MLB Preview 2011: Looking at Adrian Gonzalez and the Boston Red Sox on Paper

Adrian FedkiwAnalyst IIIMarch 26, 2011

MLB Preview 2011: Looking at Adrian Gonzalez and the Boston Red Sox on Paper

0 of 6

    BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 06:  Adrian Gonzalez answers questions during a press conference to announce his signing with the Boston Red Sox on December 6,  2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    The Red Sox had the most disappointing season of any team in baseball a year ago. 

    General Manager Theo Epstein went out and was extremely aggressive in the offseason.  They went out and acquired Adrian Gonzalez via trade before the winter meetings.  Then they signed Carl Crawford to a seven-year $142 million contract.

    Boston also made some under-the-radar signings to bolster the bullpen by signing Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler.

    If Boston can get bounce back seasons from starters Josh Beckett and John Lackey, they'll be the team to beat in the American League.

Infield

1 of 6

    SAN FRANCISCO - JUNE 25:  Dustin Pedroia #15 of the Boston Red Sox in action against the San Francisco Giants during an MLB game at AT&T Park on June 25, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Pedroia left the game later in the inning.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsoh
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
    • C-  Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 7 
    • 1B- Adrian Gonzalez- 8.75 
    • 2B- Dustin Pedroia- 8.5 
    • SS- Marco Scutaro- 7.25 
    • 3B- Kevin Youklis- 8.25

    Jarrod Saltalamacchia (25) 24 AB .167 BA 2 R 0 HR 2 RBI 0 SB 

    • Saltalamacchia is still young, but he’s yet to reach the potential that everyone’s expected.  The switch-hitter is better from the left side than right.  He needs to improve his discipline at the plate.  He spent time in the Minors because he had trouble throwing the ball back to the pitcher.  Other than the yips that he exhibits with his throwing, he’s pretty solid behind the plate.

    Adrian Gonzalez (28) 591 AB .298 BA 87 R 31 HR 101 RBI 0 SB

    • Gonzalez has the perfect swing for Fenway.  He hits most of his home runs the opposite way.  He should have fun playing pepper with the “Green Monster.”  He has good plate coverage to go along with a pretty, balanced swing.  He’s also excellent in the field.  Everything about his game is smooth.

    Dustin Pedroia (27) 302 AB .288 BA 53 R 12 HR 41 RBI 9 SB

    • Pedroia missed 87 games a year ago with a broken foot.  He’s a very aggressive hitter who swings as hard as any player in baseball.  He loves the ball up in the strike zone.  In the field he’s solid.  He turns the double play well.

    Marco Scutaro (35) 632 AB .275 BA 92 R 11 HR 56 RBI 5 SB

    • Scutaro is a contact hitter who sprays the ball around.  He has very good range at short.  He’s dealt with shoulder problems recently so it’ll be interesting to see whether or not his arm strength will play a factor.

    Kevin Youklis (32) 362 AB .307 BA 77 R 19 HR 62 RBI 4 SB

    With the acquisition of Gonzalez, Youklis moves from first to third.  He’s a great hitter who has strong wrists.  He’s hit over .300 in each of the past three seasons.  He’s played third in the past so I think he’ll make the transition across the diamond just fine.

Outfield

2 of 6

    BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 11:  Theo Epstein (L), general manager of the Boston Red Sox, welcomes Carl Crawford to the team during a press conference to announce Crawford's signing on December 11,  2010 at the Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by E
    Elsa/Getty Images
    • LF- Carl Crawford- 8.5 
    • CF- Jacoby Ellsbury- 7.5 
    • RF- J.D. Drew- 7
    • DH- David Ortiz- 7.25

    Carl Crawford (29) 600 AB .307 BA 110 R 19 HR 90 RBI 47 SB

    • Crawford set career-highs in runs, home runs and RBI’s a year ago.  He has a quick bat and likes the ball up.  He’s lethal on the basepaths due to his incredible speed.  He also uses those legs out in left field to track down anything hit his way.  His arm is rather weak. 

    Jacoby Ellsbury (27) 78 AB .192 BA 10 R 0 HR 5 RBI 7 SB

    • Ellsbury missed a majority of last season due to a rib injury.  He’s a line drive gap hitter.  Like Crawford, Ellsbury can track down anything in the outfield using his outstanding speed.  Also like Crawford, he doesn’t have a good throwing arm.

    J.D. Drew (35) 478 AB .255 BA 69 R 22 HR 68 RBI 3 SB

    • Drew saw a dip in his batting average a year ago.  He’s a selective hitter who likes to sit on pitches.  He’s solid in the field although his range has declined.

    David Ortiz (35) 518 AB .270 BA 86 R 32 HR 102 RBI 0 SB

    • Ortiz showed last season that he still possesses great power.  He’s at his best when he gets extension.  He can be tied up inside.

Starting Pitching

3 of 6

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 25:  Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees during their game on September 25, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images
    • 1. Jon Lester- 8.5
    • 2. John Lackey- 8
    • 3. Josh Beckett- 7.75
    • 4. Clay Buchholz- 7.5
    • 5. Daisuke Matsuzaka- 7

    Jon Lester (27) 208 IP 19-9 3.25 ERA 1.20 WHIP 225 K

    • Lester has been a popular preseason Cy Young award selection.  He builds everything around his mid 90’s fastball.  He incorporates a cutter to jam up right handers.  His curveball is tightly spun, and has good arm action on his changeup.  He’ll also mix in a slider.

    John Lackey (32) 215 IP 14-11 4.40 ERA 1.42 WHIP 156 K

    • Lackey is a flat-out competitor although he had a down year last season.  He has good command with his sinking fastball to both sides of the plate.  He has a slider that’s more like a slurve, and a curveball and changeup that he throws early in the count.   

    Josh Beckett (30) 128 IP 6-6 5.78 ERA 1.53 WHIP 116 K

    • Beckett struggled mightily last year.  Everything about his pitching arsenal is power.  His four seamer gets up there in the mid 90’s and his two seamer gets a lot of movement.  He also has a power curve, and he’ll mix in a changeup.

    Clay Buchholz (26) 174 IP 17-7 2.33 ERA 1.20 WHIP 120 K

    • Buchholz came into his own last year and finished sixth in the AL Cy Young race.  He has a solid mid 90’s fastball.  His secondary stuff is excellent.  His changeup is his bread and butter.  He has great arm action with it.  He also has a hard, downer curveball and a sharp, tilted slider. 

    Daisuke Matsuzaka (30) 154 IP 9-6 4.68 ERA 1.37 WHIP 133 K

    Matsuzaka went 18-3 just three seasons ago.  It’s been downhill since and he hasn’t showed any good signs during the spring.  If I had a guess to why he’s struggled I’d say that he nibbles too much.  He has a solid fastball, changeup and slider.

Bullpen

4 of 6

    BOSTON - APRIL 04:  Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates the last out and the win over the New York Yankees on April 4, 2010 during Opening Night at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeated the Yankees 9-7.  (Photo by E
    Elsa/Getty Images
    • RP- Hideki Okajima- 7
    • RP- Dan Wheeler- 7.25
    • RP- Bobby Jenks- 7.25
    • SU- Daniel Bard- 7.5
    • CP- Jonathan Papelbon- 7.5

         Hideki Okajima, Dan Wheeler, Bobby Jenks

    • The Red Sox bolstered their middle relief with the acquisitions of Wheeler and Jenks.  Jenks closed for the White Sox the past six seasons.

    Daniel Bard (25) 75 IP 1-2 3 SV 1.93 ERA 1.00 WHIP 76 K

    • Bard is a future closer.  He has an explosive fastball that reaches triple digits.  He does tend to overthrow at times.  He keeps hitters off balance with a  slurvy type slider.

    Jonathan Papelbon (30) 67 IP 5-7 37 SV 3.90 ERA 1.27 WHIP 76 K

    Papelbon is a power closer who uses his fastball to get ahead, and his late diving split to put hitters away.  He struggled with his command last season which led to a rise in his pitching statistics.

Sizing Up the Red Sox on Paper

5 of 6

    OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 13:  Kevin Youklis #20 of the Boston Red Sox bats against the Oakland Athletics during a Major League Baseball game on April 13, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
    • C-  Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 7 
    • 1B- Adrian Gonzalez- 8.75 
    • 2B- Dustin Pedroia- 8.5 
    • SS- Marco Scutaro- 7.25 
    • 3B- Kevin Youklis- 8.25
    • LF - Carl Crawford - 8.5 
    • CF - Jacoby Ellsbury - 7.5 
    • RF - J.D. Drew - 7
    • DH - David Ortiz - 7.25 

    Projected Lineup

    • 1. Jacoby Ellsbury - 7.5
    • 2. Dustin Pedroia - 8.5
    • 3. Carl Crawford - 8.5
    • 4. Adrian Gonzalez - 8.75
    • 5. Kevin Youklis - 8.25
    • 6. David Ortiz - 7.25
    • 7. J.D. Drew - 7
    • 8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia - 7
    • 9. Marco Scutaro - 7.25

    Projected Starting Rotation

    • 1. Jon Lester- 8.5
    • 2. John Lackey- 8
    • 3. Josh Beckett- 7.75
    • 4. Clay Buchholz- 7.5
    • 5. Daisuke Matsuzaka- 7

    Bullpen

    • RP- Hideki Okajima- 7
    • RP- Dan Wheeler- 7.25
    • RP- Bobby Jenks- 7.25
    • SU- Daniel Bard- 7.5
    • CP- Jonathan Papelbon- 7.5

    Bench/DH: David Ortiz, Mike Cameron, Jed Lowrie, Jason Varitek - 7.25

    Manager: Terry Francona - 7.5

    INF - 39.75

    OF- 23

    SP- 38.75

    RP- 7.25

    CP- 14

    MISC- 15

    Hitting- 62.75

    Pitching- 60.5

    TOTAL- 138.25

Prediction

6 of 6

    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 24:  Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the New York Yankees on September 24, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    The lineup is stacked, but it's going to be up to the starting rotation if the Red Sox are going to win the World Series.

    John Lackey and Josh Beckett need to bounce back.  Historically, both have pitched well during the postseason. 

    Prediction- 97-65 1st AL East