Out of the Box: Red Hot Sox

Updated: June 6, 2007, 1:03 PM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com
For as much as I've enjoyed Kevin Youkilis' numbers hitting in the No. 2 spot in the Red Sox's lineup, I don't think it's at all a bad idea for the team to drop him lower in the order. Putting Youkilis into a run-producing spot, which Boston has done in each of the past four nights, could be a mutually beneficial move.

Ultimately, while Youkilis' on-base ability proved valuable in the No. 2 hole, maximizing RBI chances for Nos. 3 and 4 hitters David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, it's clear the kid is more than a mere walker. By now, surely you're familiar with Youkilis' nickname, the "Greek God of Walks," but today, that epithet no longer does him justice. Now 28, Youkilis has developed into a bona fide slugger, placing in the top 25 in MLB in slugging percentage (.540) and registering a respectable .192 mark in isolated power through Monday, better than Ramirez's .181 and not far off Ortiz's .270. Keeping him at No. 2, in a sense, would be a bit of a waste, with both Ortiz and Ramirez each reaching base nearly 40 percent of the time.

Youkilis' transition from walker to hitter isn't the only reason such a switch makes sense; the other is the emergence of Dustin Pedroia, who quite capable of being effective hitting second.


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