From what I have been reading about the Sox this coming season, the pitching staff is fantastic and the offense is potentially bad. While I think that diagnosis is potentially accurate, I wanted to poit out some optimistic points where others see failure.
- Jacoby Ellsbury was a rookie last year. He can run like no one on the Sox since Otis Nixon, he has that surprising power when he turns on a heater, he is a much-improved outfielder who might be a gold glover in a year or two, and he plays the game very hard and intelligently. Yet, there seems to be a feeling that he is a failure waiting to happen. I feel strongly that he will be a good leadoff man at worst. If he learns Damon-esque plate discipline, he's a star.
- Ortiz and Lowell are not yet dead. I don't expect either to hit more than 30 homers or knock in much more than 100 teammates, but they are both great hitters and Lowell is a great fielder. I expect them both to be productive. I admit that I fear that Ortiz is Mo Vaughn in waiting. However, Mo did have two more productive years after leaving the Sox for the Angels, which was when he was one year older than Papi is now. I also think Papi is a better athlete than Mo ever was. He has a couple good years in him yet.
- Oh my god, we don't have Manny anymore. Get over it. The problem with the belly aching here is that it it underestimates Jason Bay. The man is in the prime of his career and is likely to put up Manny-lite numbers this year while playing much better in the field, running much better on the basepaths, and not going inside the green monster during games. He is not Manny but he will be very productive.