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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 12, 2011 at 03:02 PM (#3769321)
Thanks, Jose. Really great stuff, and I'm sure we're all experiencing that odd mix of appreciativeness and violent jealousy. Or at least I am. One small note - John Lackey, in my observation, can throws his breaking ball with more up-and-down or side-to-side movement, and it can be hard to classify as exactly a curve or slider much of the time. Was it a tight, hard breaker or something new?

I've got a few observations, too, from watching games on teevee, and I thought this would be a good thread not only for making fun of Jose, but also for talking about the players each of us have been watching this spring.

-My favorite young Red Sox player to watch has been Oscar Tejeda. He’s not polished at second, but I love his demeanor at the plate. He just looks confident up there, and he’s been working the count and looking for a pitch to drive just about every at-bat I’ve seen. Tejeda has serious major league power potential in that swing, and he’s been playing like the kind of kid who will be able to realize it.

-Jose Iglesias really is an amazing shortstop – what’s cool about his defense is how polished it is, he’s not flashy, he just gets to everything and gobbles it up. Iglesias has the ability to make every ball look routine. As a hitter, he looks like a great defensive shortstop. I’ve seen Iglesias try to take pitches, but he seems to be trying to take pitches, rather than trying to get a pitch to hit. His glove may carry his bat, but if there’s someone with a passable glove who actually hits, does Iglesias deserve the major league job?

-Speaking of a shortstop with a passable glove who actually hits, Jed Lowrie is stinging the ball all over the field every time I see him. Last fall he was impressive because he’d managed to find a way to keep swinging hard while nearly halving his strikeout rate. This spring has been more of the same. If Lowrie’s improved K-rate is for a real, he’s going to be very hard to keep out of the everyday lineup.

-On the down side, Rich Hill looks like a AAA reliever to me. The optimistic take would be that Hill looks like someone who needs another couple months at least to work on his new delivery. Hill’s fastball command has been pretty terrible every time I’ve seen him, and his once-deadly curveball seems to have morphed into a very boring college slider.
   2. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 12, 2011 at 03:24 PM (#3769332)
Lackeys curve was more 12-6 than horizontal in movement when I saw him. I'll see him again today so I'll have a better sense of him then.

I haven't seen much of Tejeda unfortunately. He's an interesting guy because I agree with you that there is a lot of talent there but with Pedroia and Iglesias he seems a bit blocked. I think the Sox are so invested both in money and P.R. with Iglesias that only a complete failing on his part or an outrageous performance by Lowrie keeps Iglesias from getting the job in 2012.

What has struck me about Iglesias is that he hits the ball hard. If he can improve his discipline I think he's a 40 double guy waiting to happen. There's a short path from that to Rey Ordonez that worries me though. I'll admit I'm less sold on Lowrie than others. There have been enough red flags in his short career that I'm more skeptical than I should be.
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 12, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#3769334)
What has struck me about Iglesias is that he hits the ball hard.
That's good to hear. When I've seen him, I've seen basically the opposite. At least, then, he's hitting the ball hard sometimes. We can build on that.
I think the Sox are so invested both in money and P.R. with Iglesias that only a complete failing on his part or an outrageous performance by Lowrie keeps Iglesias from getting the job in 2012.
What's "outrageous"? If Lowrie plays competent D and puts up an 800 OPS, is he really going to lose the job?
   4. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 12, 2011 at 03:37 PM (#3769338)
What's "outrageous"? If Lowrie plays competent D and puts up an 800 OPS, is he really going to lose the job?


I think that's a touch and go point. My sense is the Sox are not convinced of his glove.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 12, 2011 at 03:41 PM (#3769341)
I think that's a touch and go point. My sense is the Sox are not convinced of his glove.
That's my sense too. It's more than possible that Jed Lowrie will demonstrate himself not to be capable of playing SS everyday. What I'm saying is that if Lowrie plays short reasonably well this year, and hits anything like how he's been hitting since last August, he should get the shortstop job unless Iglesias' bat takes a big step forward.
   6. Mattbert Posted: March 12, 2011 at 03:58 PM (#3769350)
Thanks for the reports, Jose!

I haven't been down to Ft Myers in about a decade now. I miss those spring training games.
   7. Darren Posted: March 12, 2011 at 04:00 PM (#3769351)
That's a lot of careers you ruined there, but also a lot of entertaining stuff to read. Thanks Jose.

Tejeda's quietly put up some really nice numbers for a middle infielder. It's exciting to read more about him.

(Hope I wasn't too hard on you about Ramon. It was just funny to me because I had been so positive that he was going to be a very good reliever and your report only reinforced that belief.)
   8. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 12, 2011 at 04:10 PM (#3769356)
Not too tough at all. Glad people enjoyed the info.

Curious to see how it changes with the new facility next year. There is a lot of access at the minor league camp that I hope isn't lost with the new combined facility.
   9. Darnell McDonald had a farm Posted: March 12, 2011 at 04:13 PM (#3769357)
Lowrie's case reminds me of an old Cherokee proverb that means, loosely translated, "fool me four times, shame on my mother". There's nothing wrong with waiting for him to play a full season before counting on his production
   10. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 12, 2011 at 05:36 PM (#3769391)
If you don't already know, Adrian Gonzalez is in the lineup today
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 12, 2011 at 05:54 PM (#3769396)
Hey, sweet, it's on the MLB Network. I will be watching.

Impromptu chatter?
   12. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 12, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3769401)
I'm at City of Palms but I'll chime in if something interesting happens. For now it looks like no Hanley for the Marlins but they are pitching Josh Johnson. Sox have what would be an Opening Day lineup except Cameron replacing Crawford. I suppose it is telling that it Cameron is in left with Ellsbury in center.
   13. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 12, 2011 at 07:18 PM (#3769430)
That's the first time I've seen Adrian Gonzalez' opposite field swing. (Well, I've probably seen it before, but I never paid that much attention to Gonzalez before.) It's purty.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 12, 2011 at 07:29 PM (#3769434)
I see the curve you're talking about, Jose. That's a bigger breaker than he was showing last year. Lackey's obviously working on his secondary stuff today.
   15. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 12, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#3769449)
If you're watching the last out of the third was one of my favorite things about spring training. Unlike the regular season you can hear the communication between players. It's a little thing but to hear Ellsbury clearly calling "I got it" on a routine fly entertains me.
   16. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 12, 2011 at 08:05 PM (#3769453)
Re: Lackey I wonder if last year was an adjustment and we will see a Lackey who more resembles a 2007 Schilling focused not on missing bats but just complete avoidance of the base on balls
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 12, 2011 at 08:29 PM (#3769467)
Lackey's BB rate last year was his highest in several years. For his career, Lackey's BB rates have gone:

2.74, 2.91, 2.72, 3.06, 2.98, 2.09, 2.20, 2.40, 3.01

I doubt a pitcher who relies so heavily on two breaking pitches can do much better than Lackey did in 2007-2009, but I think it's reasonable to hope he can return to - or at least toward - that level.
   18. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 12, 2011 at 08:39 PM (#3769471)
According to Peter Abraham Linares ( now in center) has been drawing rave reviews this Spring.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 12, 2011 at 09:11 PM (#3769482)
Watching Lackey's post-game press conference, he's clearly lost a good bit of weight since last year. I wonder if some of his problems last year were a function of just not being in shape.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 12, 2011 at 09:21 PM (#3769488)
Jesus does Almanzar have a humongous swing. There's power there, but I really don't know how he'll be able to make enough contact with that wrecking ball of a swing. (Admittedly my evaluation is colored by knowing that Almanzar strikes out all the time, but I can see why.)

He did a pretty good job in that at-bat of making contact, but the pitcher was nice enough to give him nothing but fastballs in the zone. Six or seven pitches, and each one a fastball in the strike zone.
   21. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 12, 2011 at 09:27 PM (#3769490)
My father said at the start of the first "Jesus Lackey has lost anlot of weight."

Was Almanzar adjusting during the at bat? From my seat it didn't seem like he cut down much.
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 12, 2011 at 09:29 PM (#3769492)
Looked like the same swing at 0-2 (and 0-2 and 0-2 and 0-2) as 0-0. I was just waiting for that dude to throw a slider in the dirt for the K. I assume the reliever was working on something with the fastball.
   23. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 12, 2011 at 09:57 PM (#3769503)
Keeping score at games inevitably draws questions, usually "are you a scout?". Until today I had never gotten "may I take a picture of your scoresheet?"
   24. Hugh Jorgan Posted: March 13, 2011 at 11:24 PM (#3769910)
after my pimping of Ramon Ramirez last year, my scouting skills are a bit questionable

Well I wouldn't go that far. He just sucked for us. He did up winning a ring with SF and I believe he went quite well...checking BBref...yep 27 innings...618 ERA+. Sure the sample size is tiny, but he was good for SF.
   25. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: March 14, 2011 at 05:55 AM (#3770047)
Keeping score at games inevitably draws questions, usually "are you a scout?". Until today I had never gotten "may I take a picture of your scoresheet?"


Once people heard me speak at games , they started asking questions. Damn accent.

Great stuff above btw - loved reading it and am really starting to turn it up a gear for the season - I'll be in chatter for lots of early games as I am home a lot in April - Watch out cyber nanny - the coorey beast is on the way!
   26. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 14, 2011 at 09:19 PM (#3770559)
Well I wouldn't go that far. He just sucked for us. He did up winning a ring with SF and I believe he went quite well...checking BBref...yep 27 innings...618 ERA+. Sure the sample size is tiny, but he was good for SF.
Just to follow up on this, these were Ramirez' numbers for the full season:

69 IP, 52 H, 24 R, 7 HR, 27 BB, 46 K, 2.99 ERA

Those aren't the most inspiring component numbers, and he sucked hard in the playoffs, but it wasn't all that bad a season in the aggregate.
   27. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 14, 2011 at 10:28 PM (#3770597)
So what are the chances that a strong Aceves outing tonight triggers a fill blown "dump Matsuzaka" movement tomorrow?
   28. Josh Posted: March 15, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#3770880)
A reliever who has a lower than 2:1 so:bb (he was at 1.7, but 1.4 with the Giants - or Matt Albers territory) and about 1 HR/9 may not be that bad, but its a pretty generic 5th reliever. Average SO/BB ratio for relievers in the AL in 2010 was about 2:1 (higher for starters who pitcher tough innings, but are more talented as a whole), though the set of players who stick in the majors likely has a higher than 2:1 ratio.

He isn't horrifically bad and underserving of a spot in the major leagues. He just isn't likely to be better than the 5th worst reliever on a decent team, and will be on the edge of being cut for a good team, unless he (1) walks fewer batters, (2) misses more bats, or (3) induces more ground balls.

Dumping Matsuzaka doesn't just mean that Aceves starts. It also means that the starts that Aceves would get as the #6 starter go to Wakefield, and Wakefield's starts (as the presumptive #7 starter) would not go to Kyle Weiland or a yet to throw Felix Doubront, or whatever. Seems pretty short sighted.

Good stuf, Jose - thanks for this.
   29. tfbg9 Posted: March 15, 2011 at 07:02 PM (#3771120)
Dice was really good today. So shut up!
   30. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 15, 2011 at 07:24 PM (#3771134)
That was nice to see. Believe me, I wasn't advocating a "dump Matsuzaka" movement in #27 just expecting it to happen.
   31. Darren Posted: April 14, 2011 at 11:18 PM (#3797594)
This might be as fun as last year.
   32. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 14, 2011 at 11:23 PM (#3797599)
Yeah, let's just start calling him Ramon Lackey and beat the rush.
   33. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 11, 2011 at 09:42 PM (#3991362)
If anyone is interseted I was able to swing by the site of the new facility today. Lotta work left to be done between now and February according to my very untrained eye. It looks very nice from the outside and should be a HUGE improvement in terms of ease of access, it's very close to the highway.
   34. Darren Posted: November 11, 2011 at 09:54 PM (#3991375)
Way to curse the new site.
   35. villageidiom Posted: November 12, 2011 at 04:37 AM (#3991647)
If anyone is interseted I was able to swing by the site of the new facility today. Lotta work left to be done between now and February according to my very untrained eye. It looks very nice from the outside and should be a HUGE improvement in terms of ease of access, it's very close to the highway.
Picture from September.
   36. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: February 02, 2012 at 10:50 PM (#4052424)
Out of curiosity is there interest in a similar report this Spring? I'm headed down March 3rd and yes part of the reason I share this is just to make people jealous that I'm spending 16 days in Florida on vacation.
   37. villageidiom Posted: February 02, 2012 at 11:14 PM (#4052441)
Yes. Please profile the entire Yankees roster.

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