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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox
Friday, April 08, 2011
Hey, a Yankees series. I’m looking forward to that.
For several years, with or without blog, I’ve usually run some quick and dirty log5 and binomial projections to coincide with the first Yankees series. The idea has been that, rather than blathering about “we gotta get momentum” or “the games in September are the ones that count,” we can use math to roughly estimate how much this series matters to the future of the Red Sox season. This year, the task is quite easy, due to a little-understood feature of the “log5” equation.
This ...Read More...
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
I’m finding it more difficult to come up with things to say on the blog during the season than before the season. It’s probably partly because I need to get my nose out of the spreadsheet and into some baseball games, or whatever one does with one’s nose when it isn’t engaged in paradigmatically nerdy activities. Cause the thing is, I listen to the Red Sox losing another game, I go check their season stats to date, and there’s the team hitting line – a 565 OPS. What do you say ...Read More...
Saturday, April 02, 2011
Losing: Still Not Fun
The one positive thing I can say about today’s loss is that this was a particularly difficult Opening Day loss to overreact to. In the end, they got beat by a team that, if healthy, is one of the four or five best clubs in the world. The Sox lost because their best pitcher showed up with not one of his pitches working, and then their best reliever had poor command and a couple of balls found gaps at the wrong time. Is anyone really coming away from this game thinking, “Jon Lester used to ...Read More...
Monday, March 28, 2011
Back in February, I did a little data-entry blog post with the projected stats for all the Red Sox regulars from CAIRO, PECOTA, and ZiPS. With opening day just a scant hundred hours away, I thought it would be fun to look over those numbers again, and see what we, the fans, think we can add to those numbers.
For overs, I think that while we shouldn’t expect Jacoby Ellsbury to return to peak form immediately, it’s reasonable to say that the projection systems are expecting lingering ...Read More...
Sunday, March 27, 2011
A bunch of Therapudlians and assorted folks have been discussing a meetup when overseas Sox fan Mattbert comes into town this week. They were discussing that in the forums, but the forums are a strange and distant land populated by men most of us thought lost long ago, like Dan Werr. So, here’s a thread for y’alls to make plans.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Minor League Thread: Placing the Prospects
In the next couple weeks, the Red Sox will announce their minor league rosters. These announcements, I believe, contain a good bit of useful information for evaluating prospects. We don’t usually get information about Red Sox prospects from the Red Sox that isn’t stage-managed, for obvious reasons. When the Sox decide where to place a prospect, whether to challenge him or keep him at a lower level for more instruction, they have to make an objective evaluation, and we see the direct ...Read More...
Friday, March 18, 2011
I Think This Is The Lineup
In every full squad game this spring, Francona has batted Ellsbury-Pedroia-Crawford 1-2-3. The catcher and shortstop have consistently been slotted 8-9. That leaves basically only one workable lineup against RHP.
Batting one of the three worst hitters on the team first is extremely hard to justify. I guess one could say that the Sox believe in Ellsbury’s batting potential, and that lineups don’t matter all ...Read More...
Saturday, March 12, 2011
ST at ST: Whose Career Will Jose Ruin This Year?
(Spring Training Observations from our own Jose Can You Seabiscuit)
Greetings from Ft. Myers where I have been attending some Spring Training baseball. The Sox’ facility is actually two facilities with the Major League park (City of Palms) about 3 miles down the road from the minor league complex. I have been able to attend both locations and there is always much to see. As Darren will gleefully point out after my pimping of Ramon Ramirez last year, my scouting skills are a bit questionable ...Read More...
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Manager’s Decision: The Bullpen
Most of the internet discussion of the Red Sox bullpen, so far this spring, has concerned the 5th through 7th slots. Should Aceves be the long man over Wakefield, or should the Sox maintain their depth and use Aceves’ option? The same question applies, mutatis mutandis, to Reyes and Okajima (and Hill), as well as to Atchison and Albers. I generally take the position that it makes no sense to give away competent arms in March, so I’d tend toward Wakefield, Reyes, and Albers making the ...Read More...
Monday, March 07, 2011
Manager’s Decision: Starting Rotation
Four of the five slots in Terry Francona’s starting rotation are locked in. Only the fifth starter position will require careful season-long management. It’s of course possible that any or all of Lester, Buchholz, Lackey, or Beckett could be injured or ineffective, but the only places any of those four will be this year are the starting rotation and the disabled list. If they can pitch, they’ll be taking the mound every fifth day. They’re not really subject to the manager’s ...Read More...
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Manager’s Decision: Position Players
Because the Red Sox are a really good team with lots of really good players, a large chunk of the manager’s job has been done for him before he arrives in Florida. Sure, there’s managing the personalities and teaching the young guys and constructing a lineup, but the former two are hidden from view for this sort of analysis, and the latter continues to sort of bore me. What I find interesting are the decisions that a manager has to made in March and April, when he has to determine which ...Read More...
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The Red Sox and the Other, Lesser Projection Systems
Dan posted the Red Sox ZiPS numbers the same day my Baseball Prospectus arrived in the mail, so I thought it might be interesting to compare three other, lesser projection systems for what they think of the 2011 Red Sox. I’ve listed the projections in three columns, in alphabetical order - that is, first CAIRO, then PECOTA, then ZiPS. For hitters I’ve listed the three slash lines, for pitchers IP and ERA.
247/320/403, 237/309/396, 230/308/382 – Saltalamacchia
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Just in time for the first days of full-on spring training, I have finished the yearly renoobulation of the world’s most advanced projection system that is deadly accurate and has other marketable characteristics as well, the Crazy FanBoy Projection System. This year the CFBPS is better than ever – along with all the usual polishing of grommets and tuning of dials, it has a new steam-powered ooga-chooga, the ability to see through both space and time, and I fitted lasers to the motherboard ...Read More...
Monday, February 14, 2011
Pitchers and Catchers and Programming Notes
Here’s a spring training video to get everyone excited:
So, I have a couple of goals for Sox Therapy in 2011. I don’t have any delusions about updating this every day – that would get tremendously boring for all of us. But I think that it will be possible to upgrade the blog from occasionally and sporadically updated to occasionally and regularly updated. Something like once a week, sometimes twice a week, seems like a reasonable ...Read More...
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Watching Spring Training… News
Most of the fun of spring training is just that there’s finally baseball on my teevee again. Beyond that, though, it becomes very easy to watch a few innings of a game, decide that the backup first baseman is pretty so hard it hurts to watch, and perhaps overreact a little. We should be humble about what we can determine from watching spring, and we shouldn’t publish first drafts, is what I’m saying.
While it’s difficult to develop intelligent baseball analyses from watching a spring ...Read More...
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Win the Offseason
I was working on a post about the Red Sox recent minor league signings – they added Alfredo Aceves as the 7th starter and Dennys Reyes as the backup loogy – but I realized pretty quickly it was a boring post. Three paragraphs all to make the point, “Theo sure is smart for signing good players and also pitching depth is good.” Really, most of our offseason talk has converged on that point. The Red Sox did just about everything right. Even better, the Red Sox did just about everything ...Read More...
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Sox 2011 payroll = Sox 2010 payroll. Fact.
Theo has again successfully avoided going to arbitration, and all the projected 2011 Red Sox players who will make significantly more than the MLB minimum have now been signed. The Sox went big this offseason, going after the top free agent position player and the top position player on the trade market while injecting over $10M into the bullpen. What I think is interesting, given this set of events, is that the Red Sox have barely increased payroll at all from their 2010 level.
The Red Sox ...Read More...
Monday, January 17, 2011
Epstein Interview Contains Actual Baseball Content
Once every presidential administration or so, Theo Epstein gets liquored up before a press conference and proceeds to actually answer the questions he’s asked. At the Hot Stove Cool Music benefit on Friday, reporters cajoled Epstein into telling them what the team plans to do at both shortstop and catcher. I like the answers quite a lot. These quotes are from Evan Dreilich’s article at redsox.com.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
A Tale of Two Suckings
John Lackey and Josh Beckett seemed to have two things in common last year – the Red Sox paid them lots and lots of money, and they sucked. I’m going to argue that these were the only things they had in common, and in fact John Lackey didn’t really suck all that much.
First, Lackey gave the Sox 215 innings of league average pitching, which has value. (Not nineteen million dollars of value, but value.) Second, while Lackey’s strikeout and walk rates both got worse, neither was ...Read More...
Saturday, January 01, 2011
24 Down, One to Go
The Globe is reporting that the Red Sox have agreed to terms with Hideki Okajima on a one-year major league contract. The fills the bullpen, leaving only the 25th man (Papi’s RHB caddy) to go. I had some speculation earlier in the offseason about the bullpen, and my presumption was that the club would focus on acquiring a top LH reliever to get big outs in the 7th and 8th. This made sense, I thought, given that Scott Downs, Brian Fuentes, and Frank Francisco were all available as free ...Read More...
Friday, December 24, 2010
The Catching Situation
I got into several distinct arguments yesterday about the Red Sox catchers. Lots of people seem to think they suck, and I think that they don’t suck. Here’s why I think that.
First, I think our baselines should be statistical projections and league averages. A league average AL catcher last year hit for a 245/312/374 line. In 2009 it was 254/316/408, and it was 258/322/393. An OPS somewhat above 700 is perfectly average for a catcher. Given that, the projections on Jason Varitek and ...Read More...
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
This post was going to be shortish, just a proposed lineup and a couple notes, but I’m having a hell of a time figuring out what the lineup ought to be. So instead this is going to be me working through the question, and it’s going to take a while.
Lineups don’t matter too much, but the Tango/Dolphin/MGL research suggests there is a win or so per season to be gleaned here. Beyond their maxims of maximization – bat your best hitters 2nd and 4th, OBP at leadoff, weaker OBP can hit 3rd ...Read More...
Thursday, December 09, 2010
In Which I Learn Not to Listen to Theo’s Public Statements
Carl Crawford is a Boston Red Sox for the low, low price of 7 years, ~140M. Boston acquired the two best players available this offseason – one of whom we didn’t even know was available coming into the offseason. They have agreed, officially or under the table, to give these players very, very large contracts. Obviously all that stuff in the previous post about the Red Sox cutting payroll can be happily disregarded.
Likewise, all that bellyaching about whether the team projects to be ...Read More...
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Apres Gonzalez, Le, uh, Payroll
My analysis of the Red Sox offseason plans, so far, has been based on an assumption that the 2010 payroll was not an outlier. I figured if they ran up to $170M last year, they would stay in roughly that range, not drop most of the way back down to the $130-140M range they were in during the previous three seasons. Maybe I was wrong. I have the Red Sox payroll for 2011 projected at $136M, including arbitration raises for Ellsbury and Papelbon. Theo, during the Gonzalez press conference, said ...Read More...
Saturday, December 04, 2010
What’s an Adrian Gonzalez Worth?
The Red Sox have agreed to trade some prospects for Adrian Gonzalez. The deal certainly could still fall apart – one should never bet against Theo approaching the brink and then pulling back – but I nonetheless feel like taunting the gods of the jinx and laying out my thoughts on the (pending) deal. I think this is pretty great news. First, Gonzalez is signed to an incredibly cheap contract - $5.5M for 2011. The Sox will get something in the range of a 5 WAR player for $5.5M. That’s ...Read More...
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The Case for Adrian Beltre
It’s difficult to say, with the sort of forcefulness a blog post requires, what the Red Sox absolutely ought to do this offseason. Their payroll may fall anywhere between $160M and $185M, and the best use of resources is heavily dependent on how many resources exist. Their outfield situation might already be settled, if Cameron and Ellsbury look fully recovered and the team remains confident in their skills, or they might be in need of at least one new outfielder.
With those caveats, ...Read More...
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
[The reports that the Tigers have signed Victor Martinez look pretty secure right now. If they fall through, this post will look silly. That will not be the first time one of my posts ends up looking silly.]
I have figured for a while that the Red Sox offseason plan had to include re-signing Victor Martinez. He’s an excellent hitter for a catcher, and the free agent market after him is utterly barren. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is nice as a lottery ticket, not so much as a meal ticket. Ryan ...Read More...
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Jonathan Papelbon: Because We’ve Hardly Discussed Him Enough This Year
One of the big decisions facing the Red Sox, this offseason, is what to do with Jonathan Papelbon. After a disappointing 2010 season, Papelbon is up for arbitration again. Given the history of closers going to arb, he should be able to command in the range of $12M for his services. The question, then, is whether he’s the best person to get that money.
I was skeptical that Papelbon would project to be worth the money when I started out, and I remain skeptical. I compared Papelbon to three ...Read More...
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Minor League Thread: BA’s League Top 20s
The Red Sox minor league season was, overall, a big disappointment. Very few prospects had seasons that will move them significantly up any rankings lists. However, having a poor or uninspiring season doesn’t mean you’re no longer a prospect. It’s certainly possible to show development in skills and tools without putting up the sort of numbers that excite a fan with an internet connection and the keys to rarely-updated blog. End-of-season and mid-season prospect lists can be useful ...Read More...
Sunday, October 03, 2010
a) Carl Crawford, b) Jayson Werth, c) Other
I’m still assembling my thoughts on what the Red Sox should do this offseason, and two of the key questions are whether the Sox should go after one of the big free agent outfielders, and if so, which one. Some of the variables in this question are unanswerable or practically so – for example, just how healthy are Ellsbury and Cameron going to be? And how much will other teams be willing to pay for Werth or Crawford? The question of which of them is better, though, is one we can get a ...Read More...
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