They’re trying to figure out, though, where exactly the speedy Crawford should fit in the lineup.
With Jacoby Ellsbury perhaps holding down the leadoff spot, the options get tricky. Dustin Pedroia is built for the two-hole, and you’d figure Adrian Gonzalez third and Kevin Youkilis fourth might be the most dangerous combination.
But Crawford, who hit third in the Rays’ lineup for about one-third of his games last year, may be able to slide into the No. 3 spot, with Youkilis taking over as one of the best No. 5 hitters in all of baseball.
Yet, there’s another idea that would move Ellsbury down to the No. 9 spot and having Crawford hit leadoff. While putting those types of speed back-to-back in the lineup is an intriguing idea, the snag is that Crawford doesn’t have much confidence in himself as a leadoff hitter.
“Maybe I could have gotten better at [batting leadoff], but I just wasn’t comfortable,” he said in October. “It didn’t have anything to do with stats. I just don’t think I’m a good leadoff hitter.”
If we’re basing things off 2010, we don’t know, because Crawford didn’t bat leadoff once. In his career, though, Crawford does have higher averages batting second and third. Check out the stats:
Batting first: .288 BA, .323 OBP, .744 OPS
Batting second: .305 BA, .349 OBP, .812 OPS
Batting third: .294 BA, .338 OBP, .790 OPS
The numbers may not be all that different, but a player’s comfort level has to be taken into account.
Clearly, Terry Francona has some decisions to make, but put yourself in his shoes for a moment and vote: Where should Carl Crawford bat in the Sox’ lineup?
Every week, NESN.com will offer fans a chance to vote on a trending hot stove topic. Tune in to Red Sox Hot Stove Live on NESN every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. from Nov. 9 to Feb. 8 to see the results of each week’s Voice of New England poll.