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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Over and Under

The season is just a week away.  The Sox will soon be playing games that count for the first time since 2019.  I mean, yeah last year technically counted but the Sox were eliminated before a pitch was thrown.  I figured a few random over/unders to give us something to chatter about and for me to look stupid in six months (if not much sooner) might be enjoyable;

Team Games Played: 140 - COVID is not the only risk factor here.  I haven’t heard any discussion of a strike but with the CBA expiring at the end of the year I won’t dismiss the possibility given the current “relationship” between the MLBPA and MLB.

Jose says - Over - They’l get it in.

Team Wins: 81.5 - So for me the Sox are a .500 team.  They are going to rake, I fully expect JDM to rebound and the lineup looks pretty potent to me.  That pitching staff has huge upside but I think the downside with injury is even greater.

Jose says - Under - I’ll guess 78-84

Bobby Dalbec Homers: 24.5 - The first base job is Dalbec’s and he has looked great in Fort Myers.  Having said that he still strikes out a lot and the Sox have options (Marwin Gonzalez especially) if he struggles.

Jose says - Under - I’m excited about the potential but the Ks…

Eduardo Rodriguez Wins: 14.5 - I suspect this and team wins are closely correlated.  If EdRod is healthy and the pitcher we saw a couple years ago that goes a long way to righting the ship.  No one knows the long term effects of COVID though so is it “he’s really fresh after a year off” or “the disease sapped him of some strength.”

Jose says - Under - I don’t think he’ll be under by a lot but I’d be surprised if he made 32-33 starts.  It’s going to be a weird year for starters.

Alex Verdugo WAR: 6.0 - Over the last two seasons Verdugo has played 159 games putting up 5.5 WAR and he’s only 25.  The Sox have a star here.

Jose says - Over - Honestly I think he clears it with room to spare.

Chris Sale Starts: 9.5 - If he comes back in early July that’s what, 13-14 starts if all goes well?  That’s if he’s right.  Of course Sale has never been the most durable dude and if he needs some additional rest, the occasional skipped start or has a setback he doesn’t get there.

Jose says - Under - Honestly, I view this as a positive.  I kind of have a hunch that if the Sox are fighting for a spot that Sale might get moved to the bullpen like Price in 2017.  If he makes his starts the Sox are out and it’s more important to get his starts in.

Jarren Duran MLB Games: 75.5 - Probably the biggest story in camp the combination of his ability and the Sox likely having a need for him makes it more than possible he’ll be in Boston sooner than later.  We all can name highly regarded prospects who had a shot but didn’t pull it together after being sent down.

Jose says - Over - I’m high on Duran.  He’s a bit older than a truly elite prospect but he has changed and improved his swing to become more than a speed merchant.

Matt Barnes Saves: 15.5 - Shrug emoji.  I have no freakin’ clue what is going to happen out there.  If you told me the Sox’ save leader this year was going to be someone not currently on the roster but acquired mid-season I wouldn’t be surprised.  If you told me Barnes would thrive and finish with 40 saves, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Jose says - Over - I’m not a huge Barnes fan, he is in love with that blasted curveball but I think he’s the guy Cora wants to have the job and having the manager at your back in that role is pretty important.

Anyway, enjoy, mock or do whatever you want with this.  One more week kiddies!

Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 24, 2021 at 06:52 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: March 25, 2021 at 08:28 PM (#6010186)
140 Team Games Played: OVER
81.5 Team Wins: OVER
24.5 Bobby Dalbec Homers: OVER
14.5 Eduardo Rodriguez Wins: OVER
6.0 Alex Verdugo WAR: OVER.
9.5 Chris Sale Starts: OVER
75.5 Jarren Duran MLB Games: UNDER
15.5 Matt Barnes Saves: OVER

Bold predictions:

+ 86 wins.

+ Dalbec will be flirting with 20 HR by Memorial Day. And then he will get maybe 7 more HR the rest of the season.

+ Verdugo will get a WAR bump by playing more time in CF. His defense will be slightly worse but will be more than offset by the change in replacement level for his bat.

+ Sale will get at least 10 starts, but he will only get 3 wins. He won't go 5 full innings for several starts, even when pitching fine.

+ Duran won't get more than 30 games in MLB this year. If Verdugo is out for the year, maybe, but otherwise Boston has too many players who can handle CF. They're not going to make playing time for Duran over any of them, and they won't put him on the roster unless he's going to play every day.

+ Barnes will get more than 15.5 saves, but not with Boston. Someone will want relief midseason, and Boston will trade Barnes for prospects. By that point he will have maybe half the saves of the Boston bullpen, with Ottavino and Sawamura picking up most of the rest.
   2. Darren Posted: March 26, 2021 at 10:18 AM (#6010222)
140 Team Games Played: OVER
81.5 Team Wins: OVER -- a little over?
24.5 Bobby Dalbec Homers: OVER -- good pick for the middle number, could go either way.
14.5 Eduardo Rodriguez Wins: UNDER -- Even if he pitches a fully season, which is no guarantee, 15 wins is a lot of wins. Just ask Jacob DeGrom.
6.0 Alex Verdugo WAR: UNDER -- Statcast doesn't like him, ZIPs projects him for 2.1 and Steamer for 2.4. I think those are all too pessimistic, but I'd be really happy with him putting up 4+ WAR.

9.5 Chris Sale Starts: OVER
75.5 Jarren Duran MLB Games: OVER -- He seems about ready. They'll send him down early but he'll be back up and playing full time by the break.
15.5 Matt Barnes Saves: OVER -- I guess. I dunno. Pass?
   3. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 26, 2021 at 10:42 AM (#6010226)
6.0 Alex Verdugo WAR: UNDER -- Statcast doesn't like him, ZIPs projects him for 2.1 and Steamer for 2.4. I think those are all too pessimistic, but I'd be really happy with him putting up 4+ WAR.


Yeah this one perplexes me. He was a 2.2 WAR player in 60 games last year, 3.2 in 100 games the year before, he was drafted highly, was deemed a top prospect for a few years coming through the minors and to date has performed as expected at the big league level. I get that the models say what they say but I'm curious as to why the models would be so pessimistic. Like you I'd see a 4 WAR forecast as reasonable thing but 2-2.5? That just doesn't make sense to me.

And what really gets me is that it's not an outlier. As you note it's all the projection models. The only moderate red flag is a high BABIP last year (.371) but even if you peel that back a reasonable .310 or something that's a huge drop. One thing that jumps at me is that ZiPS is predicting that he's going to be Hanley Ramirez level bad defensively (-2.6 WAR defensively) which I am highly skeptical of. Steamer is not as pessimistic but -0.2 for a guy who was a 2.2 dWAR player playing about 2/3 of the time in center in 2019 seems odd. The more I think about it I wonder if the models are being excessively punitive for the rightward defensive shift ("rightward?" Spell check accepts it). That's probably a reasonable thing to build into a model but I think in Verdugo's case may not be as accurate as it normally would be.
   4. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 26, 2021 at 02:01 PM (#6010278)
Well a bit of bad news out of the gate. Eduardo Rodriguez scratched from his Opening Day start due to dead arm. He may not be on the IL to start the year if they can ramp him up and have him start one of the first few games but for now, Nathan Eovaldi gets the call.
   5. The Mighty Quintana Posted: March 26, 2021 at 02:10 PM (#6010280)
140 Team Games Played: OVER Hopefully vaccinations are welcomed by MLB players.
81.5 Team Wins: OVER Rebound seasons from Devers and Martinez should keep the offense above average. Cora should be able to cobble together an adequate staff. 84 sounds good.
24.5 Bobby Dalbec Homers: UNDER Maybe 20, but 25 would assume he doesn't go into a long slump.
14.5 Eduardo Rodriguez Wins: UNDER Sounds like the latest news isn't good.
6.0 Alex Verdugo WAR: UNDER 6 win players are hard to come by, hoping he just stays in right every day and Duran can play CF. I'd take 5 WAR.
9.5 Chris Sale Starts: OVER Maybe 15?
75.5 Jarren Duran MLB Games: OVER I think he plays 100 and is pretty good, maybe Ellsbury in one of his lesser years. 275/340/430 30 steals
15.5 Matt Barnes Saves: OVER Should be in a lot of games this year, Cora can maximize him.
   6. Silas Wegg Posted: March 27, 2021 at 12:08 AM (#6010368)
140 Team Games Played: OVER
81.5 Team Wins: UNDER, a little. 78 or 79 wins.
24.5 Bobby Dalbec Homers: UNDER
14.5 Eduardo Rodriguez Wins: UNDER
6.0 Alex Verdugo WAR: UNDER. This is the easiest call for me.
9.5 Chris Sale Starts: OVER
75.5 Jarren Duran MLB Games: UNDER
15.5 Matt Barnes Saves: UNDER, but this is the toughest call. I settled UNDER because I think there is a decent chance he is traded to a team that won't use him as closer.
   7. Gch Posted: March 27, 2021 at 12:59 AM (#6010376)
One thing that jumps at me is that ZiPS is predicting that he's going to be Hanley Ramirez level bad defensively (-2.6 WAR defensively) which I am highly skeptical of.


Fangraphs' Def number doesn't work that way. I can't figure out how it's calculated, but Hanley was -18.1 in 2015, Benintendi was -4.1 in his last full season. ZiPS doesn't seem to actually have a problem with Verdugo's glove. If you go to the 2021 Red Sox ZiPS article, his slashline and WAR are the same, but he's credited with +3 defense (better than Benintendi or Bradley Jr.'s projections). I know the -2.6 number includes a positional adjustment but I still have no idea what's going on there.

Aside from that, the comments to the ZiPS projections include a post by Dan where he explains why ZiPS is relatively pessimistic about Verdugo's bat:

Here’s the issue if you’re wondering why his 60-game season isn’t moving the needle a ton. [link to this image showing his statcast expected BA and SLG being much worse than his actual numbers]

ZiPS doesn’t use the exact same methodology as Statcast does, but it’s in the same neighborhood and there’s no big disagreement here. 60 games was always going to move projections less than a full season (in only 60 games from a most recent season, you’d expect 2018 to have more predictive value). That ZiPS doesn’t even think that he was actually a 4-win player from a prorated standpoint means it’s going to move even less.
   8. Darren Posted: March 27, 2021 at 12:10 PM (#6010407)
I would like to revise my Matt Barnes prediction.
   9. Darren Posted: March 27, 2021 at 12:16 PM (#6010408)
One thing that jumps at me is that ZiPS is predicting that he's going to be Hanley Ramirez level bad defensively (-2.6 WAR defensively) which I am highly skeptical of.


I think you're misreading this and I'm not even sure how? But I believe his modest statcast numbers are what's hurting him. While I'm sure they are right to factor these in, I wonder if they tend to miss a bit on players who don't have a lot of power but are good batsmen (for lack of a better word). For example, I wonder what kind of exit velo guys and xWOBA guys like Carew, Boggs, Ichiro, and Gwynn would have had. Or a step down from there, Michael Young or Bill Madlock.
   10. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 27, 2021 at 06:12 PM (#6010439)
Here's the page, look in the ZiPS line and if I'm wrong I definitely want to know why so I don't make the same mistake.

Alex Verdugo page on FanGraphs

That's crummy news on Barnes. That makes the roster kind of interesting. Have they said if Andriese is also out for Opening Day or is it just Barnes?
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 27, 2021 at 06:49 PM (#6010443)
140 Team Games Played: OVER
81.5 Team Wins: OVER
24.5 Bobby Dalbec Homers: OVER
14.5 Eduardo Rodriguez Wins: UNDER
6.0 Alex Verdugo WAR: WAY UNDER
9.5 Chris Sale Starts: UNDER
75.5 Jarren Duran MLB Games: UNDER
15.5 Matt Barnes Saves: UNDER
   12. JJ1986 Posted: March 27, 2021 at 07:53 PM (#6010451)
Here's the page, look in the ZiPS line and if I'm wrong I definitely want to know why so I don't make the same mistake.
I believe those columns are in runs, not wins.

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