The 2010 Boston Red Sox probable line-up card as proposed by Boston.com…
1. Jacoby Ellsbury
2009 defensive stats: 150 starts (center), .994 FPCT, 2 errors.
Ellsbury played only center field last season, but he started 36 games in 2008 in left field and 15 in ’07. Francona said Ellsbury was initially disappointed about his switch, but he’ll be entering the season never having committed an error in left.
As the leadoff hitter, he improved his on-base percentage from .336 in ’08 to .355 last year. The Red Sox would like to see another such leap this year.
2. Dustin Pedroia
2009 defensive stats: 154 starts, .991 FPCT, 6 errors.
Pedroia said last year he hoped to play 162 games; he played 154 after playing 155 in his MVP season in ’08. In other words: Good luck convincing him to take a day off, Tito.
Offensively, Pedroia is as good as it gets as a No. 2 hitter, batting .296 with 15 homers and 72 RBIs last season in his follow-up to his AL MVP-winning campaign in 2008.
3. Victor Martinez
2009 defensive stats: 82 starts, .982 FPCT, 4 errors.
Martinez, who was sensational after coming over from the Indians at the trading deadline last July, will get the majority of the starts behind the plate, with captain Jason Varitek serving as the capable veteran backup.
Neither is a particularly adept defensive catcher — they combined to throw out 13 percent of basestealers last season — but both are respected by pitchers, and the switch-hitting Martinez’s offensive prowess will give the Sox far better production from the position over a full season than they had a year ago.
4. Kevin Youkils
2009 defensive stats: 77 starts, .998 FPCT, 1 error.
Youkilis, a Gold Glove winner in 2008, started most of his games at first base a season ago and was nearly flawless. With the defensively brilliant Adrian Beltre signed to play third base every day, Youkilis won’t have to shuffle between corner infield positions this season.
At the plate, he should remain one of the premier offensive players in the AL. Last year, he hit .305 with 27 homers, 94 RBIs, and a .961 OPS.
5. David Ortiz
2009 stats: 150 games, 541 at-bats, .238 average.
Ortiz will start the majority of games at DH, but it’s possible Mike Lowell, if he’s somehow not traded once he recovers from thumb surgery, will see starts against lefthanded starters.
The Red Sox, who have lost Jason Bay’s 36 homers and 119 RBIs, are counting on Ortiz to have fewer peaks and valleys than he did last season, when he hit .238 with 28 homers and 99 RBIs despite starting the season in a horrific slump.
6. J.D. Drew
2009 defensive stats: 124 starts, .992 FPCT, 2 errors.
Drew isn’t flashy, but he plays a very steady right field, has an accurate arm, and rarely makes a mistake.
Last season, he batted .279 with a .392 on-base percentage, a .914 OPS, and 24 home runs. While he not known as durable, he did play 137 games last season.
7. Adrian Beltre
2009 defensive stats: 110 starts, .959 FPCT, 14 errors.
Beltre, a tremendous, spectacular defensive player, takes over for the popular Mike Lowell, who lost most of his range last season as he recovered from hip surgery.
Beltre, 31, hit 25 or more home runs from 2006-08 with the Mariners, but fell to eight last year as he was hampered by injuries. The Sox believe his power will be enhanced by playing half of his games at Fenway rather than cavernous Safeco.
8. Mike Cameron
2009 defensive stats: 146 starts, .990 FPCT, 4 errors.
Cameron, a two-time Gold Glove winner with a knack for the spectacular and excellent range even at age 36, bumps Ellsbury to left field, meaning the Sox should have all the gaps covered.
He is a lifetime .250 hitter who batted — yep — .250 last season. But he has legitimate power — he has hit at least 19 homers in all but one season since 1998.
9. Marco Scutaro
2009 defensive stats: 143 starts, .984 FPCT, 10 errors.
All of Scutaro’s starts came at shorstop, but if need be he can play second base. Scutaro committed 10 errors at short, but that’s still 15 fewer than the number of errors combined from Red Sox shortstops in 2009.
Jon Lester: 32 starts, 15 wins, 203.1 IP
John Lackey 27 starts, 11 wins, 176.1 IP
Josh Beckett 32 starts, 17 wins, 212.1 IP
Clay Buchholz 16 starts, 7 wins, 92 IP
Daisuke Matsuzaka 12 starts, 4 wins, 59.1 IP
Both Buchholz and Matsuzaka had their ups and downs in 2009. Both pitchers might be top three starters on any other team, but it’s probable that Matsuzaka will be the fourth starter, and Buchholz the fifth. Both have a high upside, but both also have a lot to prove.