Should the Sox Choo Choo Choose Choo?

Everyone likes to get the guy they think no one else notices. Until of course, they realize everyone notices them. Thus is the reality around Cleveland Indians Right Fielder Shin-Soo Choo. Over the course of the last year or so, Choo’s officially become the kind of player who’s so underrated, that he’s not. It’s hard […]

Josh Reddick Got the Call…in August

On September 1st, with the expansion of major league rosters from 25 to 40 players, many minor leaguers get the call to the big leagues. Some for teams in contention that use the expanded roster space for depth. Some for teams out of the race that want an up-close and personal look at their top […]

Defense starts to silence the critics

June 06, 2010: Adrian Beltre in action during the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 extra inning walk off win versus the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.

After an off season that centered around pitching and defense we had the standard jokes this April, but since May those jokes have not been able to joke about defense. There has been some trouble finding solid options in left field and center field, but the defense has solidified to hold up its end.

According to UZR/150 the defense has been worth 6.0 runs for every 150 defensive games played. Last year the team was worth only 0.5 runs for every 150 games. Depending on how many innings they total that could be an improvement of 30-40 defensive runs.

Injuries Mounting, Boof Bonser to the Rotation? Nava Who?

Boston Red Sox Daniel Nava (R) is congratulated by teammates Jason Varitek, Adrian Beltre (29) and Darnell McDonald (54) in front of Philadelphia Phillies catcher Brian Schneider after hitting a grand slam during the second inning of their Interleague MLB baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts June 12, 2010.  REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Who is Daniel Nava?

The Sox have quite the interesting player on their hands.

With injuries to outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeremy Hermida, and Mike Cameron forcing the BoSox to dig deep into the minors once again, the Sox may have caught lightning in a bottle for the second time this season.

Darnell McDonald admirably filling in for Hermida and Cameron, the Sox promoted Daniel Nava to the bigs on Saturday to take over Josh Reddick’s fourth outfielder spot.

Like McDonald, Nava wasted no time endearing himself to fans — connecting for a grand slam on the first pitch of his MLB career Saturday, leading the Sox to a 10-2 win over Philadelphia.

Nava, 27, has had quite the journey to the Majors. Making his professional debut for the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League in 2007, Nava impressed the scouts with a bit of speed (18 SBs in 20 attempts), pop (12 home runs in 314 plate appearances), and plate discipline (48 BB : 42 Ks) while with Chico. Signed by the Sox in 2008 at the age of 25, Nava kept rolling with hi-A Lancaster. Slugging 10 homers in 379 plate appearances to go along with a very impressive .341/.424/.523 line, the outfielder’s plate discipline (43 BB : 70 K) carried over to affliated ball as well.

Daisuke Rolling, Ellsbury Back, Colorado Catchers

Red Sox' starting pitcher Matsuzaka walks to the dugout at the end of the first inning of their MLB American League baseball game against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York

Daisuke Rolling

With all the issues the Red Sox rotation has faced this season, there is nothing better than to see Daisuke Matsuzaka stepping up into at the right time. Throwing a one-hitter in Philadelphia on Saturday, there has been some speculation that Daisuke may be taking that long-awaited leap to respectability.

However, other than two stellar starts sandwiching his New York meltdown, there has been a little to be excited about this year. Daisuke just hasn’t changed at all from years past to indicate that any sustainable change is in the works.

His zone percentage at a career low (46.4 percent), his first-strike percentage largely unchanged (56.6 percent in 2010 v 59.5 percent, career), and his zone contact percentage in line with his career line (84.9 percent, 2010 v 84.2 percent, career), it seems we are dealing with the Daisuke of old again this season.

The Boston Red Sox and What It Means to Spend Wisely

Roush Fenway Racing Unveils Boston Red Sox Car

There is a difference between the Red Sox and nearly every other team in baseball – and it’s pretty obvious. How lucky are our home town fans, that our very own Boston squad has significantly more money to spend on players most other teams. Actually, all but one – but who’s counting. Too bad they’re in our division. But that’s alright, so long as we use our resources wisely.

So, what is using our resources wisely?

From the Red Sox’ perspective, it’s much different from most teams. Over the past five seasons, the team’s highest budget was $143 million, registered in 2007. We’ll save spectulating on this year’s budget, which will be quite high, as there could still be some maneuvering left to go, and the value of free agents and draft picks in this economy is yet to be determined. Therefore, we’ll treat 2007 as the team’s theoretical budget through which to speculate on how the team can formulate its spending practices.

Citing the research of analyst Keith Woolner, a theoretical replacement level team would win approximately 44 games. Putting this in perspective, this standard of futility is comparable to the some worst teams of all time, including the 2003 Detroit Tigers (43-119), the 1962 Mets (40-120), and 1952 Pittsburgh Pirates (42-112).

After seeing this, two thoughts come to mind. One, wow, how far have the Mets come since that

disturbingly dreadful inaugural season 47 years ago. The other, what in the hell happened to the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, who found a way to produce a 20-134 record (.130 win percentage) and be doomed to the annals of worst team in MLB history. Ouch. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, only 3,179 fans attended the team’s first 16 home games…

Ellsbury’s time to stand up and deliver

When you think of a high powered offense, a few traits often come to mind; a table setter, a professional hitter, power at the clean up spot, and depth at the bottom of the order. 

Thinking more specifically about recent Red Sox history and the potent offenses past, there have been players within the lineup to hit each of these roles. From Johnny Damon to David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, rounded out with batting champions like Bill Mueller bringing up the tail, the “post-Theo” lineup has been as potent as any in baseball.

Looking more closely at this season, the Red Sox offense has been a top five unit. Scoring 472 runs with a .792 team OPS is impressive, especially considering the slow start of David Ortiz, extended slumps by Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and Jason Bay.

Looking up and down the lineup, the Red Sox have top ten OPS from all spots in the lineup aside from two. With David Ortiz’ monumental slump to start the season while in the three hole, it shouldn’t be a surprise that #3 is was one of the culprits.

The other culprit? The leadoff spot.

Should Jacoby Ellsbury be leading off?

MLB: APR 12 Red Sox at Angels

Entering last night’s game against the Indians, Jacoby is hitting .291/.323/.350 on the season. Now, the season is early but his numbers are eerily similar to last year’s, when he hit .280/.323/.350.

He’s been torrid on the basepaths and has 15 swiped bags on the season, but the .323 OBP is not worthy of being a leadoff man.

Should he be moved out?

Poll: What early season situation most concerns you?

New Poll Question:
What early season situation most concerns you?
We all know that the season hasn’t started off firing on all cylinders. It’s also fair to assume that Dustin Pedroia won’t bat under .200 over the course of the season, so over-analysis at this point is slightly futile. That said, there are a few things that are or could be concerning moving forward. Which of the following early season outcomes could be most detrimental to the team over the long haul?
– Jon Lester’s 9.00 ERA
– David Ortiz’ slow start (.173/.293/.206)
– Jacoby Ellsbury’s OBP struggles from the leadoff spot (.254)
– Jed Lowrie’s injured wrist
– Daisuke Matsuzaka’s arm fatigue

The good, the bad, and the Tek

Early season series against top flight division rivals are always difficult to measure. It’s been said time and time again that the Red Sox, Rays and Yankees are likely to play themselves all around .500 against each other by the time this season shakes out and the team that outperforms against the rest of their schedule has the upper hand in the race for the division. That said, it’s never easy to swallow being beaten in your own house by a team you’ll be battling with all season long.

Given that it was the first three games of the season, a whopping 1.9% of the full slate of regular season games, it’s difficult to draw any firm conclusions without being beaten over the head with comments about sample size. But as it is the regular season and no longer the fruitless analysis of in game Spring Training analysis, it is fair to point out a few things that were both good and bad omens, directionally speaking.

Red Sox Madness Final Four: Beckett vs. Lester

The first half of our ongoing Red Sox Madness tournament is in the books and #1 seed Dustin Pedroia will represent the offense against the winner of today’s Josh Beckett/Jon Lester matchup in the final. Pedroia took fellow tablesetter Jacoby Ellsbury down with relative ease in the first Final Four matchup. Ellsbury’s cinderella run came to an end after knocking off #2 seed Jason Bay and #1 seed David Ortiz.
Today we turn our attention to the starting rotation as we pit #1 seeds Jon Lester and Josh Beckett against each other in a battle that should enlighten Red Sox Nation’s perspective on the “true ace”. Which starting pitcher is more important to the overall team’s success?

Remember, the simple question is “who’s success is more important to the overall success of the Boston Red Sox in 2009?” Vote away after the jump!

Red Sox Madness Final Four: Ellsbury vs. Pedroia

After two grueling rounds of match ups, we now know the Final Four contestants in the first annual Red Sox Madness tournament. In a late run, (primarily thanks to Paul and I’s get out the vote campaign for Jon Lester in last night’s podcast), Jon Lester eeked out the closest battle of the tourney yet over Kevin Youkilis 45-42. Lester will battle fellow #1 seed and starting pitcher Josh Beckett in the second of our Final Four matchups.

The top half of the draw pits the top two hitters in the Red Sox lineup. Which tablesetter’s success means more to the Red Sox chances in 2009? Is it the upstart #3 seed Jacoby Ellsbury or the reigning AL MVP and #1 seed Dustin Pedroia?

Remember, the simple question is “who’s success is more important to the overall success of the Boston Red Sox in 2009?” Vote away after the jump!

Red Sox Madness Round 2: Pedroia vs. Papelbon

The first #1 seed has fallen in the 2009 Red Sox Madness tournament. Jacoby Ellsbury continued his Cinderella story this tournament as he knocked off the overall #1 seed David Ortiz in a 55-46 shocker and becomes the first entrant to the Final Four.

Today we move on to the next second round matchup featuring the reigning AL MVP, Dustin Pedroia, against one of the most dominant pitchers in the game, Jonathan Papelbon. Think there will be any trash talking between these two?

Remember, the simple question is “who’s success is more important to the overall success of the Boston Red Sox in 2009?” Vote away!

Poll: Better or Worse: Jason Varitek’s Average in 2009

New Poll Question: Better or Worse: Jason Varitek’s Average in 2009?
Coming off a career low batting average of .220 in 2008 and one of the lowest averages for a primary catcher in the past ten years, will Jason Varitek be able to right the ship and break the .240 barrier this season? Vote in the poll to the left and give your community projection for Varitek here. Find out how you all responded to our previous poll, “How many bases will Jacoby Ellsbury steal in 2009?” after the jump.