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Monday, June 13, 2022

Now That’s A Road Trip

On the morning of June 2nd the Boston Red Sox headed for sunny California for a fairly terrifying road trip.  The quality of competition was not particularly frightening but I am old enough to be able to recite chapter and verse on how west coast road trips have turned Red Sox’ seasons sour.  Sitting at 24-27 the Sox had righted the ship but were still climbing out of their early season hole.  Fast forward to this morning and the Sox are 32-29 having laid waste to the left coasters in fairly decisive fashion.  Maybe the most encouraging thing about the trip is how they did it with the pitching and defense (holy crap did you SEE that catch by Refsnyder yesterday?) rather than the offensive outburst that fueled the mid-May hot streak.  Obviously as a Red Sox fan my default is a desire to see big right-handed sluggers smash baseballs great distances but the pitching was generally fantastic on this trip allowing just 24 runs in the ten games.

That’s not to say that all is well with the moundsmen.  Two of the Sox starters find themselves on the IL this morning with Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Whitlock both out.  Neither guy seems to be in a situation where it is expected to be a long term issue but pitcher injuries are always a bit dicey.  And of course there is the not to small issue of the bullpen and particularly the closer.  I’m probably a bigger Hansel Robles fan than most but he’s not getting the job done.  Austin Davis seems to be a guy a lot of folks are angling for but I think most of us would like to see Tanner Houck getting the call at the end of games more than less.  It looks like that is Alex Cora’s plan given the way he played things in Seattle this weekend.  At some point Houck will need to demonstrate an ability to pitch on successive days but this is very similar to how Cora managed Garrett Whitlock last year.  Whitlock only pitched successive days once during the regular season last year.  I suspect Cora will be similarly cautious with Houck.

One possible option later in the season I have seen mentioned is Chris Sale.  Sale of course started his career as a reliever and you may remember him from such closing appearances as “THE FINAL FREAKING GAME OF THE WORLD ####### SERIES!”  Sale following a Dennis Eckersley path is not that hard to imagine.  While a $30 million closer is a bit silly the money is spent, so get the best out of him.  Having said that even if Sale arrives to bolster the bullpen it is hard not to think the Sox need some help out there beyond him.  Whether it’s someone internal (e.g. Seabold, Wincowski, Bello, Crawford) or a trade the Sox can’t ask Alex Cora to try and compete with this bullpen.  One guy that I think probably should be considered is Rich Hill.  Hill doesn’t go deep in games so it’s not like you are taking out some big innings-eater out of there and he throws strikes.  I don’t like curveball relievers because they are prone to the long ball but I can see Hill being pretty good at it.

A few other notes;

- Jarren Duran continues to cool his heels in Worcester but I think that’s the right thing.  He’s not hitting so well that he’s forcing the Sox’ hand and his defense is a concern.  It is highly likely that Jackie Bradley Jr. warts and all is better than Duran right now.  My hunch is that the Sox don’t want Duran in Boston playing 3-4 times a week and given the LHB heavy tone of the outfield Refsnyder makes a bit more sense.

- Bobby Dalbec had a really strong road trip but I’d still like some kind of upgrade at first base.  With Triston Casas still on the IL he is not imminent but despite the generally solid performances Dalbec just feels like a guy who is heavily dependent on the quality of opponent.

- Rafael Devers man, Rafael Freakin’ Devers.

Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 13, 2022 at 08:56 AM | 57 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 13, 2022 at 01:12 PM (#6081487)
Some notes:
The rest of the first half breaks into three neat parts for the Red Sox:
- A 9-game home stand that isn't too scary (3 each against OAK, STL, & DET)
- A 9-game road trip against a variety of levels of quality (3 each against CLE, TOR, and the Cubs)
- A fascinating 14-game stretch that acts as a big home-and-home set of series against the Yankees and Rays (first, a 7-game homestand against TB and NY, then a 7-game road trip against TB and NY, 7 games against each during this stretch).

I think the team will win enough games during that first 18 games that - no matter how the TB and NYY series go - the Red Sox will be hanging around in the wild card race going into the All-Star break. Which will probably get the fan base and the organization thinking, with 70 games to go: What do we do with the rest of this season?

They won't be in a position to plausibly be sellers at the deadline, and Bloom has shown no inclination to go "all in" to get some flashy bat or arm. (It's not clear the 2022 Red Sox are good enough to be one impact bat away, anyway.) But I could see the team doing something similar to 2021, ironically trying to strengthen the same two areas as last year: bullpen and first base.

The team has significantly more upper-level minor-league talent for a deadline trade than last year, including several pitchers who are plausible immediate big-league starting prospects (Crawford, Seabold, Winckowski, Murphy, Walter; I think Bello is off-limits). The team also faces a pretty big 40-man roster crunch at the end of this season, and will likely have to fish or cut bait with several guys who have legit value to a rebuilding team...but probably not to the 2023 Red Sox.

They may also decide to just let a couple of those starters come to the Boston bullpen and see if they can succeed there. If the team decides to use Houck as a 3-to-6 out closer, they'll want at least one guy to play the 2021 Whitlock role, and I think Winckowski, Crawford, and Walter all have a chance to play that role. Bello could be a late-season one-inning call up, too, as could German. They have in-house pitching options that simply did not exist from 2019-2021.

On some level, my problem with this year's team boils down to: I can't believe that a team with such absolute weakness in the entire outfield and at 1B can actually be good enough to be a legitimate playoff team. And yet, despite a dreadful start to the season, they are only four games out of the top wild card spot.

Are the three hitters in the middle of their lineup, and the depth of their starting pitching options, so good that this is able to counteract these huge weaknesses? Is the AL below the top few teams just not that good? I'm just happy that, as the Celtics' awesome season is set to end in the next week, that summer baseball has postseason hope still alive!
   2. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 13, 2022 at 04:18 PM (#6081527)
If they're buyers I'd like to see them take a run at Montas.
   3. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 13, 2022 at 06:43 PM (#6081553)
I’m probably a bigger Hansel Robles fan


Other then his mum, you're his ONLY fan.
   4. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 20, 2022 at 12:12 PM (#6082880)
Jeter Downs promoted.
   5. pikepredator Posted: June 20, 2022 at 12:28 PM (#6082884)
Shaky series against the Cards but the lineup continues to improve. It's nice to see everybody getting over the Mendoza line (which is kinda sad to type).

Those near-meltdowns were brutal but the pain fades much faster than when they actually lose that way.
   6. villageidiom Posted: June 20, 2022 at 01:40 PM (#6082895)
Jeter Downs promoted.
They had to replace a pitcher on the active roster to get down to 13 pitchers by today, per the MLB rule for 2022. Norwood was DFA.

Downs by month this year in AAA:

AB, OBP, SLG BABIP
79 .330 .443 .341 April
59 .329 .339 .200 May
51 .207 .392 .061 June
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: June 20, 2022 at 03:50 PM (#6082921)
Do they think Norwood will get through waivers because everyone else is also affected by the 13 pitcher rule, or did they only get him for pitching depth for yesterday's game?

I'm not an expert on the transaction rules, so bear with me if I misunderstood things.
   8. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 20, 2022 at 04:13 PM (#6082925)
I hadn't thought of that (the 13 pitcher thing) but it makes sense. I suspect there isn't a lot of room for pitchers to get claimed the next few days.
   9. villageidiom Posted: June 20, 2022 at 05:08 PM (#6082936)
Boston's 40-man roster is at 39 right now, so in theory they could claim someone. However, the 39-player count doesn't include Christian Arroyo who is on the COVID list, nor Chris Sale who is maybe a month away from returning from the 60=day IL. Likewise, it would need to be someone they can stash in AAA - which is unlikely because the team waiving the guy would also have that option instead of waiving him.
   10. Jay Seaver Posted: June 20, 2022 at 09:20 PM (#6082981)
As I mentioned on the other thread, Dalbec or Vazquez are probably the guys who wind up in the middle infield if Story or Bogaerts has to leave a game right now, which doesn't seem ideal, and I suspect Downs is the only other infielder on the 40-man.
   11. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 21, 2022 at 08:18 AM (#6083031)
One bit of wiggle room the Sox have on the 40 man is that they can "promote" Darwinzon and put him on the 60 day IL to open up a spot.

Jay asked in the other thread about Duran staying up. It would be interesting to see how that played out. I think you can realistically give him 4-5 games a week fairly easily. Day off for each of the OF, play him against a tough righty for Kiké, occasional day off for JD and of course they use Hernandez to spell an infielder if they want with Duran in the outfield. But if he keeps hitting I'd rather he stick around.
   12. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 21, 2022 at 01:51 PM (#6083071)
In the opening, you said he should be in Worcester. 8 days ago.
   13. villageidiom Posted: June 21, 2022 at 02:39 PM (#6083083)
Yeah, but given he's not there, and they have capacity for him to play, he should stay and play.
   14. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 21, 2022 at 02:50 PM (#6083084)
12 - He's hitting .310/.394/.517 (albeit in 8 games). If he's going to hit like that he should be in Boston and playing regularly. If he's going to hit .240/.290/.330 then my statement about JBJ being better remains true. He's looked very good so far though.
   15. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 21, 2022 at 02:57 PM (#6083089)
13..yeah, sure, play the kids. I'm all for it.
   16. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 21, 2022 at 04:12 PM (#6083121)
Duran isn't a kid, he's 25, and he's being blocked by JBJ. It seems like a no brainer. Either trade JBJ or Kiké, and if they can't do either, they should DFA JBJ.

   17. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 22, 2022 at 06:47 PM (#6083327)
Jeter Downs called up and is starting at third base tonight. A position he has played…zero times as a professional. Presumably he should be OK over there but that doesn’t seem exactly like “putting someone in a position to succeed.”

Also Jarren Duran unvaccinated so if Hernandez isn’t back for the Toronto series the outfield is going to be underwhelming.
   18. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 22, 2022 at 07:34 PM (#6083337)
Downs looks ok at 3rd.

To add to 16...vaccinate Duran!
   19. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 23, 2022 at 08:30 AM (#6083388)
After last night's sweep of the Tigers, a few facts/thoughts:

1) At 39-31, the Red Sox are (for the first time this year) at a 90-win pace. Note, however, that they still have 16 games left against the Yankees.

2) At the beginning of this homestand, I thought of the rest of the first half of the season in three parts:

9-game homestand against Oak, StL, and Det. They went 7-2.
9-game road trip against Cle, Tor, and the Cubs. Can they go 5-4 on this road trip?
14 games against Tampa and the Yankees (7 home, 7 away).

If they come out of this remaining pre-ASG schedule in a wild card spot, I feel pretty good about their chances to stick in it until the end.

3) I am amazed at how deep the starting pitching on the team is poised to be in the second half of the season. I don't know how sustainable their performance is, but Wacha and Pivetta have been all-star good for a while now:
- Wacha isn't allowed to get to 90 pitches very often (only four out of 12 starts), but he is very efficient, in part because he relies on strikeouts much less than most pitchers today. It simply takes him fewer pitches to get through 5+ innings than most pitchers.
- Pivetta's last nine starts have been remarkable: 7-1 with a 1.63 ERA, striking out a guy an inning, low walks and hits allowed, averaging almost 7 innings a start.

They've been able to with arguably their three best starters injured: Eovaldi, Whitlock, and of course Sale. One could imagine an August-September rotation of Sale, Eovaldi, Whitlock, Pivetta, and Wacha, with Hill, Winckowski, and Seabold as the first three options after them. Brayan Bello has taken very well to AAA, and could be a late-season addition to the bullpen (40 IP, 57/15 K/BB ratio, has thrown about 75 innings between AA and AAA this year). I give Bloom a lot of credit for building up starting pitching depth so quickly and effectively.

4) The offense still pretty much sucks. It is three beasts, then Vazquez and Story doing fine for the positions they play, then four positions (1B and all three outfield positions) where if you get anything you're pleasantly surprised. Their three Opening Day outfielders (Hernandez, Verdugo, JBJ) have a combined WAR of... -0.1...for the season. Rob Refsnyder has 0.6 in 32 PAs. And Dalbec is at -0.3 for the season as their primary first baseman. But there isn't a lot of evidence that help on the way. Casas is injured at AAA. Duran is up and playing pretty well, so maybe they'll ride that out as long as he's playing well. They could use some of their improved minor-league depth to get 1B or OF help at the deadline.

5) THe low point of the season thus far was probably after they fell to 10-19 on May 8th. After the games of May 8th, the AL East standings:

NYY 19-8 -
TB 18-11 2
TOR 17-13 3.5
BAL 11-17 8.5
BOS 10-19 10

Then the Sox went 29-12 since then, and actually lost 2.5 games to the Yankees! Since May 8th:

NYY 32-10 --
BOS 29-12 2.5
TOR 22-17 8.5
BAL 20-22 12
TB 19-21 12

This Yankees team is just a steamroller.
   20. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 23, 2022 at 01:16 PM (#6083429)
I'm more concerned about the SP than the offense. Wacha has been great. At what other period has he ever been great? Same for Pivetta. They need a starter. I hope they try to pry Montas away from the A's. Would the Tigers deal Skubal? How about Fullmer, for the bullpen?

Sale, supposedly, has 2-3 more rehab starts before they bring him up. When they do, he's likely to be a 3-5 inning pitcher, for a while. We'll see if he can get back to being a reliable SP this year.

That's all I can say about this team, in general: We'll see. The have a rough 32 games between now and Aug. 1st. If they go 13-19 they'll be a game over .500. We'll see.


And Eovaldi has what sounds like a sciatic problem, or some other nerve issue, and it's affecting his hip as well as his lower back.
   21. villageidiom Posted: June 23, 2022 at 01:40 PM (#6083432)
Wacha has been great. At what other period has he ever been great?
2013-15. And also mid-August 2021 onward, after he dumped his cutter and started throwing a sinker more often. I know that doesn't mean he's going to be pitching this well forever, but he's done this well before, and one can at least point to a reason he's improved other than just being lucky.
   22. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 23, 2022 at 02:39 PM (#6083450)
Quick Wacha thoughts:

1) There have been times where he has been very good, so I don't think it is totally out of left field.
2) He can be less good the rest of the way and still be very useful, particularly at the back end of the rotation.
3) I am more excited about the depth of the options than anything else. Wacha and Pivetta have wildly exceeded my expectations through 70 games, and if Eovaldi and Whitlock come back before those two guys turn into pumpkins, then our depth will get us through. What I like about the depth - which is a combination of guys like Hill and Wacha with younger guys like Winckowski, Ballo, and Seabold, is that it is a sign of a healthy and improving organization.
   23. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 23, 2022 at 06:06 PM (#6083501)
Bello is the one who has a high upside. The other guys will be lucky to last 5 years in the majors.
   24. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 26, 2022 at 09:05 PM (#6084013)
After the Cleveland sweep, the REd Sox are now 32-12 in their last 44 games - over a quarter of the entire season. For much of that stretch, there has been some downgrading of its significance, because Boston has beaten up on a lot of pretty bad teams.

But here's the thing: After today's sweep, they are 8-3 against teams above .500 during that 32-12 stretch. Maybe Cleveland and St. Louis aren't that good, but they won 2-of-3 against Houston in that time, too. I mean, maybe the only teams that are really good in the AL are Houston and the AL East. Maybe the only team that is actually really good is New York? Maybe Boston's starting pitching is really good?

I think this three-game series in Toronto has been circled on the calendar for a while - amazingly, Boston has actually started putting room between them and Toronto/Tampa, and they are the chief competition for wild card spots.
   25. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 27, 2022 at 08:20 AM (#6084046)
Is it reasonable to think the 4 best teams in the AL East are also the 4 best teams in the American League?
   26. Nasty Nate Posted: June 27, 2022 at 09:19 AM (#6084052)
What's the deal with Cedanne Rafaela? I had never heard of this guy, and then I read that he has the most extra-base hits in all of professional baseball!
   27. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 27, 2022 at 09:30 AM (#6084055)
Short version; he's going off.

Long version from SoxProspects;
Summation: Potential up-and-down utility type. Ceiling of a high-quality, defense-first utility player. Defense and speed are his best tools. Could be a plus defender at every position except catcher and first base. Bat lags behind. Raw at the plate and needs to develop an approach, but if that takes a step forward, could shoot up the system rankings.


This is pretty much out of nowhere. $10,000 signing bonus, so it's not like he was a Devers. He's shown good power through his career. He'd shown some pop in the lower minors, 19 homers in about 800 AB which ain't bad for a fairly small teenager. It's easy to see that and project some growth as he fills out. The .379 BABIP is skewing the overall line a bit but he's intriguing. If nothing else he's a 21 year old more than holding his own at AA. He's a baseball player in 2022 so he whiffs a bunch and doesn't walk much which is a red flag of course.
   28. villageidiom Posted: June 27, 2022 at 09:35 AM (#6084056)
Is it reasonable to think the 4 best teams in the AL East are also the 4 best teams in the American League?
It's tempting to thing that, but I'm doubtful.

For the moment let's say Boston's true caliber of play this year will be the... oh, I don't know, 86 wins I predicted. In the past full seasons, here's where 86 wins would have put a team in the AL:

2021: 8th (Oakland A's)
2019: 7th (2 games ahead of Red Sox)
2018: 8th (6 games ahead of Angels)
2017: 5th (1 game ahead of wild-card Twins)
2016: 6th (Mariners/Tigers)
2015: 5th (wild-card Astros)
2014: 7th (1 game ahead of Indians)
2013: 7th (Royals)
2012: 8th (1 game ahead of White Sox)
2011: 6th (Angels)

Of those 10 years, an 86-win team would not have been 4th best, and was most likely 7th best. Yes, the planets could align and a team could get there with 86 wins; it's mathematically possible. But it's very unlikely.

The next question, of course, is whether Boston - preseason 4th best in the division - is actually better than an 86-win team. At this point they probably are. They've certainly shown they're capable of being better than that. They've also shown they're capable of being worse. The thing is this: to finish 86-76 they'd need to go 44-45 the rest of the way. I think that's unlikely given what they've shown so far.

For a team we were just recently describing as not having depth in the outfield and the rotation they've had some pretty good depth in the outfield and rotation. They don't have 2013 Shane Victorino coming off the bench or anything, but their outfield is not preventing them from winning, and that's good enough. Cordero and Duran and - holy #### - Rob Refsnyder have been getting it done. The solid performance of Pivetta and Wacha, and the good-enough-ness of Hill, and the contributions of Winckowski have allowed the bullpen to stabilize, and have also allowed the emergence of Tanner Houck, Closer. They're doing a lot of winning with all of Eovaldi, Whitlock, and that Sale guy on the IL.

I still feel like this team is playing over their heads a bit, and that against better pitching they will have more difficulty scoring runs - the big reason they struggled to win early in the season. But I feel like they are better than a .500 team the rest of the way. If they play the rest of the season at an 86-win pace then they'd finish with 89 wins. Looking at how 89 wins would have fared in those seasons:

2021: 8th (3 games ahead of A's)
2019: 7th (5 games ahead of Red Sox)
2018: 7th (Mariners)
2017: 5th (4 games ahead of wild-card Twins)
2016: 4th (wild-card Orioles/Jays)
2015: 3rd (1 game ahead of division-winning Rangers)
2014: 4th (wild-card Royals)
2013: 7th (3 games ahead of Royals)
2012: 6th (Angels)
2011: 6th (3 games ahead of Angels)

The possibility that they would be among the 4 best teams in the AL is looking more promising.

Then the argument comes down to this: Is the 2nd worst of the AL teams better than the Astros and Twins? And that's where the notion probably dies. You could even throw the Twins out of that question and it's still dead.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: June 27, 2022 at 09:40 AM (#6084057)
Short version; he's going off.

Long version from SoxProspects;

Summation: Potential up-and-down utility type. Ceiling of a high-quality, defense-first utility player. Defense and speed are his best tools. Could be a plus defender at every position except catcher and first base. Bat lags behind. Raw at the plate and needs to develop an approach, but if that takes a step forward, could shoot up the system rankings.
Thanks. I suspect the next summation will be noticeably different.
   30. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 27, 2022 at 09:59 AM (#6084059)
The thing is this: to finish 86-76 they'd need to go 44-45 the rest of the way. I think that's unlikely given what they've shown so far.


I think this is the most important thing written in #28. They have been so good (against mainly bad teams) for such a stretch that it hasn't just wiped away their 10-19 start; it has given them some wiggle room to remain squarely in playoff contention. The non-AL East wild card candidates are pretty weak, so even an 86-win season means they're probably in with a week to go. At a minimum, their pitching will probably keep them in most games, and their core three hitters are good enough to beat teams that aren't very good.

They only have 30 games left against teams currently below .500; the other 59 games are against teams above .500.

So far this year, they are 14-14 against teams above .500, and 28-17 against teams below .500. If they kept up that pace the rest of the year, they would end up at 43-44 against teams above .500, and 47-28 below .500, for an overall record of 90-72. That sounds about right to me.

One final point: 17 of their next 20 games before the All Star break are against teams above .500 (7 vs NY, 7 vs TB, 3 vs TOR). If they go much above .500 in these next 20 games, then they're on track to match their 2021 record of 92-70.
   31. SandyRiver Posted: June 27, 2022 at 10:27 AM (#6084062)
What's the deal with Cedanne Rafaela? I had never heard of this guy, and then I read that he has the most extra-base hits in all of professional baseball!

Nitpick: Thru yesterday, his 42 EBH (22/4/16) are 1 short of Raffy (25/1/17) and Jose Ramirez (23/4/16). (Assumes the MiLB numbers are up to date.)
   32. Nasty Nate Posted: June 27, 2022 at 10:45 AM (#6084066)
Yeah, the article I saw was as-of a few days ago. Rafaeala is only 5'8" and has played multiple positions so the big question is whether his career will go more like Mookie Betts' or Jose Ramirez'.
   33. villageidiom Posted: June 27, 2022 at 03:04 PM (#6084108)
Sharing here, because I'm still laughing about this one to which a friend pointed me, from NJ.com: Ex-Yankees prospect will flame out with Red Sox, MLB insider says

It's a nearly content-free article about Rob Refsnyder. So anyway, the premise from the headline is made in the article as follows:

1. Refsnyder has hit .414 so far this season.
2. Peter Abraham says Refsnyder is unlikely to continue to hit at that level.
3. Peter Abraham is an "MLB insider".
4. Dropping lower than .414 is a "flame out".

Someone took time in their professional day to decide whether to write the article, let alone write it, let alone decide to publish it. Multiple people responsible for their Yankees beat felt, in this period of absolutely universally good things to say about the Yankees, that their audience needed to hear that Rob Refsnyder will not be the new Mike Trout. BREAKING NEWS! It's hilarious how much the Red Sox are in their heads now.
   34. Darren Posted: June 27, 2022 at 03:54 PM (#6084118)
There are tools that attempt to take into account past and future strength of schedule, home/road games remaining, and all that jazz. Fangraphs does this on their Playoff Odds page. It says the Sox have a .508 strength of schedule for the rest of the season, and that they will win at a .522 pace the rest of the way, resulting in an 88.5 and 73.5 record. They also give them an 81 percent chance to make the playoffs. These all sound pretty reasonable to me.

I'm curious about the calculations people were making earlier in this thread: how are you determining what a below .500 team is and what an above .500 team is? Is it based on their record at the time or what we know their record to be now? I can see arguments for either one, I guess. However, using a team's record through games 0-10 in the season seems a little problematic.

   35. Nasty Nate Posted: June 27, 2022 at 04:04 PM (#6084122)
Who takes Duran and Houck's spots on the roster in Canada?
   36. villageidiom Posted: June 27, 2022 at 04:17 PM (#6084125)
how are you determining what a below .500 team is and what an above .500 team is?
I'm guessing it's based on record now, as that's how BB-Ref and others do it.

Who takes Duran and Houck's spots on the roster in Canada?
According to soxprospects.com Connor Seabold and Yolmer Sanchez have been added.

Also, I know everyone has been waiting to find out the news on this, but James Norwood - the guy they bought from Philly and then almost immediately DFA when they called up Jeter Downs - has been successfully passed through waivers and outrighted to Worcester.
   37. Nasty Nate Posted: June 27, 2022 at 04:22 PM (#6084128)
Thanks.
   38. villageidiom Posted: June 27, 2022 at 05:19 PM (#6084143)
Sorry. I know how much you were hoping for Ronaldo Hernandez instead.
   39. Nasty Nate Posted: June 27, 2022 at 05:29 PM (#6084146)
Maybe I wanted Cedanne Rafaela!?!
   40. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 27, 2022 at 06:17 PM (#6084152)
I was doing it based on record right now. One easy thing about it is that there isn't a team they're playing who is super-close to .500 either way.

The Astros play a remarkably small number of games against teams above .500:

- They are 12-9 this year against +.500 teams.

- They only have 27 games left against teams above .500.

So if form holds, they will play 114 out of 162 games against teams below .500.

I wonder what the record is in the 162-game season era? Probably during seasons that did not have the balanced schedule.
   41. The Mighty Quintana Posted: June 27, 2022 at 06:28 PM (#6084153)
Ahh, the Toronto trip roster dance...when I am reminded of the stubbornness of the human psyche.
   42. Jay Seaver Posted: June 27, 2022 at 07:11 PM (#6084162)
Have the sports radio guys been ragging on Duran and Houck for being selfish and letting the team down the way they would if the players sort of jogged to first base on a routine ground ball?
   43. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: June 27, 2022 at 10:07 PM (#6084205)
Yeah, the article I saw was as-of a few days ago. Rafaeala is only 5'8" and has played multiple positions so the big question is whether his career will go more like Mookie Betts' or Jose Ramirez'.


So, either a perennial MVP winner or just a perennial MVP candidate? Jeez, pretty low floor you're projecting. How about maybe Brock Holt?
   44. Nasty Nate Posted: June 27, 2022 at 10:18 PM (#6084211)
I also project Brock Holt to have Mookie Betts' career.
   45. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 28, 2022 at 09:26 AM (#6084241)
If I did this search right the 2017 Houston Astros played 129 games against teams under .500.

Top 10;

HOU WP < .500 2017 129
WSN WP < .500 2017 120
WSN WP < .500 2014 116
CLE WP < .500 1997 114
NYY WP < .500 2017 114
SDP WP < .500 1984 114
STL WP < .500 2006 114
TEX WP < .500 2017 114
BOS WP < .500 1990 113
BSN WP < .500 1915 113

   46. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 01, 2022 at 07:15 PM (#6085290)
I'm sticking with whatever win total I came up with in April...78-82?
   47. Nasty Nate Posted: July 15, 2022 at 09:09 AM (#6086797)
Nice headline: Could rising Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela be the next Mookie Betts? (even factoring in Betteridge's law).
   48. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 15, 2022 at 09:55 AM (#6086800)
It is interesting that Toronto and Boston now have the same record (47-43), and have both had a pretty awful last few weeks. Toronto is like, "I can't believe how underachieving we are!" and fired the manager. Boston's owner was like, "Hey, we are in the middle of a rebuild, and we're getting our three best pitchers back soon," and seem very much to be in the early stages of a long game.

Of course, context matters:

The Red Sox started 10-19, and are 37-24 since then.
The Blue Jays were 30-20, and are 17-23 since then.

I think these are the lenses through which they are looking are their seasons.
   49. Dillon Gee Escape Plan Posted: July 15, 2022 at 11:45 PM (#6086886)
Went to the Greenville Drive game tonight in Beacon and got to see Niko Kavadas go yard. Only downside is he went 2-4 and his OBP dropped. He's now hitting .346/.514/.846 with 8 home runs and 16 walks in 17 games. He has a 1.126 OPS between A and A+.
   50. Darren Posted: July 17, 2022 at 02:26 PM (#6087062)
Kavadas is really something. How well does a 23-year-old 1B have to hit in the low minors to be taken seriously as a prospect? Whatever that is, he's getting close to it I would think.

There are have been a fair number of promotions in the system and I wonder if/when that will happen for Mayer. He's 19 in A ball and doing quite well, but maybe they don't want to rush him.
   51. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 17, 2022 at 03:46 PM (#6087072)
Before we get all sweaty about the farm system, here is an article from a few years ago with the "ten best prospects". I mean, come on. Only one of them is on the roster today, and he isn't a sure thing to be a good player for many years to come. The rest are either still plugging away (Jason Groome, expected to make his debut in 2019....what happened?) or have been traded, or have disappeared. All these names that get thrown around are like a whole bunch of #### that gets thrown against a wall, and not much of it sticks. The team will tell us when they have a Bogaerts or a Devers or a Nomar or a Clemens coming along. Until then, Curb Your Enthusiasm.


Everyone wants to say "I saw him first!" when a rookie comes up and makes an impact, but for every one of those there are 20 who flame out, spectacularly (quietly).
   52. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 17, 2022 at 03:54 PM (#6087073)
Niko Kavadas: "Intriguing hitter with a power-over-hit profile right now. Value is solely tied up in bat. Shows tremendous ability to impact the baseball along with an advanced feel for the strike zone and finding his pitch, but also has swing-and-miss in his game. Bat path allows him to drive the ball with loft, but it remains unclear how it will play against more advanced pitching. Likely to post strong performance numbers in the low minors, but true test will come in Double-A and above. Not a strong defender, unclear how glove will play even at first base. Will have to hit at all levels to overcome defense and speed deficiencies."

Good luck, Niko.
   53. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 17, 2022 at 04:05 PM (#6087074)
We have four of the top 100 MLB prospects. 4. I would love if 2 of them actually pan out.
   54. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 17, 2022 at 04:20 PM (#6087078)
1) At 39-31, the Red Sox are (for the first time this year) at a 90-win pace. Note, however, that they still have 16 games left against the Yankees.


At 48 wins with 69 left to play, the Red Sox are on an 83-win pace.
   55. Darren Posted: July 18, 2022 at 04:13 PM (#6087225)
We have four of the top 100 MLB prospects. 4. I would love if 2 of them actually pan out.


I think most here are probably on about the same page as you are. I also am not getting sweaty about Kavadas, just a fun, interesting player who is playing really well. Yes, the true test will likely come in AA and AAA, but he's performed well where he has been placed so far, so that's all you can really ask.

I am getting sweaty about Mayer, though. Oh, so sweaty.
   56. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: July 18, 2022 at 04:29 PM (#6087231)
I can't remember any blue chip that came up through the system without a lot of hype. I've seen nothing about Mayer, except here.
   57. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 07, 2022 at 07:06 PM (#6090530)
The Red Sox have to go 27-25 to get to 81-81. I'm sticking with 78 to 82 wins, leaning more toward 78. Even that may be too optimistic.

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