For the most part, I disagree with the panic mode going on right now. I do not think the Red Sox should trade Josh Beckett or to make an immediate move for the bullpen or rotation. However, one thing that does concern me about the Red Sox going forward is Kevin Youkilis‘ slow start. Youkilis’ decline has been well documented as he went from being one of the best players in all of baseball down a slippery slope full of injuries and ineffectiveness. He batted .307/.411/.564 with 19 home runs in 102 games in 2010 before going .258/.373/.459 with 17 home runs in 120 games last season. Unfortunately, Youkilis is off to a very slow start this season at just .167/.160/.208 in six games this year.
It wouldn’t be ridiculous to say that all of that is simply luck; his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is a measly .222 (the league average is around .300), showing that he’s been quite unlucky. I’d say to give Youkilis at least a couple of weeks to turn his stats around as one can’t make predictions based on six games (heck, Ryan Sweeney is second in the league in batting average with a .429 mark!). I have optimism that Youkilis can turn it around to around a .275/.400/.500 line, which would be very acceptable. However, if Will Middlebrooks keeps knocking on the door– he is batting .343/.343/.571 with two homers in Pawtucket this year, then Youkilis could find himself out of Boston by the trading deadline. Youkilis can certainly be an average-to-above average third baseman but probably he’ll never be much more than that again.