Saturday, March 25, 2006

Around the horn - 3rd Base

Quick hits here...Sox yankees played the other day and threw balls at each other. Unfortunately Shilling wasn't there to practice his inside fastball on someone's head. Wily Mo hit the ball far; Adam Stern is making a case for himself with yet another great game; Damon looks like a douchbag; there are rumblings of a Mohr for Rheal Cormier trade with the Phillies; Schilling 'felt good' while giving up 5 runs to minor leaguers; and Foulke looked good in his minor leagur outing. All and all, not too shabby for 9 days until opening day. Also, Rocket will be at the Texas opener game, invited by Rangers owner Tom Hicks so hopefully the Sox can put on a show.

But here it is

Around the Horn - 3rd Base

Mike Lowell, Alex Cora, Kevin Youkilis

Ok, first Lowell. The overpaid veteran has been stellar defensively and rather unimpressive offensively thus far this spring and last year. Acquired in the Beckett trade, Lowell brings another veteren (and completely new) face to the Sox. Last year Lowell won his first gold glove of his career, but struggled something might at the plate hitting .236 and sluggng .360. So far this spring is hitting .270 and slugging .405 with no HR and 1 RBI in 14 games. With luck, we will get around a .270 - .275 average out of Lowell with some great defense from the right hander. While he has put up some good numbers in the past, he has never hit better than .293 and has a career average of .272. His high in homeruns was in a breakout 2003 where he had 32 HRs and 105 RBIs, but last year was a huge drop for Lowell in nearly every offensive catagory. Despite last years woes, we can expect good defense from the hot corner and we can hope that the inviting wall in Left brings a resugence of Lowell circa 2003. Expect Mikey to hit at the bottom of the order, making a decent 7 8 hitter.

Alex Cora. Cora is our utility everywhere player; he is second on the depth chart on 2nd, SS and 3rd. This spring, he is hitting .214 while slugging .500. Cora is not a bopper, nor a massive offensive threat. However standing at 6'0 and weighing a nifty 200, the utility man is ideal for his role of back up everywhere. Slick defensively, Cora is pretty much everything you want out of your backup. His weaknesses as a utility player are his speed (not terribly fast but is able to pick his moments going 7 for 9 last year as a backup in Boston) and his bat. While there are, in my opinion, better utility players (Chone Figgins of the Angels) Cora is up there in terms of fielding and versatility. Career fielding percentages are as follows : 2nd in 385 games at .982, SS in 373 games at .970 and 3rd in 5 games at .750. His inexperience could hurt him at 3rd, but there is always Youk who could switch over from first in a pinch. Expectations for Cora at 3rd? Adequate replacement for Lowell who will definetly need his days off. Overall his versatiltity adds much to his value. He also has minor (one game) in the outfield.

Officially, Tony Graf. is 3rd on the depth chart, but I am going to assume he is outta here soon, probably to the Mets considering their woes with Matsui and the retirement of Boone. So I put Youk as the emergency option at third, but I'll look at him when I get to the 1st basemen.

Overall at 3rd base : C+

offensively C-
defensively B-

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