Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia. As a Red Sox fan I go way back and cannot recall three players at the top of a Sox lineup who contribute as much offensively and defensively as a group. This is the best Troika in baseball.
First up is defense. All three are exceptional. All have Gold Gloves. All chart well on defensive metrics. Pitchers love them. All three have suffered a multitude of injuries thanks to their hell bent style. They are collectively and individually exceptional defensive players. Maybe the best at their positions in baseball.
Hitting. You will not see a load of long balls. David Ortiz may end up, in an average year, out totally the group. But you get consistent and draining at bats. Ellsbury (3.86), Victorino (3.83) and Pedroia (4.05) average almost 12 pitches per AB as a group. Four times through and you get near 50 pitches. In this day and age of forcing up pitch counts, which the Sox are exceptional at, the three are the linchpins for the rest of the lineup. They get to see pitches and that info is filtered down the lineup.
They hit for average. All three will hover around the .300 mark. All three will display mid range power with extra base hits. They will score runs and drive in runs. You will not see 100 RBI but you will see gap shots, wall balls and drives up the middle. And make a mistake and they will plant it in the seats. No batting titles. No RBI titles and certainly no home run titles. Just consistency.
I love what speed does to the opposition and the Red Sox have it 1-2-3. Best stolen base percentage in the league as a team. It starts with the troika. Not bad. Take a peek at how the defense shuffles around when any of the three are on base. The pressure all around is squarely placed on the defense when speed comes into play.
The Troika can beat you with speed. With the glove. With the bat. When all three are in unison the Red Sox are a very difficult team to defeat.