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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Red Sox and the Other, Lesser Projection Systems

Dan posted the Red Sox ZiPS numbers the same day my Baseball Prospectus arrived in the mail, so I thought it might be interesting to compare three other, lesser projection systems for what they think of the 2011 Red Sox.  I’ve listed the projections in three columns, in alphabetical order - that is, first CAIRO, then PECOTA, then ZiPS.  For hitters I’ve listed the three slash lines, for pitchers IP and ERA.

247/320/403, 237/309/396, 230/308/382 – Saltalamacchia
305/399/555, 283/379/513, ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 23, 2011 at 01:07 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Sunday, February 20, 2011

CFBPS 2011

Just in time for the first days of full-on spring training, I have finished the yearly renoobulation of the world’s most advanced projection system that is deadly accurate and has other marketable characteristics as well, the Crazy FanBoy Projection System.  This year the CFBPS is better than ever – along with all the usual polishing of grommets and tuning of dials, it has a new steam-powered ooga-chooga, the ability to see through both space and time, and I fitted lasers to the motherboard ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 20, 2011 at 10:13 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Monday, February 14, 2011

Pitchers and Catchers and Programming Notes

Here’s a spring training video to get everyone excited:

NESN: Cool Ted Williams clips, spring training 1984.

So, I have a couple of goals for Sox Therapy in 2011.  I don’t have any delusions about updating this every day – that would get tremendously boring for all of us.  But I think that it will be possible to upgrade the blog from occasionally and sporadically updated to occasionally and regularly updated.  Something like once a week, sometimes twice a week, seems like a reasonable ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 14, 2011 at 12:52 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Watching Spring Training… News

Most of the fun of spring training is just that there’s finally baseball on my teevee again.  Beyond that, though, it becomes very easy to watch a few innings of a game, decide that the backup first baseman is pretty so hard it hurts to watch, and perhaps overreact a little.  We should be humble about what we can determine from watching spring, and we shouldn’t publish first drafts, is what I’m saying.

While it’s difficult to develop intelligent baseball analyses from watching a spring ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 12, 2011 at 03:33 PM | 45 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Win the Offseason

I was working on a post about the Red Sox recent minor league signings – they added Alfredo Aceves as the 7th starter and Dennys Reyes as the backup loogy – but I realized pretty quickly it was a boring post.  Three paragraphs all to make the point, “Theo sure is smart for signing good players and also pitching depth is good.”  Really, most of our offseason talk has converged on that point.  The Red Sox did just about everything right.  Even better, the Red Sox did just about everything ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 10, 2011 at 03:00 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sox 2011 payroll = Sox 2010 payroll.  Fact.

Theo has again successfully avoided going to arbitration, and all the projected 2011 Red Sox players who will make significantly more than the MLB minimum have now been signed.  The Sox went big this offseason, going after the top free agent position player and the top position player on the trade market while injecting over $10M into the bullpen.  What I think is interesting, given this set of events, is that the Red Sox have barely increased payroll at all from their 2010 level.

The Red Sox ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 19, 2011 at 02:22 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Monday, January 17, 2011

Epstein Interview Contains Actual Baseball Content

Once every presidential administration or so, Theo Epstein gets liquored up before a press conference and proceeds to actually answer the questions he’s asked.  At the Hot Stove Cool Music benefit on Friday, reporters cajoled Epstein into telling them what the team plans to do at both shortstop and catcher.  I like the answers quite a lot.  These quotes are from Evan Dreilich’s article at redsox.com

On shortstop:

“The players will ... dictate how they’re best utilized,” Epstein said. ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 17, 2011 at 01:36 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Tale of Two Suckings

John Lackey and Josh Beckett seemed to have two things in common last year – the Red Sox paid them lots and lots of money, and they sucked.  I’m going to argue that these were the only things they had in common, and in fact John Lackey didn’t really suck all that much.

First, Lackey gave the Sox 215 innings of league average pitching, which has value.  (Not nineteen million dollars of value, but value.)  Second, while Lackey’s strikeout and walk rates both got worse, neither was ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 13, 2011 at 02:52 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Saturday, January 01, 2011

24 Down, One to Go

The Globe is reporting that the Red Sox have agreed to terms with Hideki Okajima on a one-year major league contract.  The fills the bullpen, leaving only the 25th man (Papi’s RHB caddy) to go.  I had some speculation earlier in the offseason about the bullpen, and my presumption was that the club would focus on acquiring a top LH reliever to get big outs in the 7th and 8th.  This made sense, I thought, given that Scott Downs, Brian Fuentes, and Frank Francisco were all available as free ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 01, 2011 at 02:22 PM | 65 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Friday, December 24, 2010

The Catching Situation

I got into several distinct arguments yesterday about the Red Sox catchers.  Lots of people seem to think they suck, and I think that they don’t suck.  Here’s why I think that.

First, I think our baselines should be statistical projections and league averages.  A league average AL catcher last year hit for a 245/312/374 line.  In 2009 it was 254/316/408, and it was 258/322/393.  An OPS somewhat above 700 is perfectly average for a catcher.  Given that, the projections on Jason Varitek and ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 24, 2010 at 01:33 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2011 Lineup

This post was going to be shortish, just a proposed lineup and a couple notes, but I’m having a hell of a time figuring out what the lineup ought to be.  So instead this is going to be me working through the question, and it’s going to take a while.

Lineups don’t matter too much, but the Tango/Dolphin/MGL research suggests there is a win or so per season to be gleaned here.  Beyond their maxims of maximization – bat your best hitters 2nd and 4th, OBP at leadoff, weaker OBP can hit 3rd ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 15, 2010 at 01:23 PM | 62 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Thursday, December 09, 2010

In Which I Learn Not to Listen to Theo’s Public Statements

Carl Crawford is a Boston Red Sox for the low, low price of 7 years, ~140M.  Boston acquired the two best players available this offseason – one of whom we didn’t even know was available coming into the offseason.  They have agreed, officially or under the table, to give these players very, very large contracts.  Obviously all that stuff in the previous post about the Red Sox cutting payroll can be happily disregarded.

Likewise, all that bellyaching about whether the team projects to be ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 09, 2010 at 12:53 PM | 72 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Apres Gonzalez, Le, uh, Payroll

My analysis of the Red Sox offseason plans, so far, has been based on an assumption that the 2010 payroll was not an outlier.  I figured if they ran up to $170M last year, they would stay in roughly that range, not drop most of the way back down to the $130-140M range they were in during the previous three seasons.  Maybe I was wrong.  I have the Red Sox payroll for 2011 projected at $136M, including arbitration raises for Ellsbury and Papelbon.  Theo, during the Gonzalez press conference, said ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 07, 2010 at 02:28 PM | 59 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Saturday, December 04, 2010

What’s an Adrian Gonzalez Worth?

The Red Sox have agreed to trade some prospects for Adrian Gonzalez.  The deal certainly could still fall apart – one should never bet against Theo approaching the brink and then pulling back – but I nonetheless feel like taunting the gods of the jinx and laying out my thoughts on the (pending) deal.  I think this is pretty great news.  First, Gonzalez is signed to an incredibly cheap contract - $5.5M for 2011.  The Sox will get something in the range of a 5 WAR player for $5.5M.  That’s ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 04, 2010 at 02:47 PM | 105 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Case for Adrian Beltre

It’s difficult to say, with the sort of forcefulness a blog post requires, what the Red Sox absolutely ought to do this offseason.  Their payroll may fall anywhere between $160M and $185M, and the best use of resources is heavily dependent on how many resources exist.  Their outfield situation might already be settled, if Cameron and Ellsbury look fully recovered and the team remains confident in their skills, or they might be in need of at least one new outfielder. 

With those caveats, ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 24, 2010 at 02:46 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Now What?

[The reports that the Tigers have signed Victor Martinez look pretty secure right now.  If they fall through, this post will look silly.  That will not be the first time one of my posts ends up looking silly.]

I have figured for a while that the Red Sox offseason plan had to include re-signing Victor Martinez.  He’s an excellent hitter for a catcher, and the free agent market after him is utterly barren.  Jarrod Saltalamacchia is nice as a lottery ticket, not so much as a meal ticket.  Ryan ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 23, 2010 at 04:29 PM | 103 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jonathan Papelbon: Because We’ve Hardly Discussed Him Enough This Year

One of the big decisions facing the Red Sox, this offseason, is what to do with Jonathan Papelbon.  After a disappointing 2010 season, Papelbon is up for arbitration again.  Given the history of closers going to arb, he should be able to command in the range of $12M for his services.  The question, then, is whether he’s the best person to get that money.

I was skeptical that Papelbon would project to be worth the money when I started out, and I remain skeptical.  I compared Papelbon to three ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 17, 2010 at 12:52 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Minor League Thread: BA’s League Top 20s

The Red Sox minor league season was, overall, a big disappointment.  Very few prospects had seasons that will move them significantly up any rankings lists.  However, having a poor or uninspiring season doesn’t mean you’re no longer a prospect.  It’s certainly possible to show development in skills and tools without putting up the sort of numbers that excite a fan with an internet connection and the keys to rarely-updated blog.  End-of-season and mid-season prospect lists can be useful ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 07, 2010 at 06:40 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Sunday, October 03, 2010

a) Carl Crawford, b) Jayson Werth, c) Other

I’m still assembling my thoughts on what the Red Sox should do this offseason, and two of the key questions are whether the Sox should go after one of the big free agent outfielders, and if so, which one.  Some of the variables in this question are unanswerable or practically so – for example, just how healthy are Ellsbury and Cameron going to be?  And how much will other teams be willing to pay for Werth or Crawford?  The question of which of them is better, though, is one we can get a ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 03, 2010 at 03:40 PM | 126 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Red Sox Offseason Thread, Early Edition

The Red Sox season is not mathematically over, but it’s been emotionally over for me for a while, and the tenor of the other thread suggests my fatalism has spread.  I enjoyed rooting for this club quite a bit, with all the quadruple-A stars getting their shots and Francona managing like he’s never managed before, but very little of the good stuff from 2010 is likely to help in 2011.  Billy Hall will find a better job elsewhere and Clay Buchholz will come back to earth.  Adrian Beltre is ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 22, 2010 at 02:56 PM | 110 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Monday, September 20, 2010

Really?  You haven’t given up yet?

Me, I’ve given up.  The Sox are playing without their two best players, and their $30M 3-4 starters still suck.  But other folks seem to be clinging onto those last strands of hope, angling gnarled knuckles to grasp at a future that still sort of maybe could happen, an early October week in which all values are transvaluated and the Red Sox somehow end up in a one-game playoff.

Obviously it is a silly idea.  Here’s your thread, silly people.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 20, 2010 at 03:09 PM | 122 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Friday, August 27, 2010

Go Big, or Go Home

The BPro playoff odds numbers have been steadily counting down over the last two weeks.  It’s somewhere between one in twelve and one in six by now, depending on the inputs.  The Sox have played great baseball, especially with their diminished lineup - the problem is the Rays and Yankees have been just as good.  Keeping pace is a moral victory, but moral victories are stupid and suck. 

The last chance the Sox have at a non-moral victory is to throw a sweep on one of the Yankees or Rays in a ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 27, 2010 at 03:54 PM | 117 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Monday, August 16, 2010

Shortstop Logjam

Dustin Pedroia returns on Tuesday, and surely will play just about every game at 2B from here to the end of the season.  That’s good.  It creates a bit of a problem at shortstop, though.  Jed Lowrie has been brilliant filling in for Pedroia.  He’s played a solid but unspectacular second base while hitting 308/429/538.  My favorite little slice of Lowrie’s stats is that he has 11 walks, 8 extra base hits, and 7 strikeouts.  Lowrie’s cut his strikeout rate in half since he last played ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 16, 2010 at 02:28 PM | 81 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Friday, August 06, 2010

A Long Weekend in the Bronx

Hey, just because I’m de-cathecting from the season doesn’t mean I can’t obsess about beating the Yankees.  I love beating the Yankees,* and this weekend does offer a reasonable chance of seeing the pinstriped proto-fascists in defeat.  The problem with all this is that the Yankees are better than the Red Sox.  Some theoretical Red Sox with normal injury luck would be neck and neck with the Yankees and Rays, right in the thick of the greatest pennant race in the Selig era, but we’re just ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 06, 2010 at 02:11 PM | 181 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

I Give Up

Kevin Youkilis has been placed on the DL.  Kevin Youkilis has gone on the DL with an injury so obscure that the team doctors don’t have a treatment plan yet.  Kevin Youkilis has been placed on the DL with an injury to the thumb of his top hand, and we all know that hand injuries to hitters commonly heal easily and quickly.

In conclusion, go Rays.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 03, 2010 at 10:52 PM | 211 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Monday, August 02, 2010

Coulda Shoulda Woulda: Tradez and Such-like

The Red Sox are, of course, not dead yet.  A 5-1 stretch this last week has them still within shouting distance of the Rays and Yankees.  BP’s numbers have the Sox at 25% to make the playoffs (regular playoff odds), 10% (PECOTA-adjusted odds), or 20% (ELO odds).

But the trade deadline has come and gone, and with it, most of Theo’s best chances to improve the team for the stretch run.  Really, I think the critical time to improve the team came and went much earlier, in June and July. 

1) ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 02, 2010 at 09:01 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Trades?  I Say “Maybe”

It’s weird to be two weeks from the deadline and not have insane seven-team, five all-star rumors swirling around the Sox.  This should be a quiet deadline.  I think, though, there are some small-bore trades that make sense for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox certainly shouldn’t be sellers at the deadline – they’re still in the range of 1-in-3 to make the playoffs, and that’s far too great of a chance at a World Series to give away. 

So, what should they buy?  As per the previous thread, ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 18, 2010 at 02:42 PM | 165 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All-Star Break Thread: Not As Depressing As You Expect

The Red Sox finished the first half of the season with a 51-37 record, on pace for 94 wins.  Given the injuries they’ve suffered, there’s really nothing to complain about – the Sox have played well, and Theo and Tito have done very well to plug the holes that keep opening up.  We can’t help it that the Yankees and Rays are on pace for 103 and 99 wins, respectively. 

Looking ahead, the BP “playoff odds report” has the Sox at between 38-44% to make the playoffs, which would be ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2010 at 04:19 PM | 50 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


Minor League Thread: Other Things That Are Also Bad

A midseason survey of Baseball America’s top ten Red Sox prospects, with MLEs for high minors hitters.

1) Ryan Westmoreland – had successful surgery on a “cavernous malformation” in his brain this spring, is recovering well and beginning baseball activities.  Whether, following major brain surgery and neurological rehabilitation, Westmoreland will still stand among the couple dozen best young ballplayers in the world is an open question that won’t be addressed until next year at the ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2010 at 04:12 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Related News: minor leagues, red sox, sox therapy


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It Gets Really, Really Bad

The Red Sox just lost two of their three best players to injury in the span of a week.  Dustin Pedroia won’t see a major league diamond until August, while Victor Martinez will (theoretically) return after the All-Star break.  And of course, already the club has been dealing with the loss of most of the starting outfield and a couple spotty starting pitchers. 

Bill Hall will give the Red Sox a lot more offensive production than most clubs could expect from a backup second baseman, but ...

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Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 29, 2010 at 12:59 PM | 84 comment(s)
  Related News: red sox, sox therapy


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