Boston Red Sox: 2010 Roster Breakdown
After doing a breakdown of the Yankees 2010 roster last week, I figured I would do the same for the rival Red Sox.
After a disappointing end to a roller coaster season, the Red Sox will look to rebound into World Series contention in 2010. They have several question marks going into the season, but the Sox have been masters at finding ways to overcome adversity. So without further ado, let's get started.
Catcher - Victor Martinez
Exactly one year after trading away their star slugger Manny Ramirez at the deadline, the Sox made headlines again by bringing in one of the best hitting catchers in the game. Victor Martinez hit .336, 8 HR, 41 RBI, and had an OBP of .405 with the Sox. Victor Martinez is so valuable because he is a great hitter and is capable of playing first base when needed, which allows for much more versatility.
Now that Victor will have a chance to be in the Sox lineup for a full season, expect him to have a career year as he will have the protection around him that is similar to that of the Indians in 2007 when he put up monster numbers.
First Base - Kevin Youkilis
Yooooouuuuuukkkkkk!!! Kevin Youkilis has evolved into one of the better hitters in the AL. Since the trade of Manny Ramirez, Youk has become the most consistent hitter in the Sox lineup. Last season Youk hit .305, 27 HR, 94 RBI, had had the best OBP of his career at .413. Not only can Youk hit, he is one hell of a fielder. He plays Gold Glove defense at first, great defense at third, and in an emergency situation can play the corner outfield.
Over the last couple years Youk has showed a surge in power. Who knows if the power will continue but we still know what we will get with Youk. You will get a .300+, 20+ HR, 90+ RBI, and an OBP around .400. Just about any team will take that.
Second Base - Dustin Pedroia
There was no better way to start his career than winning the AL Rookie of the Year in 2007 along with a World Series title and then the AL MVP in 2008. Pedroia defines what a baseball player should be. He is part of the what Sox fans call the "Dirt Dawgs," which are the players who go balls-to-the-wall on every play. Pedroia did however, take a small step back in 2009 as he hit .296, 15 HR, 72 RBI, and had 48 Doubles. Regardless of these numbers, any team would love to have a player of his caliber.
Pedroia has shown that no matter what is stacked against him, he succeeds. Expect Dustin Pedroia to have another great season both offensively and defensively as he will help try to get the Sox back to the promise land.
Third Base - Adrian Beltre
The Red Sox have just signed Adrian Beltre to play third base for them in 2010. Beltre will replace Mike Lowell at third as Lowell is expected to be traded once his injured thumb is a thing of the past. Beltre is coming off of a career worst season in which he hit only .266, 8 HR, 44 RBI, and a minuscule OBP of .304. Beltre is an upgrade defensively but his offense is hit or miss, no pun intended.
Beltre is coming off of a season in which he suffered a bleeding testicle. How any man can rebound after that is beyond me. It will be interesting to see how Beltre bounces back.
Shortstop - Marco Scutaro
And the revolving door of shortstops continues for the Red Sox. After a season in which the Sox watched Julio Lugo, Nick Green, Jed Lowrie, and Alex Gonzalez take turns at short, the Sox think they finally have an answer. Scutaro is coming off of a career year with the Blue Jays in which he hit .282, 12 HR, 60 RBI, 14 SB, and a .379 OBP. Any baseball fan would question Scutaro's 2009 season and ask if these numbers were the result of him playing in a contract year. Of course we all know that players don't put up their best numbers when they want to get paid, never happens.
I have no idea what to expect from Scutaro in 2010. While he has always provided sound defense, his offense has always been average at best. If I had to guess, don't expect Scutaro to put up numbers too similar to 2009.
OF - Mike Cameron, Jacoby Ellsbury, JD Drew
Mike Cameron - The Sox surprised some people by signing Cameron during the offseason. Cameron has been pretty consistent over the years. He is coming off of a season in which he hit .250, 24 HR, 70 RBI, and had 32 doubles, all while playing great defense, as usual.
Jacoby Ellsbury - The speedy Sox centerfielder hit .301, 8 HR, 60 RBI, and had 70 SB. Ellsbury is developing right before our eyes and has become a huge asset to the Sox offense. Expect Ellsbury to continue to get better and he may even win a Gold Glove in 2010.
JD Drew - Drew quietly put together a pretty solid season in 2009. He hit .279, 24 HR, 68 RBI, and added 30 doubles. Drew has been criticized for underachieving ever since signing with the Sox before 2007. In reality, Drew has been a solid player but because of his contract he will continue to get bashed. I expect Drew to put up similar numbers in 2010 as long as his back can hold up for the whole season.
Designated Hitter - David Ortiz
Big Papi had such an interesting season in 2009. Ortiz hit .238, 28 HR, 99 RBI, and had 35 doubles. Ortiz didn't hit his first home run until May 20, and still hit 28. If it were not for a strong June in which he hit .320, his average would have been well below .230.
It will be interesting to see if Ortiz can revert to his 2007 form or if he is at the end of his career. If he is at the end of his career, the Sox should make the moves necessary and send him packing.
SP - Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, Buchholz
Josh Beckett - The Sox ace was dominant again in 2009. He won the second most games of his career (17), while pitching in a career high 212 innings. Beckett will be playing for a new contract this season so expect him to have a career year.
Jon Lester - It took Lester a little while to get going in 2009, but once he found his game, he never looked back. Lester went 15-8 with an ERA of 3.41. The amazing part is that five of his losses came in the first two months. Lester will probably rebound to win close to 20 games but it is also very important for the Sox to watch his innings.
John Lackey - The Sox prized free agent signing of this offseason is John Lackey. After starting the season on the disabled list, Lackey finished the season with an 11-8 record and an ERA of 3.83. While those numbers do not jump off of the screen, we all know what Lackey is capable of. He is a big game pitcher that makes the most feared rotation in baseball even better. Not to mention, Lackey was probably thinking, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
Daisuke Matsuzaka - Last year was a disaster for Dice-K. He showed up to spring training out of shape and did nothing to help himself out. He got off to a disastrous start and was placed on the DL for about three months. When he came back, he did pitch well, so that might be a saving grace for Dice-K. Expect Matsuzaka to win somewhere around 15 games in 2010.
Tim Wakefield - Wake got off to the best start of his career and was even selected to his first All-Star Game in 2009. A back injury forced him to miss time yet again but he still went 11-5 for the Sox. Wake might be the odd man out in the rotation just because of his age, so it will be interesting to see how he does in 2010.
Clay Buchholz - The Sox starters go six deep right now. We finally saw the emergence of Buchholz in 2009. He went 7-4 with an ERA of 4.21 in 2009. These numbers do not tell the full story as Clay was the glue that kept the Sox in the playoff picture in the middle of the season. Whether the Sox keep Clay or trade him, keep an eye on him as he will finally get a chance to be a full-time starter.
RP - Papelbon, Bard, Ramirez, Okajima, Delcarmen
Jonathan Papelbon - At first glance it looks like Paps had the best season of his career in 2009. He had 38 saves and a minuscule ERA of 1.85, which are amazing numbers. However, Pap's WHIP was a whopping 1.15, which is way too high for a dominant closer. This bit him in the behind in the postseason as he collapsed in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Angels. Expect Papelbon to get back to original form in 2010, he is too good not to.
Daniel Bard - Perhaps the closer in waiting for the Sox. Bard made his debut in 2009 and was a dominant reliever for the Sox as he regularly topped 100 mph on his pitches. Expect Bard to have some save opportunities in 2010 as they try him out in the closer role.
Ramon Ramirez - Ram Ram put together a solid season out of the Sox bullpen in 2009. Surprisingly, Ramirez won seven games out of the pen for the Sox and was pretty durable, as he appeared in 70 games and pitched 69.2 innings. Expect similar numbers for Ramirez in 2010.
Hideki Okajima - It seems as if Okajima has lost the element of surprise he had in his first couple seasons in the majors. His ERA ballooned up to 3.39 in 2009 and had the highest batting average against of his major league career at .244. He did however, win six games out of the bullpen. I think Oki will take another step back in 2010 as more hitters have learned to read his delivery.
Manny Delcarmen - Delcarmen was a disappointment for the Sox in 2009. His ERA went up by over two runs last season. His batting average against was .270 which is the root of his problems. He needs to have more confidence in his stuff if he wants to be effective again in 2010.