Saturday, May 05, 2007

Mailbag, Part One

I have so many questions that I'm breaking this up into two parts. Let's start:

Try as I might, I just can't get excited about Coco Crisp this year. He's made several good catches (minus that one bullpen debacle) but I just find myself saying "eh" whenever he comes up to bat. What's your opinion and how about some stats to let me know if I'm justified or just plain crazy. -Sarah

You're not alone, Sarah. But Coco does seem to be heating up, as evidenced by his .740 OPS over the past week. Sure, all he's doing is hitting singles, but you've got to heat up somehow. The big problem with Coco is he's not getting on base enough. His OBP is a pedestrian .286 with a .333 slugging. Those are awful numbers. You can rest assured, however, that if he continues with these numbers he will be replaced with someone, and they have choices of Wily Mo, David Murphy, or Jacoby Ellsbury. One good thing about Coco is that his defensive Zone Rating is far better than it was last year, at .921, compared to .837. So he seems to be covering more ground this year.

I love the comparisons of baseball players to other famous folk. The Ron Jeremy comparison was hilarious! Keep up the good work! -Sarah

Thanks, Sarah. Those are fun. I'll try to keep coming up with more.

Stop ripping on the Yankess bub…..don’t Red Sox fans have anything else to do but write about the Yankees? This is ludicrous. Nice work by the Bosox spending 14 trillion Yen on Dice-K and his 5.45 ERA. -Marc

It's always good to see a Yankee fan chiming in, Marc. Sorry you're offended by the stats your team is putting out there. They are pretty offensive! This is going to be a rough season for Yankee fans. You'll probably lose a lot of 15-11 games. But there's good news! The Yankees expected win-loss record is 3 games better than their actual record, meaning they've been a little unlucky thus far. They're scoring more runs than they give up, meaning they should be at worst a .500 team. Keep your chin up, Marc!

What's wrong with Dice-K? Should I be concerned about Dice-K? Is Dice-K a dud?
-Multiple readers

Let's not start calling him Matsu-suck-a just yet, folks. He has shown signs of dominance and is still striking out more than a batter per inning, which puts him in the top echelon of starters. He seems to have one bad inning every start that derails him. His WHIP is a respectable but not great 1.32 and his BAA is a solid .245. But he's walked 9 guys in his last 2 outings, compared to just 8 strikeouts. On the bright side, he's pitched very well in 3 out of 4 non-Yankee starts. Most pitchers struggle against the Yankee lineup; that's understandable. He did win both of his starts against the Yanks, thanks to some serious run support. Here's what I see with Dice-K: he seems to get very frustrated with the strike zone and he loses his cool and his concentration. He's accustomed to getting all the calls in Japan. He was the Greg Maddux of Japan, getting all the calls in his favor. But MLB umps don't do that for rookies; he needs to earn the calls, and he's not helping his cause by rolling his eyes after a call doesn't go his way, or by turning his back to the ump and putting his hands on his hips. But he's smart and he'll figure it out. I still think he'll finish the season with 15 wins, 200+ strikeouts and a sub-4.00 ERA.

Not sure why, but the fact that Lowell has committed more errors already than last year doesn't really bother me. He is a solid guy at third, and I guess I am giving him a lot of slack. -Dan

A potent offensive attack will always make you forget about substandard defense, Dan. A near-.900 OPS, along with the 8th-most RBI in the league certainly help you overlook the crapload of errors. The fact is that Lowell's Zone Rating is at the lowest level of his career, at .739, compared to .811 from 2006. ARod's is .784 this year at the same position. I do think Lowell will improve. He's no Chuck Knoblauch (sorry, Marc).

What's with the change from all stats to some stats and some pictures, opinions, etc? -Matt

Good question, Matt. Last year I had a lot more time to research the stats to make my argument and type long entries. This year I have taken on more responsibility at work and have less time at home, too. So when an idea or opinion pops into my head, I quickly type it up and send it to the blog. You get more frequent, shorter entries with some more humor and pictures. I hope people like the change. My traffic certainly indicates that they do.

More to come soon. If you want to chime in, send me a note at redsoxstatsguy@gmail.com.

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