General Red Sox


First it was horrifying. Then it got interesting. Then confounding. Recently it has been exhilarating. But in summary, this season has just been weird.

2-10 followed by 20-10. 8 teams within a good week’s striking distance of the wild card. Nine teams with between 18 and 22 losses. Never-ending rain and games played in the fog. 40% of our team’s rotation on the DL, and 30% of the bullpen as well. Dustin Pedroia in a horrific slump, Kevin Youkilis striking out at an alarming rate, prized free agent signings playing like they would suck at tee-ball, catchers who might be better off sitting in deference to this thing.

And yet, the Sox are starting to look like contenders. There’s momentum. There’s a rejuvenated Jonathan Papelbon. There’s Jacoby Ellsbury hitting line drives everywhere. And, of course, there’s Adrian.

What a weird season it has been.

14 replies on “Weird”

The Sox are playing really well now and, more generally, seem to be very-well set up for years of strong contention. Having a couple of excellent young starters in their rotation is huge and if there were one place where I see the Yanks and Sox having diverged markedly over the past 2-3 years in a way that is concerning to me, it is in exactly that: where Buccholz/Lester are right now vs. where Joba/Hughes are. Moving from prospect to reality of great young starting pitching is invaluable and the Sox have done it with both of their prized pitching prospects where the Yankees, so far, have done it with neither, and havae in fact given up altogether on one. Now there are other prospects on the farm clearly – we got a nice peak at one last night in Noeci – but if Hughes does not eventually rebound – and indeed improve – over last year, the Yankees have a ton of rotations slots to fill.

Poor Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The man has a .711 OPS since April 30, which isn’t all that great, but it is better than Russell Martin (.649) and Matt Wieters (.674), among others, in that same (cherry-picked) timeframe.
Sox catchers have actually quite enjoyed the month of May. Varitek has a .745 OPS in the month, and Red Sox catchers are fifth in the American League in wOBA (.308), just behind the Orioles (.315) for best in the division since May 1.
Just more evidence that a month’s worth of evidence is not all that meaningful.

I was more commenting on their throwing abilities than their hitting abilities…not that I think their hitting abilities are anything special.

Wait a minute, we’re willing to ignore an entire month’s worth of data in favor of less than half a month’s? You’re better than that, Paul.

I’m discounting them both equally, and I’m using the contrast between them to illustrate why. If the past two weeks had happened during the first two weeks of April, the discussion about the teams’ respective catching situations would have been far different, and I suspect the lingering conversation would still be different, too. In the end, it’s still too early to say much of anything, other than statements like, “X is doing y so far.”
So, matter of fact statement: During the first month of the season, Red Sox catchers were among the worst in baseball. In the subsequent two weeks, however, they have been among the best in the league.

Not to nitpick, but May 1st through May 18th is more than half a month, not less. At least in calendar days.
By games it is thus:
Tek – 13 games with at-bats, 41 PAs
Salty – 15 games with at-bats, 55 PAs
Tek – 7 games with at-bats, 27 PAs
Salty – 11 games with at-bats, 36 PAs
In Tek’s case May’s sample is 66% the size of April’s.
In Salty’s case May’s sample is 65% the size of April’s.
Casting aside your chastising of Paul, he wasn’t even doing what you said he was doing, Andrew. The samples aren’t “less than half”.

Ok, I didn’t realize that the Sox were doing a 60/40 split of Salty/Varitek. My bad.
But I don’t think this shows that the Sox catchers are in any way less than terrible. Varitek has done *okay* in 27 PA splitted-up PA, but Salty’s 36 PAs have included one walk to nine strikeouts. Sorry, that’s horrendous, no matter who your competition is in that timeframe. By some fortitous chance, catchers around the league have been doing terribly in the month of May. That’s not a thing where catchers always do terrible in May and the Sox catchers are succeeding despite this, it’s just that the Sox catchers are doing slightly less horrible, and the other catchers are mired in a slump.
I’m not out to piss all over the Sox’s season – there have been definite humongous bright spots, like the top 3 spots in the rotation, Ellsbury, Adrian, the back end of the bullpen, etc, I’m sure I’m missing other parts. But let’s not take selective endpoints and fortuitous slumps by corresponding players in the rest of the league (I liked how you reduced it from ‘worst in baseball’ to ‘best in league’) to make the horrendous, nigh-irredeemable parts, like the catching tandem, show signs of capability. Saltalamacchia hasn’t shown himself capable of being anywhere close to viable in the majors for years, both offensively and defensively. He’s living on name alone at this point.
I don’t know why I made a big deal about this. I just hate selective end-point data that’s clearly being skewed to make it look better than it really is. I mean, come on. May is their *good* month, and they have a .308 wOBA. I don’t care that all the better catchers around the league have conveniently been slumping at the exact same time. It’s still just plain bad.

Any comparison that ignores one month of data in favor of two weeks is not only biased, it’s deliberately misleading. To start ranking players based on such poppycock boarders on idiocy. There’s a reason players are judged through the season’s performance. There, the Sox catchers are among the worst in baseball. There’s no hiding that sad fact. To say otherwise is like saying at least a shit sandwich has bread.
Russell Martin is the best catcher in baseball this year. He’s been that good some want to compare a terrible platoon to him starting, and excelling, every day!
Here’s the evidence:
Russell Martin at the top. The Sox catchers would be – even combining their impotence – at the very bottom. There’s no comparison.

I’m the one who’s defensive?
I’m not the one trying to make a case for two “hitters” in the 50 OPS+ territory.
Aren’t there better things to defend? Like a $130M LF with a .550 OPS?
Oh wait…
Seriously, the Sox have good players. Why get so defensive over the scrubs?

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