Buster Olney: Sox lineup is MLB's finest

December, 31, 2011
12/31/11
9:27
PM ET
ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney ranks the Red Sox lineup No. 1 in all of baseball:

Part 5 of this week's series examines the top 10 lineups in the big leagues for 2012 -- and it's all about run production:

(Here are the previous rankings: best starting rotations, best bullpens, best infields and best outfield.)

1. Boston Red Sox

The 2011 Red Sox will be remembered for their September collapse, for beer and fried chicken. But they also led the majors in runs, and there's no reason to think they won't continue to generate a whole lot of offense, with so many elite hitters -- Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, Carl Crawford. Run production won't be a problem.



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The offense will be potent, even if Boston doesn't end up getting much more than league-average production from shortstop (Marco Scutaro), catcher (Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach; possibly Ryan Lavarnway) and right field (Ryan Sweeney, Darnell McDonald and eventually Ryan Kalish after he recovers from surgery).

As Buster points out, the Red Sox are pretty strong 1-2-3-4-5-6 in the order. But what combination of the Big Six sticks is best? Cast your vote in the poll.

Did we totally miss the boat? Should Youk be batting third, no matter what? Weigh in on the comments section.

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