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Sox Therapy
— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Kids Are or Are Not Alright

Two time division winning and one time World Series champion manager John Farrell chatted with Rob Bradford and John Tomase at WEEI on Wednesday.  In the course of the conversation he talked about a couple of things that I thought were fairly interesting;

President Dave Dombrowski recently told Buster Olney that Drew Pomeranz and Wright are penciled in to the last two spots in the rotation. That doesn’t mean there won’t be competition, however, because Farrell wants that culture to continue. E-Rod remains in the mix.

I suspect this will get a bit of attention with Rodriguez not in the rotation at the moment.  I won’t lie, I am not a fan of Rodriguez having to compete for a job but the more I think about it the more I like him being slotted sixth.  Someone has to be the sixth starter and with his options (Sox Prospects says he has two left) the Sox can let him get stretched out in Pawtucket and use Pomeranz and Wright to fill the rotation if everyone is healthy come April.  I am not a huge fan of Drew Pomeranz starting pitcher so that influences my opinion of this move pretty heavily.  It is probably fair to say that the Sox are higher on him than I am since they gave up a top 20 prospect for him.

It is worth noting that Farrell also noted that there was no expectation of any delay for Rodriguez at the start of spring training.  I think he is getting a reputation for being injured regularly but I think it is early enough in his career that it probably would behoove us not to get too worked up yet.

Could Andrew Benintendi bat second? “It’s a possibility, no doubt,” Farrell said. Farrell likes the idea of breaking up four righties atop the order, and acknowledged that Benintendi could be a candidate for that spot, though nothing has been decided.

I suspect the time and energy spent by fans and blogs discussing the lineup is probably far in excess of what is warranted but it’s January 12th, what else are we going to talk about?  The Sox’ lineup is filled with guys that I think are great number two hitters; Bogaerts, Benintendi, Pedroia, Mookie,...I mean the Sox can have just about anyone in that spot.  Heck if Sandoval rebounds a low strikeout lefty might be a good fit.  Personally I want Bogaerts there.  I think he is at his best when he is shooting the ball the other way.

But if Benintendi can produce that certainly makes the lineup extend.  Bogaerts moving down in the order a bit makes some sense since his power is going to play a bit better with and Benintendi doesn’t really have that as a big aspect of his game, at least not yet.

What I like about both of these things is that Farrell seems to be approaching spring training with an open mind to some key issues.  He hasn’t closed the door on any of the six starters and I like that in one case he is elevating the veterans and in another case he is elevating the rookie.  Terry Francona seemed to do a pretty good job of integrating young players into the every day lineup in his time here and Farrell has picked up that mantle well.  Farrell had it a bit easier perhaps since the Sox were non-competitive for two of those years that a lot of the kids came through but I like the approach.

In the meantime, carry on your winter.  The Sox seem to be where they are going to be when they arrive next month.  It will be interesting to see what comes next.

Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: January 12, 2017 at 05:02 PM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: January 13, 2017 at 07:31 AM (#5382811)
It is worth noting that Farrell also noted that there was no expectation of any delay for Rodriguez at the start of spring training.  I think he is getting a reputation for being injured regularly but I think it is early enough in his career that it probably would behoove us not to get too worked up yet.
Agreed. I'd go a bit further and say the way Rodriguez's injury "history" is one or both of these:

(a) Rodriguez is prone to injury.

(b) The Red Sox are being extra cautious with him about injury because he is young AND talented AND not desperately needed in the rotation. The time spent rehabbing is more a reflection of the team viewing him as valuable enough to warrant a more careful approach.

I think the Sox Therapy bylaws state that a supermajority shall believe the more pessimistic of two options, but at this stage of the offseason I find no harm in believing (b).
   2. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 13, 2017 at 08:35 AM (#5382823)
I suspect the time and energy spent by fans and blogs discussing the lineup is probably far in excess of what is warranted but it’s January 12th, what else are we going to talk about?


So, what IS the ideal line up? Does Betts stat at the top of the order or should he slide down to 3?

Betts - R
Benintendi - L
Pedroia - R
Ramirez - R
Bradley - L
Bogaerts - R
Fat Panda - S
Moreland - L
Swihart - S

Underwhelmed by the production from 3rd and 1st to say the least...

Unless you go with Pedroia at the top, Betts should be leading off. And while Pedroia is a very good hitter, I would caution giving him the extra AB's in the top spot and assuming he is going to miss time at some point, what does that do to the consistency of the lead off spot (or does that not matter)?

Pedroia - R
Benintendi - L
Betts - R
Ramirez - R
Bradley - L
Bogaerts - R
Fat Panda - S - If fatty is not so fat, and better with the bat, I could see him swapping with JBJ, assuming Jackie is not on one of his Ruthian runs
Moreland - L
Swihart - S

ETA:
Would it be a problem to get Betts to learn to switch hit? That would be ideal I think.

   3. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 13, 2017 at 08:42 AM (#5382827)
I think the Sox Therapy bylaws state that a supermajority shall believe the more pessimistic of two options, but at this stage of the offseason I find no harm in believing (b).


I think it's (c).

Someone has to be the sixth starter and with his options (Sox Prospects says he has two left) the Sox can let him get stretched out in Pawtucket

It's the same reason Swihart will start the year in AAA. Only when Sandy Leon flames out will the Sox bring up Blake. Same with E Rod - he needs one of the non-option guys to suck or get injured, which, let's be honest, is about the same chance as Leon sucking...high.
   4. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: January 13, 2017 at 08:45 AM (#5382829)
Pedroia - R
Benintendi - L
Mookie - R
Hanley - R
Bogaerts - R
Sandoval - L
Bradley - L
Moreland - L
Vazquez - R/Leon - S

Ick, that gets thin fast doesn't it? I know Mookie has the power but I like him in the leadoff spot. The combination of power and speed is pretty potent there. Batting him 3rd/4th I think you minimize the impact of his speed a bit.
   5. villageidiom Posted: January 13, 2017 at 08:52 AM (#5382837)
I think it's (c).
If he were the perfect picture of health he'd still be in AAA because he can. I'm talking about how he always seems to be injured. It might not be so much that he's atypically injured as it is that they take extra precautions with him.
   6. villageidiom Posted: January 13, 2017 at 08:59 AM (#5382840)
Betts - R
Benintendi - L
Pedroia - R
Bogaerts - R
Sandoval - S
Hanley - R
Moreland - L
Vazquez - R/Leon - S
Bradley - L

I really like the idea of Pedroia hitting when he has a speedy guy on base, because either we're getting a stolen base or Pedroia's getting fastballs. But I like Benintendi hitting up there, and breaking up the platoon.

I'm higher on Sandoval than most. But I assure you I'm not high.
   7. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: January 13, 2017 at 09:08 AM (#5382845)
The problem with Pedroia is he really has become a double play machine. I think leading off is the way to go for him.
   8. MHS Posted: January 13, 2017 at 09:32 AM (#5382856)
You hit your best players 1,2,4 and 5. That is more important than L/R issues generally. The exception is if 4th and 5th or 6th best hitters are generally close in quality and I don't think that is the case.

Hanley, Mookie, X and Dustin are the best hitters, in probably that order but I don't have projections handy. So they hit 1, 2, 3, 4 in.

Dustin
Mookie
Bradley
Hanley
X
Benintendi (could swap with Bradley I think)
Pablo (could also swap with Bradley if scouting is positive in the spring.
Moreland
Catcher

They won't do that, because teams don't like to win.
   9. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 13, 2017 at 09:56 AM (#5382870)
Betts - R
Pedroia - R
Hanley - R
Bogaerts - R

Anyone know if Farrell has said anything about preferring to break up similar handed bats? Pure hitting talent, and consistency, the top of the line up should probably go like this.

EDIT:
Missed a page refresh. Cokes around.
   10. MHS Posted: January 13, 2017 at 10:02 AM (#5382873)
Betts - R
Pedroia - R
Hanley - R
Bogaerts - R


Hitting Hanley third is a terrible decision. He is too good a hitter to bat with no one and two outs so frequently.

Also #7 is a stong reason to flip Dustin and Mookie.
   11. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 13, 2017 at 10:45 AM (#5382897)
Hitting Hanley third is a terrible decision.


I was more pointing out that the Sox are, talent-wise, a very RH hitting team.
   12. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 13, 2017 at 10:54 AM (#5382903)
Keep in mind Chris Young will probably be playing a good amount in place of Benintendi - and Farrell does seem to just slot in replacement guys in the same order. .329/.410/.589 vs lefties certainly works in the 2 spot.
   13. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: January 13, 2017 at 11:48 AM (#5382953)
Minor contract news - JBJ signs a one year/3.6 million dollar deal avoiding arbitration.
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: January 13, 2017 at 12:11 PM (#5382975)
You guys have mentioned the best and plausible lineups, but I'll throw another one out there for fun that puts Xander in leadoff:

Bogaerts
Pedroia
JBJ
Betts
Ramirez
Benintendi
...and the rest
   15. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: January 17, 2017 at 07:48 PM (#5384791)
What is most concerning is that Moreland is in every lineup. A team like the Red Sox should never have a 1B like Moreland unless it's for late inning, fielding purposes only.

I'm hoping there's a trade for Votto in the wings? This is my ultimate Sox wet dream....
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: January 17, 2017 at 08:26 PM (#5384803)
What is most concerning is that Moreland is in every lineup.
okay here's one to use against lefties:

Bogaerts SS
Pedroia 2B
Benintendi LF
Betts RF
Ramirez 1B
Young DH
JBJ CF
Sandoval 3B
Leon C
   17. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: January 21, 2017 at 09:02 PM (#5387479)
Couple of random thoughts;

1. Pablo Sandoval is apparently planning to play in the WBC. This is one of those things that as a practical matter is probably a net zero, maybe even a benefit because he will be facing live pitching trying to get him out. But the optics to use a politics term are horseshit.

2. Watched a bit of the Winter Weekend today. Benintendi was kind of bundled up but his hands and face looked a bit chunky to me. Just armchair stuff and apparently he HAS put on about 15-20 pounds (through workouts) but his facial chubbiness had me mildly concerned. I'm sure it's nothing though.
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: January 22, 2017 at 01:56 AM (#5387549)
It wouldn't be newsworthy except it's in the stupid month of January, but a former Sox pitcher says he thinks a former Sox player will play again...
   19. covelli chris p Posted: January 22, 2017 at 12:09 PM (#5387650)
maybe even a benefit because he will be facing live pitching trying to get him out.
eh. i think getting an early start facing live pitching is a good thing for him.
   20. Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: January 28, 2017 at 08:56 PM (#5391755)
Three guys in the top 100; Groome at 41, Devers at 17 and Benintendi #1.

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