Friday, March 30, 2007

Catching Up

Mirabelli and Varitek struck out 27 times in a combined 73 at bats in spring training. That's a 36.98% clip. To be fair, they walked a combined 9 times. So in actuality it is 27 Ks in 82 plate appearances...a 32.92% clip.

Not good.

What about not combined?
Varitek 13 Ks in 39 at bats (.333)/ 13Ks in 44 plate appearances 29.54%
Mirabelli 14 Ks in 34 at bats (.411)/14 Ks in 38 plate appearances 36.8%

That's terrible.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

***news flash***news flash***

Dan Shaughnessy is an ass.

Seriously, that may be the worst article he's ever written. And that's some feat.

An Impartial Look at the Sox

With opening day less than a week away, it is time to really take a look at this Sox an impartial observer.

The rotation
It would be difficult to not expect a lot out of Schilling, Beckett, and Daisuke. Barring any injuries, it is not a stretch to think that each of them could pitch well enough to get to 15 wins. By the way, Daisuke was ticked about his last spring training start despite not giving up a hit. That's what I like to see...

Wakefield will probably be Wakefield. He'll go through streaks when he is untouchable, and get lit up at other times. 10-12 wins...That isn't unreasonable.

Tavarez. Definitely an unknown. He claims not knowing what his role was last year really threw him off. But if he pitches at .500 with a 5 or so ERA, would that be ok for a #5 starter? Probably.

The Bullpen
Papelbon's move to the pen helped to solidify this bunch. While weakening the starting rotation, it took the bullpen from a mess to fairly strong. Donnelly should be good as a setup guy. Romero has been very good this spring. Okajima has been very good this spring. Probably the most consistent of the bunch, and Piniero has seemed to settle in to a good stretch. That's 5 solid arms out there. Snyder makes the club to start the season as the swing guy, and should probably remain out there. However, Timlin's return is coming and it looks like Snyder will be the odd man out.

In terms of depth...Bryan Corey has been great this spring and Hansack was very good as well. They will both be in Pawtucket. Delcarmen will be there, too, as will Lester. Hansen, by the way, could probably use some AA time.

I would say that if this team has a lead in the seventh, that they should be in very good shape to close it out.

The Lineup
This is the area where most people have said they are most improved. But does that mean it is a good lineup?

Lugo and Youk should be productive as table setters.
Ortiz is Ortiz.
Manny is Manny.
And if Drew continues hitting like he has this spring, no pitcher will want to face the 1-5 in this lineup.

But it falls apart from there.

Sorry, that ain't gonna cut it. Tek has looked awful in camp at the plate sporting a .108 batting average. Lowell isn't much better at .184, only to be slightly outdone by the .188 Pedroia. Crisp isn't crisp at .167.

Of course, one could make the argument that Ortiz is only hitting .188 so far, but that isn't a very good argument. Why? Because you know Ortiz will tear the cover off the ball this season.

The bottom of this lineup is very weak and will be exploited. Not exactly sure what can be done to fix it (Hinske?). There just seems to be a lot of built in 1-2-3 innings for other pitchers throughout the season.

Just to magnify this a bit...Think about when Wake pitches and Mirabelli is now in the bottom of that lineup. Yikes!

The bottom of the lineup needs another bat.

Pretty strong defensively.

Crisp and Drew cover a lot of ground in the outfield. Crisp has a weak throwing arm. Manny is average in LF.

Youk is good enough at first base, Lowell is a vacuum at third, new double-play combo should be fine.

Hinske is a good option off the bench. If Crisp struggles, I wouldn't mind seeing him play some RF while moving Drew to CF.

Pena...after a strong start in spring, the holes have appeared again in his swing. Can he correct them?

Cora...always works the count. No pop. Tough at-bat, but no late inning heroics.

Mirabelli...don't even consider him as a pinch-hitting option.

So the overall analysis...
Strong starting rotation
Fairly strong bullpen
A step above average defense (will be fine)
Scary 1-5
Very weak bottom of the order
Average bench

Prediction? 91-71 as they are right now...
IF the bottom of the order is average (meaning Lowell has a year close to last year, Tek rebounds to .255 15HR, Pedroia hits .260, and Crisp hits .270) then I give them 95 wins. I don't think Crisp and Pedroia do that, though.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Papelbon back to the pen

I guess they were sick and tired of all the speculation and second guessing. I'm sure now the ESPN types will be saying how the Sox are now serious contenders. Hard to fathom that having a top pitcher now pitch 70 innings instead 170 makes you better in the long run. Hell, Todd Jones was the closer for a World Series team last year. I'm a bit surprised they didn't let it play out a little bit longer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Quote madness

I generally respect Joe Torre, even if I genuinely dislike almost all things Yankee.

"I thought some of the anger would subside,'' Torre said before the clubs played at City of Palms Park. "Sometimes you have to remind Red Sox fans they did win the World Series, but they still maintain that personality. I mean I love Boston, don't get me wrong, but the anger that has been built up there over the years, it's still the same. There is still a lot of resentment toward the Yankees and that's what fuels the whole rivalry.''

What a beauty. I guess it is all the Red Sox fans fault. Maybe Joe should try wearing a Sox hat and sitting in Yankee Stadium some night.

And normally I don’t even bother with what players have to say. For obvious reasons. But how about this one?

“We got stuck for a couple of years constantly replacing some of our older players with more older players,” Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi said. “That can only last so long. The way we’re going now will definitely help in the long run.”

Wait, wasn’t Giambi one of the replacements for old guys? Classic.

This is ridiculous

Dating is big business I guess, but this looks like it's going to be terrible. Check out the trailer - so bad.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Since he's never had a forum to express himself...

Okay, so as you all know, the last thing I'd want is to be constantly subjected to even more of his opinions, but even I have to admit that this is pretty damn cool. Not many athletes have the will/time/interest to even start something like this. And he's probably going to stick with it. So long as he stays on the subject of baseball, and his charity work, I'll be reading regularly. (Then again, if he goes all political on us in late 2008, that could be pretty amusing too.)

The Bullpen may look shaky......

But the starters have been lights out. Not counting Dice-K's and Beckett's outings against BC and NU, respectively, the starters have gone 25.1 innings 3 earned runs (1.06 ERA) 19 Hits, 5 BBs, 21Ks Only 1 HR. Not too bad.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Outfield Competition?

So far this spring, the Sox have shown that they've got some young kids that are probably only a year or so away from breaking into the bigs. Unfortunately, for most of them, there will be no place to play.

Unless the Sox can find a huge infield bat next off-season, Manny Ramirez will more than likely be back in LF. Lowell will be vacating third base (most likely), so you can get a 3b or 1b guy with a big bat. But you can't lose that power in the middle of the lineup.

So, what about the young guys? Moss, Murphy, and Ellsbury are having solid springs. Now, that doesn't translate all the time, but they are making contact and running the bases well. Ellsbury looks like one of the faster guys I've seen lately. And let's not forget about Wily Mo. Also having a great spring, and the power the Sox would need in the OF.

But with four talented players vying for a position that may or may not be there, it will probably mean trades for most of them.

From the looks of it, so far, the pen is looking "not good". Piniero was apparently pretty good yesterday, although I didn't see the game. My guess is that he is the closer when camp breaks. Timlin? Muscle spasms in spring training...Hansen (who was a question marks to make the team to start the season)? Nursing an injury. Delcarmen? Well, you can't tell from spring training pitching all the time (as guys will throw the same pitch 10 times in a row trying to fine tune location), but he hasn't looked good. Tavarez also hasn't looked that sharp, at least early on...

To recap the pen...Donnelly has been decent to good (not worried about him). Piniero I think will continue to improve (not worried about him). Okajim has been impressive. That's three guys out of a lot. They need depth in their pen if they want to win this year.

So, some of these guys will be dangled for trades. My question is, though...would it be Wily Mo to the Nationals with a Hansen or Delcarmen and another one of these outfield prospects for Cordero? That is a good off-season move, because there is time to look for another guy off the bench with power...Not now, though.

And, getting back to the earlier question...How do they make room for these guys over the next two years?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A glimpse ahead - A-Rod

There is a lot of talk about whether A-Rod will walk away from his contract. Sure the $81MM is a lot to walk away from. And he won't get $27MM per year. However, I do think he will opt out and sign a nice 7 or 8 year deal at $20MM per year. Maybe with the Angels or Dodgers. Or perhaps there is some wild card out there.

The two things they really can spin are a return to SS and that a long term deal allows Alex to finish his career somewhere. I can hear the Boras spin now "Alex and Cynthia have a young daughter who will be starting her education in a couple of years and they just thought as parents that it would be the right thing to do to secure her future and not have to uproot the family in the middle of her formative years. Mr. Moreno (or Mc Court or McGowan or whomever) have shown a commitment to Alex that he will be the cornerstone of the franchise while allowing him to return to his natural position. Additionally, making the sacrifice of forgoing the extra additional compensation he could have recieved on an annual basis shows that Alex is dedicated to winning and demonstrates that these decisions are not about being the highest paid player in the game or having the largest contract......"

We can sit hear and ask, who the hell will pay 160/8, but weren't we just asking that about Zito and Soriano? I'm too tired to look it up, but I would guess A-Rod has appeared in more all star games than the two of them combined. and you can probably throw Carlos Lee into the equation as well.