General Red Sox

The Dregs

In last night's gamer, SF made the following observation:

Kotchman/Green/Gonzalez at 1st/2nd/[SS]. This could be the shittiest hitting right/middle of the infield in Sox' history.

While it would require an immense amount of time and energy to go through the various double-play combinations the Sox have fielded in every game they've ever played, we can certainly determine if the Sox have ever had full-time starters as poor with the bat as Casey Kotchman, Nick Green and Alex Gonzalez (two of whom are, thankfully, not full-time starters).

Here is the OPS+ for 2009 for each member of the combo:

  • 1B: Kotchman – 98 OPS+
  • 2B: Green — 66 OPS+
  • SS: Gonzalez – 44 OPS+

The easiest place to look to see if this could be the worst-ever 1B/2B/SS combo would be in that era when the Sox fielded a lot of worst evers — the 1920s and very early 1930s.

Going in reverse chronological order, we find a lot of competitors:

  • In 1931, Bill Sweeney (88) played first, Rabbit Warstler (66) played second, and Hal Rhyne (86) played short.

  • In 1930, it was Phil Todt (91), Bill Regan (78) and Rhyne (38). Rhyne only got 335 appearances, but he was backed up at short by Warstler, who was even worse (37).

  • In 1929, that same trio went 81-91-71.

  • In 1928, Todt and Regan went 84 and 81, respectively, while Wally Gerber posted a 43 OPS+ at short.

  • In 1927, while the Yankees had Murderers Row, the Red Sox had one player who posted an OPS+ over 100 (outfielder Ira Flagstead had a 103). They went 61-88-97 from right to left at the three DP positions.

  • In 1926, it was 76-76-105.

  • In 1925, Todt posted a mediocre 97, comparable to Kotchman this season, while second baseman Bill Wambsganss posted a wretched 59, a little worse than Green, and shortstop Dud Lee posted a dudly 50, which is still better than Gonzalez.

  • The Sox had some decent first basemen in the early 1920s, but they started the decade with a flop: 82-64-79.

Simply adding the three OPS+ totals together, last night's trio combined for 208 points. The 1930 starters totaled 207. And in 1925, the starters totaled 206.

For the record, in 1925, the starting catcher posted a 76 OPS+ and the starting third baseman was at 97. No league-average hitters in the entire infield, and the team as a whole had a 77 OPS+.

I'm not sure whether this makes me feel better or worse. The Sox did indeed last night field a middle-right infield that ranks with the awfulness of the team's post-Frazee/pre-Yawkey dark ages, but those teams were fielding the equivalent of Kotchman, Green and Gonzalez every night. The Sox, we can all be glad, will more often than not down the stretch feature Victor Martinez (119 OPS+, 145 with Boston) or Kevin Youkilis (148) at first base, and Dustin Pedroia (105) at second.

4 replies on “The Dregs”

He’s supposed to be… and a quick check of the Globe’s blog says that he is indeed.
One of the odder lineups I’ve seen:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Victor Martinez, C
4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. David Ortiz, DH
7. Mike Lowell, 3B
8. J.D. Drew, RF
9. Alex Gonzalez, SS
— Jon Lester, SP
Definitely the A team, as far as the bats go. Perhaps the best lineup the Sox have had all year.

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