Saturday, March 13, 2010

Red Sox Preview

The season is less than two weeks away and I just don't know what to expect from this year's iteration of the Red Sox. The line up should be effective if not overpowering. Without a tremendous amount of pop, I think they could be prone to slumps. Home runs can mask some other offensive deficiencies if the rest of the bats aren't clicking. That's the luxury of having a player who can change the game with one swing. Youkilis, Martinez, and Drew have power that you have to respect, but they're not exactly Gehrig, Bench, and Mays. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if David Ortiz ends up on the bench for most of the year or if the Red Sox trade him before the deadline. He is flat done. Of course the way things are going, Theo will probably trade him for another pitcher.

The pitching on the other hand looks stacked. Lackey, Lester, and Beckett are as good a top three as you'll find anywhere. Manny Delcarmen and Daniel Bard will do well as the bridge to Jonathan Papelbon. Last year was Papelbon's worst season statistically, but I've read some things that indicate he's recommitted to working on his cutter. He relied too much on the fastball only in 2009. Of course, his worst season means a 1.85 ERA and 38 saves in 41 attempts. He just danced on the edge a little too often for me. This is a make or break season for Dice-K. Time to find out if he's a legit starter or a bust.

I read a lot about how the Sox have improved their defense. They may have some defensive upgrades (Adrian Beltre), but can anyone tell me what zone rating is!? As an observer, I don't think that Jason Bay was that bad in left. They tell me he cost the Sox a lot of runs. Maybe I was just used to Manny's buffoonery?

This will be a very different year for the Sox. Barring injury, they should win 90 games easily. I think the Sox brass will be looking to make a few more moves as the season moves on. I don't know who they could get, but another bat should be on their minds. In any event, it sure will be nice to come home from work, play outside with the boy, put him to bed, crack open a High Life, and turn on the Sox.


Dennis said...

Zone rating is the percentage of balls you reach compared to league average.

Dan said...

So, are there people watching footage of every ball put in play through out the major leagues taking into account all of the mitigating circumstances (did he trip? was it wet? was it windy?) and making a judgment call as to whether each play was makable and who should have made it? If they are I find that a very dubious statistic. I don't think there is any way, no matter how hard you try, to come up with an objective analysis of defense. Any stat would have to rely on some one's opinion of if the play could have been made or not. Plus you need hundreds of people to do this all with differing opinions.

Dennis said...

There are hundreds of people doing it, stats are big business these days.

As for the execution, it is a combination of people noting things like did he trip, was it windy, defensive alignment, etc., and computers noting things like distance and trajectory of balls, and where they landed in relation to the player.

But I believe you are falling victim to the biggest myth of the statistical revolution. This myth is that there are people sitting in their parent's basement with volumes of statistics claiming that they can tell everything about baseball through the numbers and never watch a game.

All this represents is a better way to measure defensive ability somewhat objectively. Zone rating is certainly not perfect, but it is much more useful than fielding percentage or amount of errors.

Joey said...

A trade for a bat is inevitable. I am fine with a strong move as long as it is not a band aid but a long term solution.