And now for something completely different: A story not revolving around Sir Iglesias, Andrew Miller's maladies or Bard's path towards starterdom.
WEEI's Kirk Minihane has made this pre-season's first Sox-centric prediction about 2012 (and thankfully it's nothing like last year's bevy of World Series guarantees that rained down in March). Minihane thinks that Adrian Gonzalez will win (which really should be achieve) the Triple Crown, which hasn't accomplished since Yaz did it 45 years ago.
Call it at least half a hunch, but Adrian Gonzalez is going to win the Triple Crown this season.
Three things have to happen for Gonzalez to join about as exclusive club as there is in professional sports (well, I mean three things other than leading the league in homers, RBI and batting average) -- he has to stay healthy, the other key guys in front of him in the lineup have to stay healthy and there can be no serious slump from Gonzalez. The idea that he "slumped" in the second half last year is a little overblown -- he did hit .317 with a .404 OBP -- but 10 homers and 40 RBI over a 70-game stretch isn't going to get it done.
I'd like to take a moment to make my own Triple Crown prediction. Instead of Gonzalez, I think that Nick Punto will win the Triple Crown.
Like Minihane laid out for Gonzalez, three things will also have to happen for Punto to win the award:
1. He will have to lead the league in batting average
2. He will have to lead the league in home runs
3. He will have to lead the league in RBIs
If those three things can come together for Punto, I think the Triple Crown is all but his.
Childish sarcasm aside, I agree with Minihane (to an extent). If anyone is going to walk away with the Triple Crown it is going to be Gonzalez. The usual suspect, Pujols, has a whole new league of pitchers to get comfortable with. He may be the odds on favorite next season, but with Gonzalez having a year to get comfortable in Boston, and with opposing pitchers, I wouldn't be shocked to see him do it.