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Constructing the Ideal 2019 Boston Red Sox Lineup

2019 Boston Red Sox lineup

The 2019 Boston Red Sox spring training season is officially underway, which naturally means it’s time to start looking forward to the regular season. Boston’s 25-man lineup is more-or-less set in stone, with the only real positional battles happening in the bullpen and at catcher. However, just because we know the players doesn’t mean we know where they’ll hit. The 2019 Boston Red Sox lineup could be set a number of ways, but there is one set which makes the most sense.

Forming the Best 2019 Boston Red Sox Lineup

When Facing a Righty

1. Andrew Benintendi
2. Mookie Betts
3. Rafael Devers
4. J.D. Martinez
5. Xander Bogaerts
6. Mitch Moreland
7. Dustin Pedroia
8. Catcher/Free out
9. Jackie Bradley Jr.

The Red Sox three best hitters entering 2019 are Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and J.D. Martinez. These three are given the most important spots in the lineup, and their specific placing is based on their relative power. Benintendi has the least power of the three, so he hits leadoff. Mookie Betts is the best all-around hitter, so he takes second. J.D. Martinez is the best power bat on the team, so he hits cleanup.

The next two spots to decide in the lineup are the three and five holes. As someone who expects Rafael Devers to have a breakout season, I’m putting him in the three-hole. This creates a nice lefty-righty-lefty trend at the top of the lineup while also offering a high power ceiling. Xander Bogaerts boasts some pop of his own and is better at making consistent contact than Devers. Putting him in the five-hole makes sense, as he’s better at getting the single and double that can drive home Betts, Benintendi, or Martinez.

Steve Pearce is more than capable of hitting righty pitching, but the Red Sox seem intent on using a first base platoon. Moreland is great against righties, especially early in the season. Dustin Pedroia could climb up the order, but will probably need time to adjust to major league pitching after missing essentially all of 2018. The catcher position is just a free out, and hitting Jackie Bradley Jr. in the nine hole makes it possible for the top of the order to possibly drive somebody in.

When Facing Lefty Pitching

1. Andrew Benintendi
2. Mookie Betts
3. Steve Pearce
4. J.D. Martinez
5. Xander Bogaerts
6. Rafael Devers
7. Dustin Pedroia
8. Catcher
9. Jackie Bradley Jr.

Four of the top five stay the same, as those hitters are good enough to crush the ball against righties and lefties alike. Lefty killer Steve Pearce jumps to three while the left-handed Rafael Devers drops down to the six hole. This does lead to four-straight righties at the plate, but each hitter is good enough against right-handed pitching that they don’t need to worry about facing a right-handed bullpen specialist.

The bottom of the order could be trouble. Devers struggled against lefty pitching in 2018 but actually made strong contact against lefties in 2017. He’s not good enough to be a three-hitter, but he can comfortably hold down the six-spot. Pedroia provides some security at seven, but the last two spots in the order are easy outs. The Red Sox catchers cannot hit anything, and Bradley has always struggled against lefty pitching. Maybe his reworked swing can help that problem, but right now this batting order looks top-heavy against left-handed pitching.

Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com
(Oct. 23, 2018 – Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America) 
Dave Latham
Engineer by day, sportswriter by night. Follow me @DLPatsThoughts

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