Welcome to the 2018 World Series. The World Series is a clash of the best teams from both the American League as well as the National League. Those two teams are the Boston Red Sox from the American League and the Los Angeles Dodgers from the National League. Unfortunately for the American League team, that means that the Designated Hitter has their roster shuffling.
For the Boston Red Sox they are no exception to the shuffling. If you asked their two best players J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts what their fielding positions are, they would both say right field. So the problem obviously is that both of them can’t play right field, and now J.D. Martinez can no longer be the designated hitter when they take the trip to the west coast.
There’s really only two choices here. The Red Sox can slide Mookie Betts to center field and take Jackie Bradley Jr. (the ALCS MVP) out of the lineup, or they could stick Mookie at second base where he has started games earlier in his career before. The first option is something that they have felt comfortable doing against the National League throughout the season.
Jackie Bradley Jr. has been so important to both the end of the lineup as well as setting the table for the top of the order. Mookie Betts has played some second base this season for the Red Sox. During the 2014 season, when Dustin Pedroia missed significant time due to injury, the Red Sox brought up a young Mookie Betts to play 14 games at second base. This was all due to the fact that Betts had come up and through the minors as a second baseman. On August 3, Ian Kinsler had an in-game injury against the New York Yankees. Mookie Betts played the final six innings at second. Mookie Betts playing at second base would free up a lineup that is already extremely set up.
What this does for the lineup:
If Mookie Betts were to play second base it would mean that Jackie Bradley Jr., J.D. Martinez and Andrew Benintendi would man the outfield. They would have an infield of Eduardo Nunez/ Rafael Devers/ Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and Steve Pearce/ Mitch Moreland. They would replace the second baseman’s bat that has left much to be desired in the playoffs and at the same time not have to sit one of their big bats.
The second basemen are hitting 11-for-39 in the postseason which comes out to .282. Of the 28 outs, they have struck out 14 times. Brock Holt statistically has proven to be the best second baseman this postseason, however, Kinsler is striking out in nearly half his postseason at-bats and the majority of them are against left-handed pitchers. If Mookie Betts could sub in for anyone at second base it would have to be Ian Kinsler against a left-handed pitcher (Kershaw, Hill).
Replacing the ALCS MVP:
Despite Jackie Bradley Jr. hitting just .185 in the postseason, he had some timely hits for the bottom of the Red Sox. Replacing “JBJ” would mean that Mookie would play center field and J.D. Martinez would play right field. Typically the Red Sox would do this without a doubt, however, Jackie Bradley showed some pop hitting two timely home runs and delivering a bases-clearing double back in Game 2 of the ALCS. He has driven in nine runs in five games and makes it very difficult to take him out of the starting lineup.
The Red Sox would benefit immensely from not taking Jackie Bradley Jr.’s bat out of the lineup. Ian Kinsler and Brock Holt provide a spark, but that same spark can be provided late innings in a smaller role. Mookie Betts should get at least one start at second base in the World Series. Despite it being a head-scratching move, Alex Cora would be riding the hot hand. A move that could bring the trophy home to Boston.
Featured image from Boston Herald.
“From Our Haus to Yours”