Baseball is finally here. While Spring Training can hold people off, many are fiending for the season to start. We're right there with you. We look forward to the brutal grind of the baseball season. The braintrust behind Ted's Army came together and put out expectations for our beloved Boston Red Sox and how they would fair in the 2013 campaign. Without further ado... I give you the third and final part of the Ted's Army season preview.
Who will be the “10th-man” of the year?
Tucker Silva: Brock Holt. He will most likely not begin the year with the club, but Holt will make is way to the majors in June (I base that on absolutely nothing). In 24 games with the Pirates, Holt made a little noise batting .292. He won’t have glaring stats with the Red Sox, but he’ll develop to be a bench guy Farrell can rely on.
Nick Karalis: Daniel Nava. If he sticks around the entire season, he will be a valuable asset with his newly acquired versatility to play the OF and 1B. He gives 110% every game and has the potential to put up some good offensive numbers.
Aaron Gettings: CIRIACO(!!!) Not only was he one of the only Sox players worth watching as last season was winding down, he had a knack for coming through in big spots. While the organization was crumbling around him, Ciraco showed heart, hustle, energy, and just a general sense of fun. Even in a reduced role, I see no reason Ciraco can't have a major impact on this Sox squad.
Ben Fountain: I have to agree with Aaron and say Pedro Ciriaco. He can play anywhere on the left side of the infield, and if we're desperate in the outfield. Busts his ass and became one of the more likable players last season. If he continues to play the way he did last year, he'll be incredibly valuble to this team.
Scott Priest: I'm contractually obligated to say Jose Iglesias, who should be the starting shortstop anyway. If Drew's concussions linger (and given how unpredictable concussions can be, I think we should assume they will), or if Pedroia gets hurt (as he seems to every year), I think we'll see Iglesias contribute positively to this team.
Or Pedro Martinez, if Rubby is tearing up the minors.
Who will be the team’s HR leader by season’s end?
Tucker: Will Middlebrooks. A wrist injury halted Middlebrooks tremendous rookie season, blasting 15 HR in 75 games. By hopefully avoiding the feared “sophomore slump”, Middlebrooks and the Green Monster will be BFF’s. Prediction: 32 HRs
Nick: Jarrod Saltalamacchia. We can’t count on the health of Ellsbury, Ortiz, or Napoli, so the next guy in line would be Salty. He will probably lead the team in homers and strikeouts…if he doesn’t get traded first.
Aaron: It feels weird saying it could be anyone other than David Ortiz, but I just don't trust those wheels. Have to give the nod to Mike Napoli. He should be fun to watch.
Ben: I'm taking David Ortiz. Even with the Achilles injury limiting him to 90 games last year, he nearly the led the team with 23 homers. He'll be on the DL starting the season but in three of the past four seasons, he got off to a slow start. I'll be optimistic and project that he'll be in the lineup by the end of April and not have any setbacks, which could be asking a bit much from the 37 year old. If all that does come to fruition, he'll be in the 28-34 home run range.
Scott: Mike Napoli. I don't think Ortiz will play enough, and I don't think Ellsbury will ever hit more than 15 again.