Manager Alex Cora said on Tuesday that he will flip outfielders Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts in the batting order next season, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reports. In Boston’s 2018 championship season, Betts hit leadoff and Benintendi hit second. Benintendi will now lead off and Betts will bat second.
The move makes sense. While both players have speed and good on-base skills, Betts has more power, so having him come up to the plate with runners on base will help score a few extra runs over the course of a season.
Betts, who won the 2018 AL MVP Award, won the batting title, batting .346/.438/.640 with 32 home runs, 80 RBI, a major league-best 129 runs scored, and 30 stolen bases in 614 plate appearances. Benintendi, in 661 trips to the plate, hit .290/.366/.465 with 16 home runs, 87 RBI, 103 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases.
We’ve talked a lot about Curt Schilling’s Hall of Fame candidacy over the years.
Bill has argued that, if voters are going to use the character clause to keep certain players out, they should keep Curt Schilling out. I’ve differed on that, not because I think Schilling is a good person — he’s loathsome, actually — but because I find the character clause to be illegitimate and would never, if I had a vote, use it to impact my vote. So, yes, I’d put Schilling on my ballot if I had one.
I’m not alone in this, of course. At the moment Schilling has support on about 72% of ballots which have been made public. My guess is that he’ll fall a tad short when results are announced tomorrow — non-public ballots tend to include fewer players on them — but we’ll see.
I am not the only non-BBWAA member who would vote for Schilling. He’s got some top level support too. From the President of the United States:
Ballots had to be submitted by December 31, so it’s not like this is gonna have any impact on the vote totals. If it came earlier, though, one wonders if it would. And one wonders if that’d help Schilling or hurt him.