The Lineup, 2019 Edition

DeadlySplitter

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Breaking this out of the offseason thread, this is a fascinating shift to me after 1 year (the first tweet, I mean)

Pete Abraham‏Verified account @PeteAbe 10m10 minutes ago
Cora says he intends to hit Benintendi first and Betts second next season. Thinks that can maximize Betts’ contributions.

Alex Speier‏ @alexspeier 15m15 minutes ago
Cora: “I put it this way to Mookie - we play 162 games, you’re going to come up 162 times with no one on.” Cora says he’s been thinking about this for a month and a half.

Alex Speier‏ @alexspeier 2m2 minutes ago
Cora says he’s looking forward to seeing a full year of Bradley with his late-season offensive approach.

Pete Abraham‏Verified account @PeteAbe 4m4 minutes ago
Rafael Devers hired a personal trainer and is committed to being in better shape. But team will closely monitor him, including an evaluation in Fort Myers. Cora will see him this weekend.
 
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RIrooter09

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Happy to hear they're moving Mookie to the 2 hole. I was pushing for that all year.
 

Rasputin

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I don't really think being in better shape is going to help Devers. It's not like he's unable to move well or anything. He's just lacking in pitch recognition and throwing fundamentals. At least, that's what it looks like from my couch.
 

Adrian's Dome

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I don't really think being in better shape is going to help Devers. It's not like he's unable to move well or anything. He's just lacking in pitch recognition and throwing fundamentals. At least, that's what it looks like from my couch.
At his age, sure. He's young enough where he can get by no problem a little on the soft side.

But as he gets older, being in shape will only help his longevity as his metabolism and natural athletic talents wane off a bit.

If he happens to gain a small bit of speed, flexibility, or strength as it stands right now then all the better.
 

brandonchristensen

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Pedey was pretty chubby when he came up and definitely improved after working out in Arizona and getting into good shape. Could be good for Devers.
 

Ouragess

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Breaking this out of the offseason thread, this is a fascinating shift to me after 1 year (the first tweet, I mean)

Pete Abraham‏Verified account @PeteAbe 10m10 minutes ago
Cora says he intends to hit Benintendi first and Betts second next season. Thinks that can maximize Betts’ contributions.

Alex Speier‏ @alexspeier 15m15 minutes ago
Cora: “I put it this way to Mookie - we play 162 games, you’re going to come up 162 times with no one on.” Cora says he’s been thinking about this for a month and a half.

Alex Speier‏ @alexspeier 2m2 minutes ago
Cora says he’s looking forward to seeing a full year of Bradley with his late-season offensive approach.

Pete Abraham‏Verified account @PeteAbe 4m4 minutes ago
Rafael Devers hired a personal trainer and is committed to being in better shape. But team will closely monitor him, including an evaluation in Fort Myers. Cora will see him this weekend.
found this super helpful. lots of thanks, i appreciate it a lot!
Cora's words don't make things boring :D
 

Al Zarilla

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Cora said if Pedroia is healthy, he’ll lead off Opening Day, but that was in November and before the Benintendi announcement.

Pedroia
Betts
Martinez
Benintendi
Boagerts
Moreland/Pearce
Devers
Vazquez/Leon
Bradley Jr.
JBJ hitting after the catcher still gets me. I know the history, why break up a winning combination, and it gets a better hitter in front of the leadoff hitter, but it still gets me. If he has indeed found something in his swing/approach, and it proves out after a reasonably long set of games, will Cora move him up to basically get him more ABs over the long haul?
 

BaseballJones

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Obviously we don't know the 2019 roster, but just from these guys, what can we expect?

Moreland: 124 g, 15 hr, .245/.325/.433/.758 - I suspect as a platoon guy, he might put up a better slash line, but fewer overall homers.

Nunez: 127 g, 10 hr, .265/.289/.388/.677 - Depends on how much playing time he gets, but I assume his overall hitting line will be somewhat in line with that.

Bogaerts: 136 g, 23 hr, .288/.360/.522/.883 - I think he's broken out and will have another terrific season, something along these lines again. Maybe a little more avg/obp.

Devers: 121 g, 21 hr, .240/.298/.433/.731 - With better health, we should see an uptick in production as he plays more and matures more as a hitter. Not a LEAP forward, but improvement.

Benintendi: 148 g, 16 hr, .290/.366/.465/.830 - I think we're in for a big improvement by Benintendi. He's a terrific hitter. I don't think he'll be a 30 hr guy, but I can see low-to-mid 20s and an uptick in avg/obp. I see his OPS being in the high 8's.

Bradley: 144 g, 13 hr, .234/.314/.403/.717 - He was snakebite last year as he had a terrible BABIP despite a very high LD rate and exit velocities. I think he's figured something out and BABIP won't be as unkind. Big year from JBJ - 20+ hr, .830 obp.

Betts: 136 g, 32 hr, .346/.438/.640/1.078 - It's hard to improve on one of the best years we've ever seen. And so the natural expectation is a regression. He'll still be elite, but I think the overall numbers won't look like they did this past season.

Martinez: 150 g, 43 hr, .330/.402/.629/1.031. Similar to Betts, I think Martinez will be terrific, but not AS terrific. High 30s HR, and a drop in OPS. Still very good.

Pearce: 50 g, 7 hr, .279/.394/.507/.901 - Platooning with Moreland will allow him to do damage against lefties, so I think his slash line should look pretty solid again.

Long story short: I expect their offense to be tremendous again. Regression from Betts and Martinez and Moreland. But improvement from Devers, JBJ and Benintendi. Similar numbers from Pearce, Bogaerts, and Nunez.
 

joe dokes

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JBJ hitting after the catcher still gets me. I know the history, why break up a winning combination, and it gets a better hitter in front of the leadoff hitter, but it still gets me. If he has indeed found something in his swing/approach, and it proves out after a reasonably long set of games, will Cora move him up to basically get him more ABs over the long haul?
I wonder if its based on the same idea that compelled Maddon and others to bat the pitcher 8th in the NL. In the Sox' case, the catcher is the pitcher.
 

Al Zarilla

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I wonder if its based on the same idea that compelled Maddon and others to bat the pitcher 8th in the NL. In the Sox' case, the catcher is the pitcher.
Could be. Also, more than once, when Jackie was dropped to 9th for not hitting much, he would start to hit. So, Farrell (happened most when he was managing) would move him higher in the order, but then he would slump again, so rinse and repeat. In 2018, he did post his best numbers batting 9th, although his numbers at all other positions in the order were SSS.
 

nvalvo

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JBJ hitting after the catcher still gets me. I know the history, why break up a winning combination, and it gets a better hitter in front of the leadoff hitter, but it still gets me. If he has indeed found something in his swing/approach, and it proves out after a reasonably long set of games, will Cora move him up to basically get him more ABs over the long haul?
Here's the trade, Al:

Each spot up in the order gets ~20 more PA across a season. The actual difference in PA between 8 and 9 for the Red Sox in 2018 was 19.

If you bat JBJ 9 and the motley crew of catchers 8, you're giving away 20ish PA of the delta between JBJ's .717 OPS and the .533 OPS our catchers posted. Of course, the difference is smaller, if still large, in terms of OBP. Our 9 hitters, mostly Bradley, had a .312 OBP, which is about league average for all hitters. It's also much better than the .267 OBP we got out of our 8 spot, mostly the catchers. So that's a considerable .045 difference in OBP. In those 20 PA, you'd expect the 8 hitters with the .267 OBP to make one extra out, and contribute about one fewer baserunner. That costs you about a run in linear weights value, more when you consider that JBJ's healthy SLG includes a fair number of XBH.

In exchange, you get a meaningful increase in the number of runners on for a top of the order that included two MLB-candidates with 1.000ish OPSes. Over the 627 PA, you'd expect 26-30 additional baserunners (depending on how you choose to calculate what counts as an "additional" baserunner) from that spot over course of the season. Now, because of a whole collection of base-out states, it's considerably more complicated than this first order approximation, likely in ways that reduce that number of additional baserunners by a bit. But let's say the true number is 20 extra baserunners: how many extra runs would we expect Betts and Benintendi to produce with those extra baserunners? You'd expect more than one, right?

It's a good trade off, even if it only gains you at most a half-dozen runs in the course of a season, and likely has an effect closer to half that number. I'm still glad Cora made it.

In 2019, I'd like to see Pedroia get most of his PA in the 9 spot. OBP is his strongest skill, and getting him fewer PA is desirable considering the state of his knees. I'm also expecting the new-look fly ball Bradley to be a picture perfect 6-7 hitter — a .250/.330/.500 type.
 

Dewey'sCannon

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I was thinking the same thing - assuming he's healthy, Pedey would fit nicely in the #9 slot (if his ego can handle it), with Jackie moving up to 6 or 7 if he continues to hit like he did in the second half.
Benintendi
Betts
Martinez
Bogaerts
Moreland
Devers
Pedroia
Catcher
JBJ
My lineup vs RHP would be:
Benintendi
Betts
Martinez
Devers
Bogaerts
Bradley
Moreland (ph Pearce vs lh reliever)
Catcher
Pedroia

Vs LHP:
Benintendi
Betts
Martinez
Bogaerts
Devers
Pearce
Pedroia
Catcher
Bradley
 

effectivelywild

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Here's the trade, Al:

Each spot up in the order gets ~20 more PA across a season. The actual difference in PA between 8 and 9 for the Red Sox in 2018 was 19.

If you bat JBJ 9 and the motley crew of catchers 8, you're giving away 20ish PA of the delta between JBJ's .717 OPS and the .533 OPS our catchers posted. Of course, the difference is smaller, if still large, in terms of OBP. Our 9 hitters, mostly Bradley, had a .312 OBP, which is about league average for all hitters. It's also much better than the .267 OBP we got out of our 8 spot, mostly the catchers. So that's a considerable .045 difference in OBP. In those 20 PA, you'd expect the 8 hitters with the .267 OBP to make one extra out, and contribute about one fewer baserunner. That costs you about a run in linear weights value, more when you consider that JBJ's healthy SLG includes a fair number of XBH.

In exchange, you get a meaningful increase in the number of runners on for a top of the order that included two MLB-candidates with 1.000ish OPSes. Over the 627 PA, you'd expect 26-30 additional baserunners (depending on how you choose to calculate what counts as an "additional" baserunner) from that spot over course of the season. Now, because of a whole collection of base-out states, it's considerably more complicated than this first order approximation, likely in ways that reduce that number of additional baserunners by a bit. But let's say the true number is 20 extra baserunners: how many extra runs would we expect Betts and Benintendi to produce with those extra baserunners? You'd expect more than one, right?

It's a good trade off, even if it only gains you at most a half-dozen runs in the course of a season, and likely has an effect closer to half that number. I'm still glad Cora made it.

In 2019, I'd like to see Pedroia get most of his PA in the 9 spot. OBP is his strongest skill, and getting him fewer PA is desirable considering the state of his knees. I'm also expecting the new-look fly ball Bradley to be a picture perfect 6-7 hitter — a .250/.330/.500 type.
If Cora could get Pedroia to agree to be the number 9 hitter---even factoring in the statistical argument---and is able to do so with Pedroia going along with it agreeably and without a ton of bitching? That would truly be a sign of how much the clubhouse has bought into Cora.
 

joe dokes

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If Cora could get Pedroia to agree to be the number 9 hitter---even factoring in the statistical argument---and is able to do so with Pedroia going along with it agreeably and without a ton of bitching? That would truly be a sign of how much the clubhouse has bought into Cora.
I'm not sure what "agree" means here. Pedroia bitches about everything. It's in his nature. As long as he's following the trainers' advice, I dont think it will matter how many times he says, "Of course I'd rather be hitting higher up, who wouldn't?"
I think that he was around last October at Cora's request says about all you need to know about Pedroia's buy-in. The whole "OHMYGOD how's Pedroia gonna take it" is pretty overblown, given what we already know about Cora's communication skills.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
I'm not sure what "agree" means here. Pedroia bitches about everything. It's in his nature.
Yes, and bitching is not the same thing as checking out. Pedroia seems like the kind of guy who will make himself an absolute nuisance to Cora about being that low in the lineup, and continue to give 100% regardless. Which is why Cora will not hesitate to put him that low in the lineup.

Honestly, I think Pedroia is most likely done, and the whole conversation will be moot by May. But I've underestimated Pedey's resilience before.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I'm sure Pedey will give it another go this season. Well... obviously my best hope is that he finds the fountain of youth and puts in something like a .750OPS, playing stellar defense and getting around 120 starts at 2B..... but my more tempered and likely realistic hope is that IF he struggles, that he'll see it's over for himself and he'll cede a starting role but be an occasional backup starter and late inning defender and then retire after 2019
 

joe dokes

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Yes, and bitching is not the same thing as checking out. Pedroia seems like the kind of guy who will make himself an absolute nuisance to Cora about being that low in the lineup, and continue to give 100% regardless. Which is why Cora will not hesitate to put him that low in the lineup.

Honestly, I think Pedroia is most likely done, and the whole conversation will be moot by May. But I've underestimated Pedey's resilience before.
I'm not very hopeful either. And when he *stops* bitching, we'll know that he knows he's done.
 

bosockboy

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Wouldn’t be surprised if DD hasn’t already planted some seeds for some deals if Pedroia is done come spring time. Scooter Gennett possibly.
 

bosockboy

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Wouldn’t be surprised if DD hasn’t already planted some seeds for some deals if Pedroia is done come spring time. Scooter Gennett possibly.
 

Plympton91

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Wouldn’t be surprised if DD hasn’t already planted some seeds for some deals if Pedroia is done come spring time. Scooter Gennett possibly.
I said this in another thread, so I’ll just do it once more. Why would you spend any resources on 2B? You platoon Holt and Nunez until Lin or Chavis wins the job.
 

DeadlySplitter

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Chavis should probably be groomed for 2020 at 1B. Lin is going to win a full-time 2B job? Are you serious?
 

Plympton91

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Chavis should probably be groomed for 2020 at 1B. Lin is going to win a full-time 2B job? Are you serious?
Chavis is too small to ply first and was drafted as a SS. Lin had excellent age appropriate AAA peripherals in 2018, and a perfectly acceptable MLB OPS in 160 MLB PAs. I think that absent a Pedroia recovery, he absolutely could win the job coming out of spring training.
 

DeadlySplitter

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maybe I'm confusing Chavis for Travis. I dunno, we need the 1B help more.

Lin is never going to be a regular, you keep on believing that if you want.
 

chawson

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The team could use some clarity on Lin. He has one option remaining and I imagine it'll be used this year. He sees a lot of pitches for a guy with little pop, plays plus defense at at least two positions, and he's had some unlucky stretches that made him look worse than he is. It'd be helpful to know if he can step into Brock Holt's role in 2020.

Maybe it's because he's always hit well against us, but I still kind of like the idea of bringing Brad Miller in on a minor league contract as Pedroia/Moreland insurance. He gives me a Bellhorn vibe.
 

sean1562

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Is Lin a plus defender at 2b? We just won a WS with Eduardo Nunez taking up most of the time at 2b, it isn't like this bar is terribly high. If Lin could OPS around .700 with solid d, is he that bad of an option?
 

EdRalphRomero

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Chavis is too small to ply first and was drafted as a SS. .
Why is he too small? He is 1" shorter than Pearce for example. I mean it would be nice if he was taller but he doesn't have the skills to play middle infield (despite the position he was drafted at) and seems unlikely to displace Rafi. Seems 1b is his best shot.
 
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bosockboy

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I said this in another thread, so I’ll just do it once more. Why would you spend any resources on 2B? You platoon Holt and Nunez until Lin or Chavis wins the job.
DD spent resources in 2018 to acquire Kinsler. If he saw Holt or Lin as capable of playing there every day I doubt he would have made that acquisition.
 

Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

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Why is he too small? He is 1" shorter than Pearce for example. I mean it would be nice if he was taller but he doesn't have the skills to play middle infield (despite the position he was drafted at) and seems unlikely to displace Ravi. Seems 1b is his best shot.
He may be the guy to take over left field if they don't re-sign JBJ and AB moves to center.
 

Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

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Why do all ex-JBJ scenarios have Benintendi moving to CF instead of Betts? I’m not saying that’s not the right answer, but it seems less than a given. It’s debatable... and isn’t that what we do here?
Because right field at Fenway is one of the hardest, if not the hardest outfield positions in all of baseball, and Mookie does it at an elite level. The Sox have no replacement for him in right, including Benintendi, who doesn't have the arm to play right. JDM could play left. Chavis, maybe, could play left. Holt or Lin could play left. Pearce could play left. There are lots and lots of potential replacements for Beni in left.
 

dhappy42

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Because right field at Fenway is one of the hardest, if not the hardest outfield positions in all of baseball, and Mookie does it at an elite level. The Sox have no replacement for him in right, including Benintendi, who doesn't have the arm to play right. JDM could play left. Chavis, maybe, could play left. Holt or Lin could play left. Pearce could play left. There are lots and lots of potential replacements for Beni in left.
It’s obvious to me that JD or whoever would play LF in a JBJ-less OF. But Mookie could play CF and Beni play RF. Is the argument against that that in Fenway you play your best OF in RF? (Was Dewey a better OF than Lynn? JD Drew better than Ellsbury and Coco?) Or that moving Beni to CF is one relocation whereas moving Beni to RF and Betts to CF is two relocations?

Edit: IOW, starting from scratch, assuming zero transition adjustments, which OF is stronger defensively:

A) JD-Beni-Betts?
or
B) JD-Betts-Beni?

I think I answered my own question. (B) but because Betts has the better arm, not just because Fenway’s RF is expansive.
 
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Plympton91

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DD spent resources in 2018 to acquire Kinsler. If he saw Holt or Lin as capable of playing there every day I doubt he would have made that acquisition.
Devers and Nunez were also taking turns on the disabled list and being complete black holes for weeks at a time. So, yes, I agree that DD didn’t want to go into the playoffs with Holt as the only healthy and effective person playing either 2nd or 3rd base. It also makes sense to further reduce the likelihood that Lin gets thrown directly into a playoff situation at a position he’d played on 50 professional games or so with a 108 win team expected to win it all.

In April and May, you can see what happens, and then acquire Kinsler or similar at the all star break, if necessary.

This team has to develop some minimum salary talent, and there are not a lot of options. Lin played extremely well in Pawtucket and also played very well with semi regular playing time in September. He has a very respectable start to his major league career under his belt ( Go look it up, don’t rely on your memory) and played this year at 24. He’s definitely a potential unicorn for them.
 

Adrian's Dome

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It’s obvious to me that JD or whoever would play LF in a JBJ-less OF. But Mookie could play CF and Beni play RF. Is the argument against that that in Fenway you play your best OF in RF? (Was Dewey a better OF than Lynn? JD Drew better than Ellsbury and Coco?) Or that moving Beni to CF is one relocation whereas moving Beni to RF and Betts to CF is two relocations?

Edit: IOW, starting from scratch, assuming zero transition adjustments, which OF is stronger defensively:

A) JD-Beni-Betts?
or
B) JD-Betts-Beni?

I think I answered my own question. (B) but because Betts has the better arm, not just because Fenway’s RF is expansive.
It's 100% the arm.

Drew's arm > Tacoby's.
Mookie's > Beni's.
Dewey's arm > all.

The fact that Mookie has the better arm for the position and fields it so goddamn well (making the CF's life easier) makes the decision to leave him there a no brainer.
 

SouthernBoSox

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Would Buttrey or Jerez survived the 40 man crunch for 2019?
Buttery was dominant last year in AAA flashing near triple digits at times. I have to think he would have made the 40 given the bullpen depth.

He could end up being a major loss. His K and BB number were absolutely fabulous. He showed out big time in his call up with the Angel's. Definately one I wish we could have back.
 

MikeM

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The team could use some clarity on Lin. He has one option remaining and I imagine it'll be used this year. He sees a lot of pitches for a guy with little pop, plays plus defense at at least two positions, and he's had some unlucky stretches that made him look worse than he is. It'd be helpful to know if he can step into Brock Holt's role in 2020.
Or Xander's starting SS role in the event we let him walk as an upcoming FA.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Buttery was dominant last year in AAA flashing near triple digits at times. I have to think he would have made the 40 given the bullpen depth.

He could end up being a major loss. His K and BB number were absolutely fabulous. He showed out big time in his call up with the Angel's. Definately one I wish we could have back.
On the other hand, the Sox had numerous opportunities to call him up last season while he was on the 40 and never did. For example, they selected and activated five pitchers to the 40-man roster during the season (Poyner, Walden, Haley, Jerez, and Brasier) when they could have saved a transaction and brought up Buttrey instead. They must have seen something they didn't like or weren't convinced of.