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 […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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?
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.