Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Victorino in, Ellsbury out?

I'm trying to figure out next year's batting lineup... OK, somebody tells me if this makes sense: 

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Pedroia, 2B
3. Ortiz, DH
4. Napoli, 1B
5. Victorino, RF
6. Gomes, LF
7. Middlebrooks, 3B
8. Saltalamacchia/Lavarnway/Ross, C
9. Iglesias, SS

You want to place speed and on-base percentage first, which make Ellsbury and Pedroia a perfect fit for the top of the order.  Ortiz hitting third is obvious, and you want to place Napoli behind him since he's a right handed hitter and you want to keep the lefty/righty combo here so one relief pitcher can't come in and specialize to both a team's sluggers in the late innings.  Ideally, you want to put a lefty behind Napoli... Victorino is a switch hitter, do you place him there or Salty, a natural lefty who can hit for power?  But Salty strikes out a lot and can kill rallies, he's not ideal. 

Beyond Salty or Victorino, Sox have a bunch of righties: Larvarnway, David Ross and Jonny Gomes.  Iggy, of course, will bat no higher then 9th.

So who's going to hit behind Napoli next year?  Since Victorino doesn't provide any power to go along with his speed, he makes more sense at the top of the order -- but the Sox already have a great 1-2 combination up there. 

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but the only way the Victorino deal makes sense is if Ellsbury is now placed securely on the trading block or the Sox intended to bat Ellsbury fifth. 

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