Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet; the Red Sox currently sit 11th in the American League in home runs and 19th in the majors in the same category. Sox hitters have combined for 18 round-trippers so far this season. However, despite this relatively low total, the Sox are crushing the ball about as well as anyone, and there is only room to improve.
The new look Sox offense is being led by veterans and newcomers alike, and it’s starting to look like a force to be reckoned with. Daniel Nava currently leads Red Sox regulars with a .600 slugging percentage, up there with some of the best hitters in the game. There’s a chance, given some substantial playing time, Nava could develop into an above average hitter.
New addition, Mike Napoli is slugging an incredible .570 despite a fairly pedestrian .278 batting average. While he’s been having a tough go of things with no one on base, Napoli is starting to look like the offensive terror the Red Sox imagined him to be. His solo shot on Sunday against Kansas City that cleared everything in left field showed exactly why his swing is perfect for Fenway.
However, Napoli isn’t the only home run threat the Red Sox have. Last night against the Oakland Athletics, Will Middlebrooks added his own home run to accompany Napoli’s massive grand slam. The Sox currently have 5 regulars who are slugging AT LEAST .400, and their power numbers are only going to get better. There is power potential up and down the lineup and big hits from guys like Nava and Jonny Gomes shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Coming into the year, the Red Sox were viewed as likely down-and-out in the ultra-competitive American League East. But this resurgence of the long ball, up and down the order, has the Sox looking like they could be contenders. As if it weren’t fearsome enough already, the lineup should receive a big boost from David Ortiz once he gets comfortable facing major league pitching after a nearly nine month layoff. Ortiz is only 36 homers from catching Dwight Evans for fourth on the Red Sox all-time list and carries a career .573 slugging percentage. No one has ever denied that the Red Sox had some pop, but soon we will get to see just how much they do have.