Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ranking the Red Sox

Chad Finn ranked the Red Sox 25 man roster from the most valuable (1) to least valuable (25). I don't agree with his rankings so I thought I post my own. I put Finn's ranking in parentheses next to mine and I used the same 25 man roster he used (though the final Red Sox Opening Day roster will probably be slightly different since Smoltz will likely start the season on the DL and the team will need a back-up at 1st).

1. Kevin Youkilis - he's as good offensively and defensively as Mark Teixeira with the added benefit that he can also play 3rd base. If Mike Lowell gets hurt then Youk can play 3rd. If Big Papi gets hurt then Terry Francona can have the outfielders take a day off and DH which will keep them fresh during a long season. What do the Red Sox do if Youkilis goes down? Mark Kotsay? Please. (5)

2. Josh Beckett - to win the World Series the Red Sox will need Beckett to be an ace. It's that simple to me. (3)

3. Dustin Pedrioa - last year's MVP would be the number 1 on most teams. Ask yourself - who replaces Pedroia if he goes down? Quickly becoming the heart and soul of the team or more accurately - the guts and fierceness. (4)

4. David Ortiz - the Red Sox will be in the top 5 for offense this year no matter if Ortiz is in the line-up or not. However, if he is in the line-up and back to his old 1.000 OPS self - then the Red Sox offense could be the best in the league. (1)

5. Jason Bay - expectations are 30 HR and 100+ RBI. That doesn't grow on trees. (6)

6. Daisuke Matsuzaka - I think he wins 20 games this year (10)

7. Jon Lester - he's an ace in the making but let's not put the weight of the world on the kid. (2)

8. Jonathan Papelbon - perhaps the best closer in the game but his value to the Red Sox goes down a notch because the starting pitching and offense are so good that the save opportunities are less than with many other clubs. Plus the Red Sox have Takashi Saito and Justin Masterson to fill in as needed. (7)

9. JD Drew - if healthy he can play all three outfield positions and is capable of carry a team offensively for weeks at a time. The key words here are of course "if healthy". (8)

10. Jacoby Ellsbury - his defense and speed make him very valuable. (9)

11. Mike Lowell - veteran leader of the team. I hope he can bounce back from his hip issues from last year. (11)

12. Justin Masterson - he can be a key set-up man or maybe the 5th starter to open the season. His future is as bright as Lester's in my opinion. (13)

13. John Smoltz - could be the difference maker down the stretch (17)

14. Jed Lowrie - may begin the season as the utility man but should be the starter at short in the long term. (12)

15. Jason Varitek - did I just make Jed Lowrie more important to the team than Jason Varitek? Hmmm... yes I did. (16)

16. Tim Wakefield - I'm guessing this will be Wake's last season. I hope he goes out with another ring. (22)

17. Brad Penny - talent wise he's better than Wakefield and I'm guessing if healthy Penny may be taking starts away from Wakefield later in the season if everyone is healthy. (21)

18. Takashi Saito - potentially as big a boost to the bullpen as John Smoltz will be to the rotation. Probably the closer on days Papelbon is unavailable. (18)

19. Julio Lugo - probably begins the season as the starting shortstop. For Chad Finn to rank him dead last is just vindictive on Finn's part. (25)

20. Hideki Okajima - the depth of this year's bullpen should reduce the workload on Okie. (14)

21. Ramon Ramirez - speaking of bullpen depth. (15)

22. Rocco Baldelli - he could drastically rise in the rankings depending on the his health and the health of the other outfielders. (20)

23. Josh Bard - I have to say it but either of the kids at Pawtucket could do as well. (24)

24. Manny Delcarmen - depth of the bullpen may make him expendable. (23)

25. Javy Lopez - not a fan. (19)

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