My projected 2010 lineup is…
Ellsbury has to lead off, at least to start the season. He earned that right with his stolen base prowess last year. I love Pedroia in the two hole. He is going to work the count, give Jacoby a chance to take a base, and hit the ball hard, allowing any runners on (Ellsbury or Scutaro) to take multiple bases.
I like Martinez in the three slot because it assures him of a plate appearance in the first inning. That way, he knows he’s up, and doesn’t have to worry about getting catchers gear on. If you move him down, he has to go to 5 or 6, and I don’t think that is as valuable.
Ortiz is an interesting one. He has had a full offseason to work, and hasn’t been hampered by surgery like he was last year. He could return to true Papi form, which would be fantastic. The whole team is better when he has a smile on his face. As for my decision to hit him 4th? Give him some credit, and let him start the year there. If he does poorly, you have to keep him on a shorter leash than last year, but he has earned the opportunity to show what he can do out of the gate. I have him 4th over 5th, because you need to have Kevin Youkilis behind Ortiz. He is the best protection option. It could be argued that Drew is decent protection, but pitchers are wising up to Youk, and he’s going to make them work harder and throw more pitches if they try to “work around him”. If a pitcher were to intentionally walk Ortiz, they could potentially throw 10 pitches to Youk, only to walk him too. 14 pitches, and two men on can do some damage to a pitcher. So I like the Ortiz/Youk combo at 4-5 instead of 5-6.
Up 6th, JD Drew. Nice to have some power behind Youk too. If you do get those 2 walks, somebody has to drive them in.
Beltre/Cameron can be mixed around. I don’t know them well enough to specifically say one should be over the other. I like the idea of Beltre first, but I think there is flexibility there.
And 9th, Scutaro, the “2nd leadoff” man. With decent OBP numbers, he could be a frequent run scorer the 2nd and 3rd times through the order.