The top of the order will look a little different for the Red Sox next season with Mookie Betts no longer leading off.
Though Mookie Betts carried the title of most powerful leadoff hitter in 2018, it’s one he will relinquish in 2019.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced on Tuesday he will move the reigning A.l. MVP to the No. 2 spot and Andrew Benintendi will move up to the leadoff spot. Even though the Red Sox lineup certainly had no problems scoring runs last season en route to winning the World Series, sometimes it’s good to change things up a bit.
It seems like that is Cora’s main intention with this move.
Batting second in the lineup will be good for Betts who thrived in the leadoff spot with an OBP of .439 (highest of any leadoff hitter in MLB). Ultimately, Betts is too much of a power hitter for the role. He hit 32 homers and had 80 RBI in 2018, and had it not been for a midseason stint on the disabled list, those numbers might have been more in the 40-100 range.
Now with the opportunity to have a runner on base before he comes to the plate, Betts could see a significant increase in RBI next season.
Meanwhile, Benintendi should be a perfect fit in the leadoff spot. He’s much less of a power threat than Betts, but he’s a young hitter the Red Sox can count on to be a catalyst and get on base to start games. Last season, Benintendi recorded 168 hits, drove in 87 runs and stole 21 bases with 16 homers.
The Red Sox had the most productive offense in baseball last year, and that continued all the way through October as they won their fourth World Series in 14 years. This should be an interesting change to the lineup; one that could even help the Red Sox build on their monstrous offensive numbers from a year ago.