23 February 2011
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Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP John Lackey, SP Josh Beckett, SP
Clay Buchholz, SP Jon Lester, SP Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
David Ortiz, DH
David Ortiz wasn't pleased when the Red Sox picked up his 2011 option... but he's all smiles now that Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford have been added to the lineup.
Ortiz bounced back from a disappointing 2009 season with a solid stat line in 2010: .270, 32 HR, 102 RBI, .899 OPS, but he continues to struggle out oft he gate (.143 in April) and against LHPs (.222, just 2 HRs). Tito started platooning Ortiz in favor of Mike Lowell last season, but when Ortiz got hot, Francona gave him a longer leash and he finished with 500+ at-bats. Lowell's health and a lack of options at times also contributed to Ortiz seeing plenty of playing time, but that may not be the option in 2011.
With a stacked lineup, full of lefties, Francona is going to have to make some tough decisions when facing southpaws. If he wants to stack the lineup with right-handed batters, Ortiz and JD Drew are more likely to be benched than Gonzalez or Crawford are. That mean, Ortiz may not get his usual 500 ABs.. .which is going to make it tough to reach those key milestones: 25 HR and 100 RBI.
Bottom Line: Ortiz proved he's still got plenty in the tank, so he'll be looking for one more contract after this season. But he will be platooned and he will be challenged more as the 5th or 6th man in the lineup this season... so while I do expect good things from Big Papi, I don't expect anopther 30/100 season.
Rob's Prediction: 475 AB, .260 BA, 32 2B, 28 HR, 94 RBI, 86 R, .850 OPS
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