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   1. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: September 22, 2009 at 12:39 AM (#3328472)
Ellsbury hitting his projections doesn't excite me. The anticipation of a few years ago was that he would be better and there is nothing now to suggest that he will improve.
   2. ekogan Posted: September 22, 2009 at 12:47 AM (#3328478)
there is nothing now to suggest that he will improve

He's 25 years old. That suggests that he will improve.
He is a worse hitter than Johnny Damon was at the same age, and it will probably stay that way.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 22, 2009 at 12:50 AM (#3328481)
Ellsbury hitting his projections doesn't excite me. The anticipation of a few years ago was that he would be better and there is nothing now to suggest that he will improve.

But that was just wish casting based off a hot September/October. There was nothing in his record to indicate that he should do any better than a 750-780 OPS in MLB.

Frankly, you should be thrilled. Assuming his defense bounces back to averagish, a ~100 OPS+ with that kind of speed in CF is a hell of a nice player.
   4. JB H Posted: September 22, 2009 at 01:04 AM (#3328489)
Ellsbury looks average'ish in CF to me. His career UZR data (including LF/RF) suggests he's about average too

Glad to see a new thread!
   5. Hugh Jorgan Posted: September 22, 2009 at 02:01 AM (#3328529)
12.7! runs in 141 games. That's pretty harsh. I don't see many games here in Oz, but from all the guys I talk to who do see the games says he's averagish...which is fine. I'd love to see just a bit more patience and better pitch selection to push that OBP to .370-.380 range, then I'd be pretty excited. At 25, as suggested above, he probably has a little room to improve. I reckon 290/370/440 type of thing is a real possibility in the next few years and that's a solid CF if his fielding hovers around average.

I'm still sceptical of some of the metrics that define defensive prowess, so a grain of salt is to be taken with each one.
   6. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: September 22, 2009 at 02:02 AM (#3328532)
The anticipation of a few years ago was that he would be better

Not by anybody who knew their butt from their elbow. I'm honestly surprised he hit as well as he has this year.

Also, 1-year UZRs are all but worthless, as far as I'm concerned. They don't represent reality; they represent a possible version of reality, and if a young, uninjured player suddenly shows a downward blip in his UZR, I don't take that to mean that he has actually fielded any worse this season. It's like park factor that way; if it goes on for a few years in a row, then there may be something to it. If it happens for one year, who knows what it means.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 22, 2009 at 02:40 AM (#3328572)
Also, 1-year UZRs are all but worthless, as far as I'm concerned. They don't represent reality; they represent a possible version of reality, and if a young, uninjured player suddenly shows a downward blip in his UZR, I don't take that to mean that he has actually fielded any worse this season. It's like park factor that way; if it goes on for a few years in a row, then there may be something to it. If it happens for one year, who knows what it means.

RZR doesn't like him either. Any one have access to +/-?

It could be noise (the balls in his zones are harder to field than average) or he could be having an off year. In an equivalent sample to 1/3 season of PAs, it's not too hard to believe either.
   8. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: September 22, 2009 at 03:03 AM (#3328603)
RZR doesn't like him either. Any one have access to +/-?


+/- at billjamesonline.com has him at -8 runs, broken out as "-11 shallow, +2 medium, and -5 deep" (plays). He's also -2 runs on extra bases taken, ranked #30 in MLB in bases taken per opportunity.

I'm pretty sure "arm" is also the reason you can have a larger magnitude negative UZR than negative UZR/150 (or vice versa) at fangraphs. UZR/150 seems to be just figured from "range" and "errors" per inning, while UZR is range and errors and "arm". FWIW, Ellsbury is also -3.7 runs with the "arm" at fangraphs.

Although that seems to be in implementation, since the glossary at fangraphs doesn't define things that way. According to the glosary, UZR is "Ultimate Zone Rating in Runs Above Average (Arm+DPR+RngR+ErrR)", and UZR/150 is just "UZR Runs Above Average per 150 Defensive Games"
   9. Darren Posted: September 22, 2009 at 10:32 AM (#3328699)
I'm pretty sure arm is already in there. Let's again look at Ellsbury's 2009:

141 games, Rngr -9.1, ErrR 0.1. Even if we go by his innings and divide -9 by 1208, then multiply by 1350 (150 games worth of innings), we get -10.05. Still doesn't jibe with his -11.0.

And Ellsbury's not the only one. Longoria, for example, is +13.4/150 and is +16.4 overall. It seems like the magnitude of every player's UZR is great than their UZR/150.
   10. OCD SS Posted: September 22, 2009 at 11:44 AM (#3328706)
I'm not surprised by Ellsbury's negative UZR. Just by anecdotal observation it seems that he hasn't been diving for balls, and has pulled up short to let a lot things fall in in front of him (it seemed particularly bad in the middle of the season during the Sox's slide). My thought was that he was told to stop diving for those balls, possibly so he didn't hurt his wrist again, and that he couldn't make up for the poor routes and jumps he sometimes gets/takes with raw speed.

I think his offense has always been viewed in a distorted light. The comp that's been thrown around most often is Brett Butler, but he didn't start putting up the offensive numbers we think of with him until his age 28 season when he'd been playing in MLB for 5 years (3 full seasons).
   11. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 22, 2009 at 12:25 PM (#3328722)
The thing that strikes me watching Ellsbury at the games I go to is he doesn't seem to read balls well. It's an easy comp because in '07 Coco was ridiculously good in that area. Ellsbury rarely breaks immediately and takes some circuitous routes. He's too fast and too sure-handed to be a bad outfielder but he's not a great one for sure.

Still, I think he's a perfectly good option. His speed DOES make up for a lot on defense and if he can hit .280+ while stealing 60+ bases at a good rate that's a pretty good player. The "next Sizemore" crap that was tossed around two years ago was always silly.
   12. jscmeagol Posted: September 22, 2009 at 01:09 PM (#3328739)
Could the discrepancy be due to some sort of 'regression to the mean' phenomenon'?
   13. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: September 22, 2009 at 05:33 PM (#3328998)
Jason Bay's got some funky UZR numbers too: -12.7 in 139 games, yet somehow -8.7 UZR/150. Maybe there have been more balls hit to Bay's zone this season than normal and UZR is scaling its numbers to how many balls are typically hit there over 150 games?
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 22, 2009 at 05:48 PM (#3329017)
Jason Bay's got some funky UZR numbers too: -12.7 in 139 games, yet somehow -8.7 UZR/150. Maybe there have been more balls hit to Bay's zone this season than normal and UZR is scaling its numbers to how many balls are typically hit there over 150 games?

Are you sure it's not a "green monster" adjustment, scaling down for the balls that appear in zone but are uncatchable?
   15. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: September 22, 2009 at 05:54 PM (#3329025)
Are you sure it's not a "green monster" adjustment, scaling down for the balls that appear in zone but are uncatchable?

If it is, they weren't doing it last year. In 49 games with the Sox in left field Bay racked up a -8 UZR and a -24 UZR/150, with the math working out just right. I really don't know what's going on with the UZR/150 numbers this year.
   16. AROM Posted: September 22, 2009 at 06:11 PM (#3329047)
The way MGL defines defensive games is this: How many games does it normally take for a fielder to see as many chances as this player has seen? So if you see 10% more chances than an average fielder gets, you would have 165 defensive games even if you only played 150 real games.

As to the plus/minus stuff, can you give me a breakdown on Torii Hunter? I'd guess he's above average on deep flies, but -10 or more on shallow flies. He plays extremely deep and doesn't have the pure speed to catch the shallow bloops. Against Texas Erick Aybar basically converted himself into a center fielder to make one catch. He probably caught it about where Andruw Jones would have positioned himself back when he was still a great defender.
   17. Paxton Crawford Ranch Posted: September 22, 2009 at 06:43 PM (#3329084)
Ah, that makes sense. Bay's been credited with 221 games played based on his 288 putouts, which is way, way more than Sox left fielders usually get. In his last two full seasons Manny had 175 and 182 putouts. So something weird is going on in the Sox outfield this season. Maybe Bay is fielding balls that the center fielder would usually get? If Bay is catching a lot easy balls in left center, that could be leaving Ellsbury with more difficult plays, bringing down is numbers.
   18. Mister High Standards Posted: September 22, 2009 at 07:05 PM (#3329114)
Remember plays not runs...
Hunter: -6 shallow, -5 medium, +16 deep. +5 on plays, +3 on runs... Ranked 15th.

Franklin Gutierrez is somehow +40... -4,+9,+35.
   19. Nasty Nate Posted: September 22, 2009 at 07:10 PM (#3329127)
to my eyes Jacoby is an above average fielder. But maybe i'm dazzled by his occasional amazing catch to really analyze.

Bay is bad out there in left. I didnt notice it last year, but its been ugly this year.
   20. dangnewt Posted: September 23, 2009 at 03:11 AM (#3329520)
I am quite pleased with Jacoby's development. I see a lot of Johnny Damon in him and if you look at their stats by years in the majors rather than age; he is actually ahead of Damon.

Damon had a major leap forward in his 4th full season at age 25 and a great year in his 5th full season at age 26. Ellsbury in his 2nd full season at age 25 is having a comparable year to Damon's third full season at age 24. There is no reason that Ellsbury can't continue to improve over the next 1-3 seasons.

If Ellsbury turns out to be Damon with a little less power but more speed and a better arm; I and the Sox will be very happy and Jacoby will be reasonably wealthy.
   21. Joel W Posted: September 24, 2009 at 04:06 AM (#3330736)
Martinez starting behind the plate tonight for Beckett makes me think Playoff Tito is going to bench Captain Varitek.
   22. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: September 24, 2009 at 04:25 AM (#3330744)
if you look at their stats by years in the majors rather than age; he is actually ahead of Damon.

Yes, but why would you do this?

Martinez starting behind the plate tonight for Beckett makes me think Playoff Tito is going to bench Captain Varitek.

The NESN guys -- I assume they were NESN, it was MLB.tv, and they seemed to talk about how awesome the Sox were a lot -- seemed convinced that a future without Varitek was not possible. Whether they meant the playoffs or next year, I dunno, but I'd be happy to see him playing fairly rarely come October.
   23. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: September 24, 2009 at 04:25 AM (#3330745)
On a side note, something else weird is going on with Fangraphs’ numbers. Despite Ellsbury’s rating of -11.0/150, Fangraphs thinks that has cost his team -12.7 runs in the 141 games he’s played (138 starts). If he’s played less than 150 games, he should have cost them less than 11 runs. It’s happening on other players too.

I think that the "/150" figure is not based on 150 actual games, but the average number of opportunities a player would get in 150 games. If Ellsbury is getting more opportunities per game than average, he could have more than 150 games' worth in 141 actual games.
   24. fret Posted: September 24, 2009 at 06:33 PM (#3331248)
Something is wrong with the defensive games figures for Fangraphs this year only. The ratio of expected outs to defensive games should always be about the same within a position: it's the average number of plays made at that position per game. Look at Albert Pujols at first base, for example. (link) In every year before 2009 his ratio of expected outs to defensive games was just a little over 1. This year it is way less than 1, with the result that he has 261 defensive games.

Every player I have checked this for has the same problem.
   25. The Essex Snead Posted: September 24, 2009 at 06:39 PM (#3331251)
Martinez starting behind the plate tonight for Beckett makes me think Playoff Tito is going to bench Captain Varitek.

I love me some Playoff Tito.
   26. villageidiom Posted: September 24, 2009 at 06:44 PM (#3331253)
The NESN guys -- I assume they were NESN, it was MLB.tv, and they seemed to talk about how awesome the Sox were a lot -- seemed convinced that a future without Varitek was not possible. Whether they meant the playoffs or next year, I dunno, but I'd be happy to see him playing fairly rarely come October.
Reportedly when they resigned Varitek they told him that the transition to a new catcher would happen during this contract. Whether or not the 2010 option is picked up, Varitek's time as the regular catcher is likely over.
   27. JPWF13 Posted: September 24, 2009 at 06:51 PM (#3331262)
if you look at their stats by years in the majors rather than age; he is actually ahead of Damon.

Yes, but why would you do this?


You shouldn't but the MSM does it all the time.
See all the "Ryan Howard fastest to reach 200 HR articles"
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 24, 2009 at 06:52 PM (#3331267)
Mike Lowell is signed for one more season, so my guess is that the Red Sox will keep platooning him with the backup catcher, which would mean we'll need more than Kottaras in that slot. One more season for Varitek, at maybe 1/3 time, seems like a good way for him to go out, and a good way to get reasonable offensive production out of that lineup spot.

The other option would be to sign a 1B or a 3B, put Lowell on the bench, and catch Martinez 125 games. Eh, let's do the offseason when the offseason comes.

I do agree that with all the days off in the playoffs, and the lack of groundball pitchers on the Sox staff, Lowell should be able to play everyday in the playoffs (if we make it). I've been assuming that'd be how things would work, and it's good to see Martinez catching Beckett, yeah.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: September 24, 2009 at 06:55 PM (#3331272)
I love me some Playoff Tito.


unlike his alter ego, he is willing to use Papelbon in a tie game and also actually pinch-hit for someone.
   30. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 24, 2009 at 07:03 PM (#3331288)
Are we getting Playoff Tito this year? Last year Playoff Tito didn't unveil the usual aggression (Game Two of the ALCS the most glaring example) and I thought really cost the Sox a few times. I've liked what I've seen the past couple of weeks though, he's operated in a more bloodless manner that is pretty encouraging.
   31. fret Posted: September 24, 2009 at 07:09 PM (#3331296)
Re #17:

Red Sox LF (everyone combined)
2005 -- 304 expected outs
2006 -- 330 expected outs
2007 -- 322 expected outs
2008 -- 328 expected outs
2009 -- 327 expected outs (prorates to 351)

So UZR is seeing more total chances for Red Sox LF this year. Why that is I have no idea. Maybe there have indeed been more balls hit to left.
   32. dangnewt Posted: September 25, 2009 at 04:25 PM (#3332258)
Why would I look at years in majors instead of just age?

Because there may be some useful information.
Damon and Ellsbury are only two years apart in the start of their careers. Damon was on the young side at 21 and I don't get the sense that Ellsbury was particularly old at 23 to break in.

The thing that caught my eye was that they both had a phenominal initial half-season, followed by a decline in their first full season, followed by a much better second season. It is also interesting to see if Ellsbury is catching up on an age-basis.
   33. villageidiom Posted: September 25, 2009 at 05:04 PM (#3332322)
So UZR is seeing more total chances for Red Sox LF this year. Why that is I have no idea.
Lack of a SS?
   34. Darren Posted: September 27, 2009 at 04:48 PM (#3333882)
How about that Ellsbury defense? Blech. -12 seems generous after yesterday.
   35. Joel W Posted: September 30, 2009 at 04:57 AM (#3336251)
Not exactly how I wanted them to clinch, but...playoffs.
   36. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 30, 2009 at 05:05 AM (#3336254)
YEAH!!! I'm not picky, I'll take this any day.
   37. Textbook Editor Posted: September 30, 2009 at 05:19 AM (#3336260)
Start the postseason roster thread!
   38. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: September 30, 2009 at 08:40 AM (#3336290)
Yeah - bring it!
   39. OCD SS Posted: September 30, 2009 at 11:16 AM (#3336300)
Not exactly how I wanted them to clinch, but...playoffs.


It actually is how I want to see them do it. I did not want to see a huge celebration on the field after the way they've coasted in to the end of the season. Granted coming back last night from 8-2 would've mitigated that feeling a bit, but overall it really feels like they're limping into Anaheim at this point.
   40. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 30, 2009 at 12:37 PM (#3336324)
Prelim...

Starters: Martinez, Youkilis, Pedroia, Gonzalez, Lowell, Bay, Ellsbury, Drew, Ortiz
Bench: Varitek, Kotchman, Lowrie, Baldelli, Gathright

Rotation: Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, Matsuzaka
Bullpen: Papelbon, Okajima, Bard, Wagner, Ramirez, Saito, Wakefield

I think going into a playoff series without a long man is a bad idea. They need someone who can eat five innings if Buc or DiceK explodes. I definitely prefer Wakefield in that job to Bowden or Byrd or Tazawa. And with Martinez catching, we don't have to worry that our primary catcher will be flummoxed by a pitcher who's been on the staff all year.

-I took Saito and Ramirez over Delcarmen. I really love Manny D, but something pretty clearly seems to be wrong with him of late.
-I took Gathright as the 25th man, seems more likely the Sox will need a first pinch-runner than that they'll need a third pinch-hitter
-I took Varitek over Kottaras. Kottaras has three plate appearances in September.
   41. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: September 30, 2009 at 12:37 PM (#3336327)
It actually is how I want to see them do it. I did not want to see a huge celebration on the field after the way they've coasted in to the end of the season. Granted coming back last night from 8-2 would've mitigated that feeling a bit, but overall it really feels like they're limping into Anaheim at this point.

They celebrated in the clubhouse anyway, which bugs me a bit, as irrational as that reaction is.
   42. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 30, 2009 at 12:45 PM (#3336334)
On playoff rosters with no long relief: a reminder.

The Red Sox went with no long man in 2007, so they very well could do it again. I don't think it's a good idea.
   43. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 30, 2009 at 12:46 PM (#3336336)
MCoA - Agree with everything except Wakefield. He just can't be counted on to be physically ready at this point. I'd like to go with Bowden in that role. I agree that a long man probably makes more sense than Delcarmen though I'd hate a scenario like last year's ALCS Game Two where you are going to Bowden in the 12th because he's all that's left.
   44. dangnewt Posted: September 30, 2009 at 08:36 PM (#3336968)
MCoA - that would work for me. I like Gathright as well as 25th man. With Drew as a starter and Baldelli as a backup; you definitely need another OF (and Youk doesn't count). I prefer a semi-healthy Wake over the Bowden-Byrd-Tazawa-Delcarmen.
   45. Darren Posted: October 05, 2009 at 03:34 AM (#3340303)
70 steals--making him about an average ballplayer. ???

Crazy UZR!
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 08, 2009 at 02:39 PM (#3344896)
Fun Ellsbury fact: 19th in the AL in VORP. Ahead of Torii Hunter and Johnny Damon.
   47. Ron Johnson Posted: October 08, 2009 at 02:43 PM (#3344905)
He's 25 years old. That suggests that he will improve.


Most 25 year olds don't improve. They are pretty likely to have their best year at some point in the future but that's not really the same thing.

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