In the spirit of kicking off the new year with open-minded optimism, we present Buster Olney's prediction that the Red Sox lineup will be among the league's top 10 in 2013. He lists Boston's new-look lineup at No. 6, and explains why:
6. Boston Red SoxTo check out the entire insider piece by Olney, CLICK HERE.
There will be a ton of questions about Boston going into spring training: Can Jon Lester become a front-line starter again? How will John Farrell juggle his array of catchers and first basemen? What will the Red Sox get out of Jacoby Ellsbury, who has been plagued by injury in two of the past three seasons and was merely the best position player in his league in the other? Is there going to be regression in the 37-year-old David Ortiz, given his injury issues last season?
But this is what we do know about Boston: The Red Sox are going to wreck left-handed pitching. Let's assume that their talks with Mike Napoli conclude with an agreement, and consider the meat-grinder of right-handed hitters that will await CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, David Price, Mark Buehrle, Ricky Romero, et al:
OPS vs. left-handers in 2012
Will Middlebrooks: .906
Dustin Pedroia: .848
Shane Victorino: .906
Jonny Gomes: .974
David Ross: .712
Mike Napoli: .706