The question of who would lead off for the 2014 Red Sox was a debate that raged through the offseason after Jacoby Ellsbury signed with the New York Yankees. The candidates appeared to be Daniel Nava and Shane Victorino, but with Nava struggling and Victorino injured to start the season, the Red Sox were forced to look at some unconventional options. Grady Sizemore and Jonny Gomes (what?) got some time in the leadoff spot, but the Red Sox appear to have found their answer to that offseason debate and he stands 5’9″ and weighs 180 pounds.
Dustin Pedroia has never spent a ton of time in the leadoff spot before, but he has hit his stride since moving up this season. The second baseman was slashing just .281/.326/.382 before his move up in the lineup, but has slashed .288/.383/.423 since and has pushed his slash line up to a respectable .276/.340/.386 on the season.
Before last night’s game against the Texas Rangers, Manager John Farrell had some words about Dustin Pedroia and the status of the leadoff spot in 2014.
Considering that he’s getting on base seemingly a couple times a night, he’s set the table for us. Given the personnel we have, he’s the one true legitimate candidate among the group to not only get on base, but to do some things, to set the table for not only [Shane Victorino] behind him, but certainly David [Ortiz] and Mike [Napoli]. Where we are, he’s the guy for us.
As long as Pedroia continues to roll along in the leadoff spot, it seems that he’ll remain there for a while. Since moving to the leadoff spot this season, Pedroia is walking at the highest rate of his career, though his season numbers still don’t look great because of his slow start. Before long, Pedroia will get back to his healthy form and re-initiate the laser show. When that happens, we’ll have a debate for Pedroia moving down in the order, but for now, leadoff is the best fit for the 30-year old second baseman.