Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Sox Therapy > Discussion
Sox Therapy
— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Roster Thoughts

After a highly successful road trip the Red Sox return to finish the season at home over the next week.  Having clinched at least a playoff berth the Sox will at least have an opportunity to play in a divsion series and it is time for John Farrell and Company to start reaching conclusions about the way a DS roster would look.  Even if the Sox don’t win the division (knock on wood, turn around, spit) a Wild Card game gives them enough of a chance that I think it is worth considering.

For now I’ll assume that the Sox will go with a 14 position player/11 pitcher set up.  As I recall this has been the approach in recent seasons so I am working off that assumption.

INFIELD: Mitch Moreland, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Eduardo Nunez, Brock Holt

Honestly I would love to squeeze Deven Marrero in here somehow.  Having him as a defenseive replacement for third base would be a sizable upgrade over Devers, Nunez and Holt but I cannot really make it happen.  Holt has had a rough year but his versatility is not insignificant.

OUTFIELD: Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi, Chris Young, Rajai Davis

I think there is a fairly strong case to not carry Chris Young. The Astros have just one lefty starter (Dallas Kuechel) and honestly Young has not done a thing to earn a roster spot.  Beyond that their bullpen really is weak on the left side with only Tony Sipp and his 6.17 ERA.  The more I type the more I want to rewrite and keep Marrero and leave Young off…

But here is the thing.  Young could be the guy you would want in a situation where one of the starters can’t go but you don’t want to DL the player and lose him for a potential ALCS.  Holt, Young, Davis…there are not a lot of great fourth outfielder options there and I would want the chance that Young runs into one.

I think the biggest decision here is do you want Davis’ legs or Marrero’s glove?

CATCHER: Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon

I very much want Vazquez catching Sale on Tuesday.  Right now we are looking at a game one with Leon behind the plate and he is far behind what Vazquez is right now.  Even the 2004 version of Doug Mirabelli was pretty good so having him start game one then coming out in Wake’s game one start was a much closer call than this would be in my opinion.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Hanley Ramirez

Well, at the very least DH is still an easy decision.  Getting Hanley healthy and right for the playoffs make this team a much much different team.

STARTING PITCHERS: Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz, Eduardo Rodriguez, Rick Porcello

Decision time!!!  I know Porcello has his detractors but since July 1 he has a 3.98 ERA, nearly a run better than Doug Fister.  I think whichever guy the Sox go with you have Price ready to rock and roll early and try not to let that game get away from you.

RELIEF PITCHERS: Craig Kimbrel, Addison Reed, Carson Smith, Brandon Workman, Doug Fister, Joe Kelly, David Price

Matt Barnes has been a critical part of the bullpen and will be rightly hurt to be left off.  To me it is him, Workman and Fister and honestly I love Austin Maddox but I am not that confident.  The absence of a lefty is not a major problem as the Astro lineup is heavily right-handed and the two lefties; Reddick and McCann (and Fisher too for that matter) all have reverse splits or close to it and there is no one here I want Scott or Abad in front of.

The question then becomes Fister or Scott.  I think having a guy like Fister in case a start or two goes awry or a game goes 13-14 innings.

So that is my thoughts on a potential division series roster.  Nothing is guaranteed (god let’s wrap it up Tuesday night so I can unclench) but a Wild Card roster will be vastly different and we can touch on that next Monday if necessary.

Usually when I do this sort of thing I miss someone obvious (one year I think I forgot to include Ortiz).  I eagerly look forward to being mocked.

Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 24, 2017 at 09:08 PM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. villageidiom Posted: September 25, 2017 at 09:08 AM (#5537951)
I have no arguments and no complaints. But still...

I do wonder how much they need to worry about a starter in the pen in the playoffs. First, in the ALDS they will have a day off after games 2 and 4, giving the bullpen some time to recover. Second, the team has had great success relying on the bullpen they already have to handle these situations, and this might be one of those ain't-broke-don't-fix-it situations. Third, Doug Fister has given up at least one run in the first inning of each of his last 7 appearances, so I'm not sure how much I trust him coming out of the bullpen.

I would be tempted to give Fister a break in the ALDS in the hope that he can be ready to go in the ALCS if needed. If they do that, then I'd replace him with...

...I can't believe I'm going to say this...

...I mean, really...

...Fernando Abad.

Abad and Barnes have been the equivalent pitcher this year. Abad has the lower ERA by a point, but their FIPs have been in the same neighborhood. They have the same K/BB rate, though Barnes has higher quantities of both. They have the same HR rate. Abad's advantage is that when players (both LHB and RHB) make contact against him it's much more often sent to the right side, which I think works both defensively for Boston (less Devers, more Mookie) and by the nature of both ballparks in the ALDS (assuming Houston is the opponent). To some degree I think this explains the FIP/ERA gap between the two, as Abad has greater reliance on the stronger parts of Boston's defense. If so, then the gap between FIP and ERA, in the context of the 2017 Red Sox season, is more dependable than we'd typically assume.

FWIW, 2017 UZR/150 per Fangraphs:

+20 Betts
+10 Pedroia
+ 7 Bradley
+ 6 Moreland
- 1 Bogaerts
- 2 Benintendi (as LF)
-10 Devers

I've no reason to think these rates, at least in direction, won't hold up in the playoffs.

Again, I've no argument with what you've laid out above. I'm quibbling about the 11th pitcher, and noting that they might be better served with... look, just don't make me say it again, OK?
   2. Textbook Editor Posted: September 25, 2017 at 09:52 AM (#5537986)
There's no way they don't have a LHP in the pen, which means Abad or Scott, probably at the cost of Fister (Price basically does what Fister would be doing--long man out of the pen). You can switch this up in the ALCS if need be to re-roster Fister (i.e., Porcello gets shelled, Price gets hurt), but there's just no way Abad or Scott don't make the roster, and reverse splits be dammed--if Reddick is up there in a key spot in the 6th or 7th and the starter is out, that LHP is gonna get his AB. Farrell is as Farrell does.

I'd actually be leery of Nunez at the moment, unless he proves in the last 7 games he's 100% healthy... but he's probably on there regardless of the injury situation. Marrero or Davis? Tough call. I think it's possible you take both and don't roster Young for the ALDS (a World Series roster, because of the PH opportunities, would be a different calculus to consider). If one or the other I'd probably take Davis--he's your wheels for Ramirez late in the game if needed.

I'm somewhat skeptical they leave Barnes at home too, but if Smith or Workman get hurt he's be the first callup, and if either Smith or Workman are overworked in the ALDS, I could see maybe de-rostering them for the ALCS and giving Barnes a spot to have a fresh arm.

A defensive caddy for Devers would be good; the tricky bit is figuring out when to work him in. Presumably Holt/Nunez would be the caddy; I'm not certain either of them is a *massive* upgrade on Devers defensively, but they are improvements... A big question for next year is whether or not the Red Sox are going to be OK with Devers if he approaches Butch Hobson v1978-levels of errors over there... There's an assumption he'll improve and be passable when combined with the bat, and maybe if the bat + defense = average 3B that'll be acceptable given the black hole the position has been for so many years, but... they've been winning, and that papers over a lot of things. If come next July 15th they're at .500 and Devers already has 20 errors... I think the nattering nabobs of negativism will turn on him...
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: September 25, 2017 at 10:01 AM (#5537995)
I think Holt has to be left behind, Nunez or no Nunez. I'd even rather Marrero. Holt's ability to play OF and 1B is not helpful enough to include him.
   4. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: September 25, 2017 at 11:48 AM (#5538196)
Count me on the No Holt/Yes Marrero (cause Marrero has been better at D - both bats suck), No Fister (stretch Workman if you really need and replace him in the ALCS), and if a decision needs to be made, Davis over Young (Davis at least has speed).
   5. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 25, 2017 at 01:03 PM (#5538346)
I didn't really give it a lot of thought but is the order I listed them (Sale-Pomeranz-Edgar-Porcello) the order they pitch? Do you give any thought to having Porcello, who has been much better on the road, the start on the road? Pomeranz and Rodriguez don't have splits of note in that regard. Plus with Sale in game one and the off day after game two Farrell should be able to be very aggressive with his bullpen.
   6. villageidiom Posted: September 25, 2017 at 01:08 PM (#5538362)
I like your second thoughts, but I also like the idea of going with your best in a short series. I think Sale and Pomeranz need to be the first two.
   7. Textbook Editor Posted: September 25, 2017 at 03:02 PM (#5538538)
#5--I wouldn't get cute with the order.

My guess--just a guess--is that unless the situation dictates (a disaster Pomeranz/Edgar start in terms of pitch count, but where we only trail by a run or two), Price is held back for Porcello's start and Porcello is on a very, very short leash. The real question is whether Price could pitch in a Game 2/Game 4 or Game 2/Game 5 situation or just once in a 5 game series (I know he won't go back to back days). But with a short series with everyone else you can be very aggressive due to the 2 off days (and if they win the division isn't there 3 off days before the Thursday start to the series?)...

The best way to avoid Porcello is to sweep, of course...
   8. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 25, 2017 at 03:26 PM (#5538574)
With off days between 2&3 and 4&5 there is no reason Price can't pitch three games if necessary.
   9. Textbook Editor Posted: September 25, 2017 at 03:59 PM (#5538620)
Jose--I seem to recall Farrell saying however many innings he pitches, that's how many days off he's going to get (at least that was the current plan through the end of the season). So 3 IP, 3 days off.

I suppose he could do 2 IP in Game 2, then 1 in Game 4, and ?? in Game 5 under those "rules" but who knows if the "Price Rules" will be tossed out starting next Thursday. I do think they'll be cautious, though, and I'd be surprised if they used him just for 1 IP in each of 3 games (or usage like that), unless our starters have been so good that he's just needed in the 7th to get to Reed/Kimbrel with the lead.

I say all of this still fully expecting his arm to blow up at some point and miss a season...
   10. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 25, 2017 at 08:37 PM (#5538810)
I didn’t put enough caveats in the post, this is my fault!!!
   11. Textbook Editor Posted: September 25, 2017 at 09:19 PM (#5538824)
Jose, it's clearly my fault...

I'd actually be leery of Nunez at the moment, unless he proves in the last 7 games he's 100% healthy... but he's probably on there regardless of the injury situation.



   12. Textbook Editor Posted: September 26, 2017 at 10:13 AM (#5539005)
So... if Pomeranz is broken/exhausted/dead arm... Jose's scheme of having Porcello start Game 2 just got a lot more interesting as a talking point. I still think they just slide EdRod there for Game 2, but... I can see them (assuming they can clinch before Pomeranz's next scheduled start) wanting to give Pomeranz 10+days off to rest/recover before starting a Game 3.

Velocity downtics scare me. Maybe Price starting and going 4 IP isn't so crazy an idea...
   13. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 26, 2017 at 10:17 AM (#5539012)
Being able to skip Pomeranz on Saturday would be huge. I have to admit I'm far more concerned than I have any right to be. I don't love tomorrow's matchup (Porcello-Estrada) so getting something tonight would be big. Of course having Sale going helps.

If they can wrap it up and skip Pomeranz and Sale this weekend I think the importance of that can't be overstated. Letting both of those guys have over a week off before Thursday/Friday would be so crucial.
   14. Morton's Fork Posted: September 26, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5539056)
Agreed on 10 of the 11 pitchers but I'd say they'll take Scott (because Farrell likes him >> Abad) over Fister (Price or Workman get stretched if need be, and otherwise Fister's not pitching ahead of anybody else - this is an elite, durable bullpen and he's a bit of a question mark as a reliever). Seems to me the Sox tend to be cautious before the playoffs but aggressive during, which I believe is game-theory optimal (save all your guns until the real battle and then shoot 'em).

By the way, if you wanted to "get cute" with the rotation, as insurance, it might make sense to go Pomeranz one and Sale two; that gives Sale extra rest, and banking on him to pitch seven or eight innings in game two gives Price et al two days before game three and still allows Sale to start game five on full rest. (I sort of like this option because maybe Sale would be overamped pitching GAME ONE OF THE PLAYOFFS and the Big Smooth would not; also, if the Sox win in three or four games, Sale gets a long rest before ALCS game one. It won't happen, of course, because béisbol es muy macho.)

Nunez has been nothing short of spectacular but if the knee prevents him from running and/or defending, he can't be on the roster; we'll see how that goes in the next week or so, but my hopes are not high, as that penultimate swing looked awfully worrisome. Not sure I would have allowed Eduardo to continue the AB (I wonder what he said to Farrell to convince him?) but I am certain that no extra damage was done. So that would mean Holt and Marrero. Extra IF's are not a bad idea given Pedroia's fragility.

Without Nunez, and with Holt and Marrero, we sort of come full-circle as the decision comes down to Young/Davis/Fister for the 25th spot. Young's been a big asset this season albeit mostly against RHP, not his strength. Davis, reportedly, is a great base-stealing threat, and we all know how valuable that can be in the post-season. Fister's talent might be extremely useful with either a 4-inning relief job or an emergency double-play. I'd offer that there's a better option and that it's Blake Swihart: with the flexibility of the Sox' lineup he offers lots of pinch-hitting opportunities without inevitable loss of offensive/defensive value. In an emergency, he can play LF, if only for one game (he then hits a wall).

Regarding Rafael Devers: he is not a bad Major-League 3B even a little bit. Devers' skills and attitude are precocious for sure, and because he is only 20 years old, he makes some otherwise-inexplicable mistakes, but the errors he has made look more like like mental- and fatigue-related errors to me. Remember, when Devers came up, Nunez was almost simultaneously acquired and was supposed to be his protection at 3B, but then Peewee went down and Nunez had to be the starting 2B instead, so essentially Devers has played all the innings there. Even though the Sox have been thinking of Marrero as a late-innings defensive replacement recently, I am not certain they will do that in the playoffs. They weren't chary of using Xander at 3B in the playoffs a couple of seasons ago, as I recall, and it's not clear yet that Devers isn't at least as good.

   15. villageidiom Posted: September 26, 2017 at 01:27 PM (#5539283)
Regarding Rafael Devers: he is not a bad Major-League 3B even a little bit. Devers' skills and attitude are precocious for sure, and because he is only 20 years old, he makes some otherwise-inexplicable mistakes, but the errors he has made look more like like mental- and fatigue-related errors to me.
In the total package I agree, and projecting forward I agree. He's a good, if not great, MLB 3B. But you go to war with the army you have, not the army you project to have in a few years, nor the army you had a couple of months ago before they got tired. Devers will start all the games, but he likely won't finish all of them.
   16. Textbook Editor Posted: September 26, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5539344)
Devers will start all the games, but he likely won't finish all of them.


It is an imperfect analogy but... The 1993 Phillies had a young-ish Dave Hollins at 3B and very often subbed Kim Batiste in for him late in games in the playoffs (Hollins had 27 errors in 1993). I'm not sure Batiste was *demonstrably* better (3 errors in 68 chances at 3B in 1993; Hollins had 27 in 315 chances), but Hollins only finished 100 of his 143 games in the field that season...

And of course there's Farrell riding Bogaerts at 3B in the 2013 playoffs, especially after the Game 3 ending in the WS... If Nunez is healthy and Devers has a horror show Game 1 in the field, I wouldn't at all be surprised to see Devers get maybe 2 ABs in a game and then go to Nunez--both for bat and for glove... or for Nunez to just take over at 3B. But a lot depends on him being healthy...
   17. Morton's Fork Posted: September 26, 2017 at 02:24 PM (#5539356)
I don't think Devers is tired, I just think that there's stuff he doesn't know yet because he's so young. It has shown mostly on defensive concentration issues (although last night, swinging away as leadoff down by two in the ninth is probably symptomatic) but in the playoffs I don't expect focus to be a problem for him, and the Sox have much more flexibility if they can just let him play. That Nunez is unlikely to be available changes things a lot. I guess my point is that the Sox haven't had options at 3B since they brought Devers up, and they don't really have options now, but that's OK because he's been so much better than we could have expected. I believe he'll rise to the occasion like Xander did.
   18. Morton's Fork Posted: September 26, 2017 at 02:37 PM (#5539373)
I'm not at all sanguine about Nunez' chances to play for the Sox again in '17: watch his AB from last night and you'll understand that the knee has a real problem moving side-to-side; I think we'll be super lucky to see him in the LDS. Even though he may not be available for the rest of the season, there's a win-win here if the Sox go all the way and he wants to re-up cheap.
   19. Textbook Editor Posted: September 26, 2017 at 02:46 PM (#5539379)
#18--Mentally I've adopted the notion Nunez is done for 2017.

As for wanting him back... well, sure, he basically fills Holt's role (though naturally he may be better than Holt). Would you have both? Holt is still arb-eligible and would be presumably be cheaper (and on just a 1 year deal). I'd almost kind of argue with Pedroia not at all clear to be healthy in 2018 you need to (a) have a caddy for him and (b) start thinking about a post-Pedroia 2B world (and what you do with Pedroia should be move off 2B)... and to me that means trying to keep Holt AND Nunez, because I suspect there'll be lots of ABs to go around on the IF (even if Devers does rebound the glove in 2018).
   20. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 26, 2017 at 03:24 PM (#5539410)
Yeah what I saw from Nunez last night was not a guy likely to be healthy soon. That was a bad sign.
   21. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 26, 2017 at 04:28 PM (#5539461)
No Mookie tonight.
   22. Textbook Editor Posted: September 26, 2017 at 09:42 PM (#5539667)
All right. I'm officially concerned.
   23. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 26, 2017 at 10:08 PM (#5539696)
You and me both. Logic says “hey, somewhere in there they’ll get what they need” but man this is uncomfortable. It’s hard to envision the Yankees losing again but of course the Jays won 2 of 3 last weekend. Winning 3 out of 4 from Houston, even with the Astros with nothing to play for, is going to be tough.

The thing is the Sox have been playing really well. If Mookie is back in there tomorrow that changes the lineup pretty considerably. They’ve got the second best record in baseball since the deadline so it’s not like we are asking for miracles here. But man, it is hard not to be uncomfortable. Having Sale for Sunday is a nice thing to fall back on.

Despite my conviction that we are never going to win again I’ll say Friday is clinch day. We win two out of three and the Yankees lose one somewhere in here.
   24. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 26, 2017 at 10:10 PM (#5539698)
The thing I’ve been telling myself tonight is that the lead after today is the same as it has been for awhile now. The Yankees just had two perfect days; they win, we lose, and they are no closer than they were when the Sox left the Bronx three weeks ago. The Sox need one more perfect day; Yankees lose, we win and then add in somewhere else a win for us or a loss for them and that’s it.

But blowing two chances with our two best pitchers is fairly frustrating and unnerving.
   25. Textbook Editor Posted: September 26, 2017 at 10:21 PM (#5539712)
I'm not on the railing of the bridge... more like I've gotten in my car and plugged the bridge into GPS...
   26. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 26, 2017 at 10:26 PM (#5539718)
Oh you’re better than me. I’m just trying to figure out Tobin or Tappan Zee.
   27. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 26, 2017 at 10:52 PM (#5539734)
But blowing two chances with our two best pitchers is fairly frustrating and unnerving.


Frustrating yes, unnerving....no. It's not like the team didn't score any runs, neither the #1 or #2 guy pitched particularly well and they were behind in both games early. It happens, I'm not fussed. I posted weeks ago that the Sox would win 93 games and if NY was better then that, then so be it.

I think the 93 wins will do it anyway, NY will lose at least 1 more game and the good guys will squeak home by a game or 2.
   28. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: September 26, 2017 at 11:08 PM (#5539749)
Hugh as the voice of reason, I have seen it all.

But he’s probably right.
   29. Morton's Fork Posted: September 27, 2017 at 04:13 AM (#5539842)
Heh. But yes, the Sox are still a really good team, it's been a 3+ game lead for just ever, they lost a couple in a row but they're playing .700 baseball. The losses have been hard to watch for sure, what with all of the dings and scratches.
   30. Morton's Fork Posted: September 27, 2017 at 04:32 AM (#5539843)
#19: As for Holt and Nunez? Absolutely, for the reason you state, ie the condition of Pedroia's knee. I have, almost, mentally adopted the notion that Peewee retires in the offseason. Gadzooks but I do hate that Manny Machado.

Wouldn't surprise me if Nunez had to have knee surgery his own self in the offseason. Or, for that matter, tomorrow.
   31. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 02, 2017 at 05:01 PM (#5543114)
Supposedly Nunez is saying he is ready to go for the DS. I think it is a huge risk to put him on the roster based on what I saw last Monday night. He gets hurt and he's out for the DS and LCS. Barnes looked great yesterday. I think given the issues with Nunez and Pedroia they have to carry Marrero which I think puts Young on the outside looking in.

On the pitching side I think Barnes has pushed himself back ahead of Workman who has struggled his last several outings.
   32. Textbook Editor Posted: October 02, 2017 at 06:27 PM (#5543183)
There's a lot of talk of them taking all 5 starters and only 11 pitchers; if you do that and take the token lefty Barnes seems without a spot.

I'd hold off on Nunez unless he really truly was ok. The goal is to win the WS. I'd rather have him healthy for the LCS/WS than risk re-injury pushing for the LDS.
   33. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 03, 2017 at 03:29 PM (#5543616)
Based on his workout today the Twitterz seem to be saying that Farrell expects Nunez will be on the roster.
   34. Nasty Nate Posted: October 05, 2017 at 11:34 AM (#5544999)
Marrero instead of Chris Young, and Maddox instead of Workman.
http://www.masslive.com/redsox/index.ssf/2017/10/boston_red_sox_alds_roster_ann.html

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Mike Emeigh
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.5124 seconds
41 querie(s) executed