping the clubhouse the past few days the task has become more challenging.
The club has many things to work out before April 6th, especially with the crowded outfield. With many questions about the starting lineup, I stepped in the box and took my best swing at attempting to project the starters.
2015 Boston Red Sox Opening Day Starters Catcher: Ryan Hanigan
The catcher position was a lock for all offseason, but then Vazquez got hurt. Vazquez was recently placed on the 60-day DL with a right elbow sprain. Hanigan was a piece the Sox picked up for Will Middlebrooks over the winter, and will now take over as the starter.
The big question at catcher is Blake Swihart. The prized prospect is down in Pawtucket for now. With only 18 games of Triple-A ball under his belt, the move to have him in Pawtucket is the right one. But saying Swihart excels in Pawtucket and is Boston's starting catcher by the All-Star break, wouldn't surprise me.
1st Base: Mike Napoli
Not really a surprise here, Nap who had offseason surgery to fix his sleep issue looks a lot more powerful this season. Unless something crazy happens Napoli will be on first when the Red Sox start the year.
Source: (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
2nd Base: Dustin Pedroia
After Pedey missed some of last year still trying to get his wrist right, he has also looked more powerful and explosive this Spring Training. Pedey should be back to normal form, which is big for this Red Sox team. 3rd Base: Pablo Sandoval
After dishing out around $100 million to this man you think he wouldn't start at third? Pablo comes into his first year with the Red Sox and will be manning the hot corner. Although his weight always seems to be an issue, it shouldn't be a problem throughout the season as Sandoval should have a good year at the plate.
Short Stop: Xander Bogaerts
A disappointing year for Bogaerts in 2014, but the young infielder is back at his normal shortstop position. After acquiring Sandoval, Bogaerts can stay in his regular shortstop role instead of having to play third as well. Bogaerts should be a lock to open the year at short and will most likely improve his numbers at the plate.
Left Field: Hanley Ramirez
Easy, easy, easy. Hanley, a surprising offseason pickup for the Sox, will be playing Left Field for the first time in his career. Hanley should have had enough time to learn how to play left and how to play the Green Monster this offseason. The Hanley addition also deepens the lineup even more. If he can stay healthy, Hanley could be a MVP candidate in this lineup.
Center Field: Mookie Betts
Source: (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Again an easy choice. Mookie who is a lock for center field is ready to take the league by storm. The young outfielder has already been projected to become the Red Sox best all-around player and also make the All-Star team. Mookie might have the most upside in the whole league, and this is the year he shows it off.
Right Field: Shane Victorino
Right Field is also an interesting topic with the Red Sox. With Hanley and Mookie a lock for Center and Left, that leaves Shane Victorino and Rusney Castillo to battle it out for the Right Field position. Farrell has stayed true to Victorino saying he will be the starter if he's healthy. Although Rusney has been awesome since the return from the oblique injury, Victorino is healthy and will be out their April 6th.
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz
This doesn't need an explanation....
Starting Pitcher: Clay Buchholz
Clay will most likely take the mound to start the season. His odds increased after Joe Kelly got hurt and most likely will end up on the DL. Clay obviously isn't exactly a "Number 1 pitcher" or an "ace" but he has had his moments. If he could return to his 2013 form he would lead this rotation and maybe help the team to the playoffs.
Source: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images North America
Closer: Edward Mujica
After resigning Koji Uehara this offseason, Koji seemed to be the closer. But an injury has shook things up a bit. As Koji will start the season on the DL, it makes the most sense for Mujica to take over the role until he's back and ready to go.
The Red Sox have many options and ways to go with the starters, but when they take the field on April 6th, I believe this is what will be out there. If you think differently or have any question leave a comment below or ask me on twitter @JonLestersGhost .