Re: The Left Side
posted at 10/25/2011 4:05 PM EDT
In Response to The Left Side
[QUOTE]Even short of the Beltre/Andrus standard, Boston needs better defense on its left side, including the outfield. Crawford came advertised as a gold glove, but often looked like a big brown dog. At the moment, the available mix for shortstop and third base includes Scutaro ( if retained ), Lowrie, Youkilis, Aviles, and Iglesias. With the exception of Iglesias, by reputation, there is not a single outstanding defender on the list. In fact, whether any of them even qualifies as average is questionable, when arm, range, hands are all considered. Maybe Aviles, but he requires a longer look. Hard to say how it will all shake out. If Ortiz leaves, Youkilis will probably be shifted to DH, narrowing the prospective combinations for third and short. No combination is that promising, not when compared to the kind of defense that has been on display in the post-season. There has been talk of "getting by" with this or that player. Tell that to a pitching staff that works 81 games in Fenway. Every ball that goes through the left side sets up the possibility that before the inning is over another ball will leave the yard or hit the wall. Prolonged innings in Fenway are invitations to trouble. Perhaps the new GM and manager will depart from Theo's preference for a hitting shortstop. After all, it can scarcely be claimed that Theo solved the ongoing problem at the position. If Boston wants to improve the pitching, a good first step might be to improve the defense on the entire left side.
Posted by expitch[/QUOTE]
Not sure that a healthy Youkilis is or was a defensive liability at 3b, not in Beltre class for sure. I'd grade him as better than average. He doesn't have Beltre arm nor his lateral quickness, but he does do a pretty good job on the slow rollers down the line and makes the routine play look routine...To me greatest upside we'd get by employing another 3B would be to move Youk to the DH and have him in the lineup for 150 games.
Since this is Youk's last year under contract. I would have to think that Middlebrooks will be given a long look this spring and/or they'll give Aviles or Lowrie a shot. More likely I think is they head to camp with Youks name written in pencil and hope that he recovers in time to open the season..
I would agree that we need to upgrade the athleticism and range at SS...Where Scutaro is IMHO serviceable at best. Struggles getting to and making throws from the hole and has little or no range going to his right towards 2nd...I do like his stick and his moixy the guys a grinder.
That said, to me the opportunity lyes in having a bonifide defensive SS on the bench, which we currently don't have...Then we could employ the late innings defensive replacement concept in games were we're leading after 7 full...