A few days ago, I posted an article analyzing the Red Sox and using my stats, I love to predict the 2009 season based on spring training. You can read that article here, if you haven't. This is the second in what will be a series of articles.
Today, I'm going to look at the question marks of the Red Sox: Mike Lowell, Jed Lowrie, and Kevin Youkilis.
We'll start with Mike Lowell, who had offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip.
In Spring Training 2007, Mike hit .170 with 9 hits, 3 homers, and 8 RBI.
In his World Series MVP 2007 Season, he hit .324 with 191 hits, 21 dingers, and 120 RBI.
In Spring Training 2008, he batted .237 with 9 hits, 2 home runs, and 5 RBI.
2008 was a down year for Mike, mostly due to his hip issue. He hit .274 with 115 hits, 17 homers, and 73 RBI.
So, how does he bounce back? He's looked good so far in spring training, and the hip doesn't seem to be bothering him. In spring training this year, Lowell has hit .286 with 9 hits, 3 home runs and 4 RBI.
My prediction for the 2009 season? I think he bounces back to good form, maybe not the year he had in 2007, but pretty good.
I think Mike will hit around .275-.290 (I give him a wide margin because of the injury) with about 150 hits, between 94-100 RBI and probably around 18-20 home runs.
Next we'll look at Jed Lowrie. He'll be the shortstop on opening day, but he'll have to fight to keep the job when Julio Lugo comes back, because the Red Sox don't want $9 million riding the bench.
Lowrie is difficult because he is young, and we don't know what to expect from him yet.
In 2008, he batted .098 with 4 hits and 3 RBI in spring training, then hit .258 with 67 hits, 2 homers, and 46 RBI in 81 games with the Red Sox last year.
So then we have to ask ourselves, how much does spring training really matter? Can it be used to predict a player's performance? The answer is no. It can give a some insight to what a player might do, but the law of averages does not take into account injuries, slumps, and hot streaks.
That being said, Jed Lowrie is a sort of dark horse in 2009. In spring training so far, he's batted .408 with 20 hits, 2 home runs, and 11 RBI.
So how will Jed do in 2009? Good question. I'm going to predict he'll hit around .260-.280, with maybe 80-90 hits. However, if his spring training is any indication of how he'll do this year, he could do much better. It will definitely be exciting to watch.
Next, we move on to Kevin Youkilis.
Last year was the first year that Youk didn't slump a little after the All-Star break. The question is, at 29, can Youk repeat last year's stats or will they take a little dip? Again, this is where all the stats in the world can't predict the answer.
In 2007, Youk hit .375, with 18 hits and 5 RBI in spring training, and .288 with 152 hits, 16 homers, and 83 RBI in the regular season.
2008 was Youk's year. He finished third in the AL MVP race and had a career year in terms of hitting.
In spring training, he hit .297 with 11 hits, 3 home runs, and 8 RBI.
During the regular season, Youk hit .312 with 1678 hits, 29 homers, and 115 RBI.
In 2009, Youk played in the World Baseball Classic, which skews his stats a little.
In the WBC, Youk hit .182 with 4 hits, 3 homers, 9 RBI, and 6 walks.
In spring training, Youk has hit .208 with 5 hits, 1 home run, 3 RBI and 4 walks.
So what does Kevin Youkilis regular season look like? If he doesn't slump after the All-Star break, I think Youk can hit around .285-.300, with 95-100 RBI and 20-25 homers.
Of course, his OBP will be high, as usual, because he's a tough out, and he should be pretty good protection for Ortiz this year.
That's all the analysis for today. Next I'll look at J.D. Drew, Jason Bay, and the pitching staff.