Time to Move on From Mike Napoli?

Mike Napoli

The Boston Red Sox 2015 campaign is in full force and their lineup has been pretty much what we expected it to be to this point. One guy who just hasn’t been able to come around at the plate, and continues to punch out almost two times a game, happens to be Mike Napoli.

Napoli’s struggles this year aren’t anything new, but they come as a bit of concern. Napoli batted .248 last season which was the second lowest average of his careerMike Napoli dating back to 2007. Napoli also accumulated a slugging percentage of .419 which was the lowest of his career. There was no hiding it—Mike Napoli struggled big time in 2014, but so did a lot of Red Sox hitters. The concern that I have is that Napoli had facial reconstruction during the off season to help cure his sleep apnea issue that has been haunting him for much of his career. Napoli decided to get the surgery during the off season because his struggles at the plate were magnified by the Red Sox struggles as a team. Napoli seemed like he had turned the corner, and was ready to really break out in 2015 as he hit above .300 this spring with a couple of home runs, but he’s back to the same.

Napoli is currently hitting .132 on the season with no home runs and no runs batted in and is posting a .267 on base percentage to go with a .184 slugging percentage. Yes, Napoli is great with his glove and draws a lot of walks, but he’s hitting in the heart of the Red Sox order and is being called on to drive in runs which he is not.

My solution to this would be giving Allen Craig a shot at first base for a series or two. I am higher on Craig than a lot of people, I think. Craig to me is a star sitting behind an aging veteran who is just not getting the job done. Baseball fans seem to forget that while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013, Craig hit .315 with 14 home runs and 96 runs batted in. The year before that Craig hit .307 with 22 home runs and 92 runs batted in. Both years Craig was in the middle of a heated NL MVP candidacy, but lost out. I don’t know how many Red Sox fans I speak for, but I think it’s time to give Craig a shot; if he can be half of what he used to be I’ll take it.

Mike Napoli Undergoing Surgery for Sleep Disorder

Mike Napoli The Boston Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli is dealing with an obscure ailment that he hopes to alleviate with surgery on November 4th. The veteran slugger has sleep apnea which involves an obstruction in your breathing airways while you are sleeping. For Napoli, he is receiving bimaxillary advancement surgery to hopefully cure his condition.

The near 32-year-old struggled in 2014 while only playing in 119 contests. He hit 17 home runs and drove in 55 RBI. He only hit .248 on the season with a .789 OPS.

Over the limited season for Napoli, he missed time with finger, knee, toe and back injuries and did not provide much protection to David Ortiz in the Red Sox lineup. The first baseman has struggled to stay healthy and be a major part of any offense the last several seasons.

Yoenis Cespedes is the cleanup hitter right now to Ortiz, and Napoli will have to prove that he is healthy enough to be a productive part of a Red Sox lineup that struggled to score runs on a consistent basis in 2014.

If the Red Sox hope to contend in 2015, then Napoli needs to be healthy and productive and this surgery could help him rest easier at night during the season.