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   1. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 04, 2010 at 11:25 PM (#3492178)
Pedro throwing out the first pitch on opening day!?! Will he be back?
   2. alkeiper Posted: April 05, 2010 at 12:02 AM (#3492227)
Well thanks to living in northeast PA but not having the YES Network, tonight's game is blacked out! F'n ridiculous.
   3. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: April 05, 2010 at 12:23 AM (#3492278)
May I just say, Alan, that you have the best name on Primer, overtaking Benji Gil Ga Meche.
   4. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: April 05, 2010 at 12:34 AM (#3492317)
Awwww...
   5. ekogan Posted: April 05, 2010 at 04:08 AM (#3492825)
Knee-jerking: the good David Ortiz isn't coming back, he's going to have a worse year this year than in 2009. Jacoby needs more practice playing LF, but he'll be fine there. Don't extend Beckett, he's replaceable. Youk is going to be wicked awesome. I love Scutaro.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 05, 2010 at 04:46 AM (#3492833)
I was watching at a bar - well, two, ESK to Coda - but it seemed like Beckett gave up on the curveball in the first or second inning. Without a curveball, he's not going to beat a world class offense, but out he went with his fastball and his, um, what pitches does Beckett have that aren't his fastball? The first five innings were annoying.

I did like to see the reasonably balanced offense of the Red Sox scoring a pile of runs. No easy outs in this lineup. No MVP quality hitters, but no easy outs. That works for me.

Papelbon looked good.

I enjoyed the questionable managing one-ups-manship of the 7th inning. "I'm going to pitch Ramon Ramirez against the heart of the best lineup in baseball, in a tie game." "Yeah, well I'm going to have Chan Ho Park pitch in a baseball game wherein I care about the outcome." Point, Girardi.
   7. Chip Posted: April 05, 2010 at 04:48 AM (#3492834)
The changeup was the second pitch.

Oki gets the win while displaying his continued talent for allowing inherited runners to score. Granted, second and third, no outs is an impossible situation, and he kept the damage to a minimum with the big DP.
   8. Dale Sams Posted: April 05, 2010 at 05:11 AM (#3492842)
No MVP quality hitters, but no easy outs


Kevin Youkilis: The most underrated player by RSN in history.
   9. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 05, 2010 at 05:17 AM (#3492845)
Kevin Youkilis, playing 1B, is not an MVP quality baseball player.
   10. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: April 05, 2010 at 05:19 AM (#3492846)
I had a heap of fun watching the game with a bunch of mates at the pub. Nice comeback
   11. booond Posted: April 05, 2010 at 05:29 AM (#3492849)
Kevin Youkilis, playing 1B, is not an MVP quality baseball player.


He needs to take a small step up to the .975 OPS range, play in 155 games and the Sox have to win the division. Plus, no one can have a Mauer-type season. It's possible but the chances are slim. He's been in the running the last two years and had an argument in 2008.
   12. Joel W Posted: April 05, 2010 at 05:32 AM (#3492852)
2008-2009 Combined WAR in the AL:

Joe Mauer: 14.7
Dustin Pedroia: 11.9
Kevin Youkilis: 11.7
Derek Jeter: 11.1
Evan Longoria: 12.9
Alex Rodriguez: 10.4


I could 3 MVPs and one future MVP in that bunch. In what world is Kevin Youkilis not an MVP quality baseball player?

My initial reactions: Papi does in fact look toast, and much skinnier. Scutaro is comforting for not being a complete sinkhole at SS/9 hole after the past couple years. Adrian Beltre's defense is awesome, and that last out where he ranged towards short to cut the ball off made me irrationally excited about his defense.
   13. Dale Sams Posted: April 05, 2010 at 05:48 AM (#3492857)
Kevin Youkilis has more career share mvp points than Teixeira. If you really want to argue Mark Teixeira is not an MVP quality player...than, fine. Whatever. But Youk only had a better OPS, WAR, value, and UZR in 2009 when Teix came in 2cnd in MVP voting.

Losing playing time by playing under Rest Time Tito, having a big melon, and getting hit 200 times a season doesn't diminish the fact he is an MVP-Quality player.
   14. Dale Sams Posted: April 05, 2010 at 05:53 AM (#3492861)
Adrian Beltre's defense is awesome


Any way we can get him to play half-way between the Monster and the infield? Shift Ellsbury, Cameron and Drew over 25 feet? j/k, in case you thought I was serious but Ellsbury made me cringe on every flyball including the gimmes.
   15. ekogan Posted: April 05, 2010 at 08:45 AM (#3492879)
Ellsbury made me cringe on every flyball including the gimmes.

I don't think he could practice playing the Monster in spring training.
He'll improve.
   16. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 05, 2010 at 11:17 AM (#3492890)
I think I've been shown not to be all that correct on the Youkilis front. A chunk of those WAR numbers is Youkilis' extra positional adjustment at 3B, but not enough to make a huge difference. I think the issue is that I still don't believe he's become the sort of power hitter that his 2008 and 2009 lines reflect. He's just such an ugly hitter and I don't understand how he can generate major league power with that swing. But I probably need to accept that.

I was thinking, when I wrote the above, that Dustin Pedroia, combining hitting, defense, and baserunning, is an MVP quality player. But Youks has to be pretty close, by that accounting, and the large percentage of his value is his hitting. A 140 OPS+ first baseman on a good club is going to be an mvp contender.
   17. Dave Cyprian Posted: April 05, 2010 at 01:48 PM (#3492937)
Kevin Youkilis, on the Kansas City Royals, is not an MVP contender.

EDIT: What I meant to say was "Woohoo!" That's what I call a baseball game, last night.
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: April 05, 2010 at 02:22 PM (#3492961)
Went to the game. #45 is my favorite, so it was great to be surprised by him. Pedro really hammed it up, strolling in from the Monster, lots of pointing etc. Threw his pitch (everyone a little disappointed he didn't put some mustard on it) and then embraced Varitek and then Pesky.

Youkilis obviously looked great. His double was an absolute shot. While Pedroia's dinger maybe was a fenway cheapie, Youkilis' hit was hindered by the park and I think it goes out in most places. I laughed out loud when the name Chan Ho Park was announced and it seemed like the Sox hitters were chomping at the bit to face him. I didn't look at the radar readings, but to the naked eye Joba's pitches are just not that fast. I didn't have a good angle to see if his slider was nasty.

Good comeback after a slow start!
   19. JB H Posted: April 05, 2010 at 03:08 PM (#3492989)
I'm in love with Beltre and Scutaro.

Beckett looked OK to me despite getting crappy results.

I have absolutely no confidence in Ramon Ramirez
   20. Nasty Nate Posted: April 05, 2010 at 03:34 PM (#3493019)
Oh, and the little kid doing the Herb Brooks speech was awesome.
   21. Schilling's Sprained Ankiel Posted: April 05, 2010 at 03:43 PM (#3493029)
Papi looked like crap in the Nats exhibition game. And he looked about the same last night.
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: April 05, 2010 at 04:09 PM (#3493056)
Ellsbury was wearing #2 last night. Is that new?
   23. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 05, 2010 at 04:17 PM (#3493062)
Yes it is. Evidently he has wanted to do it for awhile but bench coach Brad Mills had the number so he couldn't have it.

I'm with JB H, I thought Beckett was OK, not great, but against a normal offensive team he probably would have had an OK outing, the Yankees might be decent offensively though.
   24. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 05, 2010 at 04:23 PM (#3493068)
The real thing Youk's going to have to do if he wants to win an MVP is stay on the field a little more. Without hitting like Mauer last season, it's hard to win an award like that if you don't play 150 games, which Youk has never done.

The funny thing about him is that he seems to have escaped a lot of the Moneyball-related hooey that plagued Jeremy Brown and some of the other figures featured in that book. There are plenty of fans who don't like him because he seems like a bit of of a yahoo, and you do still hear the "Greek God of Walks" line trotted out, but rarely with the vitriol one might expect. It seems like his white-scrappiness has overcome his fat-walkiness in the minds of the media.

Anyway, I'm really excited to watch the game Tuesday. Jon Lester rules.
   25. tfbg9 Posted: April 05, 2010 at 07:40 PM (#3493596)
I have absolutely no confidence in Ramon Ramirez


Me neither. Hope I'm wrong, because with MDC all messed-up, he will have an even better oppurtunity to toss a lot of important innings.

I'm happy about the Beckett deal. I'm a Beckett fan. Carrying my team to a world title (not to mention slaying the NYY's in another WS)
makes me a fan of a pitcher.
   26. Mattbert Posted: April 05, 2010 at 08:20 PM (#3493706)
So did they wait until today to announce the Beckett extension purely for luxury tax reasons? Sneaky!

You guys are going to cream your pants over Beltre's defense this year. I got to see him a fair bit when I lived in Seattle, and the dude is just sick. If he can manage even an average season at the dish, we'll have gotten a hell of deal.
   27. Hugh Jorgan Posted: April 05, 2010 at 11:01 PM (#3494020)
Papi looked like crap in the Nats exhibition game. And he looked about the same last night.

You are being kind with your use of the term crap. Papi looked overmatched and out of his league(worse then crap) Outside of Ellsbury, everyone else looked reasonable at the plate.

I still think the best lineup has Pedroia leading off and Drew in the 2nd spot, but hey, that's just me and I've been pushing this barrow for years.
   28. Accent Shallow Posted: April 05, 2010 at 11:12 PM (#3494031)
I have absolutely no confidence in Ramon Ramirez


Which one?

Yes it is. Evidently he has wanted to do it for awhile but bench coach Brad Mills had the number so he couldn't have it.


A bench coach gets to wear a single digit? That odd to anyone else?
   29. villageidiom Posted: April 06, 2010 at 12:54 AM (#3494114)
Ellsbury was wearing #2 last night. Is that new?
Yes, and Buchholz is wearing #11.

Ortiz was never all that great against LHP, and last night he was facing Sabathia. It's possible he's done, but I'm willing to cut him some slack for one game.
   30. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 06, 2010 at 01:09 AM (#3494125)
He's just such an ugly hitter and I don't understand how he can generate major league power with that swing. But I probably need to accept that.

If it makes you feel any better, actual Major League scouts didn't see how he could do it either when he was a prospect. I remember thinking in 2003 that he'd hopefully be able to peak as a .290/.390/.450 hitter, but that felt a little bit optimistic.

Then again, he had a .487 OBP at AA that year, IIRC.
   31. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 06, 2010 at 12:51 PM (#3494412)
Ortiz was never all that great against LHP, and last night he was facing Sabathia. It's possible he's done, but I'm willing to cut him some slack for one game.


He missed on a couple of meatballs right in his zone. Even he knew he should have had them. It's either confidence, bat speed, or both.

If this weren't Opening Day, I suspect Lowell would have started at DH instead of Papi. Lowell was a better hitter against lefties than Papi even in Papi's heyday.
   32. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 06, 2010 at 12:58 PM (#3494416)
Don't extend Beckett, he's replaceable.


By who, exactly, other than wishcasting? Sure, you can hope Buchholz turns into him productivity-wise, but Becketts don't grow on trees.
   33. ekogan Posted: April 06, 2010 at 02:16 PM (#3494464)
By who, exactly, other than wishcasting?


Just on the next year's market, Cliff Lee.
In 2012, Roy Oswalt is available.

Now that Beckett is extended, they have all 5 rotation slots locked up long term, without even counting Wakefield.
I'd rather they have signed another big bat *cough* Holiday *cough* and used the 5th rotation slot to try out pitching prospects.
For example, gave Bowden an extended try-out this year - Casey Kelly will soon be knocking on that door too.
Now all Red Sox pitching prospects have to become trade bait, lessening their value.
   34. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 06, 2010 at 02:29 PM (#3494474)
Lee is probably better, though he doesn't have nearly the history of excellence. But Oswalt is nowhere near Beckett anymore.

Now all Red Sox pitching prospects have to become trade bait


Hardly. They still have the 4 and 5 starters to sort out. Wakefield will retire. Buchholz has yet to put up a full season of excellence. And Matsuzaka, of course, is a complete unknown as to his effectiveness and health at this point. Not to mention the propensity for pitching prospects to get hurt, flame out, etc (see: Tazawa's TJ surgery, Craig Hansen's ineffectiveness). And heck, Beckett has had injury issues before. So has Lackey. Theo will rightly hold on to a guy like Kelly as long as possible.
   35. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 06, 2010 at 02:34 PM (#3494480)
Bird in the hand. I'd rather a 100% chance of having Josh Beckett over a 50% chance (at best) of Cliff Lee.

I don't see they hype on Bowden. I'd like to be wrong about him but I don't see the stuff or the pinpoint control needed to make it at the big league level.

I see no reason why the Sox prospects have to become trade bait. As Theo said yesterday in the press conference they use 20 pitchers every year and with Wakefield done after 2011, Matsuzaka after 2012 there are still rotation spots open. If the "worst" case is that the Sox have six Beckett or better caliber pitchers around and the first five stay healthy for 30+ starts every year, I'm willing to waste a guy at Pawtucket for another year.

So Kelly and Bowden pan out and so does Doubront and Pimentel...great, Kelly is our fifth starter, Doubront, Pimentel and Bard become dominant relievers and the Sox can print World Series tickets. Realistically that ain't all happening and I don't think we'll ever see a season where the Sox have to keep some above average Major Leaguer stuck in Pawtucket because they can't find a job for him.
   36. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 06, 2010 at 02:47 PM (#3494496)
Oh, and the little kid doing the Herb Brooks speech was awesome.

Dis. Concur.
   37. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 06, 2010 at 02:50 PM (#3494502)
Oh, and the little kid doing the Herb Brooks speech was awesome.

Dis. Concur.


That kid was the most obnoxious thing to appear in Fenway Park since Ty Cobb. My ears bled.

Bowden looked to have "it" in AA, but he's backslid since his good year there. I see a trade piece there, since he won't be good enough to fit in. But if Kelly progresses he could easily break in as a #4 or #5.
   38. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 06, 2010 at 02:53 PM (#3494508)
I don't see they hype on Bowden. I'd like to be wrong about him but I don't see the stuff or the pinpoint control needed to make it at the big league level.
Neither does most anyone else. BA says that Bowden has lost the power curve that made him a big prospect, and projects as a middle reliever on a first division club like the Red Sox. I think Mike Bowden, with his deceptive delivery, could make a reasonably good middle reliever, but I have zero qualms about "blocking" him on the major league roster.

Casey Kelly is the best Red Sox pitching prospect and the closest to the majors of the ones who matter, and even if he does live up to the hype, he's a year and a half away.
   39. ekogan Posted: April 06, 2010 at 03:14 PM (#3494538)
As Theo said yesterday in the press conference they use 20 pitchers every year and with Wakefield done after 2011, Matsuzaka after 2012 there are still rotation spots open.

Lester, Beckett, Lackey, Buchholz, Dice-K - 5 slots locked up until after 2012. Casey Kelly will be ready for transition to the majors by 2011, and will have to settle for emergency starter duties for 2 years. That's not a good way to jump to the majors - when the prospect feels that he needs to dominate to earn a full time job. Pitching prospects need time to struggle and fail before they can master the MLB level and reach their ceilings. See Buchholz as the most recent example. My preferred policy would be for the team to dedicate the 5th starter slot for that. Of course it's ugly to watch, but that's life. The Yankees seem to be following this policy with Chamberlain and now Hughes getting extended opportunities to try, fail and try again as starters. The Red Sox are denying their prospects this opportunity. Given enough playing time, I'd expect that 2 out of 3 of Masterson, Bowden and Tazawa will develop into league average inning eaters, but now they'll be realizing this value for some other team. Here's another example of a prospect: Year 1 (cup of coffee) 5.52 ERA, Year 2 - 5.61, and then 15 years with ERAs lower than 3.60. Name? Greg Maddux. If Maddux was a current era Red Sox prospect, he'd end up as the next great Cleveland Indians star.

If the "worst" case is that the Sox have six Beckett or better caliber pitchers around and the first five stay healthy for 30+ starts every year,

The worst case is that we have Mike Cameron instead of Matt Holiday because the team overinvested in pitching. Lackey, Beckett and Holiday are all getting roughly equal annual money after all.
   40. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 06, 2010 at 03:29 PM (#3494558)
Jon Lester gives lie to the idea that the Sox won't develop a big time prospect as a starter and Buchholz has certainly been given the opportunity to follow the "Maddux path" as well. The other guys you mention, Masterson, Bowden, Tazawa, there is not a can't miss or anything close to it in that group. I like Tazawa (well, pre TJS anyway) and Masterson looks like a reliever more than a starter to me with pretty extreme splits.

Let's say the Sox DO trade Kelly for a big hitter (Gonzalez, Fielder, etc...) how is this worse than getting Holliday instead of Lackey? In each case the Sox have a top pitcher and a top hitter (Holliday/Kelly or Lackey/Fielder) at the end of the manuevering and that assumes that Kelly in fact pans out.

EDIT: Feel free to substitute some outfield slugger for Gonzalez, Fielder, etc...to avoid positional disputes.
   41. ekogan Posted: April 06, 2010 at 03:35 PM (#3494563)
In each case the Sox have a top pitcher and a top hitter (Holliday/Kelly or Lackey/Fielder) at the end of the manuevering

In my preferred case, the Sox then also sign another star with the money they saved and also have a bunch of secondary prospects to fill out the roster, since Kelly won't get a star in trade without throw-ins.

The other guys you mention, Masterson, Bowden, Tazawa, there is not a can't miss or anything close to it in that group.

Greg Maddux didn't have the raw stuff to salivate about. He'd have been a similar prospect to these three - most similar to Tazawa I'd say. Of course there's lots of middling control prospects and only one Greg Maddux, but how great would it be to develop a pitcher like that.
   42. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: April 06, 2010 at 03:47 PM (#3494580)
poopy
   43. ekogan Posted: April 06, 2010 at 03:49 PM (#3494583)
Jon Lester gives lie to the idea that the Sox won't develop a big time prospect as a starter

Jon Lester's first year two years, he put up ~100 ERA+ before leveling up in both stuff and results and becoming an ace. I remember frustration from the fans here with Lester in his first & second years. If 22 year old Lester had to break into the 2010 or 2011 Red Sox, he probably wouldn't get a shot.
   44. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 06, 2010 at 03:49 PM (#3494586)
What "star" are they going to sign? The $7 million (I think that's the number) for Cameron this year isn't getting you a player much better than Mike Cameron. So they get Holliday then use the money to sign...who? And that assumes they could have gotten Holliday for the same price the Cards got him for. I assume that for the Sox to land Holliday they would have had to have bettered St. Louis' offer so you are already eating into the savings.

Hey, I would love to see the Sox develop a Maddux, or even a Lackey, but those guys are rare. More importantly, as I noted above, the Sox ARE developing pitchers; Lester, now Buchholz (assuming he pans out) in just the past couple of seasons. I would imagine if Kelly or any of these other kids show that they are able to be successful at the big league level will get plenty of chances. The Sox have been pretty good in recent years at replacing veteran players with superior rookies (Lugo/Lowrie, Crisp/Ellsbury) so if Kelly is ready and Matsuzaka is not getting it done, I have no doubt the Sox will boot Matsuzaka to the curb.
   45. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 06, 2010 at 03:59 PM (#3494596)
Mike Cameron instead of Matt Holiday


Some of us are perfectly happy with this state of affairs.

You'll note, also, that Beckett was signed several months after Holliday.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 06, 2010 at 03:59 PM (#3494597)
ekogan-

Here's the basic difference. I do not see the evidence that having five starting pitchers under contract makes a team incapable of developing starting pitchers. Do you have any comparable teams to cite, who dealt poorly with such a situation? I likewise am unconvinced that having five starting pitchers under contract significantly hurts a team's ability to develop pitchers. Ballclubs usually need 120-160 innings from their sixth starter, and another triple digit chunk from a seventh starter is common. If you take any group of five good pitchers in baseball right now, the odds that all five will be healthy and effective in 2011 and 2012 are very low. If the Red Sox do have starting pitching prospects who can help the club in the next couple years, I am certain they'll have more than enough innings to give them for their development.
   47. Mattbert Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:01 PM (#3494602)
Casey Kelly will be ready for transition to the majors by 2011 - I think that's optimistic.

extended opportunities to try, fail and try again as starters. The Red Sox are denying their prospects this opportunity. - But...you just mentioned Buchholz (and Lester, really) as examples of the Sox doing exactly what you're clamoring for them to do. I don't understand this critique at all.

It would be great if the Sox had a blue-chip pitching prospect ready to hit the majors every year, but they don't. And even if they did, at a certain point they'd want to lock those guys up long-term (e.g. Lester) once the prospect demonstrates he's ready to stick at the highest level. Otherwise, you're Oakland.

All the evidence suggests that the Sox are, in fact, doing a rather good job of bringing their best young pitchers through the system. I can't think of any recent pitching prospects they've traded or let go who've gone on to have decent MLB careers. Nobody since Carl Pavano.
   48. ekogan Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:06 PM (#3494608)
What "star" are they going to sign? The $7 million (I think that's the number) for Cameron this year

We were comparing Holliday/Kelly vs Lackey/Fielder. Since Holliday & Lackey have roughly the same AAV, the relevant cost is the pay given to Fielder.
He's paid $9 mil this year, but any extension would require a more ... wait for it ... princely sum. Probably in the same $15-20 AAV range.

What could you get for that kind of money?
A V-Mart extension for one. Let's see who's available in 2011. Want Carlos Pena to fill you DH spot? Or you could try to sign Derek Jeter :). Heck, Fielder himself is slated to be a free agent in 2012.
   49. ekogan Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:50 PM (#3494653)
I do not see the evidence that having five starting pitchers under contract makes a team incapable of developing starting pitchers.

It's not just 5 pitchers, it's 5 pitchers all of whom project to be above average. Who would you drop to give a rotation slot to a prospect? Let's use the 22 year old Lester time-warped into 2010 as an example. His projection would be slightly worse than either Buchholz or Dice-K, and he would be more of a risk than either. Plus, Dice-K is costing you, posting fee included, something like $18 mil per year. So Lester wouldn't get a shot.

Ballclubs usually need 120-160 innings from their sixth starter,

Since fill-in starts can't be regularly scheduled, you can't allocate them all to the prospect that needs the work. If your prospect is your sixth starter, he'd get around 10 starts at the MLB level throughout the year, while riding the Pawtucket shuttle back and forth. That's not the best scenario for his development.

Casey Kelly will be ready for transition to the majors by 2011 - I think that's optimistic.

He's starting the season in AA already. A midseason promotion to AAA this year, and he'd have a reasonable amount of experience in the upper minors to be called up to the majors in 2011. <knock on wood>That of course assumes no Lars Anderson 2009 style breakdowns</knock on wood> but it is a realistic timetable.

extended opportunities to try, fail and try again as starters. The Red Sox are denying their prospects this opportunity. - But...you just mentioned Buchholz (and Lester, really) as examples of the Sox doing exactly what you're clamoring for them to do. I don't understand this critique at all.

In 2006 & 2007, Lester had to beat out Wells, Clement & Tavarez to get a regular job. Casey Kelly in 2011 and 2012 will have to compete with Buchholz and Dice-K - a much tougher proposition. In 2008, both Lester and Buchholz went into the season with a regular rotation slot. Buchholz struggled but Lester leveled up into an ace.

I can't think of any recent pitching prospects they've traded or let go who've gone on to have decent MLB careers.

Which starting pitching prospects did they trade under Theo? All I can think of are Anibal Sanchez and Justin Masterson. Anibal got injured, but IMHO Masterson will be a good asset for the Indians.
   50. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 06, 2010 at 04:58 PM (#3494662)
It's not just 5 pitchers, it's 5 pitchers all of whom project to be above average.


I just can't see this as a problem. If you have five above average starting pitchers, why are you worried about developing pitchers?

Would it be the worst thing in the world if Kelly spent a year and a half as a setup man before moving into the rotation in this scenario? In 2013 he'd still be just 23 years old.
   51. PJ Martinez Posted: April 06, 2010 at 05:00 PM (#3494667)
I don't rue the loss of Justin Masterson. And the Sox certainly made the right call on Anibal/Lester, which was not a given.

How does Casey Kelly's prospect status compare with Lester's and Buchholz's before the latter two broke through?
   52. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 06, 2010 at 05:07 PM (#3494675)
My preferred policy would be for the team to dedicate the 5th starter slot for that.


That's pretty much what they're doing with that slot this year, since Buchholz hasn't been fully established (yet). Let's say they establish Buchholz as a worthy rotation regular. They then *might* have trouble breaking in, say, Kelly, for a year. But that assumes nobody gets hurt (Daisuke, I'm looking at you).
   53. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 06, 2010 at 05:11 PM (#3494680)
Plus, Dice-K is costing you, posting fee included, something like $18 mil per year.


The Red Sox tend to put the best team on the field, regardless of how much anybody costs.

If you have five above average starting pitchers, why are you worried about developing pitchers?


To be fair, the point in question was "The Red Sox can't develop pitchers because of their SP depth". That's why we're worrying about it. :-)
   54. ekogan Posted: April 06, 2010 at 05:47 PM (#3494736)
f you have five above average starting pitchers, why are you worried about developing pitchers?

Because you might have 5 above average starters working for rookie salaries, and use the money to buy the Yankees lineup :). 2009 Cubs & 2007 Jays had 5 starters with >100 ERA+ and missed the playoffs.

Assumptions: you want to field a 95 win team on paper every year, the replacement level team wins 47 wins (per Tango), market cost of a win is $4.5 mil. 4.5*(95-47)= $216 mil. Even the Yankees can't afford to spend that much (they spend 10-15 mil less), so every team needs to develop its own players.
   55. ekogan Posted: April 06, 2010 at 06:06 PM (#3494759)
And the Sox certainly made the right call on Anibal/Lester, which was not a given.

How does Casey Kelly's prospect status compare with Lester's and Buchholz's before the latter two broke through?


But they made the wrong call on H-Ram.

In 2006, per Baseball America, Lester was ranked 22nd, Papelbon 37th, Anibal 40th. They were all ready to move into the majors. Only Papelbon was ranked previously, making it at 91 in 2005. Clay Buchholz was ranked 51 in 2007 after dominating AA and making it to AAA and at #4 in 2008. Casey Kelly was ranked 24th this year, while still in the low minors, so one can expect that once he reaches the same stage in development as the earlier guys, he would be ranked even higher. Kelly is a better prospect than any of the 2006 class and as good a prospect as Buchholz.
   56. ekogan Posted: April 06, 2010 at 06:15 PM (#3494777)
The Red Sox tend to put the best team on the field, regardless of how much anybody costs.

Kevin Millar vs Kevin Youkilis in 2005 says otherwise.
A veteran has to be paid regardless of performance so if he struggles, it's only logical to give him more opportunities to get back on his feet, while the rookie rides the Pawtucket shuttle.
   57. ekogan Posted: April 06, 2010 at 06:42 PM (#3494813)
The Red Sox have an absolutely enormous amount of promising pitchers (and prospects in general) in the low minors.
Here's a recent ranking of the Sox top 15 prospects by Alex Eisenberg of Baseball-Intellect.com. Even the 15th prospect is ranked B-, which is true for none of the other farm systems. So it can be expected that in 2013 & 2014 the Red Sox will have a wicked awesome AAA rotation, but only 1 free slot in the majors.
   58. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 06, 2010 at 07:03 PM (#3494842)
The attrition rate for pitchers, even the highly touted prospects, is very very high. Buchholz is a terrific example of why these prospects need to be viewed with skepticism. This guy was universally regarded as one of the two or three best prospects in baseball a couple of years ago and so far his results have been mixed (at best). Of the seven pitchers listed on Eisenberg's list I'd be surprised to see more than two of them be good enough to be desired in 2013/2014 to be starters for a championship caliber team. There will be injuries in some cases and lack of talent in others but I wouldn't want to bet to aggressively on more than two.

Note, it's not a case of the specific seven pitchers in question, just a function of pitchers in general. There is reason to be excited as a fan about all seven but in reality, they aren't going to pan out.
   59. ekogan Posted: April 06, 2010 at 07:15 PM (#3494856)
This guy was universally regarded as one of the two or three best prospects in baseball a couple of years ago and so far his results have been mixed (at best).

I'll expect you to personally apologize to Clay after he spends the whole year making opposing lineups miserable. And not by stealing their laptops either.
   60. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 06, 2010 at 07:20 PM (#3494860)
How does Casey Kelly's prospect status compare with Lester's and Buchholz's before the latter two broke through?

My answer to this question is "Let's see how he handles AA this year."
   61. Mattbert Posted: April 06, 2010 at 07:23 PM (#3494866)
Let's use the 22 year old Lester time-warped into 2010 as an example.

Why? It's completely immaterial. Boston doesn't have a guy like that in their system right now. Kelly is the closest analog, and he's two years and a couple hundred very good minor league innings behind the 22-year-old Lester.

He's starting the season in AA already. A midseason promotion to AAA this year, and he'd have a reasonable amount of experience in the upper minors to be called up to the majors in 2011.

You are a heck of a lot more confident than I am that a 20-year-old kid who hasn't pitched above A-ball yet will be ready for the majors in a year or so. It's not a given that he will breeze through the upper levels of the farm.

Casey Kelly in 2011 and 2012 will have to compete with Buchholz and Dice-K - a much tougher proposition.

Both those guys still have plenty to prove this year before we start forecasting a season or two down the line. This critique of the Sox' pitching development pipeline is predicated a whole bunch of stuff that hasn't happened yet and is far from a nailed-on certainty. Moreover, as others have said, the Epstein era Sox have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to make some tough decisions in order to put the best team on the field. If fortune smiles upon us and Kelly is beating down the door in 2011, there will be room for him somewhere.

Which starting pitching prospects did they trade under Theo? All I can think of are Anibal Sanchez and Justin Masterson. Anibal got injured, but IMHO Masterson will be a good asset for the Indians.

So hindsight says they made the right call on Sanchez, yeah? Masterson may be a good asset for Cleveland (as he was for the Sox during his time there), but I hardly think he's going to be a guy that they regret having given up for a player of V-Mart's caliber. Hagadone might be that guy someday, but he's got to show he's recovered from the TJ first. And he's 23 and hasn't pitched above A-ball yet.
   62. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 06, 2010 at 07:38 PM (#3494884)
I'll expect you to personally apologize to Clay after he spends the whole year making opposing lineups miserable. And not by stealing their laptops either.


I hope circumstances warrant such an apology. Hell, if he pitches well enough, he can have my laptop.
   63. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 07, 2010 at 01:26 PM (#3495677)
Because you might have 5 above average starters working for rookie salaries, and use the money to buy the Yankees lineup :)


While this is the ideal, the chances of actually having that 5 above-average starters working for rookie salaries is tremendously small. Has it *ever* happened, in the history of free agency?

But they made the wrong call on H-Ram.


Not really. What they got back was about the equivalent of what they traded, results-wise. Perhaps more.

Kevin Millar vs Kevin Youkilis in 2005 says otherwise.


Yes, but it was hardly clear that Youkilis would become the better player. Despite all the walks, he had hit for very little power until 2005 in Pawtucket. It was a reasonable suggestion that Millar would be better that year.

The attrition rate for pitchers, even the highly touted prospects, is very very high.


This.
   64. John M. Perkins Posted: April 07, 2010 at 01:30 PM (#3495681)
Please move this post out of Featured.

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