Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hot Stove Talk

There's been a lot of Hot Stove talk surrounding the Red Sox and I want to touch on a lot of it, if I have the time. Maybe I'll split this into 2 posts. Feel free to post a comment with your opinions. I'd be glad to hear them.

Daisuke Matsuzaka/Barry Zito: I'm very excited about Para-Daisuke (think you've got a better nickname? Comment it below). You can pay $90 million for a crappy has-been like Barry Zito, all of which will go towards the cap, or you can pay $90 million for someone with a ton of potential, with only $40 million going towards the cap. Seems like an easy decision to me.

Zito pitched in an enormous park and his stats still sucked. Imagine him pitching in Boston or Texas? Here are the facts about Zito:
2006 stats: 16-10, 1.40 WHIP, and .257 BAA. He actually ranked 13th in the AL in BAA, which is pretty good, but his enormous number of walks (99) shot his WHIP way up. He lead the AL in walks, finishing with 15 more than runner-up Gil Meche. Josh Beckett was 4th, with 74. Teammate Dan Haren pitched 2 more innings than Zito but finished with half as many walks (49). Your AL Cy Young winner, Johan Santana, pitched 12.2 more innings and finished with 52 fewer walks.

Let's put his WHIP into perspective. Zito's 1.40 ERA tied him with Kris Benson and was worse than Vicente Padilla's, Kevin Millwood, and Josh Beckett (1.29), among many others.

Zito throws 16.6 pitches per inning. Throw him into the rotation with Beckett and Schilling, who are also high (but not that high!), and you wear out your bullpen.

Now for the downward trend of his stats. When you're signing a free agent pitcher, you want his stats to either be trending upwards or staying the same. At Zito's age (29 in May), they should be steadily improving. But that's not the case. In the following comparisons, the stats go in chronological order, like 2002/2003/2004/2005/2006.

Strikeouts per 9 innings: 8.61/7.14/5.67/6.89/6.74/6.15. Bad trend there.
K/BB: 2.56/2.33/1.66/2.01/1.92/1.53. Again.
BAA: .218/.219/.263/.221/.257

He appeared to have a major down year the season after his Cy Young (2002), then went back up a little, but has steadily gone back down each year since.

His ERA is 4.05 over the past 3 seasons and 4.21 after the All-Star break. Not too impressive.

How about the AL East the past 3 seasons? In 8 games started against the Yankees, he's 1-5 with a 7.-1 ERA. In 4 games against Baltimore, he's 2-2 with a 4.38 ERA. Against Tampa Bay, he's 2-1 with a 4.07 in 5 starts. He's fared well in 2 starts against Toronto. In 3 Fenway appearances in those 3 seasons, he has been hammered for a 7.20 ERA.

His career record is 102-63, which is a solid 39 games over .500, but only 9 games over .500 in his past 4 seasons. His record averages approximately 14-12 over those years. Is that worth $17 million per year? No.

Now onto Matsuzaka. This guy won the MVP of the WBC, an impressive feat in itself. Wikipedia has some interesting facts about the guy, too. He has averaged 4 fewer losses per season and 0.5 more wins than Zito over the past 4 seasons. His innings have stayed pretty consistent while his hits have dropped from 165 to 138. His walks have dropped from 63 to 34 and his WHIP from 1.18 to 0.92. His ERA trend is from 3.97 to 2.13. Those are staggering numbers, even if they are in Japan. Let's attempt to adjust for the American League difference. I don't have any proof to back this up, but I'd say a 3.50 ERA and 16 wins are pretty reasonable if his game translates to America and all sources think it should. You'd take that, right? I certainly would.

The Sox have been scouting in Japan for a while and all scouts seem to think this guy is the real deal. Don't worry about how much they paid for him. John Henry has the money. They're more worried about the salary cap than they are laying out sums of cash.

I think the Sox have a formidable rotation for 2007 and beyond and I'm excited about it. I hope Beckett shows that Cy Young promise that Peter Gammons wrote about before 2006.

J.D. Drew: I like Drew, but like everyone else am worried about giving this guy a 4 year deal. And no, I don't care that it's for more than they could have paid Damon. This year's market is completely different what with the increase in the salary cap and the huge dollars coming from MLB.

Here's what's to like about Drew: how about a steady .900 OPS hitting behind and protecting Big Papi? The guy has some power, averaging more than a home run every 20 at-bats, meaning 25 homers in a full, 500 at-bat season. And yes, he's reached 500 at-bats in 2 of the last 3 seasons, averaging 25.5 homers and 96.5 RBI in those 2 seasons. He sees a lot of pitches and walks a lot, drawing comparisons to Trot Nixon, but he has a lot more power.

Among all MLB right fielders, Drew ranked 5th (barely behind Ichiro) in Zone Rating at .891, meaning he gets to more balls than most guys. Trot Nixon was at .873, which would have been 8th had he played enough innings to qualify.

What not to like: he averages around 110 games per season and is considered to be the ultimate "non-gamer." Do we really need Manny and this guy on the same team? At least Manny plays 150 games a season, which Drew has never done. His BA, OBP, SLG, and OBP have all steadily declined over the past 3 seasons. He's 31, so he's not likely to improve from season to season as much anymore.

Can he hit in the AL? Tough to say. He bats .164 against curveballs and I'd imagine he'd see more in the AL. Can anyone help with that one?

Coming up tomorrow or this weekend: Manny, Lugo, Meche, Eaton, Speier, and my desired 2007 team. And no, I'm not going to touch Clemens.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

My Trip to Fenway

I got to go to Fenway for last night's game against the Devil Rays. We had great seats, courtesy of my friend Matt. Beckett pitched great through the first 6 innings, keeping his pitch count low and strikeouts high, but imploded in the 7th. I had a little bit of a fan's dilemma: I am currently in the finals of my fantasy baseball league, playing against a guy who sabotaged his team halfway through the season because he got fired from the company I work for, then came begging back to me to let him back in and I relented. So now he's got a sizeable lead on me in the finals and he had Beckett starting for his team last night. Now, I would normally NEVER root against the Sox or one of their pitchers. I have never let fantasy baseball get in the way of my real allegiances. But a couple of things were going against that last night: the Sox are waaaaaaay out of the race for the playoffs and I didn't want Beckett padding his stats so his season looked better than it really was. I know this is mean and cynical, but if he had pitched well last night and dropped his ERA to say 4.60 and finished the year 17-10, that looks a hell of a lot better than 16-11 with an ERA above 5, right? And the latter is more a more accurate portrayal of how his season went.

I know, I'll get e-mails from fans (or Paul Hughes - see my last post) telling me I'm a fair weather fan. I'm not. I watched every single game for 3 straight summers during their bad years at the beginning of this century. I still watch them now on NESN at night. I love the Sox, good or bad.

As for the rest of the game, some notes:
  • I enjoyed seeing David Murphy and I hope he is our 4th outfielder in 2007.
  • The stands were packed, even for a meaningless game on a Wednesday night at the end of the season.
  • Wily Mo Pena looked AWFUL. I think he struck out in every at-bat. Same goes for Varitek.
  • Big Papi is the only draw for this team right now. Even when the team was down 11-0, the fans stayed, knowing he'd be leading off the bottom of the 8th. He got a huge standing ovation here, even though he can't hit an eleven run homer, and chants of "MVP" filled the stadium. Great times.
  • Sweet Caroline is still sweet after all these years. If you haven't been to Fenway, this is a late-in-the-game staple and the fans join in and sing along. It never gets old.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Response to E-mail

I received an interesting e-mail this morning that I feel the need to respond to:

Hey you-You have the weakest,most pathetic,horrible web site I have ever seen in my life. You are just worthless and that nasty stuff you say about players-Damon-Pedro-Wakefield and some media, well let me tell you I'd like nothing better than to stare you right in the eye and throw you thru a window. You are a gutless piece of crap and are a disgrace to Red Sox Nation. You make me sick.You make vicious attacks on these guys and hide behind your keyboard like a coward!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Please pull the plug on the worst web site ever. Let's see if you have the balls to post this item- You creep!!!!!!! Paul Hughes Saco Maine

Paul,
Thanks for writing. I read this e-mail several hours ago and actually formulated a response similar to your style of writing and was going to be very rude in my response back. But I decided to think more about it and have decided to be a little more professional. I'll tackle each issue separately.
1. Damon/Pedro/Wakefield comments. Pedro has always been and will probably always be my favorite pitcher/baseball character of all time. I'm not sure what you're referring to her. I also love Tim Wakefield. If I had disparaging remarks about either of them, they were statistically/injury based and not opinion. I have been very clear about how much I like and respect these guys. As for Damon, I hope you're prepared to send a similar e-mail to bloggers and journalists everywhere because my opinion about him is extremely common.
2. As for being a disgrace, that's a bit strong. I've been doing my website for 6 months and yours is the first negative e-mail I've ever received. I have received constructie criticism, but nothing as nasty as yours.

If you don't like my site, there's a very simple solution: don't visit it. I have the consitutional right to post my opinions and you have the right to not read them. That's the beauty of this country. You wasted a lot of time writing that e-mail and all it did was motivate me to write more often on my site. It's a shame that you would take the time out of your day to attack me for my opinions or for objective analysis of statistics.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Red Sox Win Custody Dispute

Roxbury, MA (AP) - A seven-year-old boy was at the center of a Boston courtroom drama yesterday when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him. The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with child custody law and regulations requiring that family unity be maintained to the degree possible.

The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her. When the judge then suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried out that they also beat him.

After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him.

After two recesses to check legal references and confer with child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the Boston Red Sox, whom the boy firmly believes is not capable of beating anyone.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Big Extension for Timlin

2/3 of an inning, 6 hits, 4 runs. Quality relief work from Timlin.

In related news, Theo Epstein announced after the game that he had signed Timlin to a Tim Wakefield-like contract that will keep Timlin in Boston for many years to come. The deal was worth $9 million per year and is a club/player option each year. “Mike has become a Boston staple since he joined the club in 2003, performing nearly perfectly in each April since then.” When pressed on Timlin’s recent struggles, Epstein again pointed to how strong Timlin had been in April. “This guy is a workhorse. His ERA was really low in April. And no, he hasn’t pitched that great recently, but at least he’s been consistent. And he’s still relatively young compared to guys like Phil Neikro, Charlie Hough, and Nolan Ryan. Those guys were pitching until they were almost 50! And look at Julio Franco. I think he’s older than my dad! I think Timlin can make the Hall of Fame if he pitches 10 more seasons in Boston and far be it for me to deny him that opportunity. And this deal is only worth $9 million per year. That may seem like a lot now, but think about how much of a bargain it’ll be in 2015!” Local media members were speechless.

Epstein also announced that there would be upcoming announcements for the extensions of Julian Tavarez, Coco Crisp, and Josh Beckett. When it was mentioned that Crisp and Beckett had already been extended and Tavarez was already signed beyond this year, Epstein said that he just wanted to lock them up so they were still on this team when they finally became good players again. He also mentioned that the club had released Dustin Pedroia after he struggled in the big leagues and they had resigned Craig Grebeck. “I really feel like we need the veteran presence in the clubhouse and Craig provides that. Plus, I love his mullet. Dustin just hadn’t proved anything to me and I think I gave him enough time.”



*This is a joke, people.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sabotage?

After seeing Anibal Sanchez throw a no-hitter in his 13th career start and pitch extremely well all season, Hanley Ramirez blossom into a future long-term All-Star shortstop, Johnny Damon go on to be an MVP candidate, Josh Bard become a .325-hitting backup, Cla Meredith become a middle relief stud, Josh Beckett and Coco Crisp become busts, the Sox slipped out of contention before September started, etc, I'm wondering if maybe Theo Epstein was so angry with the Red Sox that he agreed to come back to them so he could sabotage their future. Now, I know that he didn't pull the trigger on all of these deals, but rumor around town was that he was still advising them while on hiatus. These lyrics seem quite appropriate right now:

I Can't Stand It I Know You Planned It
I'm Gonna Set It Straight, This Watergate
I Can't Stand Rocking When I'm In Here
Because Your Crystal Ball Ain't So Crystal Clear
So While You Sit Back and Wonder Why
I Got This Fucking Thorn In My Side
Oh My, It's A Mirage
I'm Tellin' Y'all It's Sabotage

So Listen Up 'Cause You Can't Say Nothin'
You'll Shut Me Down With A Push Of Your Button?
But Yo I'm Out And I'm Gone
I'll Tell You Now I Keep It On And On

'Cause What You See You Might Not Get
And We Can Bet So Don't You Get Souped Yet
You're Scheming On A Thing That's A Mirage
I'm Trying To Tell You Now It's Sabotage

Whyyy; Our Backs Are Now Against The Wall
Listen All Of Y'all It's A Sabotage
Listen All Of Y'all It's A Sabotage
Listen All Of Y'all It's A Sabotage
Listen All Of Y'all It's A Sabotage

I Can't Stand It, I Know You Planned It
But I'm Gonna Set It Straight This Watergate
But I Can't Stand Rockin' When I'm In This Place
Because I Feel Disgrace Because You're All In My Face
But Make No Mistakes And Switch Up My Channel
I'm Buddy Rich When I Fly Off The Handle
What Could It Be, It's A Mirage
You're Scheming On A Thing - That's Sabotage

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Back From the Brink

Like other Sox fans, I've recently suffered from a major dose of discouragement. But the way David Wells has performed this month (one of the few Sox players to play well, if at all) has brightened things up a bit for the Sox. He is now in line to be traded and the buyer appears to be the Padres, for a AAA catcher named George Kottaras. I'm sure Bosox West will be writing plenty about this soon, but I wanted to get my thoughts out there.

Look, 2006 is done. The Sox are making the right move here. Wells is not going to be playing for the Sox next year, so why not get something in return for him. His price is as high now as it's ever been due to the pitching market (Ramon Ortiz, anyone?), how he's performed this month, and the fact that he's a veteran with a ton of postseason experience.

Kottaras, a Greek-Canadian catcher, has progressed nicely at every minor league stop. His OPS has been over .800 at each level (his lowest is currently at AAA, where it's a very respectable .788 in just 18 games) and his OBP hovers right around .400, which is gold. The big knock on him is that he strikes out a lot, but the frequency with which he reaches base negates that and then some. He had 36 doubles last year at AA and 19 in just about a half season this year before being called up to AAA 6 weeks ago.

So why would the Sox want a catcher if they have Jason Varitek for 2 more years? Well, they'll need a backup for Varitek at some point and then someone to replace their Captain after 2008. They likely won't resign Varitek at that age when his contract is up. Kottaras is only 23 years old and could be the catcher of their future. He hit a double and a homer in the Futures Game this summer and is considered the second-best prospect in the Padres organization by Baseball America.

This sounds like a great deal right now, helping the Sox get younger while still maintaining their core. So, while this season's walls are crashing down around you, keep in mind that there is a bright future. I just hope they don't need to include any of their future in this trade.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Follow-up to Yesterday's Column

So yesterday's column about the reacquisition of Dougie M was listed on Deadspin.com in the Blogdome section and I got a lot of heat from other Sox fans. These Sox fans don't regularly read my blog/website, so they weren't aware that I am a staunch believer that the AL is a far superior league to the NL. I was talking about this before it was fashionable to do so. I said back in March that Arroyo being traded wouldn't be a bad thing and continued to stand by that assertion when he was an early Cy Young candidate. The NL sucks. Bill Simmons said it best in today's column: the NL should legalize steroids so they can compete with the AL.

My point is that I should have qualified my remarks by saying that Bard and Meredith wouldn't have such great stats in the AL, but they would still be good. Say, a 3.00 ERA for Meredith with a 1.10 WHIP, and a .260-.280 batting average and .350 OBP for Bard. Both of these would have been major improvements.

Onto other things, I thought the Sox/Angels game 3 was a sure loss for the Sox since they were facing the immortal Jered Weaver. That guy is good. I wonder if he'll ever play for the Yankees and go through what his brother did. Tons of potential, then went to the Yankees and completely destroyed his career. I just wish the Yankees had to face the younger Weaver this week, but they get to miss him. Luckily, the Sox managed to squeak out the game. And don't think Mike Timlin didn't try to blow it. He did. He was only able to allow one inheritied runner to score, though, as Doug Mirabelli had a brilliant deke on a throw home by Wily Mo Pain-ya on the second inherited runner. I think Timlin goes into a game and says, "Shit, there are guys on base. I hate working with guys on base." And thinks of the quickest way to get them off the basepaths. Most of the time, this involves allowing them to score. At least he's efficient about it.

So I'm absolutely obsessed with baseball and have limited myself to just two fantasy baseball leagues per year since my son was born 2.5 years ago. I'm not a big football fan and don't know a great deal about it, yet I somehow ended up in 3 leagues this year. How does this happen? And worse, I haven't paid for fantasy baseball for 3 years and I paid $20 to get into a football league. I don't understand it, either. Maybe this is the year I become obsessed with football and start appreciating Madded. Nahhhh..... I'll always hate Madden.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Looking Back on the Reacquisition of Mirabelli

Buster Olney reminded me today that Cla Meredith was included in the Josh Bard/Doug Mirabelli trade. I guess I had repressed as much about that trade as possible. Not only has Bard torn up NL pitching since leaving the Sox, but Meredith has turned into a younger Jonathan Papelbon in middle relief. I couldn’t believe the stats when I saw them: 26.2 IP, 1.01 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, 18 K, 3 BB. He’s averaging just 13.3 P/IP and 6.0 K/BB! His OPSA is .395. Amazing. The only runs he’s given up were against Philadelphia. So he has held the opposition scoreless in 25 out of 27 appearances.

Imagine if we’d had him as a middle reliever all this time and Bard as a catcher. I know I championed the move when it happened and I hate it when people change their minds, but man, it would have been nice to have those two guys. We haven’t even really needed Mirabelli because Wakefield has been out for so long and we’ve desperately needed some middle relief help. Mirabelli has been awful and so has Lopez. Meanwhile, Josh Bard is sporting a robust .944 OPS in the NL.

Factoring in the NL to AL shift, these two guys would both probably be enjoying very successful seasons for the Red Sox. Now I’m going to shoot myself.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Sox vs. Lidle

Watching the Gamecast on espn.com today, I was interested to see how well each player has fared in their career against Cory Lidle. Here are the career results of those guys who played:

Lowell: 7-19, HR, 2 RBI, 1.084 OPS

Cora: 0-2, .333 OPS

Crisp: 4-17, 1 HR, 5 RBI, .706 OPS

Hinske: 3-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2.667 OPS

Kapler: 5-12, 2 RBI, .917 OPS

Loretta: 1-6, .619 OPS

Lopez: 1-5, .400 OPS

Ortiz: 5-19, 1 HR, 2 RBI, .826 OPS

Pena: 3-6, 2 RBI, 1.000 OPS

Manny: 8-19, 4 RBI, 1.173 OPS

Youk: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1.500 OPS

Those are pretty overwhelming stats. This Sox team knocks Lidle around. But today, Lidle became Cory “The Rocket” Lidle, going 6 scoreless innings. This team is not only suffering through a tough time with their pitching, but they’re in a deep offensive funk right now. Now, that being said, Alex Gonzalez was inexplicably left off the starting roster after sporting a .333 batting average and .945 OPS in 15 at-bats against Lidle. I know you want to get Cora in there sometimes and Gonzalez the day off, but why not another day?

On a bright note, David Wells pitched extremely well but was pulled after just 104 pitches and replaced by that bullpen that keeps blowing games. Sure enough, Foulke comes in and gives up the deciding run.

No Stats, Just Emotion

Friday morning, I told a coworker that I wouldn't at all be shocked to see the Yankees sweep this 5 game series. Did I expect it to happen? No, but I wouldn't be shocked. Now we're 80% of the way to fruition. Look, the Sox aren't out of the running and are far from being mathematically eliminated, but they're done. Their pitching cannot keep them in games as currently constituted. Mercifully, Craig Hansen was sent down to AAA after his ERA ballooned to a level that even Jose Canseco could improve upon with his knuckleball. Mike Timlin needs to be taken behind the Wall and shot like a horse with a broken leg.

Meanwhile, if you need a Red Sox pick-me-up, and I'm sure you do, check out this video. I know you've seen a dozen of these, but this is one of the best.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

McCarver

I have one thing to say to Tim McCarver: Shut up!

The Morning After

Several instant messages peppered my computer screen when I woke up this morning:
"Disgusting!"
"Their bullpen is despicable."
"I love Hinske!"
"Where are you?"

Okay, so that last one wasn't relevant, but the other three certainly were. Hinske was impressive in the first game. He's done very well against Wang and that's why the Sox started him.

As for the bullpen.... yes, it's been awful. That seems too nice. But in actuality, the reason the bullpen is so bad is because they've been way overused. The starting pitching is just not in there enough. They rank 7th in innings pitched by a starter (the Yankees are 10th!), at 711.1. Starters ERA ranks 11th, at 5.00, while the Yankees are at 5th at 4.61. Same story with the bullpen ERAs/ranks.

Mike Timlin is aging quickly. Take a look at his ERA and WHIP by month:
April: 1.93/1.71 (a little luck helped him keep his ERA that low while allowing that many baserunners.)
May: 0.90/0.80
June: 2.35/1.17
July: 5.56/1.41
August: 12.00/2.00
Not a good trend there. He has 2 losses and 2 blown saves in his last 10 appearances. A lot of people are blaming the fact that he pitched in the WBC this spring and he's 40 years old. I can't say I disagree. Here's another alarming statistic: Mike Timlin's highest appearance total happened last year, at the age of 39. His second highest total? The year before. The next highest? The year before that, which was tied with the year prior. So his 4 highest appearance totals for a season happened at ages 36, 37, 38, and 39, in reverse order. As his age increases, his workload does, too. Do you think this guy is tired? This year also marks his highest pitches/plate appearance in his career, at 3.82 compared with 3.42 last year. His K/BB are at 1.69 compared to 2.95 over each of the past two seasons. K/9 are at 4.24 compared to 6.60 each of the past two seasons. His BAA is actually down and OBP has stayed the same, but opposing batters are hitting for more power against him, with a .423 SLG vs. .386 last year and 3.74 in his career. His groundball to flyball ratio is below 1 for the first time in his career and his career average is over 2.

Craig Hansen is another problem. A 5.90 ERA isn't going to cut it. His ERA this month is 8.64 with a WHIP of nearly 2.00. To quote Shea Hillenbrand, the ship is sinking and it's sinking quickly.

On the bright side of things, Dustin Pedroia appears ready for the big leagues. Pedroia came into last night's game for Triple A Pawtucket batting .310 in 108 games, the sixth-highest average in the International League, and with an on-base percentage of .389 that ranks third in the IL. Pedroia, who has been batting in the No. 3 hole, also had 30 doubles for Pawtucket, which ranks third in the IL, and had struck out just 27 times in 413 at-bats. The Sox actually offered Mark Loretta to the Tigers for pitching help, which the Tigers declined. But Pedroia is your 2B of the future and I can't wait to see how that plays out.

I've added more Elias notes to my regular website.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I love Picking On ARod

ARod committed his 22nd error today in a miserable loss to the Orioles. This is by far his worst season ever in the field. His zone rating is .729, preceded by .786 and .735 in 2004 and 2005, respectively, his first two years at third base. He’s getting worse at his new position. His fielding percentage has gone from .965 to .971 to .930 this year, and that was before today’s error!

The next closest AL 3B in fielding percentage is Aaron Bleeping Boone, at .939. As for zone rating, Mark Teahen’s is close to last at .735. So ARod ranks dead last in the two key defensive categories for his position. But wait, it gets worse. He also ranks dead last in ALL OF BASEBALL in both of these categories!

And by the way, in close and late situations, he’s batting under .200 with a .610 OPS and 18 K’s. Meanwhile, there’s this guy playing for Boston named Ortiz with a 1.263 OPS in close and late situations. Hey Sportszilla, still care to dispute that this means anything? (For those of you not “in the know,” a writer for Sportszilla tried to say that ARod was a lot more clutch than people said he was, so I wrote a solumn disputing it. So another Sportszilla writer wrote me an e-mail defending his colleague and said I couldn’t use just a half season to judge how clutch someone is.)

Hinske Joining the Sox

So it appears that the Sox have acquired Eric Hinske from the BJs. I’m not sure what the plan is for Hinske, but he should be a pretty decent pickup. He’s still relatively young at 29 and has become a respectable player. His OBP this year is .353 and his SLG is .513, which is quite good. I actually had him on my fantasy team for a short while during a recent hot stretch, but he hasn’t played much lately and when he has, it hasn’t been especially good. His average has dropped 13 points in his past 10 games to .264, closer to his career average of .259. His home and away splits are nearly identical, which is good. He had a great June and July, with an OPS of over 1.000, but August has dropped to half of that. His OPS at Fenway from 2003-2005 was .888 and this year it’s 1.167 in 12 at-bats. The troubling thing is that Hinske is another platoon player. His OPS against lefties this year is a frightening .499 in 37 at-bats. Yikes.

How about his fielding? We’ve discussed Trot’s last-place zone rating in right field of .853. Hinske’s is way worse, at .816. The only person in the AL with as many games played in RF with a worse ZR is 64-year old Bernie Williams. And as we know, 3B is Lowell’s position. So I have to hope that Hinske will only be a part-time player to give guys a rest down the stretch. I hope. If that’s the case, I like the pickup.

Late addition: a friend points out that he thinks Hinske has hit well against the Yankees this year. It's true: Hinske has a 1.166 OPS against the Yanks in 2006… But .684 over the past 3 years. Let's hope this year he figured something out.


Monday, August 14, 2006

No Need For a Defensive Replacement

The Red Sox won yesterday and all the talk on WEEI was about the lack of a “defensive replacement” for Alex Cora late in the game. There are several issues here. First, Cora is a serviceable shortstop statistically. Alex Gonzalez is obviously one of the greatest in the game. That’s not in dispute here. But Cora has a very respectable .826 zone rating, compared to AGon’s .856. Cora, if he had enough innings at SS to qualify, would have a better zone rating than some big name guys like Miguel Tejada, Orlando Cabrera, Derek Jeter, and Angel Berroa. Cora’s fielding percentage at SS leaves a little to be desired, at .958 compared to .987. The only SS who’s worse is Carlos Guillen and his 22 errors, but that’s not the issue, either. You don’t bring in your normal starter to be a defensive replacement for your bench guy in this type of situation. When you give your starter the day off, you only take him off the bench in a time of desperation, like a late-inning pinch-running situation. Or if you go to extra innings and you need a bat off the bench. But up 4 runs late in the game, you leave the guy in there who has played the whole game. You don’t give a guy the day off only to put him back in there as a defensive replacement with a 4 run lead. That’s just stupid. Defensive replacements are typically bench players who come in to relieve your starter, who starts because of his bat but sucks in the field. Like a Kevin Millar/Doug Man-cave-itch situation. (No, I didn’t want to look up how to spell it. When I spell it out like that, it sounds like something Neanderthals might have gotten from sleeping on the cave floor too much.) Anyway, the Sox won. Stop griping about Francona when they win the game. You just sound stupid.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Random Team Stats

I was wrong - I'm back for more statistical analysis today. Here are some random stats from the season for the Sox through Friday night's game. All rankings are among AL teams.

Offense:
Runs: 627 (2nd)
HR: 149 (3rd)
BA: .282 (6th)
OBP: .363 (1st)
SLG: .458 (4th)
OPS: .821 (T-2nd)
OPS in the last 7 days: .803 (8th)
OPS vs. left-handers: .799 (5th)
OPS vs. right-handers: .830 (2nd)
OPS at home: .847 (2nd)
OPS on the road: .798 (3rd)
OPS during day games: .775 (5th)
OPS during night games: .838 (2nd)
OPS pre-all-star break: .823 (3rd)
OPS post ASB: .811 (4th)
OPS in August: .817 (5th)
OPS with bases empty: .825 (1st - by far)
OPS with runners on: .815 (6th)
OPS with RISP: .764 (9th) - yikes - not good!
OPS with RISP and 2 outs: .784 (6th)
OPS with the bases loaded: .660 (12th) - and they lead the league in based loaded at-bats. Kansas City is at .739 in these situations, by the way.
OPS Close and Late: .784 (3rd) - carried by Ortiz.
OPS vs. potential playoff teams:
OPS vs. the Yankees: .840 (1st)
OPS vs. the Tigers: .697 (8th)
OPS vs. the White Sox: .813 (6th)
OPS vs. the A's: .782 (4th)
OPS vs. the Twins: .599 (12th)

Pitching:
ERA: .459 (8th)
Strikeouts: 778 (3rd)
BAA: .271 (8th)
BAA last 7 days: .309: (13th)
ERA last 7 days: .459 (8th)
ERA at home: .422 (8th)
BAA at home: .264 (8th)
ERA on the road: .492 (8th)
BAA on the road: .277 (6th)
ERA during day games: .413 (5th)
BAA during day games: .267 (9th)
ERA during night games: .477 (10th)
BAA during night games: .273 (7th)
ERA pre-all-star break: .454 (8th)
BAA pre-all-star break: .263 (4th)
ERA post ASB: .475 (9th)
BAA post ASB: .296 (12th)
ERA during August: .466 (11th)
BAA during August: .313 (14th - last)
ERA for starters: .484 (9th)
BAA for starters: .275 (6th)
ERA for relievers: .411 (7th)
BAA for relievers: .264 (10th)
ERA with bases empty: .234 (10th)
BAA with bases empty: .273 (10th)
ERA with RISP: 9.38 (7th)
BAA with RISP: .271 (7th)
ERA with bases loaded: 7.71 (2nd)
ERA close and late: 4.05 (12th)
ERA against potential playoff teams:
Yankees: 5.38 (8th)
White Sox: 3.47 (1st)
Twins: 5.60 (11th)
A's: 4.50 (9th)
Tigers: 3.81 (6th)

You tell me where their problem lies. No wait, that's what I'm here for. They need some serious changes on the pitching staff. Hopefully Boomer can help them. And if they have a sudden turnaround starting this week, don't discount the return of pitching coach Dave Wallace being the reason.
Chokeback Mountain

This came out earlier this year, but it's still great.

Sox Season Savior

Yes, folks, David Wells suddenly became David Wells, Season Savior last night. An amazing transformation for a fat dude whose ERA was over 8 entering the game. Of course it helped that the Sox put up 8 early runs, but he still looked better than anyone else they've put out there. And he saved the bullpen quite a bit of work, only requiring a 2 inning stint out of Kyle Snyder. Speaking of the bullpen, Keith Foulke felt stiffness and was not reactivated. But he's close. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

Anyway, got a lot of cleaning work to do today, so I don't have much time to update. In the meantime, check out my regular website for a pile of Elias Sports Bureau notes. And this is a couple of weeks old, but Boston.com did a nice image gallery of David Ortiz's walkoff hits.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Time For Panic Button?

Here you go, Sox fans. I know you're looking for it, so I'm providing it. I still don't think it's panic time, but I certainly understand how others would feel this way and don't blame anyone for wanting to push it.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Oswalt Was Not the Answer

As I sit here and watch the Royals take yet another late lead, I am again forced to defend the decision the Sox made to not trade for Roy Oswalt or someone else. I have heard countless times over the past 10 days, "Why didn't they get Oswalt (most of the time pronounced Oz-walt by these morons)? He would have put us over the top!" Wrong.

As we all know by know and I have demonstrated seemingly billions of times in the past 5 months, (say it with me now), "the NL is far inferior to the AL." Guys like Beckett can dominate in the NL but struggle in the AL and vice versa for guys like Arroyo, who sucked yet again today. Oswalt's career trajectory is already heading downward as he gets closer to his 29th birthday later this month. Yes, he's won 20 games in consecutive seasons and his ERA has remained pretty stable for the past 6 seasons, but other stats indicate a decline. Check out his K/9, for example:
2001: 9.15
2002: 8.03
2003: 7.63
2004: 7.82
2005: 6.85
2006: 6.25

That's not good, folks. His K/BB has stayed pretty steady, but his OPSA has climbed steadily over those 6 years from .633 in 2001 to .741 this year. His WHIP has gone from 1.06 to 1.25. Now, 1.25 is still pretty good, but it indicates a downward spiral.

We'll get back to Oswalt in just a moment. You may recall hearing about Beckett's problem of relying on his fastball too often. 71% of the time, in fact. And opponents bat .264 off his fastball vs. .124 against the curve, which he throws 17% of the time, and .218 against the changeup, thrown 11% of the time. You can get away with that in the NL, but he's obviously overthrowing it.

Oswalt has the same problem. He throws the heater 67% of the time and opponents bat .286 off it. He throws the curve 18% of the time to a .214 average and sliders 10% to a .248 average. Why? I don't know.

(Wily Mo just hammered another ball to retake the lead. This guy is a stud. Yeah, we need Arroyo back. I'm so glad I've documented all of my Sox opinions over the past 5 months so no one can question my allegiances or my assertions that I've felt this way all along.)

Also, if the Sox had gotten Oswalt, it would have partially been for the second half of this year. Yes, I know he's signed beyond this year, but hear me out. His second half stats over the past 3 years also have a bad trend. His ERA goes up by 0.31, which isn't huge, but the BAA goes from .252 to .266 and his WHIP goes from 1.18 to 1.25. Again, not major, but a minor concern for a guy you're going to get for the second half.

And your starting pitching is not the only problem. The Sox are not hitting right now. And their relievers can't hold a lead. Their catching is a trainwreck and Javy Lopez has an amazing ability to make anyone look like Rick Ankiel. The 2 studs, Beckett and Schilling, are struggling. And their biggest strength from the first half, their defense, has even seen patches of trouble lately. Roy Oswalt can't solve all of these problems.

So there you have it. Do I need to explain now why the Buehrle trade was a bad idea?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Shut up, Sox fans!

Check out this article by Eric Wilbur. I wanted to share this article because it really hits the nail on the head. I've received e-mails and posts in my forum all year about bad trades and the sky is falling and woe is us. It's ridiculous. Shut up, pathetic Sox fans. I don't want to hear it anymore. The Sox will be fine. You forget that they were 10.5 games behind the Yankees in August of 2004, only to come storming back to win the World Series. They've had a lot of injuries that Theo can't control. They're still extremely close to a playoff spot. I'm not going to rehash what Wilbur said, but read it and you'll know how I feel. I've been preaching all year to be patient. You don't want to sacrifice your future for this one year. Don't forget Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen.

A guy called WEEI's D&C fill-in show this morning and was talking about what an excellent pitcher Arroyo has become and he might win the Cy Young and will probably go into the Hall of Fame. Dennis and Callahan would have been all over this moron and certainly would have blown him up when he wasn't able to come up with Arroyo's crappy July and August stats, but the awful fill-ins just agreed and really didn't have anything to offer. Maybe this is why a lot of Red Sox fans are dumb - the major radio hosts go on long vacations during the summer and are replaced by schlubs who don't know Bronson Arroyo from Rolando Arrojo.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wily Mo's Improving Plate Discipline

Been busy this week with work and family, but I wanted to post a quick analysis of Wily Mo's plate discipline. He only had 149 at-bats before tonight's game, which is about half of his totals from the previous two years, but there is definite improvement. It's obvious that he has made the transition from NL to AL better than most guys. You can look at several different stats to judge plate discipline. Let's start with the most common, which is on base percentage (OBP):
2003: .283
2004: .316
2005: .304
2006: .367

That's a nice little trend there. He's getting better and he's still very young at 24 years old. David Ortiz didn't find his game until he was 27, when most guys reach their prime. Another good gauge of improvement is BB/PA and he's improved from .060 each of the past two years to .083 this year. It's a small jump, but it's something. Coco Crisp, as comparison, is at .063 BB/PA. His BB/K have gone from .17 to .30 this year. He's still pacing for approximately 150 strikeouts, but we can live with that if he sports a .500+ OPS at the age of 24 and 25 while he learns. The guy is making 1.25 million dollars this year and has been great. He has hit two absolute monster jacks and he's fun to watch. He looks like he's enjoying playing.

Meanwhile, Arroyo continues to slide back to expected levels.

If the Sox put Wily Mo Pain-ya in the 5th spot in the batting order, he'd get a lot of RBI and would see better pitches. I think that's the best spot for him.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Follow-up to my Javy Post

I was surprised to wake up this morning and find 12 comments on my post about how Javy Lopez is overrated. I discovered that the post was linked on deadspin.com and several hundred people unexpectedly read it. I did get some heat about the Catcher's ERA stat, which is understandable. I'd never used the stat before that I can recall and regrettably used it because it helped illustrate my point that he is in quick decline. Unfortunately, I did the post and research on my lunch break, which is limited to a half hour, and never considered the different pitching staffs with which Lopez had to work in the different years. The commenters all had good points that in 2003, with Atlanta, his CERA was far better because he had a much better pitching staff than he did in Baltimore. The next time I use that stat, I'll make sure I do my research.

Also, at the time of the post, I did not know that the Orioles were sending quite a large sum of cash with Lopez to the Sox. While I still don't like it or Lopez, it seems a little better now. If Adam Stern does in fact end up going as part of the trade, I'll miss the little guy. A breakout during the World Series of Baseball thingy, or whatever it was called, Stern was a good player that fans liked. I hope they stop playing that awfully awkward commercial on NESN where he puts his hand on Hazel Mae's shoulder then quickly removes it, like he's a virgin touching a hot girl for the first time. But we all know about how NESN likes to continue playing commercials way after their shelf life has ended (see: "Did you see that catch Coco made?").

That being said, I really liked one of the comments someone put on Deadspin, something to the effect of, "The only guy Javy can throw out is Bengie Molina. Good luck, Sox fans!"

Just turned the game on and it looks like Wells was pitching reasonably well, but a Big Papi error caused 4 unearned runs? Well, he's won so many for us, we really can't hold it against him. But we need to blame someone, so how about Francona for putting him in at first base? Nahh... everyone needs a night off once in a while, so Papi will play first base a few AL games per year.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Javy Lopez: Overrated

So the Sox are about to finalize the deal with Javy Lopez to be their regular catcher until Varitek can come back. Does it matter that Lopez hasn't caught on consecutive days yet this year? Does it matter that he's almost 36 years old? How about his quickly-declining OPS? Check it out:
2003: 1.065
2004: .873
2005: .780
2006: .726

You're telling me Ken Huckaby isn't a better value at his price?

Another thing is that Lopez really likes to watch guys steal bases. Here are his caught stealing percentages over the past 5 years:
2002: 37.9%
2003: 30.7%
2004: 27.7%
2005: 23.5%
2006: 18.2%

Nice little trend there, eh? Thus far this year in 18 games started at catcher, 22 runners have attempted a steal and 18 of them were successful. That's not good, folks.

How about another metric used to judge how a catcher handles his pitching staff, called Catcher's ERA, which shows the ERA allowed while the catcher is in the game:
2002: 3.33
2003: 3.96
2004: 4.67
2005: 4.71
2006: 5.28

I don't think I need to tell you that this is also a bad trend.

Who knows? Maybe he'll be fresh because he's only appeared in 20 games as the catcher thus far. But this is a guy who averaged roughly 19 homers a year for a decade, then in a contract year he put up a Barry Bondsian 43 dingers at the age of 33. He got his big contract then slipped back down to earth. You do the math. We already had enough Javier Lopezes on this team. This deal sucks.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Red Sox Lucky to be in First

Let's talk about the Red Sox' record. They are 22 games over .500, just .002 behind the Yankees (or the Wankees, as my 2 year old son calls them). They are 5 games better than their pythagorean record, which indicates that they've been very lucky this year. Milwaukee is the only other team that has won as many as 5 more games than their pythag record indicates they should have won by now.

They are 25-19 against the AL East, which is 3rd best in their division. They are 10-8 against the Central and 13-13 against the West. So overall, they are a pedestrian 48-40 against the AL. The Yankees are 54-33, the Jays are 48-41. Even the White Sox are 49-39 against the AL. Oakland and the Angels are both 49-41. The Sox padded their record against the Senior Circuit, going 16-2. So this bodes well for them if they make it to the World Series, but they need to get through the AL first.

Scarier still is that the Sox have faced the AL's 10th hardest schedule. 9 AL teams have had more difficult schedules thus far. This is how the Sox have fared against other playoff contenders:
White Sox: 2-1
Detroit: 2-1
Angels: 1-2
Twins: 0-3
Yankees: 5-5
Oakland: 3-4
For a record of 13-16.

But there's good news. Oakland is 21-21, LA is 18-16, and Minnesota is 19-22. The closest team to dominance is Chicago, at 19-14. Tom Caron writes this about the rest of the season:

Adding to the importance of this run is what lies ahead. That noise you hear is the approaching rapids, the white water the Sox must navigate beginning Aug. 14.

That's when they open a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers, the best team (record-wise) in baseball. After that they face the Yankees, Angels, Mariners, A's, Blue Jays, and White Sox.

Those seven teams have a combined record of 420-326, a .563 winning percentage. Six of the seven teams are within 3.5 games of a playoff spot. The seventh, Toronto, has won seven of 11 games against Boston this season.

We've been talking about this stretch -- 22 games in 21 days beginning with a Fenway Park doubleheader against the Yankees -- for months. We've still got two weeks before it starts, making this prelude vital to Boston's postseason hopes.

Arroyo's Value is Declining

One of the very first articles I ever wrote on redsoxstatsguy.com was about the Arroyo/Pena trade and how everyone should calm down; that Arroyo was overrated and Pena was a steal. Check it out here from 3/28/06. Then, when Arroyo was pitching well and cracking homers left and right, I wrote this on 4/12/06:
"No, the Sox are not bringing back Bronson Arroyo to be their DH. Did you see the picture of him during spring training wearing shorts and a t-shirt? My two year-old son nearly outweighs this guy. His home runs are flukes. Don't get caught up in the hype. And yes, he's pitching well, but he always does to start the season. His ERA in 2005 (in the more powerful AL), at the end of April was just 3.69. In fact, after his May 25th start, it was 3.19. It went way downhill from there, as I detailed in (my 3/28 article linked above). In 2004, his ERA as of May 15th was 3.53. Maybe he'll come through better in 2006. I've been wrong before (like when I picked the Sox to win it all every spring training from 1987-2003)."

My point is that I have been one of the few level-headed Sox fans who liked the trade and felt that Arroyo would come back to earth, even in the weaker NL. Well here's to being right. Arroyo in July: 0-3, 5.45 ERA. He's now tried 8 times unsuccessfully for his 10th win. His first start in August wasn't any better, going 6 innings and giving up 4 in a 10-4 loss.

How about Wily Mo? Before Wednesday's game (in which he homered) he was sporting a .328 average and a .919 OPS. Not too shabby. He's now playing every day since Nixon's on the DL. I do have to stand by my point that he's better suited for center in Fenway. His zone rating in right (.828) is even worse than Trot's (.853), which is atrocious. I wonder if he can catch?

By the way, espn.com gives this pronunciation of his name:
"Willie Moe, PAIN-ya." I love it! What's he gonna do? PAIN-ya!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ortiz/Bird Comparison

Not much time today, but I wanted to make sure everyone saw Bill Simmons' comparison of Big Papi and Larry Legend. Fantastic read and you find yourself reminiscing and nodding your head many times. And some great Ortiz stats near the end, some of which I hadn't seen yet.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

More Ortiz from Buster Olney

Olney says:
David Ortiz
is unbelievable, and Dan Shaughnessy is not alone in being amazed. If Michael Jordan got the ball with five seconds remaining, you knew he was going to make the game-winning shot, and that's the way you feel with Ortiz right now when the game's on the line. But there's a slight difference -- the greatest basketball players make shots more than 50 percent of the time, but the greatest baseball players hit homers only 10 to 12 percent of the time. It's not supposed to look that easy. And yet Ortiz comes through again and again and again. Amazing. He's the Most Valuable Player in the American League right now, and over his last 161 games, he's got 60 homers and 166 RBI.

Papi for President

I usually like to put the Elias Sports Bureau notes on my regular website, but today's just couldn't wait for the weekend. After last night's showing Elias had several notes that had to be shared today:

• David Ortiz hit a walkoff home run -- the eighth of his career and his third in 51 days -- to give the Red Sox a 9-8 win over the Indians. Over the last 10 seasons, the only other players to hit three walkoff homers in that short a span of time were Barry Bonds (over 29 days in 2003) and Rafael Palmeiro (51 days in 1998).

• Ortiz has hit 21 home runs in 138 at-bats in Late-Inning Pressure Situations since Aug. 1, 2004. Over that two-year period, no other player has hit more than 13 homers in LIPS. Ryan Howard ranks second with 13; Andruw Jones , Albert Pujols, and Aramis Ramirez share third place with 12.

• Ortiz drove in four runs Monday, raising his total for the season to 105 RBI. That's not only the most in the majors, it's the highest total in Red Sox history through the end of July. The previous record was 104, set by Ted Williams and Vern Stephens in 1949.

I think his run at the MVP is even more difficult this year, but he's certainly helping himself out. This year he has to compete with Giambi, Thome, etc, but his late inning heroics are setting him apart. In fact, I went to sleep last night during the 8th inning with the Sox down 8-6. When I woke up this morning, I ran to the computer to see if he had won it with a 3-run shot. This is what we've come to expect.

If you look at that stat that he's hit 21 HR in 138 LIPS and project it out over a 600 at-bat season, he would hit 91 home runs. Need I say anymore about his clutch hitting?

Was Clemens Close to Coming to Boston?

I found this article to be interesting this morning, suggesting that Roger Clemens was close to joining the Red Sox at the trading deadline, but Drayton McClane didn't want to give up on his team yet. I'd also be interested to know who the Sox were willing to give up for him.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Good Non-Moves

Theo obviously reads my blog because shortly after my letter to him and my post about how much Kip Wells sucks, he apparently changed his mind about making some deals. I take full credit for it. I'm happy Theo didn't make any of the proposed moves. I would have liked a middle reliever, but the price was way too steep. Plus, Seanez hasn't given up a run in 6 innings! His ERA is below 4! Hi WHIP is only 1.00 in those 6 innings! Test this guy for steroids!

How much is Wily Mo impressing everyone? He's been a stud. I have not been impressed with Trot Nixon since 2003, so I've been arguing all year to keep Wily Mo and use him to replace Trot. Then he goes and plants a broken bat line drive off the wall followed by a HUGE home run the next night. And he does the little things by backing up an errant throw into right field. Had he not been backing that up, the runner would have reached third base. I'm thrilled with Wily Mo.

On a side note, has anyone noticed the "Free Renteria Jersey" ads that pop up with Red Sox ads? You might see it above this post. I find it hilarious that some company is still paying to have people directed to buy an "Authentic" home Renteria Sox jersey. Are people still buying these? Did anyone buy them after May of 2005?

Trade Imminent, Other Rumors

ESPN.com reports that the Sox are on the verge of a deal with the Pirates for Kip Wells. I hope all they're giving up for him is Craig Grebeck. God, this guy is bad. Here are his ERAs the past 4 years: 3.28, 4.55, 5.09, 6.69. And those are in the NL! In case you (like me) think that ERAs are partially affected by luck, here are some other stats:
K/9 the past 3 years: 7.55, 6.53, 3.96.
K/BB: 1.93, 1.76, 1.33, 0.89.
BAA: .233, .270, .266, .319.
OPSA: .680, .753, .796, .870.

One bright spot is that he gives up nearly 2 groundballs for every flyball, which might be good with this Sox infield defense.

ESPN.com also reported that the Sox and Braves were close to a trade that would send Coco and Hansen for Andruw Jones, but the Braves then demanded Lester as well. If this happens, I'm swearing off the Sox.

Open Letter to Theo Epstein

Dear Mr. Epstein,

I appreciate everything you've done since becoming the GM of the Red Sox. Okay, most of what you've done (see: the bullpen). I am now hearing the trade deadline rumors and everything points to a "big deal." I'm worried that you're just trying to make the fans happy. That you're going to mortgage the farm for this year. Do you listen to sports talk radio? We're happy with where the team is heading! We love our prospects! We haven't had prospects since the mid-'90s! Please, please don't trade them.

The rumor I hear now is that you're going to trade Mike Lowell and prospects for Julio Lugo and Scott Linebrink. Haven't you learned anything from your Tavarez/Seanez mistake? These mediocre, aging NL guys can't hack it in the superior AL. And Linebrink pitches in a gigantic, pitcher-friendly park. He is destined to fail in Fenway and the AL. And where would we play Lugo? Certainly not at SS, considering we have the best SS we've had during my lifetime. How about 2B? Why not trade Loretta for some better bullpen help and bring up Dustin Pedroia?

I'd like to make an offer to you. You hire me, pay me $75,000 per year, and I can be there to bounce these ideas off of. My primary job would be to simply yell at you, "He's mediocre IN THE NL!!! He'll SUCK here!!" or "Don't trade him! We have a mancrush on him!" I think this can be very beneficial to both of us. I have a way to directly vent my anger, along with Red Sox Nation's, to the Red Sox front office. And you get the point of view of the fans that you're trying so hard to please.

Mike Lowell has been way better than expected. I understand that you want to get some value for him while you can. But his defense is a stabilizing force in the best infield defense in baseball.

If you leave the team relatively alone, Red Sox Nation will remain happy. We do want to get rid of Tavarez, though. Hell, I'd trade David Murphy for a decent middle reliever to replace him. But he's the best prospect that I'm willing to trade for a middle reliever. If we're trading top-line prospects, we should be getting back more than a crappy, aging NL middle reliever.

Theo, trust me. I am the voice of The Nation.

Sincerely,
Red Sox Stats Guy

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Red Sox Complete Trade!

The Sox picked up Bryan Corey from the Rangers for a crappy minor leaguer today. In limited time, Corey has been pretty decent for Texas, posting 13 strikeouts in 17.1 innings and a 2.60 ERA. His WHIP is a little high (1.33) to expect an ERA that low, but this is still a good pickup. Corey's OPSA is .645, which is great, but his K/BB ratio is a little low at 1.63/1. Strangely, Corey has 2 career decisions (1-1), and they've both come at Fenway Park.

The Sox traded AA Portland pitcher Luis Mendoza, who had struggled in AA with a 1-5 record and 6.38 ERA in 9 starts.

I say any time you can trade a guy who's struggling at AA for a guy who has proven success in the majors, you do it. Well, most of the time anyway.
Red Sox fan ventures though Yankee Stadium Bleachers

Planning on going to Yankee Stadium clad in your Sox gear? Maybe this video will change your mind...

The Ineffectiveness of Seanez

Rudy Seanez's ineffectiveness is of mythical proportions. He is the 4th-worst reliever in Major League Baseball in preventing inherited runners from scoring. The worst? Ray King, the guy he was going to be traded for. Julian Tavarez is 7th-worst in the AL. Want to know something interesting about those batters Seanez is facing? The OPS of the batters he faces is the worst among regular Red Sox pitchers, at .758. Mike Timlin's are the best, at an even .800. Papelbon's and Beckett's are the 2nd best, at .788.
2004 Red Sox Music Video

This is a very cool video compilation of the 2004 Red Sox season set to music. If you know of other cool Sox videos on YouTube, let me know. E-mail the links to me at questions@redsoxstatsguy.com.

More Clutch Hitting


My regular readers know how obsessed I am with clutch hitting and the disparity between David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez in this category. ESPN defines "close and late" stats as results in the 7th inning or later with the batting team either ahead by one run, tied or with the potential tying run at least on deck. Yesterday, Ortiz had yet another game-winning hit to end the game. The Elias Sports Bureau reported this morning that it was his 11th since joining the Red Sox in 2003. That's two more than any other major league player over that span. Albert Pujols has nine walkoff hits since 2003. The last major league player to have 11 or more walkoff hits over a four-season span was current Houston manager Phil Garner. "Scrap Iron" had 11 walkoff hits for the Astros from 1982-85.

So, how does ARod's close and late performance compare to that of Big Papi? I'm glad you asked. ARod is actually improving lately (it would be hard to do otherwise), and currently stands with a .621 OPS in these situations. He has still struck out 17 times in 57 at-bats, which could mean that he's pressing a little too hard. This is a pace for nearly 200 K's over an entire season. He also posts 2 home runs and 8 RBI. David Ortiz, in the same amount of at-bats, has recorded a sick OPS of 1.076 with 13 K's, 8 HR and 19 RBI. You tell me who's the best.

Meanwhile, yesterday I posted that the Sox should offer up Coco for a 3rd starter-type. Apparently Theo was reading because he offered Coco up for Mark Buehrle, but the White Sox said no. Buehrle is an interesting case. With a 9-6 record and 4.02 ERA before the break, he is 0-3 with a 11.15 ERA since. Hitters are averaging .373 off of him and his WHIP is just about 2.00 since the break. But that's misleading. His freefall actually started before the break. Over his past 5 starts, he's thrown 26.2 innings, allowing 34 runs, for an 11.67 ERA. And he's making $8 million this year. I'm not sure this guy is better than Kyle Snyder right now.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Recommended Trade(s)


Welcome to my new location! I will still maintain the regular RedSoxStatsGuy.com for my Red Sox-related Elias Sports Bureau notes and my forum, but I've come over to the dark side of blogger.com for the simplicity and ease of frequent posting. I wasn't posting often enough on my website, so I thought I'd add this as a complement to the regular website. I can also use the regular website for more in-depth analysis that blogger doesn't support as much as I like. Anyway, on to my first blogger post....

The trade deadline is upon us and there is much discussion of what should be done to make this a juggernaut team. For those of you who are regular readers of mine or have read through my forum, you know that I don't feel like the Sox need to be a juggernaut this year. They have enough young talent that we don't need to have a World Series championship this year and can look forward to next year and the future. I don't want to sacrifice the future for a division championship (see: Anderson, Larry).

That being said, there is a deal that I'd love to see get done. Coco Crisp is finally playing well, with a 1.027 OPS over the past week and .765 since the All-Star break, up from .711 before. I would trade him for a 3rd starter-type pitcher and place Wily Mo Pena in center field. Or you can trade Trot Nixon for a 4th or 5th starter-type and put Coco in right field and Wily Mo in center. Why these placements? Wily Mo is a disaster in the corners and actually has a slightly better zone rating than Coco in CF (.852 to .847), and Coco was one of the best corner outfielders last year in zone rating, finishing 2nd in the majors in zone rating at .906. You put him in that big right field and your defense improves dramatically. And as popular as Trot Nixon is, the guy is an embarrassment in right field. The only American League right fielders who rank lower than him in zone rating are the aging and gimpy Jermaine Dye and Magglio Ordonez.

So, where does Wily Mo hit? Who bats leadoff? Good questions. While I think Wily Mo would be a serviceable leadoff guy since he gets on base a lot (more than Johnny and Coco) and he's fast, he'd be used wrong there. We've needed someone new in the 5th spot. He'd be perfect, providing some protection for Manny. Put Youk in the leadoff spot and let him get on base. When you need a pinch runner, bring in Kapler (and pray that he doesn't rupture something again).

I am firmly against trading any of the big prospects (Hansen, Delcarmen, Papelbon, Lester, Pedroia, etc) for a rental player. These guys are cheap and are under the control of the Sox for many years to come at a cheap price. It's time to build around these guys and you have a good start with Ortiz, Beckett, Manny, Wily Mo, etc. Red Sox Nation should be excited about the future.

Speaking of Red Sox Nation, in the wake of the disaster that was the "Did you see that catch Coco made?" commercials, we now have the Coco Crisp and his dad RSN commercials. Since they continued to play the catch commercial for months while Coco was on the DL, I wonder how long they'd play the new ones after he got traded, if it happens. Always awkward.

As I type this, Chone Figgins stole second, third, and made a great slide into home to score the third run for the Angels. With the way Jered Weaver pitches, that could very well be enough.

A quick aside: Red Sox fans, please stop calling WEEI and embarrassing yourselves by asking if the Sox could get Fransisco Liriano from the Twins. I'm not even going to explain why. You're morons for asking.

Back to the analysis.... I would absolutely resign Alex Gonzalez to stay at SS for the next 2 years and bring up Dustin Pedroia to be his double play partner. In fact, I'd try to trade Loretta for some speed off the bench and bring up Pedroia for the rest of the year. There are only 2 worse second basemen in the AL than Loretta in zone rating and he's killing their chances of double plays. As Bosoxwest points out this week after the game he went to see:
Mark Loretta is a statue. I cannot stress this enough. His lateral movement is that of a fully-retrofitted multi-story tower during a mild breeze. Several times we all got very excited to watch important ground-ball basehits roll up the middle on the second base side only to discover to our dismay that with Ellis at second they were routine outs. We had just been fooled because they were hits for the A's. Pedroia must be licking his chops.