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   1. Famous Original Joe C Posted: March 18, 2011 at 02:17 PM (#3773201)
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 that much, but leading off Ellsbury is likely to cost the Red Sox runs this season

I'd argue if Ellsbury is hitting .260/.320/.350 on June 1, he won't get any more opportunities to lead off for a while. I really can't imagine it costing them more than a couple of runs over the whole season, if that. The guy did have a .360ish OBP as recently as 2009 - it's not as though he's some scrub who has no upside whatsoever.
   2. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 18, 2011 at 03:36 PM (#3773267)
The other thing about Ellsbury, if you buy into Dewan's (I think he was the one) work that suggested a SLG of .200 points greater than your career mark during Spring Trianing is meaningful Ellsbury is sitting at .710. I don't think he's 20 home runs waiting to happen but if he can get that ISO up to .130-.150 he becomes pretty darned good. Ellsbury was a (BBRef) 3 oWAR player in 2009 which is pretty much what Crawford has done until last year. He's speed and baserunning make him better than the slash numbers suggest.
   3. John DiFool2 Posted: March 18, 2011 at 04:06 PM (#3773299)
I think Tito is a little hamstrung by the LOOGY threat (which IMHO is overrated)-he virtually has to bat 2 lefties back-to-back somewhere, and he decided Drew/Ortiz 6/7 is better than Ells/Crawford 9/1 (esp. if the latter doesn't want to leadoff). Ells if healthy is a good bet to approximate his 2009, when he appeared to be developing, and thus wouldn't be a "waste" at leadoff. Now, Theo could do something like a swap of injury-prone RFers in their contract years with the Mets (Beltran) if he really is worried about said imbalance.
   4. booond Posted: March 18, 2011 at 09:24 PM (#3773618)
Why not flip Ellsbury and Drew against RHP. Drew gets on base and Ellsbury's steals make more sense with Salty and Scutaro behind him.
   5. OCD SS Posted: March 19, 2011 at 01:56 AM (#3773766)
Any lineup that doesn't have Agon cemented squarely 3rd is a mammoth fail. That said since Ellsbury is the only person on the team who actively wants to lead off, I think that job is his to lose. Here's the line-up I see with RHP (my assumption is that Scutaro is the starting SS out of ST, if only because he's a veteran):

1. Ellsbury
2. Pedroia
3. AGon
4. Youks
5. Crawford
6. Ortiz
7. Salty
8. Drew (in the honorary Bill Mueller good hitter hitting way to low because that's where he likes it lineup spot)
9. Scutaro

You have to stack the LHH somewhere and I don't see Tito dissing Ortiz by putting him too low to start the season. Personally I would flip Ortiz and Drew and make sure that Lowrie was the starting SS...
   6. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 19, 2011 at 02:14 PM (#3773910)
Man, this is a great lineup. Has anyone run a simulation to find out where Gonzalez fits best?
   7. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 19, 2011 at 02:27 PM (#3773919)
This is shades of the mid-80s. I can't remember the lineup getting this kind of attention since that time. As long as Saltalamacchia and Scutaro are at the bottom of the order I don't think there will be anything too meaningful about the lineup (assuming nothing dramatically stupid like Ortiz fourth and Gonzalez sixth).
   8. Darren Posted: March 19, 2011 at 03:52 PM (#3773951)
If we assume Ells will be first, which almost certainly what he'll be, then I would argue for:

Ells
Crawford
Pedroia
AGon
Youk
Ortiz
Scut/Lowrie
Drew
Salty

Here's why:

--You're going to have to put 2 lefties back to back somewhere. If you do it this way, any time a manager brings his lefty to face Ells/Crawford, you pinch-hit Cameron for Ells. That way, the lefty specialist will absolutely have to face a lefty masher, really negating the point of this move.

--Dropping a good hitter like Drew to 8th hurts, but really, you're only dropping him one spot from where you'd like to use him. Having Ortiz/Drew back to back is an invitation to use a loogy at key points in the game.

--Pedroia, although he doesn't look the part, is a pretty good 3 hitter behind to speed guys. He gets on base pretty well but also hits plenty of singles and doubles, which will drive those guys home.
   9. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 19, 2011 at 04:12 PM (#3773961)
My recollection is that Ellsbury actually has a minimal platoon split so pinch hitting shouldn't bs necessary. I like your idea though. With Ellsbury and Crawford back to back you foce opponents to either limit a LOOGY to one batter or use him on non power hitters.
   10. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: March 19, 2011 at 05:39 PM (#3773998)
There's no way they bat Pedroia third.
   11. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: March 19, 2011 at 06:40 PM (#3774015)
Yep, no way. I think OCD SS nailed it, his lineup is my lineup.
   12. tfbg9 Posted: March 19, 2011 at 06:52 PM (#3774022)
10-Tito said today he might flip Crawford and Pedey in the 2-3 slots at some point should he feel so inclined.
   13. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: March 19, 2011 at 07:14 PM (#3774025)
There's no way Drew bats behind Saltalamacchia.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 19, 2011 at 07:15 PM (#3774026)
OCD and Petooter - according to The Book, you want a better hitter in the five hole than the three hole, and especially OBP is (comparatively) wasted in the three hole. The #3 hitter leads off the fewest innings and has a very high percentage of 2 out, none on PAs.

I agree with Darren about the lineup, and i hope teddy's right about the Pedroia / Crawford switch being on the table. On the 7-8-9 spots, I think again the one of the non-lefties should bat 7th, but it doesn't look likely right now. Hopefully one of Salty, Scutaro, or Lowrie starts hitting well enough to move up.
   15. Darren Posted: March 19, 2011 at 07:33 PM (#3774031)
I don't see how "There's no way..." statements contribute much.
   16. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: March 19, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#3774033)
Fair enough. Clemens sucks, BTW.
   17. Darren Posted: March 19, 2011 at 07:48 PM (#3774036)
There's no way Clemens sucks.
   18. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: March 19, 2011 at 07:48 PM (#3774037)
Maybe to avoid prison, he would.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 19, 2011 at 08:19 PM (#3774043)
In response to the comments above about Ellsbury, first, I know I'm only talking about a small handful of expected runs. It's not that big a deal.

I do think, though, that Ellsbury's projection is still mostly Ellsbury's projection. He doesn't project to repeat or improve upon the best year of his career. If he does that, he's a perfectly worthy leadoff hitter, given the typical practice of lineup construction. That would be nice. Ellsbury projects to be quite a bit worse than that, and I'm not yet ready to make big adjustments to my expectations.

On oWAR, one minor point. That's not a good name for the stat, it's actually a VORP - it includes a positional adjustment. Ellsbury's oWAR compares favorably to Crawford's pre-2010 numbers because Ellsbury gets a little less than 10 runs of positional adjustment over Crawford.
   20. Darren Posted: March 19, 2011 at 09:41 PM (#3774056)
From RedSox.com: Francona Tinkering...

The Red Sox open up the 2011 season in Texas on April 1 at 4:05 p.m. ET, and the Rangers are expected to start lefty C.J. Wilson. More than most southpaws, Wilson's always held left-handed hitters in check, to the tune of a .181 average.

So although Francona knows he wants the left-handed-hitting Jacoby Ellsbury, who's at .429 this spring, to bat leadoff regularly, he's considering batting him ninth against Wilson.

....

The rest of the lineup shouldn't be a surprise. Dustin Pedroia and Carl Crawford will likely bat second and third, and Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez would likely bat fourth and fifth, but both sets are interchangeable.
   21. John DiFool2 Posted: March 19, 2011 at 10:20 PM (#3774064)
He doesn't project to repeat or improve upon the best year of his career. 


Why not? He was developing in '09, and is heading towards his prime years now. Bill James has him essentially repeating his '09; a lot depends on his ribs and overall health of course, which also goes for our other favorite punching bag, Beckett.
   22. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: March 20, 2011 at 01:23 AM (#3774102)
The Bivens-Darren bantering cracked me up.
   23. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 20, 2011 at 02:57 AM (#3774124)
I think it's disingenuous to call Ellsbury's 2009 "the best year of his career.". He has two seasons under his belt and his performance that year was well in line with expectations for him (both statistical and anecdotal).
   24. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 20, 2011 at 05:56 AM (#3774159)
I think it's disingenuous to call Ellsbury's 2009 "the best year of his career.".
One man's "disingenuous" is another man's "indisputably accurate."

More in the morning.
   25. ptodd Posted: March 20, 2011 at 06:31 AM (#3774164)
My Lineup against RHP'ers

Ellsbury
Crawford
A-Gon
Youkillis
Papi
Pedroia
JD
Salty
Scutaro

LHP'ers

Scutaro
Pedroia
A-Gon
Youkillis
Crawford
Salty
Papi (Lowrie)
JD (Cameron)
Ellsbury

Agree with the sentiments that A-Gon should hit 3rd no matter what, or at least 4th. Crawford is more of a # 2 guy.

Tampas announcers were going on the other day about how much weight (muscle) Crawford has gained after spending the offseason working out in Arizona (API?). If true, he might show some more power and be better suited to the 3rd spot.
   26. OCD SS Posted: March 20, 2011 at 02:00 PM (#3774195)
OCD and Petooter - according to The Book, you want a better hitter in the five hole than the three hole, and especially OBP is (comparatively) wasted in the three hole. The #3 hitter leads off the fewest innings and has a very high percentage of 2 out, none on PAs.


If this is the case (I have to re-read that, I'm remembering it a bit different),would expect Tito/Theo to actually follow that rationale? If so then why did Ortiz and Manny hit 3 & 4 during their heyday? AGon and Youks project to be the best hitters on the team so I see them slotting into similar positions.

If Drew returns to his old form, I'd expect him to be the third best hitter, and I'd slot him 5th, but I don't think they'll be in a hurry to push Drew up past Crawford or Ortiz (who could also be a wild card based on how his season plays out).
   27. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 20, 2011 at 02:45 PM (#3774201)
"indisputably accurate" and "meaningful" are not the same thing. Yes, 2009 was the best year of Ellsbury's career but it is a two year career we are talking about and his performance was in line with forecasts of what he was capable. 2009 ZIPs had him at .287/.345/.403 and his final line of .301/.355/.415 is right in line with that.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 20, 2011 at 06:36 PM (#3774323)
"indisputably accurate" and "meaningful" are not the same thing. Yes, 2009 was the best year of Ellsbury's career but it is a two year career we are talking about and his performance was in line with forecasts of what he was capable. 2009 ZIPs had him at .287/.345/.403 and his final line of .301/.355/.415 is right in line with that.
These are Ellsbury's projections - CAIRO, PECOTA, and ZiPS:

277/332/387, 283/336/391, 284/336/397

He lost a full season. He looks reasonably healthy in spring, but I'm not ready to toss out that lost season, that lost development time, or the possibility that he isn't the same player he used to be, and consider Ellsbury as if 2010 didn't happen. He does project as one of the three worst hitters on the Red Sox, and he doesn't project as a good leadoff hitter.
   29. The Marksist Posted: March 20, 2011 at 10:10 PM (#3774453)
For reference, David Pinto's done his annual lineup analysis for the Sox. The best lineup projects to 5.39 runs per game and the worst to 5.12. He's got a google spreadsheet with all the details for those who like that sort of thing.
   30. John DiFool2 Posted: March 21, 2011 at 01:11 PM (#3774817)
Those projections assume that the horrid injury plagued line he put up last year actually represents, in part, his true talent level-they have to, as you cannot reason with a projection system, you cannot bargain with it, and it will not stop until it is proven wrong. Nor do they take into account torrid springs.
   31. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 21, 2011 at 02:48 PM (#3774887)
Nor do they take into account torrid springs.

Nor should they.
   32. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: March 21, 2011 at 11:00 PM (#3775295)
This is mine:

Craw/Youk/Gonzo/Dusty/Drew/Pap/JedScut/SaltyVag/Jacoby
   33. Darren Posted: March 22, 2011 at 12:13 AM (#3775336)
Hey, you know who batted 3rd 7 times last year? It wasn't Joe Bivens.
   34. Mattbert Posted: March 22, 2011 at 09:25 PM (#3776042)
Gauging interest in potential Boston area meetup next week...

Discussion thread here

If by some miracle momentum builds for this, maybe someone with keys could post a link/thread on ST?

(Apologies for double-post.)
   35. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 31, 2011 at 05:59 PM (#3782420)
Boston.com has the lineup for tomorrow. Cameron in, Drew out;

Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Crawford LF
Youkilis 3B
Gonzalez 1B
Ortiz DH
Cameron RF
Saltalamacchia C
Scutaro SS
   36. Sonic Youk Posted: March 31, 2011 at 06:31 PM (#3782490)

Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Crawford LF
Youkilis 3B
Gonzalez 1B
Ortiz DH
Cameron RF
Saltalamacchia C
Scutaro SS


hate.

Crawford should be leading off. The rest of the lineup falls perfectly into place. Hitting him third is just weird, as is the need to waste ABs on batting Ellsbury so high.
   37. Nasty Nate Posted: March 31, 2011 at 07:40 PM (#3782589)
I don't like it either. Why not just drop Ellsbury to 9th? You would get the same 'shape' order, but avoid giving your 6th-or-so best hitter the most PA's. I don't really get Gonzalez batting 5th, seems to be a Francona thing about not putting the new guy in cleanup. When they traded for Bay, he didn't bat cleanup for a long time (maybe until the next year).

I love the 4pm start time on a Friday for opening day. Maybe slip out of work early and be on some bar stool by the top of the 3rd...
   38. Dan Posted: March 31, 2011 at 08:28 PM (#3782651)
I like that lineup well enough, other than the fact that McDonald should probably be in for Ortiz vs lefties. Or if Ortiz stays at DH, he shouldn't be hitting ahead of Cameron.

I originally didn't like Crawford hitting 3rd, but I have come around on the idea and I like it a lot now. I know that the lineup analysis from The Book and other places has said that the third spot gets the most PA with no one on and 2 outs, so you dont want a high OBP guy there but you want someone with some power to get into scoring position for the #4 hitting with 2 outs. Well Crawford fits that profile perfectly. He has a good but not great OBP, and he hits a bunch of doubles. And even if he singles or walks, he's able to steal to get into scoring position. Even without a steal, he's likely going to score from first on any ball that Adrian Gonzalez (or Youk vs. LHP) hits for a double.
   39. Nasty Nate Posted: April 05, 2011 at 08:41 PM (#3786995)
Here's tonight's:

Ellsbury CF
Crawford LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Youkilis 3B
Ortiz DH
Drew RF
Saltalamacchia C
Scutaro SS
   40. Darren Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:13 AM (#3787390)
There's no way they bat Pedroia third.


Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.



ha.
   41. Hugh Jorgan Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:35 AM (#3787481)
Crawford hitting

Still waiting for this part to happen....
   42. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 06, 2011 at 03:43 AM (#3787485)
We have to laugh about something, right?
   43. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 06, 2011 at 04:22 AM (#3787498)
This is a "lineup" in the sense that Coors Light is a "beer".
   44. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:04 AM (#3787511)
What I find interesting is that nobody seems to have made much of a beef about the fact that Crawford has never hit lefties in his career. He's also a guy with lineup idiosyncracies. Put the two together, and you might have a guy who doesn't want to be moved around the lineup--but should be given his platoon split.
   45. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: April 06, 2011 at 05:40 AM (#3787516)
This is a "lineup" in the sense that Coors Light is a "beer".

I don't know if this is meant to be disparaging or not but I think the lineup is the least of the Red Sox worries (I assume it was disparaging). They are going to score a lot of runs. Let me paint an admittedly exceedingly pessimistic picture of their rotation:

Lester: legitimate number 1 starter. Nothing wrong with him.
Buchholz: Mediocre strikeout rate, k/bb ratio significantly less than 2, and flyball tendencies would be worrisome to me.
Beckett: ERA near six last year. Scary no matter how talented Beckett remains.
Dice-K: 4.99 ERA the last two seasons.
Lackey: 4.69 ERA as a Red Sox.

Obviously, there's a lot of talent in this rotation and the majority of teams would love to have that staff. But for a "Superteam" this rotation isn't all that fear inducing outside of Lester. Definitely a relative weakness in my eyes.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: April 06, 2011 at 11:20 AM (#3787540)
Let me paint an admittedly exceedingly pessimistic picture of their rotation:
I did the exact same thing with the heart of the Red Sox lineup in response to WJ's post in the other thread about the "questions" in the Red Sox lineup outside of the heart of the order. I could do that with just about any team you want, from the 1998 Yankees to the 2010 Mariners. All players could suck, all players have cherry-pickable "worrying" statistical indicators.

Now, if the point is that the Red Sox aren't a projected 100+ win "superteam", that's right there in the team's projections regardless of cherry-picked numbers. If the point is that the Red Sox could only win 85 games, that's also right there in the projections - they all have huge error bars. If the point is that the Red Sox team projections have more downside risk than a normal club's projections, that can't be shown via cherry-picking, and I doubt it's the case.
   47. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 06, 2011 at 12:25 PM (#3787560)
The logical part of my brain is saying that losing 2 of 3 in Texas and 1 of 3 in Cleveland would have been a reasonable expectation so if we just win the last two games the road trip is disappointing but far from awful.

The good news right now is they aren't alone. The Rays are also 0-4 and while the Yankees are 3-2 some of the concerns about that team (questionable starting pitching, Soriano's adjustment to NY, Jeter) have been evident in their start.

But seriously, how about a ####### win.
   48. tfbg9 Posted: April 06, 2011 at 01:01 PM (#3787572)
Yes, the not-so-bad news is that the Red Sox are only 2 games behind the NYY's in the loss column.

The not-so-good news is the Red Sox are in a massive funk, and if if doesn't get 180'd soon, they'll be 5 or 6 back, as the Sox home opening series starts Friday against the NYY's.

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