15 March 2011
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Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP John Lackey, SP Josh Beckett, SP
Clay Buchholz, SP Jon Lester, SP Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
David Ortiz, DH Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Carl Crawford, LF
J.D. Drew, RF
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Before Youk injured his thumb last season, he was hitting over .300 with a .975 OPS and was on pace for 25+ HRs, 100+ runs and at least 85 RBI. And that was without Ellsbury or Crawford at the top of the lineup and Pedroia sidelined in June.
In 2011, Youk will be smack-dab in the middle of one of baseball's most dangerous lineups. Assuming everyone stays healthy...
Youk will likely hit 4th or 5th depending on how Tito chooses to break up all the lefties in the lineup, but either way he'll have plenty of runners in front of him, so I expect him to be one of our most productive players. In fact, I think Youk could post his first 100/100 season, but he'll be relying on the back end of the lineup for those 100 runs.
Bottom Line: Opposing pitchers will be forced to "pick their poison" with this lineup, and with Youk getting a little more aggressive last season, I'm thinking he might flirt with 30 HRs and 100+ RBI, if he gets 500+ at-bats.
Rob's Prediction: 540 AB, .298 BA, .950 OPS, 35 2B, 28 HR, 103 RBI, 94 R
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