Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Stats Guy Vault

In case you missed it in November, I wrote a semi-lengthy preview of Matsuzaka and Drew. Instead of rehashing the stats again, just go read it here. Sorry I've been so busy lately, but the posts will start coming more as games start this week.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Outfield Defense

A lot of talk is going on about the outfield defense. You’ve got Manny in left, Coco in Center, and Drew in right. Then the Sox say they’re going to try to get Wily Mo 400 at-bats somehow, which is a nice thought, but how will that happen? Let’s take a look at the outfield defense for a minute.

 

Zone Rating, defined by ESPN as “The percentage of balls fielded by a player in his typical defensive "zone," as measured by STATS, Inc.” is a good way to measure defensive prowess, or in this case, struggles. Manny was by far the worst left fielder in the AL last year, with a zone rating of .694. The next worst player was Melky Cabrera at .816. That’s a huge difference. At first I thought that maybe zone rating didn’t take into account the small dimensions of Fenway’s left field, so I looked at the other guys who took Manny’s place while he was “injured.” Wily Mo spent 113 innings in left with a .800 ZR. Much better than Manny. Willie Harris spent 33 innings in left with a .833 ZR. Gabe Kapler spent 63 innings in left with a .857 ZR. I think it’s safe to say that Manny struggles to get to the balls that he should get to.

 

Coco Crisp’s ZR was .837, which would make him the worst CF in terms of ZR if he had qualified for that title. He was actually better than all of his replacements except for Wily Mo, who spent 194 innings in center and scored a .868 ZR, which would put him in the middle of the pack.

 

JD Drew was the third-best right fielder in the NL in 2006. Keep in mind that Fenway’s right field is significantly larger than the average left field, but Trot would have actually been the third-best right fielder in the AL last year if he had played enough games to qualify. His ZR has consistently been right around .875 for several years. Drew’s has been over .900. We should see Drew get to more balls than Trot got to.

 

I reported last year that Coco was one of the best corner OFers in 2005. I think it would make sense to put him in right and move Drew to center, but I’m sure the Sox won’t do that.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Guapster

Like everyone, I was a huge fan of El Guapo, Rich Garces. My friend and I always called him Fat Garces and it just seemed to sound right. “Hey, Fat Garces is coming in!” We kept calling him that after his nickname of El Guapo took New England by storm. Unfortunately, he burnt out after some overuse (really, more than a few pitches for a guy his size is overuse). But now he’s back and pitching! Deadspin has a great take on this.

If he pitches well and the Sox bullpen needs another arm, this would be a fun side story for the 2007 season. I’d love to be in Fenway when he walks out of the bullpen doors for the first time in years. Hell, Fenway would go crazy as soon as he started warming up in the bullpen. Signing Garces won’t sell any tickets since they’re sold out anyway, but it would probably sell jerseys and it would definitely create a buzz.

No, I’m not going to put his stats on here because he hasn’t pitched in MLB since the Grady Little era and his old stats are irrelevant to today, but all you need to know is that he was a top setup guy for at least 2 years.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Red Sox Catchers Sucked In 2006

2006 was not exactly a banner year for Red Sox catchers. They ranked 25th out of 30 teams in OPS at the catcher position, at .668. The Yankees, our favorite barometer, ranked 5th at .812. That’s a huge difference. Can we expect improvement in 2007? I think so.

Reports say that Jason Varitek injured his back during the WBC and was never the same after. His career OPS is a solid .798 after a dismal .725 in 2006. The three years prior to 2006 they looked like this:

2003: .863

2004: .872

2005: .855

Look, the Sox aren’t going to have the offense they had in 2003 and 2004. Those were record-breaking juggernauts. But they can get back to respectability if Varitek simply approaches his career average of .798. He doesn’t even have to get to the 2003-2005 numbers. But the Sox are going to struggle at the bottom of their lineup and Varitek needs to get better. I think he will.

We know Mirabelli can’t hit anything, so maybe the Sox will teach George Kottaras how to catch the knuckler.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Spring Has Sprung!

The best part of the winter is the first photos out of Florida spring training. It's so nice on a day when I have to shovel my truck out from under a foot of snow to see the beautiful green field and the players working out. Youk has a huge goatee. Matsuzaka looks at ease with the media. Boston Dirt Dogs reported that he looked fat, but he doesn't look any different to me than he's looked in all of the pictures from Japan.

This is the stuff that gets me excited. Meaningful baseball is only 6 weeks away!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Over/Under on RBI for JD Drew

A new feature here at Red Sox Stats Guy is Over/Under. I’m going to set JD Drew’s Over/Under on RBI at 110 and I’m taking the over. Why? Take a look at the 3 guys in front of him: Youkilis, Manny, and Ortiz. Assuming, on average, that these guys get on base 40% of the time and they each come to the plate 600 times in the season. That’s 720 times those 3 get on base. Now, I realize that Drew will lead off some innings, but there will be plenty of RBI opportunities for this guy.

We already talked about his clutchness, but how did he fare in RBI opportunities in 2006? In virtually every scenario with men on base, Drew’s OPS was over .900. This guy could drive in 150! (Add in the common qualifier of, “if healthy.”) In general, no matter which base or how many outs there were, his OPS was .892 with men on base with 88 RBI in 253 at-bats. That’s not too shabby.

We don’t need Drew to be a stud. He doesn’t need to be David Ortiz. Hell, David Ortiz doesn’t need to be David Ortiz. All Drew needs to do is get on base and knock in some runs. And he’s going to have a lot of opportunities to do that in Boston in 2007.

Have an opinion about how many ribbies Drew is going to have? Post it in the comments!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Great Article About Daisuke

Check this article out, kiddies. It's all about the high school tournament in which Matsuzaka absolutely dominated. Some amazing stats and facts in there. Good read.

Friday, February 09, 2007

JD Drew's Clutchness

I talked earlier about how “clutch” Lugo can be and now I just wanted to mention Drew. In 60 such 2006 at-bats, JD Drew had a robust .930 OPS in close and late situations. With runners on, it was .892. With runners in scoring position and 2 outs it was .908. Pretty consistent. These numbers are this consistent over the past 3 years. Drew’s reputation is poor because he appears to not care and he’s fragile, but he seems to be a gamer who doesn’t wilt under pressure. You’ve got to be excited about this.

Oh yeah, let’s not forget that ARod had an atrocious .694 OPS in 76 close and late at-bats. Good work outta you, ARod.

Lugo Leading Off

As you may have heard, Tito recently confirmed that Lugo will be leading off this season. This isn’t a surprise, but should come as good news. Youkilis is a good OBP guy, but he’s slow and doesn’t have any power. Lugo should be able to set the table nicely in front of the big mashers.

The majority of Lugo’s playing time in 2006 came in the leadoff spot, where his OPS was a very strong .871. He also stole 18 bases at an 82% clip. You probably won’t see him stealing a lot, but he’ll score from first on a lot of doubles, which Youk can’t do much.

Also, you hear me talk about “clutch” a lot and Lugo had 55 at-bats in close and late situations last year and sported a Papi-esque .956 OPS. Take that, ARod!

A lot of people are concerned about how Lugo performed for the Dodgers, but that was a small sample size and an aberration when you look at his career progression and his age. Here’s how his OPS went in his last 3 years in Tampa Bay:

.734

.765

.871

His OBP is very solid and he doesn’t strikeout much. He has some pop, too, and can hit 10-20 dingers. This is a great guy to have leading off and I’m very optimistic about it.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Stats Guy Special: Joel Pineiro

No one is particularly excited about Joel Pineiro, me included. But here are some bright notes:
  • In Fenway during 2006 he pitched 6.1 innings and didn't give up a run while striking out 5.
  • In 11.1 innings against the Yankees he posted a respectable 3.18 ERA.
  • On 0 days rest, which happens quite a bit as a reliever, he had a 1.93 ERA.
    • But wait... he had a 15.43 ERA on 1 day rest. Thankfully, that was in just 2.1 innings pitched.
  • He had his best OPS against in the first inning, which is a good sign for a guy who will only be pitching one inning.
    • Shit, that OPSA was .822... not exactly great.
  • He only struck out 3 times in 4 at-bats.... woohoo!!
See? We can be optimistic and kind of look on the bright side of things, right?

I Will Pay High

Sung to the tune of "I Will Survive"

At first I was a fan, then Dirt Dog-ified
Keep thinking I could never live without Trupe on my ride
And I spend so many nights
Thinking how great is RemDawg?
And I grew strong
And I knew the season's very long
And so we're back.. from third place
I just logged on to find you'd signed Lugo to join the race
You should have fixed your right field problem
You can't seriously trust J.D.
If you'd've thought for just one second Manny'd be back with his sore knee
Go on now, across the shore
Just turn around now,
We're not in third anymore
Weren't you the one who raised the tickets so high?
Did we enjoy your AL crumble?
Did we like to see you die?
Oh no not I... I'll still pay high
Oh as long as Tek's behind the plate I know you'll stay alive
I give all the props to Crisp
And God of Walks Youkilis and I'll pay high,
I will pay high. Dice-K!
It took all the Papi you had not to fall apart
Kept tryin' hard to find some starters at Wal-Mart,
And you spent so many nights
Watching Beckett give up runs. You used to try
To trade Trot for some other guy
And you see Lugo.. somebody new
He's not that web gem master... the Reds got him too,
And so you feel like calling Rog
And just expect him to be free,
But he's savin' all his lovin' for your rivals, the Yankees.

Okay, so this sucks, but it's my way of saying I can't wait for baseball to start and I'm back and blogging. I know I'm the Stats Guy, but you'll find more posts not related to stats this year. I'll also be posting more frequently, but with shorter posts. My new e-mail address is redsoxstatsguy@gmail.com or you can post a comment on any post. Let's hear it! What are you most excited about for the upcoming season? Most nervous for? For me, I'm most excited about another season with Big Papi and seeing Matsuzaka. I'm most nervous for another season of Timlin in the 'pen and his 8 million ERA. Woohoo!