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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 04, 2012 at 05:03 PM (#4073753)
CAIRO projections for the competitors. The projections for Bard and Aceves imagine them as full-time starters, while the other guys are projected as swing-men, mostly starting with a few relief appearances. I've added Cook (who I believe isn't projected to be ready for opening day) and Silva (who I forgot about).

165 IP, 139 H, 15 HR, 62 BB, 142 K, 4.05 ERA - Bard
171 IP, 182 H, 19 HR, 60 BB, 100 K, 4.87 ERA - Aceves
58 IP, 56 H, 7 HR, 19 BB, 53 K, 3.76 ERA - Padilla (in FL)
99 IP, 121 H, 8 HR, 35 BB, 48 K, 4.99 ERA - Cook
71 IP, 89 H, 9 HR, 18 BB, 42 K, 5.27 ERA - Silva
67 IP, 80 H, 7 HR, 30 BB, 43 K, 5.34 ERA - Doubront
78 IP, 96 H, 9 HR, 51 BB, 55 K, 6.28 ERA - Miller

Even if you pump a whole bunch of air into Padilla's projection, he looks damn good (for the innings he can pitch before he Padillas and hurts himself or gets kicked off the team).

That's a 3+ WAR projection for Bard as a starter.

The other guys, well, obviously CAIRO can't account for McClure's work with the boys on their mechanics, or Doubront's new level of fitness, or any of the various factors that can propel a bad pitcher from crapulence to cromulence. There are few projection system that even consider important information like that.
   2. Dan Posted: March 04, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4073764)
Personally I feel good about Bard as the 4th starter, so I think it mostly comes to the 5th spot.

I think my preference at this point would be to see Aceves as a swingman, Miller as a short reliever where he can actually keep his 4-seamer in the mid 90s and use it as an effective weapon in short stints, and Doubront as the 5th starter. Hopefully at least one of Cook or Padilla is willing to stay in Pawtucket and serve as emergency depth, since I'm sure we'll need at least 10-20 starts from the 6th-8th guys at some point during the year.

Ohlendorf is a guy who you forgot about, and a guy who I think might be surprisingly useful, but again someone I'd hope to see in Pawtucket's rotation in the spring as a depth option rather than someone breaking camp with the team.
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 04, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4073769)
Here's CAIRO for Ohlendorf:

75 IP, 83 H, 11 HR, 27 BB, 50 K, 5.36 ERA

That's a neutral site and neutral league projection, so he projects a step worse than Doubront and Silva. (Padilla is also projected in a neutral context - I misread "FA" as "FLA".)

Obviously the hope with the misfit toys in AAA is that one of them can go all Bartolo Colon - that's the sort of thing that should be pretty obvious in spring training, if it happens.
   4. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 04, 2012 at 06:26 PM (#4073777)
I'm With Dan on Ohlendorf, of all the flotsam and jetsam they've picked up this offseason I think he's the one most Likely to succeed as a fifth starter.

WatchIng the game today I thought back to Mikael's post about bobby v liking to do stuff. They were doing some things with infielder positioning and had a delayed steal today. I was surrounded by scouts and a couple commented about how quick Iglesias was when they ran the wheel play on a sac bunt and how far he was able to go from holding the runner to covering third.

It was probably just a function of score and situation bit Iglesias seemed to be interacting with the dugout a LOT with runners on base. He was acting like an infield captain when he was in there though as I said, the circumstances likely were driving that.

And JetBlue park is fantastic.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 04, 2012 at 06:40 PM (#4073780)
Whole bunch of data entry errors.

1) I read RA for ERA. Everyone projects better than that.
2) Except Padilla. I scanned the wrong column.

Actual ERA projections:

3.75 - Bard
4.51 - Aceves

4.71 - Cook
4.89 - Doubront
5.00 - Silva
5.74 - Miller

4.17 - Padilla
4.95 - Ohlendorf

And, Jose, thanks for the reports. They make the place feel like spring.
   6. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 04, 2012 at 07:12 PM (#4073792)
Hoping to check out the minor league camps Tuesday and Friday. It's weird to see Fenway with the fences but nothing beyond te walls. You see the triangle and expect to see the skyline behind it not...the void.

Joe Castiglione part of the pregame ceremony and his voice Did not sound good. Don't know if it was just the mix or what.
   7. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: March 04, 2012 at 08:20 PM (#4073808)
JetBlue Park is like a mid-90s videogame version of Fenway, back when they could first do individual park dimensions, but the crowd and skyline were still generic fill. (World Series Baseball for Genesis?)

Hoping to keep Aceves in the pen; the flexibility he provided in that role was pretty useful.
   8. Something Other Posted: March 04, 2012 at 09:06 PM (#4073822)
The stakes are high – swings of several wins are easy to imagine, and the Sox currently project right on the edge of glory.
Yup--teams are slowly catching on to the importance of guys who can reliably throw 100 innings as starters with an OPS+ around 85.

I remember when Omar Minaya was roundly mocked for signing Tim Redding to a 1/2.25 contract for the 2009 season. It turned out not to matter to the Mets that year but at least after Perez and Maine were booted from the rotation Redding turned in a tolerable 6th starter performance.

I suspect we're going to see more signings like Redding's over time, cheap insurance policies for contending teams. I'm really surprised it's not yet common. You can readily pick up as many wins at the back end of your pitching staff as you can by signing a star over a 2 win regular.
   9. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 04, 2012 at 11:49 PM (#4073886)
If the Sox can get Aceves’ arm in the bullpen and a capable #5 starter from the other competitors, that’s the best possible outcome.


Definitely. I think it's possible, but the mechanics of making roster decisions makes cobbling together that 5th starter so difficult. Under Theo, we could pretty reliably assume that any unknown 5th starter or back of the bullpen spot would be filled by the guy who wasn't hurt and who didn't have options, seemingly regardless of spring training performance. Then that guy would stay on the team until he got hurt or sucked so bad that his presence couldn't be justified. It'll be interesting to see if roster flexibility concerns or putting the best spring training performers on the field have more influence in B&B's thinking.

The big problem of course, is getting that good performance out of a guy exactly when you need it. The Red Sox could have used Kevin Millwood last year near the end of the season, but once you cut a guy you can't get him back when he gets good for someone else, a la John Smoltz.
   10. tjm1 Posted: March 05, 2012 at 04:20 AM (#4073959)
It may be a time to go back to the past for pitching management tactics. Remember the 1982 Sox? The rotation was pretty bad. John Tudor was pretty good, but not yet in his prime. Eckersley was way past his prime as a starter, but still not too bad, finishing in the top 10 in the league in ERA+. Those were their two best guys. The rest were a has-been (Mike Torrez), a never was (Chuck Rainey), and two guys who were years away from being good (Hurst and Ojeda). On the other hand, out of the bullpen, Stanley, Clear and Burgmeier were all fantastic, throwing more than 100 innings each, and going a combined 33-16. Luis Aponte was good, too.

Ralph Houk that year managed things perfectly. He had a bunch of starters who weren't very good, and a bunch of relievers who could go multiple innings, so he had a quick hook. From July 24-August 26, for example, Rainey started 7 games, going 5 innings once, and 5 1/3 once, and in the rest he went fewer than 5 innings. Stanley made no starts, but was fourth on the team in innings pitched, and qualified for the ERA title (finishing second to Rick Sutcliffe, but beating Sutcliffe in adjusted ERA).

I think this year's Sox pitching staff could be worked a lot like that year's. They have a lot of guys like Aceves and Miller who can go 2-3 innings at a time. Most pitchers are more effective when they pitch in relief - the reason you don't use your best pitchers as relievers is that you want to get more innings out of them. With this bunch, I think there's a perfect opportunity to get 100-120 innings a piece out of Aceves and Miller, spread over 40-50 appearances each. I'd guess they can each put up ERAs around 3.50 pitching like that. That basically gives you a workhorse ace starter's worth of innings, instead of leaving someone in on a day he doesn't have it. It also keeps the relievers stretched out a bit in case you need to shuffle them into the rotation. I'd like to see this done if no one really emerges as a proper fifth starter.
   11. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 05, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4073993)
tjm - You don't even have to go that far back. Look at the 1998-1999 Sox that basically had starting rotations that were pretty thin after Pedro but the bullpens were very very good. The Sox won a lot of Mark Portugal/Pat Rapp games because they would survive 5IP/4 runs then turn it over for four innings of shutdown relief.
   12. villageidiom Posted: March 05, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4074003)
It’s hard to imagine McClure and Valentine nixing the Bard conversion, and McClure’s already making with the happy talk about Bard’s stuff, mechanics and mindset.
Maybe you can't read Bob's poker face.
It was probably just a function of score and situation bit Iglesias seemed to be interacting with the dugout a LOT with runners on base. He was acting like an infield captain when he was in there though as I said, the circumstances likely were driving that.
This is hard to speculate*, but was he serving as an infield captain or was he being instructed (it being spring training, after all) on how to do his job? It seems like the back-and-forth between him and the dugout could be explained by either, but I wasn't there to see it.

* Well, it's easy to speculate, but hard to speculate accurately.
Joe Castiglione part of the pregame ceremony and his voice Did not sound good. Don't know if it was just the mix or what.
I hope he's OK. Watching Don and Jerry during the Boston/BC game on Saturday I was reminded that it's spring training for the broadcast team, too. Hopefully that's all it is for Joe.
   13. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 05, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4074023)
This is hard to speculate*, but was he serving as an infield captain or was he being instructed (it being spring training, after all) on how to do his job? It seems like the back-and-forth between him and the dugout could be explained by either, but I wasn't there to see it.


Hard to say definitively. I'll say this, he didn't seem to be changing his positioning radically after his interaction with the dugout. He would get info, turn to the other infielders and call out something then get lined up. It's hard to explain but his movements didn't make me think "gee, he looks confused", they seemed more confident and sure than that.

But you raise a good point. Looking right and being right are not always the same thing.
   14. villageidiom Posted: March 05, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4074057)
It's hard to explain but his movements didn't make me think "gee, he looks confused", they seemed more confident and sure than that.
Cool. The eyewitness view is what I'd wanted. Thanks.

Now, if you could please project him to tank at the plate... ;-)
   15. tjm1 Posted: March 05, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4074311)
tjm - You don't even have to go that far back. Look at the 1998-1999 Sox that basically had starting rotations that were pretty thin after Pedro but the bullpens were very very good. The Sox won a lot of Mark Portugal/Pat Rapp games because they would survive 5IP/4 runs then turn it over for four innings of shutdown relief.


Well, Pat Rapp was actually a lot better than that - a 4.12 ERA in an year where that was good enough for a 122 ERA+. But the point that he didn't go deep into games is well taken. And Saberhagen was around that year, and Sabes was fantastic for 4-6 innings, but couldn't go any deeper into games. I guess it's true that in the era of the 12 man pitching staff, you don't really need a bunch of guys who throw 2-3 innings an appearance in relief in order to pick up the slack for starters who can't go deep - although those teams did have Lowe and Wakefield pitching in relief - and, of course, when healthy, El Guapo often went two innings at a time, as long as he didn't get winded covering first base. All the same, some of these guys who are marginal starters really could be 2 to 3 inning shutdown relievers, the way Aceves was last year.

   16. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 06, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4075192)
Bard threw mostly fastballs, threw strikes.

Aceves had hitters off balance and pounded the strike zone.

Lavarnway has had a tough day so far, a passed ball when he just missed a pitch out then thrown out at the plate because he inexplicably stopped rounding third. Looked like he was going to plow into Teagarden but peeled off at the last minute.

Cody Ross with a nice running catch of a line drive last inning. Seemed like he read it well and got a good jump on it.
   17. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 06, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4075201)
Sounds like Silva's out as a possible 5th starter. That didn't take long.

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