EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

October 3, 2013

Smitty's breakdown of Sox playoff roster

These are profiles of the 25 players who Eagle-Tribune baseball writer Christopher Smith believes will make the postseason roster. The roster must be finalized today.

DAVID ORTIZ

Position: Designated hitter

Key stats: 30 homers, 103 RBIs, .309 average, .395 OBP, .564 slugging percentage

Trademarks: Face of franchise, clutch hitting, yelling “This is our (expletive) city” before first home game after Boston Marathon terrorist bombings.

Smitty’s comment: Proved the doubters wrong by remaining healthy and being offensive MVP.

JARROD SALTALAMACCHIA

Position: Catcher

Key stats: Career-high 40 doubles, most ever for a Sox catcher.

Trademarks: Long, curly hair, tattoos ... being the captain on the field, according to David Ross.

Smitty’s comment: Has improved offensively and defensively. Unsung performer all year.

DAVID ROSS

Position: Catcher

Key stats: 3.12 catcher’s ERA, 41 percent caught-stealing rate

Trademarks: Big smile, personality, tendency to always be talking, strong defense, leadership.

Smitty’s comment: Offensive numbers don’t do him justice. He’s another coach.

MIKE NAPOLI

Position: First base

Key stats: Three grand slams and one walk-off homer

Trademarks: Longest beard on Red Sox, mother’s signature being tattooed on arm, beard pulling skills

Smitty’s comment: Yes, he set the Red Sox strikeout record (187) but his power arguably evens it out.

DUSTIN PEDROIA

Position: Second base

Key stats: Led MLB second baseman with 15 defensive runs saved and tied for best fielding percentage (.993).

Trademarks: Grittiness, toughness, Gold Glove defense, sarcasm

Smitty’s comment: Has struggled some offensively in the second half probably due to injured thumb, but heart and soul of team

WILL MIDDLEBROOKS

Position: Third base

Key stats: Batted .276/.329/.476/.805 with 8 homers and 24 RBIs in 158 plate appearances after return from Pawtucket.

Trademarks: Free-swinging approach, tremendous power/strength, outgoing personality

Smitty’s comment: Has looked great at the plate after a horrific start in which he was demoted to Triple-A. As a ninth batter, he’s a stud.

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