Kevin Youkilis didn't come into the Red Sox' system as a first baseman. But, after a series of circumstances that brought All-Star third basemen Mike Lowell and Adrian Beltre to the team, Youkilis happily deferred to his teammates and left his natural position to go play first base.
After six years with the big team, he's finally getting his chance to go home.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes today that Youkilis is embracing his chance to play third base, where he played for four years at the University of Cincinnati and during his time coming up in the Red Sox' system.
In Youkilis, the Red Sox are getting an upgrade over Beltre offensively -- despite batting .307 to Beltre's .321 last season, Youkilis had higher slugging and on-base percentages and is a .294 career hitter to Beltre's .275. They're also getting a stellar defensive infielder -- in 219 games at third base in his career, Youkilis is a .966 fielder. Beltre is .957.
While Beltre's WAR (42.5) dwarf's Youkilis' 25.4, over the past five years Beltre has only been an 18. In that same time - really, since Youkilis started playing full seasons in Boston - he's a 23.2.
Now, if only Adrian Gonzalez was an improvement upon Lars Anderson ...