For over a decade, David Ortiz has anchored the Red Sox lineup as its number three or cleanup hitter. The 39-year old lefty slugger is considered to be the best full-time designated hitter in baseball over the course of that time period. He combines a flair for the dramatic and an ability to deliver in the clutch with raw power to make himself a star in Boston. However, this year has been a down year for the Dominican slugger. The Red Sox have failed to provide him with significant protection in their batting lineup and he has failed to hit as well as he has in the past.
Graphic via boston
On July 31th, Ortiz is currently hitting a meagerly .245 with 20 home runs and 58 runs batted in. He ranks fifth among full time designated hitters in average, second in homers, and fourth in runs batted in. Ortiz’s struggles at the plate primarily reflect on his struggles to hit left handed pitching (his average against left handers is .185). He seems unable to get around on high inside fastballs and it looks like age is catching up to him.
While Ortiz may have lost some bat speed and is struggling at the plate, he still remains an effective and dangerous hitter who can change a game with one swing. He has tremendous power to center and right field and pitchers still must be careful not to make a mistake with him. He needs fourteen home runs to reach five hundred career homers. There is a good chance that he will be able to reach it this year and it should provide a nice milestone for his career.
Graphic via survivinggrady