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2011 MLB Preview: Looking at Adrian Gonzalez and the Boston Red Sox on Paper

The Red Sox had the most disappointing season of any team in baseball a year ago. 

General Manager Theo Epstein went out and was extremely aggressive in the offseason.  They went out and acquired Adrian Gonzalez via trade before the winter meetings.  Then they signed Carl Crawford to a seven-year $142 million contract.

Boston also made some under-the-radar signings to bolster the bullpen by signing Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler.

If Boston can get bounce back seasons from starters Josh Beckett and John Lackey, they’ll be the team to beat in the American League.


  • C-  Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 7 
  • 1B- Adrian Gonzalez- 8.75 
  • 2B- Dustin Pedroia- 8.5 
  • SS- Marco Scutaro- 7.25 
  • 3B- Kevin Youklis- 8.25


Jarrod Saltalamacchia (25) 24 AB .167 BA 2 R 0 HR 2 RBI 0 SB 

  • Saltalamacchia is still young, but he’s yet to reach the potential that everyone’s expected.  The switch-hitter is better from the left side than right.  He needs to improve his discipline at the plate.  He spent time in the Minors because he had trouble throwing the ball back to the pitcher.  Other than the yips that he exhibits with his throwing, he’s pretty solid behind the plate.


Adrian Gonzalez (28) 591 AB .298 BA 87 R 31 HR 101 RBI 0 SB

  • Gonzalez has the perfect swing for Fenway.  He hits most of his home runs the opposite way.  He should have fun playing pepper with the “Green Monster.”  He has good plate coverage to go along with a pretty, balanced swing.  He’s also excellent in the field.  Everything about his game is smooth.


Dustin Pedroia (27) 302 AB .288 BA 53 R 12 HR 41 RBI 9 SB

  • Pedroia missed 87 games a year ago with a broken foot.  He’s a very aggressive hitter who swings as hard as any player in baseball.  He loves the ball up in the strike zone.  In the field he’s okay.  He turns the double play well.


Marco Scutaro (35) 632 AB .275 BA 92 R 11 HR 56 RBI 5 SB

  • Scutaro is a contact hitter who sprays the ball around.  He has very good range at short.  He’s dealt with shoulder problems recently so it’ll be interesting to see whether or not his arm strength will play a factor.


Kevin Youklis (32) 362 AB .307 BA 77 R 19 HR 62 RBI 4 SB

  • With the acquisition of Gonzalez, Youklis moves from first to third.  He’s a great hitter who has strong wrists.  He’s hit over .300 in each of the past three seasons.  He’s played third in the past so I think he’ll make the transition across the diamond just fine.



  • LF- Carl Crawford- 8.5 
  • CF- Jacoby Ellsbury- 7.5 
  • RF- J.D. Drew- 7
  • DH- David Ortiz- 7.25


Carl Crawford (29) 600 AB .307 BA 110 R 19 HR 90 RBI 47 SB

  • Crawford set career-highs in runs, home runs and RBI’s a year ago.  He has a quick bat and likes the ball up.  He’s lethal on the basepaths due to his incredible speed.  He also uses those legs out in left field to track down anything hit his way.  His arm is rather weak. 


Jacoby Ellsbury (27) 78 AB .192 BA 10 R 0 HR 5 RBI 7 SB

  • Ellsbury missed a majority of last season due to a rib injury.  He’s a line drive gap hitter.  Like Crawford, Ellsbury can track down anything in the outfield using his outstanding speed.  Also like Crawford, he doesn’t have a good throwing arm.


J.D. Drew (35) 478 AB .255 BA 69 R 22 HR 68 RBI 3 SB

  • Drew saw a dip in his batting average a year ago.  He’s a selective hitter who likes to sit on pitches.  He’s solid in the field although his range has declined.


David Ortiz (35) 518 AB .270 BA 86 R 32 HR 102 RBI 0 SB

  • Ortiz showed last season that he still possesses great power.  He’s at his best when he gets extension.  He can be tied up inside.



  • 1. Jon Lester- 8.5
  • 2. John Lackey- 8
  • 3. Josh Beckett- 7.75
  • 4. Clay Buchholz- 7.5
  • 5. Daisuke Matsuzaka- 7


Jon Lester (27) 208 IP 19-9 3.25 ERA 1.20 WHIP 225 K

  • Lester has been a popular preseason Cy Young award selection.  He builds everything around his mid 90’s fastball.  He incorporates a cutter to jam up right handers.  His curveball is tightly spun, and has good arm action on his changeup.  He’ll also mix in a slider.


John Lackey (32) 215 IP 14-11 4.40 ERA 1.42 WHIP 156 K

  • Lackey is a flat-out competitor although he had a down year last season.  He has good command with his sinking fastball to both sides of the plate.  He has a slider that’s more like a slurve, and a curveball and changeup that he throws early in the count.   


Josh Beckett (30) 128 IP 6-6 5.78 ERA 1.53 WHIP 116 K

  • Beckett struggled mightily last year.  Everything about his pitching arsenal is power.  His four seamer gets up there in the mid 90’s and his two seamer gets a lot of movement.  He also has a power curve, and he’ll mix in a changeup.


Clay Buchholz (26) 174 IP 17-7 2.33 ERA 1.20 WHIP 120 K

  • Buchholz came into his own last year and finished sixth in the AL Cy Young race.  He has a solid mid 90’s fastball.  His secondary stuff is excellent.  His changeup is his bread and butter.  He has great arm action with it.  He also has a hard, downer curveball and a sharp, tilted slider. 


Daisuke Matsuzaka (30) 154 IP 9-6 4.68 ERA 1.37 WHIP 133 K

  • Matsuzaka went 18-3 just three seasons ago.  It’s been downhill since and he hasn’t showed any good signs during the spring.  If I had a guess to why he’s struggled I’d say that he nibbles too much.  He has a solid fastball, changeup and slider.



  • RP- Hideki Okajima- 7
  • RP- Dan Wheeler- 7.25
  • RP- Bobby Jenks- 7.25
  • SU- Daniel Bard- 7.5
  • CP- Jonathan Papelbon- 7.5


     Hideki Okajima, Dan Wheeler, Bobby Jenks

  • The Red Sox bolstered their middle relief with the acquisitions of Wheeler and Jenks.  Jenks closed for the White Sox the past six seasons.


Daniel Bard (25) 75 IP 1-2 3 SV 1.93 ERA 1.00 WHIP 76 K

  • Bard is a future closer.  He has an explosive fastball that reaches triple digits.  He does tend to overthrow at times.  He keeps hitters off balance with a  slurvy type slider.


Jonathan Papelbon (30) 67 IP 5-7 37 SV 3.90 ERA 1.27 WHIP 76 K

  • Papelbon is a power closer who uses his fastball to get ahead, and his late diving split to put hitters away.  He struggled with his command last season which led to a rise in his pitching statistics.


Sizing up the Red Sox

  • C-  Jarrod Saltalamacchia- 7 
  • 1B- Adrian Gonzalez- 8.75 
  • 2B- Dustin Pedroia- 8.5 
  • SS- Marco Scutaro- 7.25 
  • 3B- Kevin Youklis- 8.25
  • LF - Carl Crawford - 8.5 
  • CF - Jacoby Ellsbury - 7.5 
  • RF - J.D. Drew - 7
  • DH - David Ortiz - 7.25 


Projected Lineup

  • 1. Jacoby Ellsbury - 7.5
  • 2. Dustin Pedroia - 8.5
  • 3. Carl Crawford - 8.5
  • 4. Adrian Gonzalez - 8.75
  • 5. Kevin Youklis - 8.25
  • 6. David Ortiz - 7.25
  • 7. J.D. Drew - 7
  • 8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia - 7
  • 9. Marco Scutaro - 7.25


Projected Starting Rotation

  • 1. Jon Lester- 8.5
  • 2. John Lackey- 8
  • 3. Josh Beckett- 7.75
  • 4. Clay Buchholz- 7.5
  • 5. Daisuke Matsuzaka- 7



  • RP- Hideki Okajima- 7
  • RP- Dan Wheeler- 7.25
  • RP- Bobby Jenks- 7.25
  • SU- Daniel Bard- 7.5
  • CP- Jonathan Papelbon- 7.5


Bench/DH: David Ortiz, Mike Cameron, Jed Lowrie, Jason Varitek - 7.25

Manager: Terry Francona - 7.5

INF – 39.75

OF- 23

SP- 38.75

RP- 7.25

CP- 14

MISC- 15

Hitting- 62.75

Pitching- 60.5

TOTAL- 138.25

The lineup is stacked, but it’s going to be up to the starting rotation if the Red Sox are going to win the World Series.

John Lackey and Josh Beckett need to bounce back.  Historically, both have pitched well during the postseason. 

Prediction- 97-65 1st AL East

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I currently work for the Sports Network. It's the best job ever! I am a 2010 graduate of Temple University where I majored in broadcast journalism, I LOVE SPORTS! That's why I am here. I have a vast knowledge and want to share my athletic intelligence with the world. Some people like to spend their time shooting down aliens in Halo; I like to spend my time watching sports, current and old. It's my passion! I got asked one time how I can watch a game over again when I already know the outcome. 5 minutes later, he's watching Happy Gilmore reciting all of the lines from the movie. Hypocrite! As for my favorite sports teams, I've been a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan. My favorite athlete is Allen Iverson. He didn't like practice that much, but when it came to gametime, no one let it all out on the floor like Iverson. He is absolutely beloved in the city of Brotherly Love. For college athletics, obviously I pay close attention to Temple. (Yes, football too) Even before I stepped foot on Temple's campus for the 1st time in 2005, I was a fan. Oh the good old days of John Chaney! Some other tidbits about myself, I love cheesesteaks, I hydrate myself with Welch's Grape Juice and Snapple. I love the HBO show Entourage. Also, when is Kenny Powers making his much anticipated return in Eastbound and Down!

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In response to “2011 MLB Preview: Looking at Adrian Gonzalez and the Boston Red Sox on Paper”

  1. asmith Mar 31 201110:41 am


    Your quote on Dustin Pedroia: ” In the field he’s okay.”

    He is just ok in the field? In his 5 years with the Sox he has a career .990 fielding %. He’s only committed 25 errors in 2,515 chances which includes the 6 games & 41 innings he played at shortstop in 2006.

    He won ROY honors in 2007, followed it up with an AL MVP, All Star Selection, Gold Glove award and not related to defensive stats a Silver Slugger award in 2008. He has been voted to 3 All Star games in his 4 full seasons.

    Among other second baseman since 2007, he has finished in the top 4 in the league in fielding %.
    2007 – T4th; 2008 – 2nd (1 point below Mark Ellis who played in 42 fewer games) 2009 – T3rd. Our arch rival the NYY has a very good 2nd baseman in Robinson Cano, and he has a career .985 fielding %.

    Other than his first appearances in the majors in 2006 with only 33 games, and 2010 when he missed a large portion of the season with a broken foot, he in a 3 year span averaged 149 games a season.

    I may just be a Pedrioa fan, but when looking at the stats, I would say he’s a better than average defensive player and would definitely have his name among the top 3 or 4 2B in the league. Just my thoughts with stat assistance from Keep up the good work Pedroia! Go Sox!!

    1. asmith Mar 31 201111:48 am


      Little further information from

      Chase Utley who is argueably the current top 2B in the league :
      5 time All Star
      5 time MVP
      Career chances: 4,934
      Career errors: 87
      Career fielding %: .982
      Recorded 10+ errors in 6 of 8 years in league
      Has never won a gold glove award

      Roberto Alomar who is a member of the HOF:
      12 time All Star
      7 time MVP
      10 Gold Glove awards
      Recorded 10+ errors in 9 of 17 years in league
      Career chances: 11,182
      Career errors: 183
      Career fielding %: .984

      I am in no way comparing any of the players against eachother in the total scope of the player. Particularly what they do or have done for their teams. I am simply stating the fielding %’s for each. Based on current career chances/errors averages: If Utley gets to the same number of chances Alomar had, he will total 196 errors in his career. If Pedroia reaches the same number, he will record only 111 errors.

      Active 2B fielding percentage rank:
      Chase Utley – 18th
      Dustin Pedrioa – 3rd

  2. Greg Mar 31 201112:50 pm


    Your point being…? I’m still searching for it. You’re NOT comparing Alomar and Uley to Pedroia but after just four years you ARE comparing Pedroia directly to Alomar (Hall of Famer) and Utley (if he plays 5 more years could eclipse Alomar’s numbers). Which is it? What a homer! Get some perspective. Who’s next for the Hall of Fame – Mike Greenwell?

  3. asmith Apr 1 201110:27 am


    My point was Marge that Pedroia is a better than average player defensively. He is more than ok in the field as stated in the article. I was only comparing Pedroia to the likes of Utley and Alomar based on career fielding % only. Offensive stats were not a part of that comparison if you read the post. I was using Utley and Alomar’s fielding % as a benchmark. Pedroia to date has a better career fielding % than both of the above. That in no way is a slight towards Alomar, he is out of the 3 the FAR better player, and is in a league of his own. Hence the HOF status.

    Oh, and your opinion of Utley surpassing Alomar’s career figures, (offensive I’m assuming due to your post) it isn’t going to happen. Based on production per year, the only statistical category that Utley will pass Alomar in, if he is an everyday player for the next 5 years, is homeruns. All you gotta do is look at the stats and do the math. He needs to play 10.98 more years to TIE in games played; 11.43 for AB; 11.9 for Hits; 9.01 for 2B; 14.85 for 3B; 5.95 for RBI’S; and a staggering 31.5 years for SB. This also does not reflect the natural decline in performance that occurs when a player ages. He would have to be an everyday 2B for likely an NL team until he was 44. You and I both know that is not going to happen. Alomar retired when he was 36; Utley is 32 right now (and obviously battling some health issues). Pedrioa is only 27. It will be interesting to see how each players careers pan out from here, because I think Pedroia has a legitimate shot at having better career numbers than Utley. Pedroia plays in the tougher of the 2 leagues, and is also a right handed batter facing a league heavy % of right handed pitchers.

    I was also not stating that either Utley or Pedroia are HOF candidates. They may be at some day. You read that somewhere between lines that didn’t exist. So hopefully I have made my point a little clearer and you won’t have to read this post multiple times.

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