Hot Coco

So how did we not include the resurgent Coco Crisp in our earlier post on RSN?  Crisp is on the rebound from his atrocious start, making plays with the glove and slapping it nicely at the plate. To wit:  since April 14th, when Coco was hitting a whopping .110, our amiable centerfielder is 13 for his last 39, with 5 multi-hit games.   He’s raised his average to .236 (not that impressive a number in and of itself, but trending upward, healthily), and at this point he’s stolen four bases in four tries and has scored 13 runs (in 21 games on the season).  This all makes us very, very happy: we were rooting for Crisp all throughout his infuriating and confusing slump, and we think we’re finally seeing the player the Sox expected.  Kudos to Tito for letting Crisp work things out, and even more kudos to Crisp himself.  We hope he keeps it up.

[ED: Rob Bradford details Crisp’s comeback here.  HT to Paul for the link.]

23 comments… add one
  • Incidentally, the relevant story on this comes from FOYFSF Rob Bradford in his new job at the Herald:

    Paul SF May 3, 2007, 11:29 am
  • Thanks for the story, Paul. I put up a link to Bradford’s story in the main post.

    SF May 3, 2007, 11:32 am
  • Quick off-topic inquiry.
    I have a new night job, which means I’m missing live baseball. I hadn’t missed a game all April, and now I’m not in a position to watch on anything but the weekends (barring the latter half of Sox in 2, a poor replacement).
    I guess my question is, how good is MLB.TV? Should I just get a TiVo? Or should I suck it up, save my money, and watch Sox in 2?

    Kazz May 3, 2007, 1:51 pm
  • I have a couple of suggestions:
    1: Get a Tivo
    2: Get a Tivo

    attackgerbil May 3, 2007, 2:01 pm
  • “I guess my question is, how good is MLB.TV? Should I just get a TiVo?”
    If it’s one or the other, do the TiVo. Just cuz TiVo’s f*cking awesome. MLB.TV doesn’t give me many problems, but it will depend heavily on your connection speed. Probably worth a try, but make sure your connection at work is at least as fast as a solid DSL connection–DSL speed can actually vary quite a bit depending on where you are and what service you have–or cable.
    Back to Coco…hate to be a Negative Nancy…but I’m not totally sure this is legit, as I mentioned in (I think) yesterday’s game thread. Many of his hits have come on balls bunted or hit into the dirt; that double he hit last night off of Marshall bounced in front of the plate and over Chavez’s head. His GB% is still disturbingly high, at %52.5, while his LD% has improved a tiny bit to a still-meager %13.6. Pedroia’s LD% is %17.6, which gives you an idea of how unfair baseball can be…heh. (Oddly enough, Coco hit two liners very hard last night, one was dropped for an error the other was an out, while both hits came on the ground).
    It’s not all bad, though. He’s had an abnormally high BABIP the last few weeks, but since it was abnormally low in the first few, he’s evened out at a normal .302. He’s hitting the ball a lot harder, on the ground or not, and made solid contact three times yesterday. Further, if he’s able to keep dropping those beautiful bunts down the line for basehits, fielders will have to play in on him leaving the door open for more bloops and hard grounders to sneak through. In that sense he might be able to surive with the poor GB%, thanks to his great speed.
    Oh, and I think this might be the best defensive outfielder we’ve had since…I don’t even know. No question in my mind he’s better then Damon ever was. Johnny made his share of nice catches, but I think Crisp takes much better routes to the ball.

    desturbd1 May 3, 2007, 2:16 pm
  • I actually have both because I’m a junkie. And tivo is indeed awesome, but my only problem with tivo is trying to keep from finding out the score after the game is over. Seems that when I’m trying my hardest not to ruin the outcome, the score seems to pop up everywhere. But if you’re at work where you can log in, MLB.TV is a great option. TIVO is good for more than baseball though.
    d1 – You’re so dead on with Coco’s defense. He’s made some phenomenal reads out in CF this year already. He’s absolutely saved a few runs.

    ToddSF May 3, 2007, 2:23 pm
  • Coco Crisp is NOT a good center fielder, despite your having seen himmake 2 diving catches in 2 days. Accordint to Harball times, his Zone Rating in 2006 in CF was dead last among 10 qualifiers in the AL at .780. Corey Patterson was first at .870 and Johnny Damon was middle of the pack at .825. (Thier zone rating methodology is pretty simple- taking the number of plays made divided by “BIZ”, a standard measure of balls in the players defensive zone.)
    While imperfect, this is much better and objective than trusting your eyes because it takes into account positioning, good/bad jumps etc. It is alos the same measure that is frequently used to malign Derek Jeter, who might look great at the end of plays that other shortstops would make routinely. Same thing at work for Coco (and Bernie Williams). FWIW, Jeters rating at SS last year was .805 vs. the league leader’s (Alex Gonzalez) .855.
    The difference between Coco’s .78 and Damon’s .825 is pretty significant. At about 1000 balls in the centerfielders zone in a season, that is 45 outs.

    Michael May 3, 2007, 2:42 pm
  • OK Michael, well according to David Pinto’s Probabalistic Model of Range, he was No. 1 in range among CF’s last season, though his overall defensive effectiveness was somewhat compromised by his poor throwing arm. The same model had Jason Giambi, Manny, and Jeter at the bottom of their respective positions, so it’s not like he’s getting weird results. Further, if all THT takes into account is the number of balls hit into a player’s zone, I trust Pinto’s numbers a hell of a lot more, as it accounts for the type of ball put in play and not just its location; grounder, liner, fliner, etc., as well as how hard the ball was hit.
    “Coco Crisp is NOT a good center fielder, despite your having seen himmake 2 diving catches in 2 days.”
    I wonder if I sound that arrogant and condescending when I try to explain sabermetrics to casual fans. I hope not…

    desturbd1 May 3, 2007, 2:54 pm
  • Oops…a caveat. Coco actually finished second, just behind Ichiro. But he had more time in CF then Suzuki did.

    desturbd1 May 3, 2007, 2:56 pm
  • “I wonder if I sound that arrogant and condescending when I try to explain sabermetrics to casual fans.”
    Not at all.
    I haven’t seen many games this year, but last year I felt like there were a ton of balls that Coco should have got to but didn’t, almost like he was taking bad routes at times.
    And if he really had the best range of CFs, why would Cleveland have moved him to LF rather than Sizemore? His arm?

    Tyrel SF May 3, 2007, 3:15 pm
  • Sizemore? His arm?
    That and, well, it’s Sizemore. You give him what he wants, and if that’s CF, so be it. You move somebody!
    I think I spelled that wrong, but no time to check!

    Brad May 3, 2007, 3:23 pm
  • Because Sizemore’s a much better player. There’s not one team out there that wouldn’t take him if they had the chance.
    Coco’s fielding gets bashed a lot, but every time it does, I remember the catch he made against David Wright last year. You can throw all the stats you want at me, a shitty fielder does NOT make that play. Most really good fielders don’t make that play.

    Steve May 3, 2007, 3:24 pm
  • The question wasn’t why trade Coco and not Sizemore, but why move Coco out of CF if he’s the better fielder, which the range factor stats D1 threw out there seem to suggest. Of course Sizemore is a stud, but he’d be a stud LF too. Coco, not so much.

    Tyrel SF May 3, 2007, 3:31 pm
  • “His arm?”
    I’d think so. You want your weakest arm in LF, after all.
    A link to Pinto’s CF chart for 2006. The way it works is that, based on hit data collected since (I think) the early 90’s, each type of ball hit to a specific section of each ballpark has a certain probability of falling in for a hit. Pinto’s model looks at how many outs the fielder makes compared to how many outs an average fielder was statistically expected to make; Coco does very well, and the only AL CF who ranks higher on this chart is Ichiro.
    FWIW, Sizemore ranks as one of the worst in terms of range; I’d imagine his arm makes up for it a bit. It is interesting that THT has Crisp and Sizemore flip-flopped compared to Pinto’s numbers. I wouldn’t bet the house on either model being 100% accurate; my point was simply that there is some statistical evidence in support of Crisp’s play in CF. I also wonder whether THT’s park factor for Fenway is a little screwy, because Damon somehow went from worse than Crisp in 04 to quite a bit better then him in 05, and better still in 06 with the move to Yankee Stadium. Which makes very little sense to me.

    desturbd1 May 3, 2007, 3:45 pm
  • Not sure how much you want to read into this, but…
    On BP, (with 100 being normalized/average, whatever you want to call it), Coco was an even 100 on Rate2 last season, and 122 through 20 games this season (in CF). In Cleveland, he averaged out to a 110 according to Rate2 in LF.
    For reference, JD’s high water mark for Rate2 in CF was “in the year 2000…” in KC, and he’s been ticking downward (a point or two) since, for the most part. He was at 95 last season.
    Sizemore was an even 100 in CF last season, and is at 98 for his short career (as opposed to 102 for JD in his career and 94 for Coco in his career (in CF only)).
    Honestly, a lot of the statistics (errors, assists, rate2, PMR) (Sizemore was bottom middle in PMR last season, with Damon and Crisp both above expectations), suggest that the whole Crisp v. Sizemore defense in CF things equates to a wash, Damon is trending downward in some areas, and the jury should still be out on whether Crisp is more than an adequate CF. (I think he is, but I’m not sure there’s enough out there on him to say either way)

    QuoSF May 3, 2007, 4:02 pm
  • Fielding metrics are still almost as unreliable and iffy as anything else. Better then the ol’ FPCT, but there’s so much inconsistancy that it’s hard to imagine we’ll ever have a truly objective way to rank defense.
    Way I see it, if all the models say somebody sucks, he probably sucks. If they all say he’s average or better, he’s probably average or better. Beyond that there’s no way to get anything exact.

    desturbd1 May 3, 2007, 4:12 pm
  • I am not sure I buy David Pinot’s probabilistic model but haven’t studied it enough to make definitive commentary on it.
    I am, however, quite skeptical that it rates as #1 and #2 outfielders that were played at the corners by their own team.
    The zone rating is a little dodgy too, but is generally the first thing I look at since it is more generally accepted.

    Michael May 3, 2007, 5:43 pm
  • “I am, however, quite skeptical that it rates as #1 and #2 outfielders that were played at the corners by their own team.”
    According to some M’s fans, Ichiro played RF because he refused for a long time to switch to CF. Like they asked him if he would…and he didn’t want to, finally agreeing to last season.

    desturbd1 May 3, 2007, 5:48 pm
  • Why is CCs ZR so low?
    It is a pretty basic measurement. Is there any other stat that supports the Pinto model?

    Michael May 3, 2007, 5:58 pm
  • Quick quick quick q.
    Does MLB.TV show NESN’s broadcast or something else?

    Kazz May 4, 2007, 12:48 am
  • It seems random to me, Kazz. I thought for a while it showed the home team’s broadcast, but today it used YES in the Yankee/Rangers game. I’ve been getting NESN most of the time, but have also been forced to watch a few others.

    desturbd1 May 4, 2007, 12:56 am
  • I see.
    I think my solution is going to be to switch to the morning shift so that I can watch the games live at home.
    It’s a difference of about $35 a week less in shift differential, but I am going completely insane. I hadn’t missed a game all year before I started this job. I blame Pap’s blown save and Matsuzaka’s bad start on myself. I’m sorry.

    Kazz May 4, 2007, 2:17 am
  • I know this conversation is a couple days old, but apparently D1 isn’t the only person who thinks Coco has been playing some great CF.

    Tyrel SF May 7, 2007, 1:59 pm

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