Boston Red Sox: 5 Hitters Who Need to Step It Up

James Brown@@chasingballgameSenior Analyst IJune 17, 2011

Boston Red Sox: 5 Hitters Who Need to Step It Up

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    BOSTON, MA - APRIL 8:   J.D. Drew #7 of the Boston Red Sox knocks knocks in two runs with a single in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees on Opening Day at Fenway Park on April 8, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Image
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    The Boston Red Sox are sitting atop the standings in the American League East and are arguably one of the best teams in baseball.

    Adrian Gonzalez is a welcome addition to this team and has fit right in. He leads the league in batting average and is setting up to make a run at MVP.

    David Ortiz is in the top 10 in more than one category and has seemed to regain his intimidating stature at the plate.

    Jacoby Ellsbury is the prototypical leadoff hitter with speed to swipe bases and make opposing defenses nervous.

    With as much success as the Red Sox have had so far, it is scary to think they could be even better. The Red Sox have several players that need to step it up, and if they are able to, the potential for this team is unlimited.

J.D. Drew

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    ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 22:  J.D. Drew #7 of the Boston Red Sox reacts to a called strikeout at the plate in front of home plate unpire Larry Vanover #17 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the second inning at Angel Stadium on April 22, 2011 in
    Harry How/Getty Images

    One of the players who has really dropped off this season is J.D. Drew. In 53 games this season Drew has managed to hit a uninspiring .225.

    With plenty of protection in a lineup that is solid from top to bottom, Drew should produce, and these numbers are awful. Drew has just four home runs on the season and a pitiful 16 RBI. At this pace, Drew could be riding the pine in favor of the younger corps of Red Sox talent.

Marco Scutaro

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    BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 08:  Marco Scutaro #16 of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated after he hit a two run homer against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 8, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    The Red Sox did not expect too much from Scutaro this season, but all of that is about to change.

    At the start of the season his main job was to provide a steady veteran presence at shortstop until Jed Lowrie was ready to take over full-time. Lowrie was doing well and playing on a regular basis but got injured.

    Now it’s up to Scutaro to fill the void and step up his production. If Scutaro is going to be a dynamic member of the Red Sox lineup, he will need to improve on his putrid on-base percentage of just .319.

Mike Cameron

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    BOSTON, MA - MAY 22:  Mike Cameron #23 of the Boston Red Sox hits an RBI single in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs on May 22, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  Before this series, the two teams haven't played at Fenway Park since t
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Mike Cameron has had limited playing time, but he has not taken advantage of it.

    In 27 games the once speedy outfielder is hitting a pathetic .150. He has 80 at-bats, and 20 of those appearances ended in a strikeout.

    Cameron is a bench player that may be relegated to a pinch-running role if these numbers don’t improve.

Jason Varitek

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    NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 08:  Jason Varitek #33 of the Boston Red Sox in action during their game on June 8, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The captain is not an everyday player anymore and is sharing time with Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the dish. That is no excuse for the poor performance at the plate this season.

    As Josh Beckett’s personal catcher, Varitek will not be replaced this year, but his average is woeful at just .229. While he is not considered a main offensive weapon, if he were to step it up at the plate, the Red Sox would be tough to stop.

Carl Crawford

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    ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 14:  Outfielder Carl Crawford #13 of the Boston Red Sox fouls off a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on June 14, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Carl Crawford came over to Boston as a free agent in the offseason, and he did not come cheap.

    So far it’s been tough to justify spending all of that money on a player that has failed to live up to expectations. In his defense, the transition from Tampa to Boston could not have been easy, and he bounced around the lineup for the first month in a Red Sox uniform.

    Craw has started to come around but is still just batting .240 on the season and is third on the team in stolen bases. His on-base percentage is horrendous at just .273, and he will have to do some work to get out of this hole.

Changes Coming?

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    CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 15:  Jason Varitek #33 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with J.D. Drew #7 after scoring him with a two-run home run in the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians during Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Jac
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Many of the players on this list (besides Crawford) could be playing their last year in Boston.

    Drew is expendable and could be gone this year, and Scutaro will be gone once Lowrie is healthy. This is a team that could win the World Series. With weak spots in the lineup, other teams will try to take advantage of these players.

    If these players step up and take an active role in the lineup, the Red Sox could be nearly unbeatable in the postseason. The time is now for these players to step up and contribute to a championship run.

    James Brown is a B/R Featured Columnist. Feel free to contact James at