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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 | 31 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.
   13. villageidiom Posted: April 25, 2021 at 04:14 PM (#6015299)
Their pace, through 23 games:

162 games played (OVER)
99 wins (OVER)
0 Dalbec HR (UNDER)
28 Rodriguez wins (OVER)
6.3 Verdugo WAR (OVERish)
0 Sale starts (UNDER)
0 Duran MLB games (UNDER)
28 Barnes saves (OVER)
   14. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 25, 2021 at 05:38 PM (#6015319)
0 Dalbec HR (UNDER)


Despite that current 0 I’m a bit more hopeful on Dalbec than I was when the year started. He still whiffs a lot but has cut his K rate to a semi-reasonable 33%. That’s still high of course but not the near 50% which would be unsustainable. The other thing is his line drive rate is way up so it doesn’t seem like he’s accomplishing this by losing the ability to hit the ball. I think when the first home run comes a few will follow in short order. He’s just too strong to keep that 0 for much longer.

28 Barnes saves (OVER)


I think he looks a ton better than he did. He’s throwing the fastball more it seems and at the very least doesn’t appear to be as predictable as he was last year. On top of that he’s throwing a lot more strikes which is very encouraging. Ideally the rest of the bullpen will follow in his wake, I think they can be better than they have been.
   15. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 25, 2021 at 10:24 PM (#6015364)
2021 bWAR so far

Betts bWAR--.7, Verdugo bWAR---.9 Where's our Thank you LA billboard!

Of course young Alex has batted nearly 25% more, but hey you gotta play the games,
   16. villageidiom Posted: April 27, 2021 at 11:06 PM (#6015788)
He’s just too strong to keep that 0 for much longer.

0 7 Dalbec HR (UNDER)
   17. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 28, 2021 at 09:18 AM (#6015823)
I won't be surprised if he hits a few in the next week.

0 Duran MLB games (UNDER)


Probably worth noting that while Renfroe and Franchy are both hitting under .200 that Duran has started taking reps in left field at the alternate site. That might be a good spot for a guy with the physical tools of an outfielder but not the instincts.
   18. The Mighty Quintana Posted: April 28, 2021 at 04:40 PM (#6015904)
Yesterday's win was just beautiful....Richards and Barnes had ridiculous curveballs going, and Dalbec channeled JD with that oppo blast. The GWRBI (is that still a thing?) by Devers on an excuse-me single was just something that great hitters seem to pull out of their bag.
   19. villageidiom Posted: April 28, 2021 at 09:58 PM (#6016012)
Or today's win... deGrom allows 1 run in 6 IP, and takes the 1-0 loss because Nick Pivetta and the bullpen outpitched him. Granted, deGrom would have a better record if he got to face the Mets.
   20. The Mighty Quintana Posted: April 29, 2021 at 04:14 PM (#6016169)
Imagine deGrom's record on the Sox! Never mind, where we would play him? Would have to be our mop-up man...
   21. Darren Posted: May 01, 2021 at 01:31 PM (#6016466)
So much focus on Franchy's struggles, but little on Renfroe (in the press). These guys were both fliers, and both will probably not pan out. I wonder when they'll pull the plug on one of them.

   22. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: May 03, 2021 at 08:18 AM (#6016623)
Renfroe hasn't been good but he's not been a disaster. He's popped a couple of homers and his defense has looked very good to me. Franchy's been helpless at the plate though in fairness his defense has been better than expected. The new searchable Baseball Savant data also suggests that Renfroe has been better than his results (also Dalbec) so at some point you'd expect that to turn. Cordero has actually been lucky so far.

Jarren Duran is scheduled to play for Team USA May 31-June 5 in the Olympic Qualifiers so unless the Sox decide to pull him out of that (I don't know if MLB/USOC have an agreement on that) there isn't a lot in terms of options. Danny Santana is getting close. He's going to play in the minors this week and presumably needs a bit of time to get up to speed. I don't think Renfroe is in any immediate threat but Cordero has to get going. Will Flemming said on the radio yesterday that it's odd to see an MLB hitter miss pitches by as much as Franchy does. That's a fairly strong criticism from your home team radio guy.
   23. villageidiom Posted: May 17, 2021 at 09:11 PM (#6019291)
Their pace, through 42 games:

162 games played (OVER)
96 wins (OVER)
15 Dalbec HR (UNDER)
19 Rodriguez wins (OVER)
2.3 Verdugo WAR (UNDER)
0 Sale starts (UNDER)
0 Duran MLB games (UNDER)
35 Barnes saves (OVER)
   24. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 01, 2021 at 09:15 AM (#6042761)
Through 159 games just for fun;

140 Team Games Played: OVER (162)
81.5 Team Wins: OVER (89 to 94 depending on the next 120 hours)
24.5 Bobby Dalbec Homers: STILL UP IN THE AIR (shrug, sitting on 24)
14.5 Eduardo Rodriguez Wins: UNDER (it's not the Dalbec forecast but 11, or god willing 12, is pretty close)
6.0 Alex Verdugo WAR: UNDER (don't remember who said he's Mike Greenwell with a better glove but I like it and I'll take it)
9.5 Chris Sale Starts: UNDER (he's at 8 and almost certain to get a 9th on Sunday. Pretty happy about this forecast too)
75.5 Jarren Duran MLB Games: UNDER (only 33, bit of a bummer that)
15.5 Matt Barnes Saves: OVER (24 and hard to imagine any more)
   25. villageidiom Posted: October 01, 2021 at 08:53 PM (#6042913)
24.5 Bobby Dalbec Homers: STILL UP IN THE AIR (shrug, sitting on 24)
Over. It's always been over.
   26. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 02, 2021 at 11:26 AM (#6042971)
Appropriate that was post 25 in the thread.
   27. villageidiom Posted: October 03, 2021 at 09:57 PM (#6043431)
Thanks to his relief stint today Rodriguez finished with 13 wins. Still under, but that was close.

I was 2 Rodriguez wins, 1 Sale start, and a whole lot of Verdugo performance away from getting all the overs & unders right. That's a long way of saying I got stuff wrong, but I was reasonably close to getting stuff right.
   28. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 03, 2021 at 10:30 PM (#6043436)
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


Maybe the biggest part of his season is that he banged out 31 starts. Had I put an over/under on that line it would have been around 25-26 and I probably would have taken the under. It wasn’t always pretty but the Sox needed that.
   29. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 04, 2021 at 08:52 AM (#6043466)
To Jose's point in #28, I would say the biggest surprises of the season included:

1) That the starting rotation pretty much never experienced an injury (beyond Sale's recovery):
Eovaldi made 32 starts
ERod made 31 starts
Pivetta made 30 starts
Richards and Perez each made 22 starts, but only because of ineffectiveness, not injury
Houck (13) and Sale (9) pretty much took over those starts once they were ready
There were three "COVID starts" - one each by Peacock, Seabold, and Crawford

2) Whitlock, of course, was arguably the biggest surprise - and did he look good in the season finale yesterday!

3) The whole outfield was a surprise, really: Verdugo does not seem to have progressed any further, and I suspect this is what he is - a solid player who hits righties very well, and as long as he is not costing you too much money, can be a starting outfielder on a very good team. I did not appreciate how good Hernandez's defense could be; and Renfroe's sustained power, and sufficient ability to get on base, made him a real surprise to me.

Not a surprise? Pretty much the catchers, Dalbec (overall; he was a lot worse than I thought he'd be until he suddenly became way better than I thought he could be), Devers and Xander - they are all pretty much what most fans thought they would be, right? And 2B is what we thought it would be - we haven't exactly solved the hole there, but Arroyo looks like a decent answer until one of the internal solutions is ready (either Downs or Yorke). JD Martinez is a little like Dalbec - if you look at the final numbers, they are probably around what you'd expect - but it was quite a roller coaster to get to those numbers. I do think Martinez is getting a little toasty.
   30. Darren Posted: October 04, 2021 at 10:29 AM (#6043488)
JD Martinez is a little like Dalbec - if you look at the final numbers, they are probably around what you'd expect - but it was quite a roller coaster to get to those numbers. I do think Martinez is getting a little toasty.


I too have started to get a little concerned about Martinez, so I did a little study to see how guys in his position aged. First, I had to come up with a list of comps. So what I did was I looked at every 33-year-old Boston DH who had 28 HR and 99 RBIs. On average, here's what that group did after age 33:

7 seasons, 4,036 PA, 224 HR, 700 RBIs, .292/.383/.562, 151 OPS+, 25.3 WAR.

So this very careful statistical analysis clearly shows he's be great!
   31. pikepredator Posted: October 04, 2021 at 02:40 PM (#6043548)
Can't argue with those numbers!! Fangraphs is probably publishing a similar article right now.

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