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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Over and Under

With just Ted Williams days until Opening Day for the 2022 season I thought I’d throw out a few non-sensical over/unders for the Boston Red Sox for this season.

Team Wins - 86.5 - I’m a bit hesitant to be super-optimistic about this team.  Part of it is I still have concerns about the pitching staff and part of it is the American League East is going to devour itself.  I think there are four teams in the division that are true 90 win talent teams but because those four teams will play 57 games against such high quality opposition someone is going to get chewed up.  I think Toronto is probably the best team in the division but I don’t think any of the four should be seen as a lock for a particularly high win total.

Jose Says - I’ll take the over without a lot of conviction.

Triston Casas Games Played - 59.5 - Casas is almost certainly getting a look this year but I wonder when exactly it will be.  I won’t be surprised if he’s nailed on for a regular spot by Memorial Day and I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t get meaningful time until September.  A lot will hinge on not just his performance but that of Bobby Dalbec at first base.  If Dalbec can be the hitter we saw in the second half last year obviously the need for Casas will be mitigated.

Jose Says - I’ll take the under.  The Sox tend to be patient with prospects.

Chris Sale Starts - 18.5 - Well not the start to the season the Sox wanted from their lanky lefty.  Early reports seem positive on his rehab from the rib injury and late May should be a reasonable target.  With the additional post-season spots the Sox may be able to be a bit more conservative with him.

Jose Says - Under.  It’s Chris Sale, betting on health for Chris Sale is ALWAYS a “take the under” scenario.

Jackie Bradley Jr. OPS+ - 90 - JBJ is a funky dude, you never quite now HOW he is going to get to his end point but he kind of always gets there.  He’ll go through his 1 for 46 with 25 K stretches then he will hit .425/.525/.625 for a month then just as suddenly it will turn off again.  He is kind of a knuckleballer as a position player.  The Sox know what’s going to happen and know that if they let it ride he will be OK.  The catch for Jackie this year is the presence of Jarren Duran in the minors.  Duran looks ready to not be a AAA player anymore but struggled badly in the bigs.  If Jackie gets off to a bad start and Jarren is hitting in Worcester the Sox patience may be limited (and rightly so).

Jose Says - Take the under.  Father time is undefeated and while I love Jackie Bradley he’s 32 and coming off a true horror show of a season.

JD Martinez Home Runs - 32.5 - After clubbing 79 homers in his first two full seasons with the Sox JDM has managed just 35 in the last 222 games the team has played during his tenure and after a fast start last year seemed to fall off.

Jose Says - Over.  Jose is bullish on JD Martinez for 2022.

Rafael Devers WAR - 4.5 - In the last two full seasons the Sox have played Devers has posted a total 8.9 WAR.  So is he the stud destroyer of worlds and eater of pitchers we saw in 2019 or the very very good slugger we saw in 2021?

Jose Says - Over.  I think Devers turned a corner in the second half last year.  I am not sure why that happened but he looked like a player who realized he had every right to consider himself a star and the way he carried the team that final day of the season will carry into 2022.

Tanner Houck/Garrett Whitlock Combined Starts - 22.5 - I suspect the lion’s share of these will go Houck’s way but I won’t be at all surprised if Whitlock is a starter at some point and I won’t be at all surprised if he is a Papelbon-level shutdown closer at some point.  Hell I won’t even be surprised if he’s in AAA at some point.  Relievers man.

Jose Says - I’m going with the under here.  Not so much because I think either pitcher will pitch poorly but because Whitlock will be left entrenched as the whenever you need him multi-inning reliever (can we just call that a Stanley from now on?) and that will leave Houck look for 23+ starts which is a bunch.

And a few other prop bets if you will based on this season;

Marcelo Mayer ends season at AA - True/False? - Jose says false.  The excitement is real and warranted but having spent last year in rookie ball I think a Lo A—>Hi A path for 2022 is a best case.  If he’s at AA, woo-boy I think he just dominated.

Team Leader in saves - ??? - Jose says Hansel Robles.  Matt Barnes struggled so badly last year in the second half I just wonder what he has in him.  Robles seemed to endear himself to Alex Cora and I can see him being the guy.  Like last year it won’t shock me in the slightest if the team leader in saves is not currently on the roster…speaking of which…

Is Someone Not in the Organization in the Opening Day Lineup? - Yes/No - Jose says no but without much conviction. Chaim Bloom (in Chaim we trust!) has been none too subtle that he’s still working behind the scenes.  With the abbreviated off-season (thanks owners) some juggling might happen as teams look to settle their rosters and payrolls.

OK, mock at your leisure.

Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: March 30, 2022 at 10:47 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Darren Posted: March 30, 2022 at 01:44 PM (#6069663)
Yay, thanks for bringing this back.

Here are my guesses:

Team Wins, 86.5: Over. Tough one, but I'll go slightly over.
Triston Casas, 59.5 game: Under. I believe he'll get a half season in AAA, and then not play completely full time if/when called up.
JBJ, OPS+, 90: Under. Last year was really really bad. Really. Bad. I expect a bounce back but not back to his previous levels. Maybe 80. Enough so he has some value as a role player.
JD, 32.5 HR: He's on the decline a bit. I expect a slight dropoff from last year's 28 and maybe a slight reduction in playing time.
Devers, 4.5 WAR: Ugh, another tough number! I'm going to over, probably by only a little. But I could see him reaching a new level and crushing that number.
Tanner Whitlock, 22.5 starts: Over. I expect at least one of these guys to be in the rotation at any given time.
Mayer in AA: nope.
Saves leader: Barnes, but it may be close.
New Face in the Lineup Opening Day? Nope, this is the team.
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: March 30, 2022 at 02:07 PM (#6069668)
Team Leader in saves - ??? - Jose says Hansel Robles. 
This doesn't prohibit him from becoming team leader, but he is not even in camp yet due to visa issues.
   3. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: March 30, 2022 at 02:12 PM (#6069670)
Team wins, 86.5: I think about 88 - good enough to be in the WC hunt with a week to go, but probably not the division hunt.

Casas, 59.5 games: Under. The Red Sox seem to like Dalbac a lot more than I do (nothing personal, Bobby!). But if Dalbec is hitting .210 in late May, and Casas is tearing the cover off the ball in AAA, I suppose Casas could be up pretty early.

JBJ, OPS+ of 90: Under. I still do not get that trade. I get trading Renfroe. I get continuing to build prospect depth. And I get loving JBJ on a personal and organizational level. But he can't hit, and he makes a lot of money. And we still don't have three starting outfielders.

JD, 32.5 HRs: Under on anything JD Martinez-related. He had a lousy 2020. And his 2021 wasn't that good, folks. He had a white-hot April 2021, and then here were his stats after May 1st last year:

122 G, 522 PAs, 19 HRs, 73 RBIs, 41/126 BB/K, .271/.328/.472

Now, if you put that line on JBJ in 2022, you can deal with it, because you're getting a lot of defense,and JBJ is making less money that Martinez. But to clog up the DH position with a guy who is probably going to struggle to get you a .775 OPS, no defense, etc? If Dalbec and Casas are hitting the cover off the ball early in 2022, and Martinez struggles, I could see the team giving JD some time off, finding a "back injury", etc. But I think he's about toast.

Devers, 4.5 WAR: Over. I worry about Devers' long-term athleticism and ability to play third, but for the next few years? I'm glad we've got him through 2023.

Houck/Whitlock, 22.5 GS: Under, with one caveat. If the teams goes a stretch with more of a piggyback system for one or more of the SP slots, then you could see one or both of these guys being "openers". This would likely put them in the "over" category for this one, but doesn't mean they are being used truly as starters.

Mayer: Nope. I think he'll start 2023 at AA, but end 2022 in high-A.

Saves leader: Barnes. I feel good that he'll be back, with a more managed workload early in the season.

New Face for Opening Day: There's got to be another outfielder coming in this week, right? Please?

Finally, a bonus two to offer up:

1) "If the Red Sox win the division, 95 games, and get to the World Series this year, what things(s) happened to make it so?"
It would probably mean they solved their third OF problem in a big way; Dalbec and Casas likely contributed quite a bit this year at 1B/DH or something; Barnes had a legit bounceback year as the closer; the starting rotation was as healthy as they were in 2021; Sale came back had 20+ vintage Sale starts; but basically, the starting pitching was a lot better than I think it will be.

2) "If the Sox finish under .500 this year, what happened to make it so?"
They got little offense from RF, 1B, or catcher; poor health in the starting rotation; Story struggled to acclimate; basically, the team got extraordinarily lucky on the health and durability of their starting pitchers. A lot of them weren't that good (Pivetta, ERod, Richards, Perez, etc were durable...and really average, as a group), but as they say, the best ability is availability. If you take similar levels of performance, but make it a lot less healthy, then it means a few dozen starts are going to your 7th or 8th best option...which is not good enough to consistently win, especially if a third of your lineup isn't giving you offense. That's my worst-case scenario.
   4. villageidiom Posted: March 30, 2022 at 02:17 PM (#6069671)
Team Wins (86.5) - UNDER.
Triston Casas Games Played (59.5) - UNDER.
Chris Sale Starts (18.5) - UNDER.
Jackie Bradley Jr. OPS+ (90) - UNDER.
JD Martinez Home Runs (32.5) - UNDER.
Rafael Devers WAR (4.5) - OVER.
Tanner Houck/Garrett Whitlock Combined Starts (22.5) - OVER.
Marcelo Mayer ends season at AA - False
Team Leader in saves - Barnes
Is Someone Not in the Organization in the Opening Day Lineup? - No

I'm pegging them at 86 wins. They are a good team, but too many other teams have made more significant improvements this year. 86 wins might still be good enough for 3rd place in this division.

I think with the bat Devers might make 6+ WAR, which will be enough to offset further slight declines in defense.

This is not a threat, but some starter in addition to Sale is going down for significant time. The scenarios that get Whitlock and Houck out of the bullpen are the ones where they need long-term coverage for the rotation.

Barnes will be back. I think last year he felt the pressure of the contract extension and it got into his head a bit. The good news is he pretty much has recognized that was the problem, which should have made it easier to address it in the offseason. His stuff still plays if he commands it, which I think he will.
   5. villageidiom Posted: March 30, 2022 at 02:33 PM (#6069672)
Bonus two:

1) "If the Red Sox win the division, 95 games, and get to the World Series this year, what things(s) happened to make it so?"

The other teams in the division simply not getting it done, either due to injury or other implosion. I seriously don't think there is a path this year to 95 wins unless the other teams cede it to them. Mind you, with expanded playoffs Boston might actually get there, and if things break right they could win the Series. They are good enough to have a shot at beating the best teams in a short series. But 95 wins and the division? No. They don't just need things to go right for themselves (esp. with pitching), but more so they need things to go wrong for the other teams.

2) "If the Sox finish under .500 this year, what happened to make it so?"

I was going to say "injuries" but I don't even a reasonably bad injury season will do it. I think it would be a combination of early injuries keeping them far underwater through the trade deadline, and then Bloom going into sales mode with the impending free agents (Hernandez, Martinez, Eovaldi if healthy) and maybe Bogaerts.
   6. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: March 30, 2022 at 03:02 PM (#6069677)
I hadn't really thought about the "deadline seller" scenario, which is possible (though the extra WC slots make it easy to be "in the playoff hunt" in late July, even if you're a little under .500).

Also, I think the injury that would hurt the team the most would be Eovaldi. I know 11-9, 3.75 ERA doesn't scream "Wow," but he was (by modern standards) a real workhorse last year. He was excellent in 2020 and 2021, and was probably one of the most valuable pitchers in the AL last year. If he's healthy, he'll be very good; but if he is not healthy, it could go south in a hurry. Then, you're asking Houck/Whitlock to do more, which puts more pressure on the bullpen, and so forth...
   7. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: March 30, 2022 at 03:02 PM (#6069678)
My parents are right behind the visitor dugout today. Apparently a snake was on the field and someone threw it into the stands. My mother was less than delighted.
   8. The Mighty Quintana Posted: March 31, 2022 at 10:58 AM (#6069767)
Team Wins, 86.5 wins: Over...hope springs eternal. This team is going to score runs, and should defend a little better than last year.
Triston Casas, 59.5 games: Under...what's the rush? I expect .250 30 85 from Dalbec.
JBJ, OPS+ 90: Under...just catch everything near you JBJ.
JD Martinez, 32.5 HR: Under...he's hitting the "pick his spots" stage of his career. Hoping a spike in OBP will offset any power loss.
Rafael Devers, 4.5 WAR: Over...he's a masher.
Houck/Whitlock, 22.5 starts: Over...and loving it!
Mayer in AA: No...Again, what's the rush?
Saves leader: Sawamura...please, anyone but Robles, my heart can't take that.
New Face in the Lineup Opening Day? with what we got.
   9. The Mighty Quintana Posted: March 31, 2022 at 04:50 PM (#6069834)
Chris Sale starts, 18.5: he was good, but that frame and delivery were never sustainable.
   10. Bad Fish Posted: March 31, 2022 at 11:26 PM (#6069903)
team wins - over, I have hope until facts prove otherwise. 93 wins;
Casas - under, Dalbec is going 325 ops/525 slg;
Martinez - under, he will have a servicable season, and has been a great signing, but can't fight father time;
Devers - over, great player whose tide is still coming in;
H/W - Over, one of them is a full time starter by the end of the year
Mayer - yes!
Saves leader - which ever one of H/W is not starting
new face - don't know
Sale starts - over, he starts 20-22 games
   11. John DiFool2 Posted: April 01, 2022 at 09:53 AM (#6069922)
I think Devers has a shot (outside shot, but a chance) at either the 50/50 club with Albert Belle or 60/40, with a possible run at Webb's double record.
   12. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: April 04, 2022 at 09:07 AM (#6070276)
Man if spring performance means anything Devers might do 70/70. The home run he hit yesterday, if you didn't see it find it. It was just ####### stupid. 0-2 pitch down at his feet inside corner. Catcher dropped to block it, Raffy was out on his front foot and launched it 400 feet. Dave O'Brien and Tony Mazz were invoking Vladimir Guerrero (the old guy) and with good reason.
   13. Darren Posted: April 05, 2022 at 04:58 PM (#6070441)
I conveniently left out Sale earlier so.... under! :)
   14. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: April 26, 2022 at 02:06 PM (#6073790)
Under on everything, except for how many pitchers will be used in the starting rotation this year: 15.

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