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More than a full month after the end of the World Series, Sports of Boston brings you the final report card for the Red Sox. In this installment, we take a look at the infield. All the time in the world may not be enough to analyze the 2010 Red Sox infield, which is marred by injuries all season long. Many backup players, including Bill Hall and Jed Lowrie, were pressed into nearly full-time service for much of the year.
The Sox picked up Adrian Beltre for his glove, but were pleasantly surprised when he started to rake like he did during his career year in 2004. It seems like an obvious move to re-sign him, but Beltre has always been a bit of an enigma. When he’s healthy and hitting well, most scouts agree that he’s one of the top 10 players in baseball; but this has only happened twice in his career. We could see Beltre back next year, but it’s a risky move especially now that he’s hit the free agent market and will likely command a long-term deal.
It’s true that he showed some pop (18 homers), but his .246 average and .774 OPS left a lot to be desired. His 104 K’s in only 344 AB’s were also a problem.
Lowrie’s had a bit of snakebitten career thus far. After nagging wrist injuries set him back the last few seasons, it didn’t seem he would ever turn into a legit Major League player until he exploded back onto the seen towards the end of the season. My question is: where did that power come from? Is it here to stay? With nine homers and a .907 OPS in only 171 AB’s, Lowrie has made his case to be the everyday shortstop in 2011.
He’s a Boston icon, the greatest clutch hitter in Red Sox history and is still as charismatic as anyone in the game. He can definitely still produce, as he proved last year by driving in over 100 runs. That said, he’s 35 and can no longer hit lefties, so this will likely be his last season for the Sox.
Pedroia was just starting to catch fire before he went down with a soul-crushing foot injury; His 5-5, 3-homer performance in a shootout win over the Rockies was one of the greatest offensive displays in team history. He was subsequently replaced by Bill Hall, so yeah, it’ll be great to have the Laser Show back out there in 2011.
Let’s face it, Scutaro is only here to hold down the fort until A) Younger talent is ready or B) Jed Lowrie regains his job. Scutaro did his job in 2010, playing hurt most of the time, but it’s obvious that the Sox need an upgrade at the shortstop position.
In 2010, Youk continued to show that he’s one of the most underrated players in the game before he went down with a bizarre thumb injury, posting a .975 OPS. Of course, he didn’t make the All-Star team, but that’s a rant for another day. Despite his shortened season, I’m still giving him an A, and having him back in 2011 will be a huge plus for the offense.
No explanation needed here. He filled in admirably when needed, but I would have a better batting average than he did (.133 with Boston) last season.
Martinez got off to a slow start and missed some time, but by the end of the year he was the same offensive force everyone expected. The problem with Victor, as the Rays and Rangers love to point out, is his inability to control to running game. Seriously, teams steal at will on this guy. When I saw Bengie Molina throw someone out at second during the playoffs, I was actually stunned. Defensive shortcomings aside, re-signing Martinez should be a priority because if he leaves, it only increases the chances that we see more of Cash. Yuck.
Varitek looked better than he did the past few years, but since he barely played it’s tough to accurately rate him.