Red Sox: Where Eduardo Nunez fits with Dustin Pedroia returning

BOSTON, MA - JULY 31: Eduardo Nunez
BOSTON, MA - JULY 31: Eduardo Nunez /

With Dustin Pedroia returning from the DL, Eduardo Nunez needs to find a spot in the lineup. What position will he fit into the best?

Eduardo Nunez has been on an absolute tear for the Boston Red Sox since joining the team just before the deadline. In nine games with the club, he’s hit .380 and has provided a spark along with rookie Rafael Devers that has led the team to a six game winning streak and three game lead in the division. He’s easily been one of the hottest players in the league as of late, and his bat is certainly needed in the lineup.

However, with Dustin Pedroia returning to the team, possibly as soon as Tuesday, there doesn’t seem like there is a set position for Nunez heading forward. Luckily, Nunez is incredibly versatile; he can play anywhere in the infield, except he hasn’t had time at first base.

With Mitch Moreland an uncertainty, manager John Farrell could look into trying him at first base in order to keep giving him at-bats. A downside is that could put extra pressure on him as he tries to learn the position, and take his focus off of hitting. Moving a player to a position he is unfamiliar with is always risky, but his capability of playing other positions means he may be able to make the transition easier than another player might.

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A feasible solution to this is if Hanley Ramirez would welcome playing first so that Nunez and Devers can alternate at DH and third base. (However, putting a player so young at DH may not be something the team wants to do.) Putting the recently injured Pedroia in the DH role couldn’t hurt as well to minimize his workload returning from the DL.

Also, he could give Xander Bogaerts a rest at shortstop, as he has faltered in the second half. Bogaerts since the beginning of July has hit just .175, which could partially have attributed to getting hit in the hand just before the All-Star break. In recent games, he’s mustered together a hitting streak of seven games; however, there is only one multi-hit game in that span. If the slump returns, a few days off like the team did for Andrew Benintendi recently and Jackie Bradley Jr. earlier in the season, could work for him as well as keep Nunez at a position that we know he can perform at.

Lastly, a few days out in left field, especially in away parks (as the green monster is a problem on its own) could work as well. He has experience as a corner outfielder and would be an option to sitting Benintendi a bit if he continues to run himself into outs, which is a problem in itself. I believe his defensive ability could even carry over the outfield if needed, and he is only a bonus on the base paths as opposed to the reckless Benintendi.

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Wherever Farrell decides to put Nunez in the field, his bat is needed in this lineup. Hitting at this pace is obviously not something that is sustainable, but Nunez has a .320 average for the season, and his power has only become relevant with the trade to Boston which is clearly a much more hitter friendly park than At&t Park in San Francisco. In a home park that is only better for him to hit in, one can expect his season stats to at least stay level.