Friday, March 1, 2013

Red Sox Lineup Projections

C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Salty emerged into one of best power-hitting backstops in baseball by slugging 25 home runs last year and posting a .232 ISO. His inability to hit lefties prompted Ben Cherington to bring in David Ross, who figures to suit up whenever the Red Sox face a southpaw. Nevertheless, another 20-homer season could be in the cards for Salty, and his batting average will improve from last season's dreadful .222 mark.

59 runs, 21 home runs, 63 RBI, 0 steals, .238 batting average

1B Mike Napoli
Hip issues aside, the most difficult component of Napoli's statline to forecast is his batting average. He sandwiched his .320 fluke in 2011 around a pair of sub-.240 seasons. Fenway is a great park for batting average, so I'd expect his average to climb back up to his career .259 mark, if not higher.

66 run,  27 home runs, 82 RBI, 2 steals, .260 batting average

2B Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia was on pace for another terrific season last spring before a thumb injury triggered a June swoon and DL stint in July. After returning to action on July 19th, the Laser Show lived up to his name by batting .318/.372/.508 the rest of the way. Nobody's more pissed off about Boston's embarrassing season than Pedroia, leading me to believe the pint-sized second baseman will come back with a vengeance in 2013.

100 runs, 18 home runs, 74 RBI, 21 steals, .303 batting average

3B Will Middlebrooks
The combination of a lost Red Sox season (93 losse) and the overwhelming star power of the 2012 rookie class (Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Yoenis Cespedes, Yu Darvish), people forget how well he was playing before an errant pitch broke his hand in mid-August (bringing back painful memories of Jim Rice and Nomar Garciaparra). Before going down he compiled some impressive numbers, raking at a full-season clip of 32 home runs, 117 RBI, and a batting average close to .300. He's a hacker (70/13 K/BB ratio) but hits the ball with authority, which should translate to lots of RBI batting out of the five-hole. At 24 he still has room to grow, so these projections may underestimate his potential.

88 runs, 25 home runs, 94 RBI, 10 steals, .282 batting average

SS Stephen Drew
J.D. Drew's kid brother is perhaps the toughest Red Sox to predict, seeing as how he hasn't played a season uninterrupted by injury since 2010. It doesn't help that he turns 30 in a couple weeks, either, but  shortstop is a thin position in fantasy. If he stays on the field, he could make a run at the top-10.

64 runs, 13 home runs, 55 RBI, 7 steals, .269 batting average

LF Jonny Gomes
Cherington failed to find an everyday left-fielder to replace Carl Crawford, meaning Gomes will get the lion's share of at-bats from this position. Expect a Cody Ross-kind of year from the lefty-masher--batting average in the .260s with around 20 bombs and 70 to 80 RBI and a similar number of runs scored.

70 runs, 19 home runs, 72 RBI, 2 steals, .265 batting average

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
It's his contract year, Scott Boras is his agent, and Ellsbury needs to remind the baseball world of how special he can be when healthy.

102 runs, 16 home runs, 61 RBI, 42 steals, .301 batting average

RF Shane Victorino
The Flyin' Hawaiian is coming off a down year, and at 32 his best days are probably behind him. Even so, he's still a solid fantasy player who can provide plenty of steals and runs along with double-digit homers.

96 runs 14 home runs 58 RBI, 31 steals, .277 batting average

DH David Ortiz
Even at the ripe old age of 37, Big Papi is one of the most dangerous hitters around. His OPS has increased every year since 2009, jumping from .794 all the way up to 1.026 last year. After openly complaining about his contract status and tumultuous state of the team last year, he's a happy camper with his new multi-year contract extension and Ortiz always seems to be at his best when he's enjoying himself.

85 runs, 28 home runs, 93 RBI, 0 steals, .294 batting average

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