Red Sox could increase offensive production by changing the batting order
By Earl Nash
Could Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora get more production by resetting his batting order? They may need to find ways if they don’t add a free agent bat.
One possible way for the Boston Red Sox to generate more runs in 2018, besides adding J. D. Martinez to the roster, is to reorganize the batting order.
Some believe that re-ordering the batters makes no difference and that you might as well just toss the names in a hat and draw them out, while others hold that there is an ideal order to gain optimum offensive production.
Regardless, it is fun to consider the numerous potential orders; just ask New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone:
"“Those little lineup things, they can happen at any time,” Boone told MLB Network Radio. “You could be sitting in traffic. You could be lying in bed and not fall asleep, grab out a pad and paper and scribble things down. That’s the fun part at this point, especially with some of the guys we have, picturing how they best go together in a lineup.”"
Baseball Reference provides an explanation of the traditional batting order and the expected role that each hitter will play.
One way to determine the best run-producing method is to align your hitters in order of Runs scored; here is a chart of all MLB batters and average runs scored by batting position in 2017:
[Source: FANTASY BASEBALL, Street & Smith’s, p. 9]
There’s a neat pattern from first to ninth; most to least.
Suppose Red Sox manager Alex Cora was to apply this scheme to his Opening Day batting order?
First, we need to adjust for Dever’s shorter season; we work out a runs per at-bat and multiply it times 500 at-bats and arrive at a figure of 77, which avoids slotting Moreland into the cleanup spot. Second, note that there is a tie at 58 with Ramirez and Bradley.
Mookie Betts 101 R
Xander Bogaerts 94 R
Andrew Benintendi 84 L
Rafael Devers 77 L
Mitch Moreland 73 L
Jackie Bradley 58 L
Hanley Ramirez 58 R
Dustin Pedroia 46 R
Christian Vasquez 43 R
Sandy Leon 32 L-R
Batting order savants would immediately point out that, to force the hand of the opposing manager in making pitching changes, you need to alternate your lefty and righty batters. If Cora were to follow that rationale, the batting order might look like this:
Betts 101 R
Benintendi 84 L
Bogaerts 94 R
Devers 77 L
Ramirez 58 R
Moreland 73 L
Pedroia 46 R
Bradley 58 L
Vasquez 43 R
Leon 32 L-R
If Vasquez is the starting catcher in his lineup, manager Cora has his other two backup catchers, Leon and Blake Swihart, both switch-hitters, on the bench, as well as lefty batters: Marco Hernandez, Tzu-Wei Lin, Brock Holt, and righty batters Deven Marrero, Bryce Brentz and Sam Travis.
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Meanwhile, “Down West,” the arch-rival Yankees have the luxury of toying with their Big Three hitters, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez.
Boone told MLB Network Radio that he plans to rotate the designated hitter spot between Judge, Stanton, and Sanchez, periodically allowing his catcher a half-day to get out from behind the plate. Judge and Stanton are expected to see time in left field this spring despite that neither has played the position in a big league game.
GOT home runs?
Unless they sign J. D. Martinez, the Red Sox “20-something” Bomb Squad would be: Betts , Ramirez , Moreland , Benintendi  with Devers a projectable  for the group.
The Bronx Bombers would have their Tres Grande: Stanton , Judge  and Sanchez .
No matter what order you put them in, the Bombers should earn their nickname.
Next: Red Sox: Mookie Betts arbitration was avoidable and management foolish
Martinez hit 45 home runs in 2017. Mr. Dombroski, are you feelin’ lucky?