For the first time in many years, the Red Sox are going into spring training without a concrete lineup, and there is some uncertainty as to who will be the starting shortstop, right fielder, and fifth starter. With the new and improved camp Bobby V has going on down in Fort Meyers, there is clearly a sense of competition and determination for those starting spots, and I am loving every minute of it.
The Sox absolutely have the talent to fill all three of these spots on their roster. At shortstop, Mike Aviles has proved himself a valuable asset with his bat and his range on the field. Punto should be, and will be used as a utility man due to his experience at second, shortstop, and even third base in the past. Jose Iglesias is supposedly a wizard in the field but has yet to develop the bat therefore the organization feels he needs at least another year in the minors.
For the fifth starter spot, I believe it will be a battle between Aceves, Padilla, and Doubront. Aceves proved what he was worth last year, piling up the innings and picking up the slack for the depleted Red Sox pitching staff. Doubront has great stuff, and I am excited to see what he does this spring. Today he looked great against BC, going two quick scoreless innings and striking out one. Although I don’t know much about Padilla, I know he has incredible potential and has shined in the past. He is perhaps the most qualified for the job, having been a starter his entire career, and knows what it takes to be a competitor in this league.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the hole in right field. All three men fighting for the starting spot all deserve to be starters and are all incredibly talented. The young Ryan Sweeney brings unbelievable defensive ability and a decent bat. Darnell McDonald gives you consistency but is perhaps the least qualified for the starting spot (I am not just saying this because he shunned me at angel stadium). That leaves Cody Ross, the 2010 NLCS MVP who had a little bit of a slide last year and is looking to rebound. Ross had sixty RBI’s last year for a weak San Fran lineup but with protection in the batting order and a swing made for Fenway Park, I have a feeling Ross will be great here. There’s no doubt in my mind he will use the monster to his advantage and like Lowell and Beltre turn his career back around. I guarantee he will be able to match if not surpass Drew’s numbers from last year. Aside from his talent, the man is also an incredibly energetic and outgoing guy who reminds me a lot of Kevin Millar. It will be nice to have someone with that kind of attitude back in the clubhouse.
P.S: All three outfielders had incredible games today. Their numbers speak for themselves.
2B: McDonald, D (1, Murphy), Sweeney (1, Berger),
HR: Ross, C 2 (2, 2nd inning off Murphy, 0 on, 0 out; 4th inning off Cook, 3 on, 0 out), Sweeney (1, 6th inning off Goreham, 2 on, 2 out).
TB: McDonald, D 3; Sweeney 8; Ross, C
RBI: McDonald, D 2 (2), Ross, C 5 (5) , Sweeney 5 (5),