Where Red Sox Rank On ESPN’s List Of MLB’s Best Lineups For 2020 Season


January 30, 2020

The Boston Red Sox should be among baseball’s big bashers this year.

MLB.com’s Bradford Doolittle on Thursday ranked Boston’s expected lineup No. 8 in the Major Leagues. Doolittle sets the teams’ expected base lineups, ranks them according to seven batting factors and ultimately combines those positions to determine an overall pecking order.

Here’s where Boston ranks coming into the 2020 MLB season:

Contact (strikeout percentage): 13th
Patience (walk percentage): fifth
Power (isolated power, i.e., slugging percentage minus batting average): 12th
Balance (how well the lineup matches up against left- and right-handed pitchers): second
Speed (based on a statistical speed score): 15th
Core hitters (those projected to create 90-plus runs per 600 plate appearances): fourth
Lineup holes (number of hitters projected to create 75 or fewer runs per 600 plate appearances): second.

Here’s Doolittle’s assessment of Boston’s lineup:
If (Andrew) Benintendi can improve upon his OKish 2019 production, the Red Sox will have a top five as good as anyone. If they could get Betts and Martinez at their 2018 level, while getting Bogaerts and Devers to match what they did in 2019, that would be truly dynamic. It’s a lot to ask. The holes in the Boston attack are at the bottom, with Bradley and Vazquez. Both are capable of outperforming their forecast to give Boston an airtight batting order.

Trade rumors are swirling around the Red Sox as spring training approaches, so it’s possible their place on ESPN’s admittedly “way-too-early” lineup rankings will change.

Nevertheless, Boston’s batting order contains plenty of pop and might produce enough runs to return the team to contending status in 2020.

Thumbnail photo via Gregory J. Fisher/USA TODAY Sports Images
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