The Red Sox Might Change Things Up
J.D. Martinez is a Red Sox and everyone that has been following this team is aware of it. Granted, he hasn’t been officially introduced yet, but Sox Nation shouldn’t be worried. Martinez was seen on Wednesday the 21st reporting to camp in Fort Myers. So now that Dave Dombrowski has finished his 2017/2018 offseason campaign, it’s time to take a peek into what we are in store for once the season gets rolling.
It seems Alex Cora is going to take a less analytical approach when constructing his lineup, as opposed to a lineup that favors a lefty or righty starting pitcher. Cora was quoted as saying “if you can hit, you can hit.” When asked about how he will construct the lineup, he gave a very uncomplicated answer.
“You put the best lineup out there. I hate reiterating last year because I want to turn the page, but you saw what happened at the end. We had five righties. And it didn’t matter.”
Given, nobody really knows if that success will translate over to the Red Sox lineup. However, if it has worked before, maybe Cora can replicate those winning ways by building the lineup that will hit and get on base regardless of who is on the mound.
A probable lineup for opening day could look something like this:
- Mookie Betts
- Andrew Benintendi
- Hanley Ramirez
- J.D. Martinez
- Xander Bogaerts
- Rafael Devers
- Eduardo Nunez
- Jackie Bradley Jr.
- Christian Vazquez
Eagle eye viewers of this article will notice something strange. Hanley is hitting in the third spot of the lineup. Alex Cora has confirmed this move and believes that the former slugging shortstop can be a flash in the pan that this team has been missing since David Ortiz retired. In 2016 when he batted fifth behind Ortiz, he produced a .290/.363/.506 slash line. In 2017 when he batted in the same slot, he scraped up a very bland looking .264/.344/.429 slash line. Thus, Ramirez seems to produce better numbers when there is a power bat in the same lineup.
If Hanley does not get to a flying start when the season begins, don’t think that Cora will hesitate to move Hanley from 3 to 5 before totally giving up on him. Hanley will need to begin the season like his hair is on fire. Otherwise his playing time could be about as minimal as it has ever been.
Other notes on this lineup include the speed towards the tail end of the lineup (Nunez batting 7th, JBJ batting 8th). This gives the lineup a unique element since speedy baserunners tend to usually bat first (however we are seeing the birth of a reborn leadoff stigma. See: Charlie Blackmon, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, George Springer among others). The lineup this way is front heavy but not necessarily lacking talent at the end. All in all, it is a very well balanced lineup for many reasons and could possibly stay similar for the entire season. For that to happen though, the players need to show the baseball world what they are really capable of putting together as the young, talented, athletic bunch they are.
Featured Image Credit: Boston Herald (2018)