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   1. PJ Martinez Posted: February 27, 2007 at 06:14 PM (#2303944)
Spring is in the air!

Tek was very disappointing in 2006, and he is certainly at the age when a catcher might fall off a cliff. That said, that was a huge drop-off last year, so it seems to me the most likely thing for him is a slight (at least) improvement.

Right?
   2. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: February 27, 2007 at 06:20 PM (#2303949)
Darren hasn't reported in a while, but he did visit yesterday.
   3. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: February 27, 2007 at 06:22 PM (#2303950)
Drew is healthy


Jesus, knock on wood or something when you say that.
   4. bibigon Posted: February 27, 2007 at 07:04 PM (#2303972)
Once again, we have a Sox team that if they perform to reasonable expectations(as in, the computer projections), should be a very good team. Once again, they strike me as having a number of high risk players, more likely than the norm to collapse, and leave us amazed as how quickly it all went to hell.

It's a high variance team, more likely than other comparably talented teams to be a bust, but also more likely to win 105+ games than them. That's not really a good thing, since the cost of underperforming is higher than the benefit of overperforming.
   5. Famous Original Joe C Posted: February 27, 2007 at 07:05 PM (#2303976)
Spring is in the air!

Tek was very disappointing in 2006, and he is certainly at the age when a catcher might fall off a cliff. That said, that was a huge drop-off last year, so it seems to me the most likely thing for him is a slight (at least) improvement.

Right?


I can see the case for a slight bounce back to, oh, .260/.350/.430 or so.
   6. PJ Martinez Posted: February 27, 2007 at 08:06 PM (#2304014)
"I can see the case for a slight bounce back to, oh, .260/.350/.430 or so."

That sounds about right: his career numbers are .269/.348.450. And a 780 OPS would put him right around the middle of MLB catchers, I think (I'm just eyeballing the stats at MLB; among catchers with ~400 PAs or more, there look to be about 10-12 above that number).
   7. Sexy Lizard Posted: February 27, 2007 at 08:12 PM (#2304016)
The pessimist's version of paragraph 2:

Tavarez is referring to CHB as CHB. Wake is rediscovering his change and curve. Delcarmen is for real. Beckett is Beckett. Dice-K is healthy, and easily the best No. 5 in MLB. Bryce Cox has no restrictions. Donnelly looks good. Schilling is hungry. Piniero and should be improved. Papelbon and Lester should be okay. Come August, Hansen might be ready to do a K-Rod.
   8. Addicted To Glove Posted: February 27, 2007 at 08:15 PM (#2304019)
Indeed someone does have to bat at the bottom of the order:

Lugo
Youkilis
Ortiz
Manny
Drew
Lowell
Varitek
Crisp

(Yes, I'm a sucker for speed from the nine-hole.) That's not a bad lineup at all. The only thing I'm afraid of is that we're just as likely to end up with closer by committee as for anybody to emerge. On the other hand, with our rotation set up pretty well and Lester waiting in the wings, we may not need to worry too much about the pen at least to start. The best pen is often not the one with the best pitchers in it, but the one with the best starters in front of them.
   9. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 27, 2007 at 08:23 PM (#2304024)
I honestly hope that Beckett doesn't start looking too good, or they'll get thoughts of making Papelbon the saves pitcher again. Then the season will start, Beckett will go back to sucking, and they won't want to switch Papelbon during the season. They'll skitter along near first place until June, Wakefield's back will give out again, and poof.
   10. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 27, 2007 at 09:36 PM (#2304087)
(Yes, I'm a sucker for speed from the nine-hole.)

Crisp will really feel insulted to be in the 9th spot in an 8-man lineup!
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: February 27, 2007 at 09:45 PM (#2304093)
(Yes, I'm a sucker for speed from the nine-hole.)


Crisp will really feel insulted to be in the 9th spot in an 8-man lineup!

Pedroia is already so good that mere mortals aren't allowed to type his name.

Oh crap.
   12. Josh Posted: February 27, 2007 at 10:39 PM (#2304138)
The only player I have serious reservations about (there are doubts and reservations about everyone, generally, some more serious than others) is Lowell. The only thing positive about him this spring is his leadership qualities, I think. I'd expect his offensive production to drop as he just about hit his 4yr wghtd (MGL) projection, while I'd expect his defense to drop b/c he isn't as good as his numbers indicate last year (or, at least, he never has been before). He is slow and seems like the type of player that can easily turn into a 260/320/400 with average defense - unacceptable numbers, really.
   13. chris p Posted: February 27, 2007 at 10:58 PM (#2304146)
Crisp is mostly healthy.

yup. just a little sore from shoveling snow yesterday, but other than that, i'm ready to go!
   14. Darren Posted: February 28, 2007 at 05:48 AM (#2304285)
Don't worry, Jon, I'm around. Just haven't had time to post much lately. Glad Toby is picking up the slack.

I'm feeling pretty positive about this team. Don't love the bullpen, but I think they'll be an exciting bunch to watch (in a good way... maybe).
   15. esturminator_CT Posted: February 28, 2007 at 03:42 PM (#2304365)
(Yes, I'm a sucker for speed from the nine-hole.)


I'd like to see the speed lower in the order as well. Though I'd prefer

Drew
Youks
Papi
Manny
Tek
Lowell
Crisp
Lugo
Pedroia

That gives you the best chance to have guys on base ahead of Papi and Manny, which is really the best protection for them. Coco and Lugo could feel free to run ahead of Dustpan. And, as you can see I'm counting on a bounce back year from 'Tek making him valuable behind Manny - especially with his ability to hit from either side of the plate. I think .280/.365/.485 is not totally out of reach and that would certainly put him up around 80 - 85 RBI in this line-up. Go ahead and be a leader 'Tek.
   16. Dan Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:18 PM (#2304602)
   17. PJ Martinez Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:34 PM (#2304616)
I like that lineup, esturminator. But isn't it pretty much a guarantee that Lugo will be in the 1 or 2-hole, with Drew behind Manny? In fact, I wonder if Francona will use Crisp's switch-hitterness as an excuse to put him at the top as well, thus avoiding the string of righties you can see from 8-2 in your ideal batting order.
   18. PJ Martinez Posted: February 28, 2007 at 08:36 PM (#2304619)
By the way, great quote in that link from Dan:

"Would you like Jennifer Lopez to give you a kiss? Of course Manny wants his option picked up," Tavarez told the Herald.
   19. esturminator_CT Posted: February 28, 2007 at 11:05 PM (#2304750)
Yeah, PJM everything I read seems to indicate Lugo leading off and Drew providing protection behind Manny - but I can dream. It would sure be nice to have lifetime .380 and .390 OBP ahead of Papi and Manny, and in the 7 and 8 holes I'd think you could give Lugo and Coco the green light and have a running game that Boston hasn't seen in a looooong time. I could be wrong, but I think my ideal line-up goes L-R-L-R-S-R-S-R-R . . . Drew does bat lefty, doesn't he?
   20. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: March 01, 2007 at 05:57 AM (#2304939)
"Would you like Jennifer Lopez to give you a kiss? Of course Manny wants his option picked up," Tavarez told the Herald.

What if J-Lo had herpes?
   21. PJ Martinez Posted: March 01, 2007 at 06:06 AM (#2304945)
Yeah, Drew bats lefty-- I was confusing your ideal lineup the expected Francona lineup... and then, I guess, counting Lugo twice. I'm pretty quick. Maybe the better handedness-alternation of your lineup will convince Francona to use it after all! Probably not, though.
   22. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 01, 2007 at 09:11 PM (#2305400)
Keith Woolner shares the exuberance.
   23. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 02, 2007 at 06:46 PM (#2305883)
I'm feeling pretty positive about this team. Don't love the bullpen, but I think they'll be an exciting bunch to watch (in a good way... maybe).
This pretty much nails it for me, too. Here's how I'm thinking about it. When you get tickets to a game, a few weeks before you can start estimating which starter you'll get. On this team, who will be a disappointment, in terms of your excitement for the game? Matsuzaka's probably everyone's first pick for a pitcher to see. Papelbon is the young star. Schilling's always a good game. Beckett's great to watch when he has some command of his stuff. Really, the knuckleballer might be the least exciting draw. That's just a great rotation for the fans.

Of course, as bibigon and others point out, they could suck. Whatever. I'm excited.
   24. Toby Posted: March 02, 2007 at 09:38 PM (#2305993)
... and then there's Lester, MCoA!

We should have a contest -- rank the Red Sox starters in order of value over the season. (Whether we use Murray Chass' "wins" or BPro's "VORP" or something else is, I suppose, the first order of business.)

Me, I assume Matsuzaka > Schilling > Wakefield, but I have no idea where Beckett and Papelbon will slot in.
   25. Margo Adams FC Posted: March 02, 2007 at 09:44 PM (#2305994)
Matsuzaka > Papelbon > Schilling > Beckett > Wakefield

Papelbon over Schilling is a gut call in an upset...
   26. chris p Posted: March 02, 2007 at 09:46 PM (#2305995)
Schilling, Beckett, and Papelbon are a tossup for me.
   27. tfbg9 Posted: March 03, 2007 at 02:19 PM (#2306165)
#22-I listened to the B-Pro Radio interview with Keith Woolner, which is worh hearing to pass the time at work or whatever, but they kept referring to the Sox as the Vegas "chalk" or the "favorites" to win the WS, which they aren't, they're in the 2nd choice group with the Mets, etc at maybe 10/1. The MFY's are the top choice at ~9/2.

Lester, Snyder, Schill, Wake, Beckett, Lil' Papi, Dice-K-san.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 04, 2007 at 12:55 AM (#2306346)
Speaking of irrational exuberance, did anybody watch the game on NESN today? Papelbon looked awesome - worked 92-94 with the fastball, hit his spots, overmatched Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in succession for swinging Ks. Good stuff.
   29. Darren Posted: March 04, 2007 at 01:45 AM (#2306362)
MC, as noted in the game recap thread, Pap throwing well with 2 pitches for a couple innings tells us very little.
   30. Darren Posted: March 04, 2007 at 03:07 AM (#2306390)
And on the other thread you refute that quite well.
   31. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 04, 2007 at 03:02 PM (#2306482)
Just to recap the other thread...

I'm not saying that I think that Jonathan Papelbon showed improvement or development from 2006. Philly's certainly right that such could not really be displayed in two innings. I'm saying that merely returning to 2006 form is a big deal - this is a guy whose shoulder popped out of the socket, it's in no way a given that he would return with the same fastball.

My irrational exuberance was preexisting. I think that a guy whose fastball and split are both swing-and-miss pitches doesn't really need to do much with his slider or curve other than show it occasionally. I acknowledge that we don't know yet whether as a starter Li'l Papi's top two pitches will be quite that good, and we won't get a good look at that until several starts into the year - but I think there's a really good chance he will be that good as a starting. Showing up and blowing fastballs by Utley and Howard was definitely a big deal, and I tend to think that I don't need to see a lot more development over and above him 2006 form to be very excited about Papelbon.
   32. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: March 04, 2007 at 04:33 PM (#2306503)
Jesus, knock on wood or something when you say that.

You could just knock on Toby's boner.
   33. villageidiom Posted: March 07, 2007 at 02:22 AM (#2307923)
Two things...

1. Every year BTF publishes their "Looking Forward..." reviews of each team. Roughly every year, one person volunteers to write it, and everyone else complain about their purported analysis (e.g. last year I said they should win somewhere between 80 and 100 wins, so I was right). While that could still happen this year, I was wondering if y'all would be interested in drafting a consensus Therapudlian view. Of course, we'd need a thread for it, and preferably not the "Irrationally Exuberant" thread.

2. On a personal note, we're targeting 4/14 or 4/15 for mrsidiom's return to Fenway. She's still wearing the ankle brace, but she's able to do much more extended walking now. (Two weekends ago she walked from Grand Central to Times Square, and then some.) And she can negotiate stairs without a railing as well, which is an essential part of getting back to her usual roost of S17/R6/S6. She's really looking forward to it, as am I, obviously.
   34. Toby Posted: March 07, 2007 at 03:27 PM (#2308098)
vi, maybe we need more than one thread. One per position, perhaps. Let me know what your vision is, I'll be glad to put it up.
   35. villageidiom Posted: March 08, 2007 at 02:31 AM (#2308490)
Vision?

OK, I'll take a stab at it. We can start with one thread, and post another when there's consensus in the first. Positional threads might cut too thin, so how about:

1. Rotation
2. Defense
3. Bullpen
4. Hitting
5. Baserunning
6. Health (and relevant organizational depth)
7. Coaching
8. Other / summary / overall prediction

In these threads I'm not looking for consensus on every little detail, but rather a discussion of each detail of the topic at hand and a consensus on the overall forecast.

I recommend that we table discussion of health issues until #6, and approach the forecasts for #1-5 as though there will be no health issues. I think we can reach consensus faster if we consider variance (i.e. risk that Player X gets hurt, risk that Player Y get hurt) and covariance (i.e. risk that Player X and Player Y get hurt) at the same time, and separately from the discussion of on-the-field performance.

If anyone wants more threads, we can add them as needed. Or, more likely, the season will start before we get through them all and we'll lose interest.
   36. tfbg9 Posted: March 08, 2007 at 02:40 AM (#2308494)
Speaking of health, i heae Hanson has a bulging disk problem. Maybe that's why he stunk it up in '06?

The above is a good proposal, I say.
   37. Darren Posted: March 08, 2007 at 03:12 AM (#2308508)
Every year BTF publishes their "Looking Forward..." reviews of each team. Roughly every year, one person volunteers to write it, and everyone else complain about their purported analysis

That's because every year it's Malcolm, who has nothing to do with the site anymore and turns the entire preview into a rant about some perceived slight against him. A group projection would be fine with me, or if you wanted to, you could do your own and I'll post it like I did with Temple's prospect list.

I think the "Looking Forward" series has been discontinued, as none are up yet.

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