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Monday, May 02, 2016

Three Questions: May 2016

Three Questions: May 2016

1. Is it time to cut Buchholz loose?

2. Who are the 2016 All-Stars among position players on this team?

3. Which is more likely this season: the Red Sox remain in first place, or the Yankees remain in last place?

1. Is it time to cut Buchholz loose?

Selling low isn’t a great thing. It’s quite a bad thing, in fact. But regarding Buchholz I’ll posit that he isn’t at his low. I think right now, with him healthy but unproductive, and coming off a 2015 in which he did his traditional good-if-healthy-but-that’s-a-big-if routine, his April might look like a run of bad luck. If he maintains this “luck”, then his value will sink. Then his 2016 will start looking like his 2014, and people will see the 2015 numbers as the lucky ones. And of course if he gets injured his value will plummet.

But here’s the thing.

In 2015 he started with a 5.76 ERA through April. He went 2.25 the rest of the way (mid-July).

In 2014 he started with a 6.66 ERA through April. He went 5.10 the rest of the way, with a 1-month break in the middle.

In 2013 he started with a 1.19 ERA through April. He went 2.04 the rest of the way, with a 3-month break in the middle.

In 2012 he started with a 8.69 ERA through April. He went 3.82 the rest of the way.

In 2011 he started with a 5.33 ERA through April. He went 2.59 the rest of the way (mid-June).

In 2010 he started with a 2.19 ERA through April. He went 2.36 the rest of the way.

Whether Buchholz has been good or bad or awful in April, he’s been pretty good the rest of the season, when healthy. He has missed at least a month in 4 of the last 5 seasons. (The lone exception, 2012, he missed 3 weeks.)

So let’s say, hypothetically, he bounces back to quality pitching in May and the only question remaining is if he’ll be healthy. Is it time to cut him loose, while he’s healthy now?

My short answer: no. But if you’re going to cut him loose, this month is the time to do it.


2. Who are the 2016 All-Stars among position players on this team?

Way too early, but if things were being decided today…

Ortiz, definitely. Even just on narrative he’d be the starter, but performance is earning it, too.

JBJ has a decent shot as an alternate. Trout is the starter. Kiermaier probably named the primary reserve.

Bogaerts… OK, I amend my second question to be this: Have you noticed Xander Bogaerts? Per Fangraphs, there are four SS in the AL with positive oRAR:

1.0 Semien
2.7 Lindor
2.8 Correa
5.4 Bogaerts

Throw in some good defense on top of that, and he’s at 1.2 WAR for the month of April. That’s good for a tie for 6th in the AL, just behind Mike Trout (1.3).

We’re all excited about JBJ, and Pedroia’s hot again, and everyone likes Mookie, and Hanley is doing OK at 1B, and Shaw is refreshing at 3B. It feels, though, that Bogaerts just quietly had an excellent month. There are good stories around every corner with this team, but Bogaerts just had an All-Star-worthy month and somehow seemed like he was just doing his job.


3. Which is more likely this season: the Red Sox remain in first place, or the Yankees remain in last place?

I went to church Sunday morning. There’s a Yankees-fan family that sat behind us. They’re good friends, but the mother looooooves to taunt Red Sox fans. She sat down and said, “Go ahead, get it out of your system.” I looked at her husband and said, “I see you’re wearing your Yankees pullover today. I didn’t realize this was a memorial Mass.”

That’s the best line I’ll have all year, and like Jose in the thread this morning, I had to say it while I could. But it’s not going to last. I suspect it’s much more likely that Boston gets knocked out of first than NY gets knocked out of last, but that’s because I see one of the other 3 teams going on a hot streak being more likely than one of those same teams collapsing. I also suspect Boston is more likely to falter than NY is likely to improve.

villageidiom Posted: May 02, 2016 at 12:50 PM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:35 PM (#5210161)
1. For all the reasons you bring up I wouldn't cut Buchholz loose yet. Remind me of this around 9:30 on Wednesday when it's 5-1 in the 3rd inning. There also aren't really any alternatives at the moment. I won't be shocked if he hits the DL when EdRod comes back but that's a couple of weeks away (two more rehab starts minimum).

2. Ortiz is a gimme, Bogaerts deserves it, if any outfielder goes it's going to be Mookie. My sense is he is extremely well regarded around the league and he is the kind of dynamic player people want to see in action. Pedroia is the other guy with a decent shot. He's off to a great start, he's a name and second base is kind of a lot of unknown guys. Altuve is probably the starter but I won't be surprised to see Pedroia in there.

3. I think the Sox staying in first place is more likely. That's not because I think that highly of the Sox but more because I think the Yankees are a lot better than this. The rotation is better than it's been and so is the offense. Eventually guys like Ellsbury, Headley and A-Rod will improve. Anecdotally I think old players tend to be slower starters.
   2. covelli chris p Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:44 PM (#5210172)
re all stars. ...

by bref war, shaw, bogaerts, pedroia, ortiz, porcello, and wright are all at 1.0 or above. shaw has to keep it going to get hte nod, and wright is probably a long shot, but i could see the other 4 getting in. and if mookie heats up, everybody loves mookie.
   3. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:48 PM (#5210179)
Pedroia is the other guy with a decent shot. He's off to a great start, he's a name and second base is kind of a lot of unknown guys. Altuve is probably the starter but I won't be surprised to see Pedroia in there.


Lawrie and Cano will make it tough for him as well.

3. I'm with vi. I think the Yankees stay in last. The Sox could stay in first, but they're in a race with three other teams that don't look a lot different than them.
   4. Nasty Nate Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:53 PM (#5210186)
4th question: who wears a Yankees pullover in church?
   5. SY Ruined School Lunches! Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:53 PM (#5210187)
Clay is very worrisome. Usually his bad streaks are injury related or he is underperforming his peripherals. Right now he is just bad. Between his tendency for streakiness and cheap option, the team might let him pitch badly for a long time before they give up. Thats the only thing that scares me right now, though. They have a couple dead spots in the lineup that will hurt them eventually, but overall this is a pretty good team that can fix it's holes as the season progresses.
   6. covelli chris p Posted: May 02, 2016 at 01:55 PM (#5210190)
Clay is very worrisome. Usually his bad streaks are injury related or he is underperforming his peripherals.
not really. he's been "just bad" for long stretches before.

i've worn this beat out before, but his issue is that he's never ironed out his mechanics from the stretch. if he's good enough that he doesn't have many baserunners, he can be really good for long stretches. if his falls to the point where he has to work from the stretch a lot, it all goes to ####.
   7. villageidiom Posted: May 02, 2016 at 02:49 PM (#5210257)
4th question: who wears a Yankees pullover in church?
Pray for him.

i've worn this beat out before, but his issue is that he's never ironed out his mechanics from the stretch. if he's good enough that he doesn't have many baserunners, he can be really good for long stretches. if his falls to the point where he has to work from the stretch a lot, it all goes to ####.
He's been in MLB for long enough now that we should assume he will never improve that part of his game. But I think he's still (on the whole) better than their other options.
   8. covelli chris p Posted: May 02, 2016 at 04:31 PM (#5210405)
He's been in MLB for long enough now that we should assume he will never improve that part of his game.
agreed
But I think he's still (on the whole) better than their other options.
he might be. but he's not a guy i want to be counting on for a good performance in october.
   9. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 02, 2016 at 07:51 PM (#5210555)
We are a looooooong way from worrying about October. I would love to have that problem.
   10. covelli chris p Posted: May 02, 2016 at 08:37 PM (#5210577)
fair enough. just saying that if i'm running the team, he's not in my long term plans.
   11. Phil Coorey. Posted: May 03, 2016 at 02:39 AM (#5210776)
Three Questions: May 2016

1. Think he has a few more starts to turn it around with E Rod back in about 3 starts as per Pedro last week . But honestly , its silly now how bad he's become . His FIP is pretty freaking bad . At least Porcello is half decent though . I'm convinced he is hiding a serious injury .

2. I can see Xander and Papi . Porcello and Wright if they keep it up , Koji as well

3. Not commenting for fear of jinxing both outcomes ....


Good to be back here on Therapy , I really need to smash out some chatter with everyone on games . I get lazy and basically text some mates and tweet .

Hope everyone is well
   12. villageidiom Posted: May 03, 2016 at 06:43 AM (#5210788)
Good to have you back, Phil!

If there's anything I accomplish in Sox Therapy it will probably be a jinx or two. Jose can stick to ruining careers while I focus on ruining entire teams.
   13. Mudpout Posted: May 03, 2016 at 07:52 AM (#5210799)
With Clay, what are the chances that Owens will be better? And how much better? Owens walked 10 in 19 innings in Pawtucket, and so far 7 in 9.1 in Boston. The results were nice in his last start, but when a guy gets more DPs than strikeouts, it's hard to believe it's sustainable. I think Owens is better than the peripherals of his first two starts, but if his ceiling for this year is '12-'13 Doubront, I don't think that's worth throwing Clay over the side for just yet, especially when Owens has options.

That said, before E-Rod gets back Owens will get a couple more starts, Clay will get a couple more starts, and Johnson will get closer to being stretched out and possibly ready for a callup. So I don't think we give up on Clay yet, not with the uncertain nature of the alternatives.
   14. Dale Sams Posted: May 03, 2016 at 08:02 AM (#5210801)
I'd be more worried about that Yankee team sucking. I haven't even been able to detect any Pinstripe Magic (patent pending) in that bunch.
   15. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 03, 2016 at 08:34 AM (#5210811)
I agree with Mudpout, I don't see where we'd get much improvement over Buc, so I'd keep giving him chances to get back on track.

And CFBASS says Ortiz, Bogaerts, Mookie, Pedroia, Shaw, Wright, and JBJ will all be starters.
   16. villageidiom Posted: May 03, 2016 at 09:19 AM (#5210832)
And CFBASS says Ortiz, Bogaerts, Mookie, Pedroia, Shaw, Wright, and JBJ will all be starters.
CFBASS would find a way to name both Wright and Porcello as starters.
   17. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 03, 2016 at 09:28 AM (#5210840)
The renoobulation keeps outputting "I will never love again!" when I ask about Porcello.
   18. Darren Posted: May 03, 2016 at 10:38 PM (#5211830)
Great to see both you guys running this blog. Thanks and keep it up!
   19. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: May 04, 2016 at 12:02 AM (#5211904)
1. I'm still on the "selling low is a bad idea" side with Buchholz. I personally find him kind of icky, and he's a maddeningly inconsistent player, but I don't think you can ditch a guy who routinely pitches poorly in April after yet another poor April.

2. Ortiz is a freebie. I still think Betts is the best player on the team, though it's been a bit of a rough patch. I wouldn't be shocked to see Price put it together enough to get picked for the pitching staff.

3. The Yankees are pretty bad, and I still think the Jays are the best team in the division. I'd say the Yankees finishing last is more likely, though either and/or both could happen.
   20. Darren Posted: May 04, 2016 at 02:21 PM (#5212506)
Did #18 sound sarcastic? I hope not. It was meant sincerely.
   21. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 04, 2016 at 02:40 PM (#5212554)
I took it as sincere. When you are as fabulous as vi and I how could it be anything else? :-)
   22. villageidiom Posted: May 04, 2016 at 04:10 PM (#5212698)
I read it as sincere, and awarded 3 Therapoints to you. But sarcasm could've earned you 5 Therapoints. [/sadtrombone]

I don't know how much running I'll do. I've offered my services to help Jose, and in all honesty this entire thread was generated in about a half hour just to see if I could actually post something. It's that level of carefully-crafted analysis you can expect to see from me.

But if it means we have Sox Therapy running again, I'll be glad to do what I can. By now you know what to expect from me. I have a Posnanskian tendency to look for the good in people, except without the writing skill. I do my best to remain calm in pants-pissing moments. I perpetuate running gags no matter how tiresome, which means Therapoints - which I just made up - could become A Thing. And I will ramble incessantly about something tangential before making my point. You've been warned.
   23. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 04, 2016 at 04:13 PM (#5212707)
Therapoints are absolutely becoming a thing if I have anything to do with it.
   24. villageidiom Posted: May 04, 2016 at 04:22 PM (#5212721)
2. Ortiz is a freebie. I still think Betts is the best player on the team, though it's been a bit of a rough patch. I wouldn't be shocked to see Price put it together enough to get picked for the pitching staff.
Betts is awesome. But he also plays a position where Bautista will win the fan vote while Springer and Trumbo, and possibly Nelson Cruz, will get significant consideration as alternates, at least at this point in the season. And it's that last phrase that's the key. If we were deciding All-Star rosters today, Mookie is unlikely to be on the team, and there's no way Price makes it.
   25. villageidiom Posted: May 04, 2016 at 04:24 PM (#5212726)
Therapoints are absolutely becoming a thing if I have anything to do with it.
I award this statement one (1) Therapoint. That's 4 for enthusiasm, and -3 for sucking up. Can't reward that kind of behavior.
   26. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: May 04, 2016 at 07:34 PM (#5212877)
I do my best to remain calm in pants-pissing moments.


You're going to lose all your Therapoints the first time you fail to react properly to a five game losing streak.
   27. villageidiom Posted: May 04, 2016 at 09:58 PM (#5212990)
You're going to lose all your Therapoints the first time you fail to react properly to a five game losing streak.
I'm a Sox Therapist. I need to remain rational when everyone else is going nuts.

May: Price still hasn't figured things out. Tell me, how does that make you feel?

June: They've lost their 7-game lead in one week. Why do you think yelling so much will help?

July: They acquired Carl Crawford again, this time for Mookie and JBJ, and threw in Brian Johnson to get the deal done. You seem troubled. Why do you suppose that is?

August: They've decided to convert Hanley Ramirez into middle relief. Do you fear change?

September: Ortiz has acted like a child the last month of his career. You seem angry. What is it about your own childhood that angers you?
   28. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: May 04, 2016 at 11:23 PM (#5213060)
Betts is awesome. But he also plays a position where Bautista will win the fan vote while Springer and Trumbo, and possibly Nelson Cruz


Do fans vote for LF, RF, CF, or just outfielders?
   29. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 05, 2016 at 09:41 AM (#5213167)
Outfielders as a group...you can vote now!

So last night about 8:45 I was ready to shoot Clay Buchholz into the sun. Man did he settle in. Hopefully he has taken a turn because that was one hell of a performance.
   30. villageidiom Posted: May 05, 2016 at 10:11 AM (#5213196)
Do fans vote for LF, RF, CF, or just outfielders?
Outfielders, but I think there is more adherence to OF role when the backups are named.
   31. MHS Posted: May 05, 2016 at 10:36 AM (#5213229)
This is a fun team to route for. The mix of veterans and youth is awesome. So nice than Panda is done for the year. Completely, unlikable. Hopefully, the back of the rotation keeps it up and the front turns it around. Could be a nice year.
   32. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: May 05, 2016 at 12:11 PM (#5213371)
I'm auditioning for Sports Jeopardy in Boston next month. Can I get any Therapoints for that?
   33. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 05, 2016 at 01:26 PM (#5213473)
Yes. Unfortunately getting on the show is the Daily Double, if you don't make it you lose the points you've earned.
   34. covelli chris p Posted: May 05, 2016 at 01:55 PM (#5213515)
So last night about 8:45 I was ready to shoot Clay Buchholz into the sun. Man did he settle in. Hopefully he has taken a turn because that was one hell of a performance.
this is normal for buchholz. when he's healthy, he can really settle into the groove if he can limit baserunners. when he's in a groove and can pitch from the windup, he's as good a pitcher as there is in baseball.
   35. Dan Posted: May 05, 2016 at 02:36 PM (#5213567)
I'm not even sure it's a "pitching from the stretch" mechanics issue honestly. It seems like an unhealthy preoccupation with baserunners to the point of distraction. It almost reminds me of Lester's yips in throwing to first base. We've all seen the ridiculous throws to first base from Clay. I really think it's a psychological thing where he can't focus when there are men on base, which causes the mechanical issues.
   36. covelli chris p Posted: May 05, 2016 at 02:43 PM (#5213581)
I'm not even sure it's a "pitching from the stretch" mechanics issue honestly. It seems like an unhealthy preoccupation with baserunners to the point of distraction.
sure. could be anything. i'm just saying it seems to be a pattern that when he allows a few baserunners, things tend to spiral out of control, and he loses his groove. i think mechanics are part of it though. he's a bit of a gangly freak, but when he's on, he can really command his pitches. last night he had a cut fastball that barely caught the lower inside corner for a called third strike that left lyons speechless, and he had a pair of curveballs that he bounced for swinging strikes that were identical. the way he commands all his pitches when he's on is freakish. i can see losing his mechanics even a little would destroy that super elite command that he relies on.
   37. covelli chris p Posted: May 05, 2016 at 02:54 PM (#5213594)
he's so good when he's on, though. it's pretty amazing to watch.
   38. villageidiom Posted: May 06, 2016 at 08:35 AM (#5214257)
So last night about 8:45 I was ready to shoot Clay Buchholz into the sun.
FWIW, when I wrote question 1 my first impulse was to say YES. I was going to gloss over the "obvious" that he should be cut loose, and focus mostly on the timing of doing it. But that's when I saw the pattern of the cold start to each season. April can't be undone, and the rest of the way he's either better than the alternatives or injured in which case the alternatives* are pitching anyway. Trading him would dispose of the upside.

I think I had overlooked that pattern each year because by the time he started doing well he'd get injured, and I would focus my frustration on that instead.

* The Sox Therapy house band will now be renamed Clay And The Alternatives.
   39. villageidiom Posted: May 27, 2016 at 08:19 AM (#5230324)
Well, if you were going to trade Clay Buchholz... a month ago would have been a good time to do it from a value-in-return perspective. But looking back it seems like they didn't have another pitcher quite ready. Kelly needed to rehab; Rodriguez needed to rehab; Elias wasn't yet kicking AAA butt. Kelly is back and did well in his first start; Rodriguez seems ready; and Elias is pitching better than we should expect Clay will pitch.

From some of his early work last night it seemed like Buchholz had good movement and location for his pitches. But when he had a runner on, BOOM! he gave them something to hit.

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