A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE RED SOX
This is some kind of deep lineup. You could take a cylinder away from this engine, and it would still be a Ferrari.... Adrian Gonzalez will be a beast. He's a home run hitter, but it's a left-centerfield swing. I see him hitting balls off the Green Monster like Mo Vaughn.... Because of his speed and how small the outfield is, Carl Crawford could play defense at Fenway with his eyes closed. He can be a middle-of-the-order hitter, but he shouldn't be one on this club. He should set the table for the big guys.... They have to keep Dustin Pedroia healthy—he's their igniter. The same goes for Kevin Youkilis. We know he can play two positions well. We know he's going to hit. They have to have his righthanded presence.... David Ortiz has been great in spring training. He's got his bat speed back.... John Lackey is in tremendous shape. He's pitched better this spring than in two years. He's starting to get aggressive with his fastball again.... Josh Beckett's been really up and down this spring. Beckett, Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka can be very solid or very average.... It's a contract year for closer Jonathan Papelbon, and there are options if he struggles. Daniel Bard throws hard but has to locate it. A guy with Bobby Jenks's stuff shouldn't have more hits allowed than innings like he did last year. What Bard and Jenks can do for Papelbon is "inspire" him to have a good year.... One of their keys is going to be finding another lefthander in the bullpen to go with Hideki Okajima, who's been only so-so this spring, and Dennys Reyes.
WITH 2010 STATISTICS
MANAGER TERRY FRANCONA
8TH SEASON WITH RED SOX
Stolen base success rate for the Red Sox in 2010, equaling the highest in franchise history. However, Boston had just 68 steals, fifth fewest in the majors. A healthy Jacoby Ellsbury and newcomer Carl Crawford should put the Sox near the top of the stolen base chart.
Shortstop Jed Lowrie's career was derailed by his own body: Surgery on his left wrist cost him half of 2009—and crippled his bat in the other half—and he missed two months last year with mono. He returned to the big leagues in July, just as Boston was being swamped by injuries, and Lowrie showed that he was still the highly skilled hitter who had been a supplemental first round pick in '05 and a top 100 prospect heading into 2008. He hit .287/.381/.526 in 197 plate appearances over the final two months and saw regular work at shortstop and second base. This season former AL MVP Dustin Pedroia is back from his broken foot, so there's no room for Lowrie at second. But there should be an opportunity for him at shortstop. Marco Scutaro is 35, and after a career year in '09 he slipped back to his usual production in 2010 (.275/.333/.388). There's no reason for the 26-year-old Lowrie to remain in a bench role behind a career utilityman like Scutaro, whose small defensive edge on Lowrie is dwarfed by what the younger shortstop can do with the bat.
CHUCK SOLOMON (GONZALEZ)
BRAD MANGIN (LOWRIE)