Jacoby Ellsbury entered spring training with a little something to prove after being limited to just 18 games last season due to fractured ribs. Fortunately for the Red Sox, he’s been the best player in camp thus far.
Ellsbury is batting .429 over his first 35 at-bats this spring, leading the team in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, hits, total bases and runs scored.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona understandably likes what he’s seeing. He told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe this morning that Ellsbury will likely bat leadoff this season.
Some have argued that the Red Sox would be better served to use Dustin Pedroia out of the leadoff spot since he gets on base more often than Ellsbury. Under this scenario, the Red Sox would have Pedroia, Carl Crawford, Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz in the first five spots of the batting order with Jacoby Ellsbury functioning as a second leadoff hitter of sorts out of the No. 9 hole. Assuming the Red Sox have Ellsbury lead off most of the time, we’ll likely see Pedroia second, followed by Crawford, Gonzalez, Youkilis and Ortiz.
One thing’s for sure, you won’t find any managers who have pity for Francona. This lineup has a chance to be a juggernaut, no matter who bats where.