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Crawford’s infusion makes for imposing BoSox lineup

Dec 9, 2010, 12:49 AM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Getty Images

It’s a little lefty heavy for sure, but a revamped Red Sox lineup featuring Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez seems poised to take over the major league lead in runs scored in 2011 after finishing second to the Yankees last season.

1. Jacoby Ellsbury
2. Carl Crawford
3. Dustin Pedroia
4. Adrian Gonzalez
5. Kevin Youkilis
6. David Ortiz
7. J.D. Drew
8. Marco Scutaro
9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Bench: Mike Cameron, Jed Lowrie, Jason Varitek, Darnell McDonald

At least, that’s an early guess. Crawford would be the better leadoff choice, but he much prefers to hit second and given that the Red Sox want him comfortable, they’ll probably leave him there. Against lefties, Scutaro can lead off, with Cameron replacing either Ellsbury or Drew and Varitek filling for Salty.

The clincher now would be if the Red Sox went and signed Scott Downs or Brian Fuentes. As left-handed as the BoSox are going to be, either would be an especially ideal weapon for the Yankees or Rays to have late in games.

  1. Ari Collins - Dec 9, 2010 at 12:54 AM

    Think they’re more likely to sign a Type A reliever now that they’d only be giving up a 2nd-rounder.

    Also, I’d probably move Ellsbury to the 9 spot so I could move everyone else up one while explaining it to the traditionalist by pointing out the “two leadoff men” thing of still having Ellsbury and Crawford back-to-back.

    Something like:

    1. Crawford
    2. Pedroia
    3. Ortiz
    4. Youkilis
    5. Gonzalez
    6. Drew
    7. Scutaro (or switch with Drew if you wanna keep L/R alternation going)
    8. Saltalamacchia
    9. Ellsbury

    • Ari Collins - Dec 9, 2010 at 1:05 AM

      P.S. Kalish is probably the 5th OF, not Darnell.

      • JBerardi - Dec 9, 2010 at 1:12 AM

        Kalish will be playing every day at Pawtucket. There’s no way they’d limit his playing time to that of a 5th outfielder at this stage in his development. He’s too important to the future of the organization.

      • quintjs - Dec 9, 2010 at 1:24 AM

        probably more likely Darnell (or another RH bat) to start the season, give Kalsih playing time full time in AAA. It also is another RH bat for the outfield which would otherwise only have Cameron batting right.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Dec 9, 2010 at 1:17 AM

      I agree… that’s the way I’d do it, too, except with Gonzalez hitting ahead of Ortiz. But unless the Red Sox have already sold Crawford on the idea of batting leadoff, I imagine he’ll hit second. He’s always seemed awfully touchy about the fact that he’s a left fielder and a No. 2 hitter.

  2. JBerardi - Dec 9, 2010 at 1:20 AM

    Also, doesn’t Jed Lowrie rate a mention in this piece? All he did was hit .287/.381/.526 last year. His Bill James projection for ’11 is .270/.361/.467, which would likely make him the best offensive shortstop in the league. If he’s finally healthy for a full season next year, watch out.

  3. bradwins - Dec 9, 2010 at 2:02 AM

    Kalish probably will start the year in AAA. By spring 2012 he will probably be the everyday RFer so wouldn’t shock me if he got 150 ABs in Boston next season. I don’t think Cameron is a lock for the roster, either. I could see them moving him to a team that needs a starting OFer for a AAAA-type reliever. They need a decent righty-bat OFer off the bench. Maybe they will go into the season with McDonald as that bat, but they will definitely add another one at some point, and maybe before the spring.

    As far as the lineup, I’d be shocked if Crawford hit second and Pedroia hit third.

    1. Ellsbury (L)
    2. Pedroia (R)
    3. Crawford (L)
    4. Youkilis (R)
    5. Gonzalez (L)
    6. Ortiz (L)
    7. Drew (L)
    8. Scutaro (R)
    9. Saltalamacchia (S)

    I think they really like Pedey as a two hitter and like to keep the LRLRLRLR thing going as long as they can. They already told Ortiz he will be hit for against tough lefties, so the LLL in the middle is less of a problem. More of a problem may be finding a good righty-bat off the bench, but maybe they can work out something for Wiggington.

  4. Jonny 5 - Dec 9, 2010 at 8:52 AM

    The Red Sox just got a whole bunch better. I bet you Bahhhstaaan guys are going to go nuts waiting for opening day.. Lol!! Good luck.

  5. BC - Dec 9, 2010 at 9:06 AM

    This just in: The Red Sox have signed the Cleveland Indians to a 10-year, $600 million contract.

  6. smokehouse56 - Dec 9, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    If you think Crawford will make the Red Sox the team to beat it only shows your lack of knowledge. He didn’t make the Rays the team to beat. How will he make a lesser team like the Red Sox the team to beat?

    • Adam - Dec 9, 2010 at 10:30 AM

      Really? Because last I checked the Rays ended last year with the most wins in the AL and only 1 game back of the Phillies for the best record in MLB.

      That sounds like the team to beat to me, but maybe I’m just strange that way.

    • BU ASB Seattle - Dec 9, 2010 at 1:46 PM

      It would be that Crawford pushes the Sox over the top when in combination with the rest of the lineup and the starting rotation. Crawford is a significant piece. All is left is a little bullpen help.

  7. murrayrizberg - Dec 9, 2010 at 3:11 PM

    My guess is that this will be Boston’s lineup next year:

    1. D. Pedroia (2B) – R
    2. C. Crawford (LF) – L
    3. A. Gonzalez (1B) – L
    4. K Youkilis (3B) – R
    5. D. Ortiz (DH) – L
    6. J.D. Drew (RF) – L
    7. M. Scutaro (SS) – R
    8. J. Saltalamacchia (C) – S
    9. J. Ellsbury (CF) – L

    Because Crawford supposedly does not want to hit lead-off (nor should he based on his evolving skill set; his power-hitting numbers continue to improve) and Ellsbury does not have a high-enough OBP to merit the lead-off spot, Pedroia would bat lead-off. Against tougher left-handed pitchers, J.D. Drew would move up to Big Papi’s 5th spot with a right-handed/switch-hitter behind Drew to replace Big Papi.

  8. ecampbell31 - Dec 9, 2010 at 10:02 PM

    Uhh, what about the bullpen? Sure they have a great line-up…..on paper. Last year’s opening day line-up spent a great deal of time on another piece of paper – the disabled list. This team’s soft white underbelly is its bullpen. Fix that, hope for bounce back years from Beckett, Ellsbury, Youkilis, and the rest of the walking wounded, and hope this powerful line up scores 900+ runs. Oh, and I’m not sold on Saltalamacchia either. It’s tough to replace Victor Martinez. Where was I that I didn’t see V-Mart leaving? That was a shock.

    All I want for Christmas is an effective bullpen.

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