Monday, December 14, 2009

Red Sox to field an extraordinary lineup

Production-wise, Mike Cameron isn't a perfect fit for the Red Sox. He hasn't posted an on-base percentage better than .350 since 2006, and he hasn't hit more than 25 home runs since 2004.

Plate discipline-wise, he couldn't be better.

Check out this list of the most disciplined hitters -- as defined by refusing to swing at pitches outside the strike zone -- in the major leagues this past season:

1. Luis Castillo, 2B: 12.2 percent
2. Marco Scutaro, SS: 12.3 percent
3. Nick Johnson, 1B: 14.2 percent
4. Chone Figgins, 3B: 14.9 percent
5. J.D. Drew, OF: 15.3 percent
6. Chipper Jones, 3B: 15.4 percent
7. Bobby Abreu, OF: 15.9 percent
8. Mike Cameron, OF: 17.4 percent
9. Nick Swisher, OF: 17.4 percent
10. Jack Cust, DH: 17.5 percent
11. Kosuke Fukudome, OF: 17.8 percent
12. Grady Sizemore, OF: 17.9 percent
13. Denard Span, OF: 18.3 percent
14. Dan Uggla, 2B: 18.7 percent
15. Kevin Youkilis, 1B/3B: 18.8 percent

Victor Martinez ranks No. 34 out of the 153 players who had enough plate appearances to qualify. David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia come in at No. 55 and No. 60, respectively. Even Jacoby Ellsbury, whose plate discipline was a much-discussed issue last season, ranks No. 77 -- and he's only barely on the bottom half of the list.

The Red Sox might not hit as many home runs as they did a season ago, but they're going to be nightmare for opposing pitchers.

Even better: Johnson is still out there, and the Red Sox still have a void at a corner infield spot. Uggla could be had for the right price, too, and it's not ridiculous to have a second baseman who can hit but not field try his luck at first base. Heck, Casey Kotchman -- 23 percent last season -- remains an option as well.

Maybe Theo Epstein isn't going to get as hot and bothered for Adrian Beltre -- who swung at 36.8 percent of pitches out of the strike zone last season -- as some of us have guessed.

Beltre suddenly doesn't look like he's part of the plan.

1 comment:

Drew said...

But does this stat matter? Cameron struck out more than 140 times for the past three seasons. So he's looking at strikes or swinging and missing at strikes? Great. His Avg. and OBP are not good. Not sure I'm excited about him. Also, don't think Kotchman is realistic solution. I hope we are still going after Beltre with the money we are saving on Bay.