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   1. BoSox Rule Posted: May 13, 2006 at 03:39 PM (#2018028)
2006 vs. RHP: .354/.469/.595, 2.1% 2B, 5.2% HR
2006 vs. LHP: .205/.404/.308, 1.9% 2B, 1.9% HR

2005 vs. RHP: .316/.401/.622, 4.8% 2B, 7.3% HR
2005 vs. LHP: .236/.358/.527, 4.6% 2B, 6.7% HR

2004 vs. RHP: .309/.375/.605, 6.9% 2B, 6.7% HR
2004 vs. LHP: .306/.446/.631, 6.5% 2B, 6.5% HR

He hasn't be doing much vs. LHP lately. But thank God the plate discipline is there because his EqA is still .331. It was .327 last year. Even more good news is his RATE2 is 105. I know BP's metrics aren't perfect and this is still Manny Ramirez we're talking about, but he's looked a lot better so it is somewhat encouraging.
   2. Toby Posted: May 13, 2006 at 04:00 PM (#2018036)
The team as a whole has a somewhat higher OBP and a significantly lower SLG than in past years. Is that because there has been a change in Manny? Or is that because there are environmental effects (park, weather, opposition) that are skewing Manny more than most of the rest of the team?

I don't have Manny's career BABIP handy but my SWAG is that Manny's power has deteriorated even worse than it appears but he has been BABIP-lucky so it doesn't look as bad as it is.

my, I'm grumbly this morning.
   3. Dave Cyprian Posted: May 13, 2006 at 04:12 PM (#2018037)
As of April 20th, he had 1 extra base hit (a double), in 51 at bats. Since then, he has had 9 extra base hits, in 59 at bats. My read is he just got off to a slow start, and like Darren said, he has been playing decent defense, so I see nothing to cause worry. Doesn't explain the strike outs though.
   4. PJ Martinez Posted: May 13, 2006 at 04:18 PM (#2018038)
How many of those strikeouts came in those first 51 at-bats? He was striking out a ton early in the season.

I'm glad to hear from Toby that the team SLG is indeed down. It has seemed to me (without actually checking the numbers) that everyone on the team but Ortiz is a little low in the HR department (not the only way to measure power, I realize). This has made me wonder about those environmental effects, too.
   5. Dave Cyprian Posted: May 13, 2006 at 04:26 PM (#2018040)
First 51 at bats: 18 strike outs. Last 59 at bats: 11 strike outs.
   6. tfbg9 Posted: May 13, 2006 at 04:29 PM (#2018041)
Sometimes, a big jump in an older hitter's walk rate is an ominous sign.
   7. philly Posted: May 13, 2006 at 05:11 PM (#2018050)
Sometimes, a big jump in an older hitter's walk rate is an ominous sign.

I think this is mostly a small sample including a slow start, but I do think there are reasons to be concerned that Manny's skills are fraying around the edges and the process is picking up some speed. There are a lot of mixed signals within his peripherals - eg wasn't PrOPS pretty high on Manny last year in terms of batted ball types? - but I thought he was starting to swing thru more hittable pitches last year and that has seemed to be true again this year.

If he's got a 331 EQA this year than this different shape of production is obviously no big deal, but it does feel to me like we're getting closer to the year he hits 265 with 125 BB and 35 HR and that becomes his last pretty good year.
   8. PJ Martinez Posted: May 13, 2006 at 05:49 PM (#2018098)
"First 51 at bats: 18 strike outs. Last 59 at bats: 11 strike outs."

Well, that's not a huge difference, but it is a difference. For his career, he's at 1349 Ks in 6126 ABs, which I think is about 1 every 4.5 ABs. 11 in 59 is actually less than that. In fact, so is 29 out of 110, which are his season stats. So I don't see much in the K rate that's worrisome, unless I'm doing something wrong here. His absence of power is a little troubling.
   9. tfbg9 Posted: May 13, 2006 at 07:03 PM (#2018209)
He slugged ~.550 pre all-star then ~.650 post all-star 2005, so there's that. If it was the other way around, I'd be more concerned.
   10. Darren Posted: May 13, 2006 at 07:19 PM (#2018254)
I was getting the same sense about Manny as philly describes--the feeling that he's lost a 'step' but the league hasn't figured it out yet. So he misses more hittable pitches, which leads to more Ks but also to longer ABs that result in more walks. If this is the case, pitchers will eventually figure out that Manny's not the same hitter, be less careful with him, and the results won't be nearly as nice.

Then again, maybe he'll be like Giambi, put up a .250 average for a year, then morph into a better hitter than he ever was. That'd be fun.
   11. Darren Posted: May 13, 2006 at 07:23 PM (#2018261)
I also meant to note above that Manny's 06 reverses a previous trend. In 04 and 05, Manny's OBPs were down quite a bit from previous years, in the .380-.390 range rather than the .420ish he had been before. It was one of the reasons I was very happy that the team was shopping him. I wonder if there was ever a deal that included Milledge on the table.
   12. Toby Posted: May 13, 2006 at 08:48 PM (#2018365)
what was the deal with Schilling's mystery ailment before Thursday's game, by the way? Anyone know?
   13. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: May 13, 2006 at 08:53 PM (#2018366)
If he's got a 331 EQA this year than this different shape of production is obviously no big deal, but it does feel to me like we're getting closer to the year he hits 265 with 125 BB and 35 HR and that becomes his last pretty good year.

A somewhat better version of Sammy Sosa's 2004? Or maybe his 2003.
   14. tfbg9 Posted: May 13, 2006 at 10:52 PM (#2018413)
Toby, supposedly he was visiting a sick kid at the hospital whose family wanted no publicity about the whole thing, and snuck out of the Stadium in uniform to do so.
   15. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: May 13, 2006 at 10:58 PM (#2018421)
From my observations, I am worried by Manny's inability to turn on inside pitches. He seems to be driving the ball to the opposite field for HR's and basehits, but he doesn't turn on a lot of pitches with authority.

Is there an online hit chart for individual players?
   16. Walt Davis Posted: May 13, 2006 at 11:01 PM (#2018426)
As #8 points out, Manny's K-rate is not out of whack with his career. ESPN puts his per-162 game average at 130; this year he's on pace for 140. That's probably just random fluctuation and even if it's a new "talent" level, it's not a big deal.

He had a "bad" April with too many Ks and too little power. Still, his April this year (276/417/448) was much better than last year's May (234/324/401) and April/May 2006 looks rather similar to April/May 2003.

Which isn't to say that Manny's skills aren't in decline at age 34. But I'm reasonably confident he'll still be hitting pretty well at the end of this contract.
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 13, 2006 at 11:06 PM (#2018430)
Manny obviously hasn't played enough this season to have his statistical record mean anything. But I think these attempts to pick out something real in the statistical record before it becomes real statistically, are a lot of fun.

I'm pretty optimistic about Manny. He's not hitting line drives at his normal rate, but he's not quite getting the power numbers we expect. I agree that he's changing - I think hte BB and K numbers do reflect some real adjustments he's made - but Manny is one of the hardest working, most fundamentally sound hitters in baseball. There are very few players I would trust more to figure out how to remain a successful hitter.
   18. Darren Posted: May 14, 2006 at 03:14 AM (#2019056)
But I think these attempts to pick out something real in the statistical record before it becomes real statistically, are a lot of fun.

I read this as something like 'This stuff you are talking about is stupid, but I will play along.' Is that about right? :)

And what do you make of the Gospel of Thomas? Bunch of crap or the real deal?
   19. The Wilpons Must Go (Tom D) Posted: May 14, 2006 at 11:07 AM (#2019166)
I have this bum inmy roto league. I'll post here again when he starts outplaying Torii Hunter.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 14, 2006 at 12:05 PM (#2019171)
I read this as something like 'This stuff you are talking about is stupid, but I will play along.' Is that about right? :)
Naw, just think of me as a robot that goes between threads talking about sample sizes.

My point is only that these numbers can't prove anything on their own, due to basic limitations of numbers. I think most all of hte interesting questions about baseball reside in this space - before we can make confident statistical determinations. Do the numbers point to a change in Manny's ability or approach? What would he look like if it did? Those are good, decidedly non-stupid questions, and I was saying I enjoy a thread that asks them.
And what do you make of the Gospel of Thomas? Bunch of crap or the real deal?
You mean Judas? On a scholarly level, it's certainly the real deal. It's apparently 2nd century, it reads like a whole bunch of other ~2nd century Coptic texts we already have (eg, Secret Letter of James, Gospel of Mary).

It's not the real deal if that means that it carries historical information about the historical person Judas. The text dates over a century after the death of Jesus, and there was a common trope in texts of its time to have a story about random Apostle X to whom Jesus told all sorts of crazy, secret ####, and so now the community has this secret knowledge and thus has authority deriving from the apostolic succession.

As to why they picked Judas to be their random Apostle X - really the main interesting question about the text - I'm not sure. Hopefully I'll have a better idea after this summer.
   21. andrewberg Posted: May 14, 2006 at 05:28 PM (#2019321)
There's no way anyone could test, prove or quantify this theory, but give it some thought: some elite athletes change their approaches as they get older and focus on particular skills where their abilities start to fade just a little. Think of basketball players like Gary Payton (stats still look ok, but he takes lots of plays off on defense where he made his reputation) and Robert Horry (starts trying sometime around May 15th), or baseball players like Trevor Hoffman (lower K rates, still gets it done pretty reliably). I believe it would be easier to make a hypothesis like this one in basketball because you can see a player's contributions even as his stats decline, whereas baseball players are appropriately judged by the complete statistical profile. Consider that he might be refocusing his changing skill set (a slower bat would probably hurt him more against lefties than righties at first because he'll have trouble getting around on breaking pitches without opening up like he can against righties). Again, it is very hypothetical, but perhaps he even saw this shortcoming arising and compensated by increased focus or training in the OF. I'm not advocating it, but give it some thought, because there is probably something very individualistic about his changing profile.
   22. Mike Emeigh Posted: May 15, 2006 at 02:12 AM (#2020269)
some elite athletes change their approaches as they get older and focus on particular skills where their abilities start to fade just a little.


In one of Bill James' Baseball Books (the stuff he published after the Abstracts and before Win Shares), Jack Etkin authored a piece on Hal McRae where McRae mentioned this very thing. As he aged, he realized that his bat was slowing and that pitchers would try to take advantage by busting him inside with fast balls. McRae compensated by committing earlier to his swing, realizing that he would be vulnerable to other pitches - but that pitchers wouldn't believe that he couldn't be handled inside.

-- MWE
   23. Dave Cyprian Posted: May 15, 2006 at 04:34 AM (#2020393)
New topic: Runner on third, two outs. Which Red Sox would you most like to see at the plate? Last year, I would have said Damon. This year, probably Youklis. What say thee?
   24. John Walsh Posted: May 15, 2006 at 12:28 PM (#2020459)
Depends on the score. If the Sox are leading by 15, I'd like to see Jonathon Papelbon hitting.
   25. villageidiom Posted: May 15, 2006 at 01:16 PM (#2020473)
As to why they picked Judas to be their random Apostle X - really the main interesting question about the text - I'm not sure.

Marketing. Judas has name-brand recognition. Sure, there's a few negatives associated with him... but there's no such thing as bad publicity, right?
   26. DCA Posted: May 15, 2006 at 01:43 PM (#2020480)
Then again, maybe he'll be like Giambi, put up a .250 average for a year, then morph into a better hitter than he ever was. That'd be fun.

Uh, 2000-2001. Giambi was almost as good last year as he was in Oakland, and just about exactly as good this year (small sample). He's not reaching a new level, he's still trying to get back to his old level.
   27. Norcan Posted: May 18, 2006 at 05:02 AM (#2025457)
What about Jason Varitek? If 99.1 percent of catchers suddenly jump off a cliff somewhere around age 32-34 and never climb back up, coudl Varitek be done? Could his complete inability to hit anything hard for about the last month and a half of last season been the start of his decline? Despite his good stats, he never struck me as being a particularly talented hitter, a little shove could I thought steeply diminish his production. And he has two years left but so what, it's not my money and the Red Sox will still be able to sign the players they want even if Varitek's contract becomes deadweight.
   28. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: May 18, 2006 at 02:48 PM (#2025592)
I'm a little concerned about Varitek too, simply because he's an older catcher, but he has never looked like a good hitter to me, despite his stats. His sore glute might be bothering him a little. He is a really streaky hitter though, and at this point in the season one hot week would bring his numbers back up to his career levels.

Varitek hasn't really hit much at home yet this year:

Home:
50 AB 200/241/300

Away:
58 AB 259/394/466
   29. BoSox Rule Posted: May 25, 2006 at 08:35 PM (#2037155)
.316/.442/.579

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