By: Sean Clifford
After a disappointing 2010 season that was marred by injuries and resulted in a third place finish in the AL East, the Red Sox have much to be excited about in 2011. Major acquisitions of 3-time All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and former Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford have created more buzz in Beantown than any offseason in recent memory. By adding these superb bats to a lineup that scored 818 runs last year, while dealing with major injuries to key contributors, the Red Sox offense has the potential to be the most explosive in all of baseball.
First Base: Adrian Gonzalez
2010: .298/.393/.511, 31 HR, 101 RBI, 5.7 oWAR, 160 GP
BJP* 2011: .312/.399/.600, 40 HR, 113 RBI, 161 GP
Ladies and gentleman, meet Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox new first baseman. He has been in the top 20 for NL MVP voting each of the past 4 seasons and has gone to 3 consecutive All Star games. His slash line from 2010 does not do him justice as he played his home games in arguably the worst hitters park in all of baseball, Petco Park. His line outside of Petco is nothing short of fantastic (.315/.402/.578) and he hit nearly twice as many homeruns on the road than he did at home. Fenway should give Gonzalez’ stats a huge boost and should make him an even more dominating presence at the plate than in years past. Also, Gonzalez is coming over from the Padres who never surrounded him with true offensive threats, whereas in Boston, he should benefit from the increased protection in the lineup. Don’t be surprised to see Adrian Gonzalez emerge as a candidate for the MVP award at the end of the season.
*Fun Fact: Fenway Park is one of only two active ballparks that Adrian Gonzalez has never played in, the other being new Yankee Stadium.*
Second Base: Dustin Pedroia
2010: .288/.367/.493, 12 HR, 41 RBI, 2.7 oWAR, 75 GP
BJP* 2011: .297/.372/.462, 17 HR, 77 RBI, 158 GP
Last season, Pedroia displayed more power than Red Sox fans have come to expect from him. Unfortunately, some of that power was on display when Dustin cracked a foul ball off his foot, breaking a bone and sidelining him for the season. Pedroia boasts one of the more impressive career resume’s with 3 All Star selections, an MVP award and a ROY award, all by the age of 27. Continue reading »