December 15, 2010

Yankees and Red Sox projected 2011 lineup, take 3

With the latest free agent signings by the Yankees and Red Sox in the past week, I wanted to compare their lineups. This is my first glance at Boston’s lineup and take 3 with New York’s.

Red Sox Yankees
Dustin Pedroia 2B 1. Brett Gardner LF
Carl Crawford LF 2. Curtis Granderson CF
Kevin Youkilis 3B 3. Robinson Cano 2B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B 4. Alex Rodriguez 3B
David Ortiz DH 5. Mark Teixeira 1B
J.D. Drew RF 6. Jorge Posada DH
Jed Lowrie SS 7. Derek Jeter SS
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C 8. Nick Swisher RF
Jacoby Ellsbury CF 9. Russell Martin C

Click through the jump for my reasoning on these projections and to find out which one I believe is better.

Red Sox:
My Red Sox lineup projection matches up similarly with Buster Olney’s. Two notable decisions I made were putting Drew behind Ortiz instead of after Lowrie, and putting Ellsbury ninth instead of leadoff. With Ellsbury at the bottom, the Red Sox have their big four hitters (Murderer’s Row?) in the top four spots.

Of all the high-paid stars on the Yankees, can anyone guess who led the team in on-base percentage in 2010? If you guessed Gardner, you’re right (.383); you know, the guy who I have hitting leadoff instead of Jeter.

The only change I made from my last projection was Martin for Jesus Montero in the ninth spot. I like Martin in the nine-hole because he’s probably the weakest hitter on the team, but he also is not very slow for a catcher. In fact, he stole 21 bases just a few seasons ago. That’s one more than Posada has stolen in his 16-year career.

At this point in the offseason, the Red Sox definitely seem to have the better lineup. They’ve added two All-Stars in their primes and Ortiz returned to Big Papi status last year. If they can stay healthy — unlike last year — they could make history.

The Yankees will rely on Nos. 3-5 for the bulk of their production, but if any of them have an off year I don’t think they stand a chance in the AL East.

The one Yankee I’m worried about the most is Teixeira, who saw his slugging percentage dip from .565 in 2009 to .481 in 2010. He still cranked 33 homers, but just wasn’t on base as much as he has been in the past.

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