Saturday, February 20, 2010

24 comments Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, and Boston Red Sox 2010 Team Previews

I am feeling pretty excited about the Major League Baseball season that is coming up. In fact, I am going to make an attempt to do a (semi) in-depth preview of each MLB team for the upcoming season. I love to do bad journalism and I am of course not going to stop doing that, but I try to put up my predictions for the year before the new season begins in some sports. Major League Baseball is one of those sports. There is no guarantee I am going to finish each team's previews but I think since I have given myself until early April to do it and it is currently mid-February, I feel good about my ability to preview all the teams fairly in-depth before the new season begins.

Obviously some players are going to change teams between now and the beginning of the season, so my predictions for teams in February/early March may end up a little off since a player may be subtracted or added in that time. I am going to end up looking like an idiot for some of the things I say, but that's fine. Also, if you are a fan one of these teams and feel like I missed something, feel free to point it out. It's February and the rotation and lineup hasn't been nailed down quite yet, since Spring Training hasn't started and obviously I am relying on multiple rosters and reports about the team, but I could still miss something.

I am going in alphabetical order so today I am starting off with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, and Boston Red Sox.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Projected Lineup

Arizona got rid of Eric Byrnes this offseason so this team is really lacking grit (they still have other players to pick up the mediocre hitting. so don't worry) in the lineup. As a Braves fan, I also notice they have added Kelly Johnson and Adam LaRoche to their lineup and they are both left handed hitters which is something teams usually like. While Kelly Johnson is just not a good hitter, Adam LaRoche is better platooned until the 2nd half of the season when he hits incredibly well. Adding Kelly Johnson does nothing to get me excited about the D-backs. Maybe I am drawing a line in the sand, but this is the year the Baby D-backs need to start producing like they are supposed to and not underachieving. I am looking at you Chris Young, who was once considered another Andruw Jones, but nobody knew it was the post-2007 Andruw Jones. As much as I can't wait to see Justin Upton play this year, I am also going to be underwhelmed by Stephen Drew. Maybe it is not fair, but his last name is "Drew" and I expect him to go to his 2008 pace and not regress like he did last year. Getting back Conor Jackson is going to be key for the lineup obviously, and the lineup has so much potential, but color me speculative on whether it is going to be the type of lineup it was supposed to be in 2010.

Pitching Rotation

I am a sucker for good pitching. I love Dan Haren and I love Brandon Webb, but who doesn't? I was excited to see the D-backs picked up Edwin Jackson. With Webb being healthy and Jackson finally being a legitimate #3 starter I like the D-backs rotation. Of course I don't know about Billy Buckner as a 4th starter and Ian Kennedy never got a chance to show what he can do with the Yankees...unless he did get a chance to show what he could do, in which case he shouldn't be in the rotation for any team. I like the 1-3 spots but after that I think there are serious questions I have about this pitching rotation.


I love Bob Howry as a set up guy. He is a great set up guy, and I think he and Qualls are going to be tough at the end of the game. I wasn't sure Qualls could close full-time, but just looking at his statistics from last year it looks like he was up for the job. As far as the rest of the bullpen goes, I like Aaron Heilman, and honestly I would probably start him if I am the D-backs...there is no way he can be as bad as I predict Billy Buckner will be. Blaine Boyer is a homerun machine, or maybe it just felt that way last year, and the only left handed guy in the bullpen is a guy named Clay Zavada. He sounds like a bad guy from "Sons of Anarchy" not the main left handed reliever for a Major League baseball team. So basically I am saying I am not a huge fan of this bullpen.

What I Like

I like the 1-3 spots in the rotation and I love the potential of the D-backs lineup. I like Adam LaRoche in the lineup, of course I have always been a bigger fan of his than most people. I also think as much as I just ragged on Stephen Drew, a team could do a lot worse than him. I don't care for Chris Young and I just get this feeling the lineup should be absolutely lethal at this point. It is just not where I want it to be. Perhaps I bought into the Baby D-backs thing from a few years ago too much.

What I Don't Like

I don't like the back end of the rotation. It's not like it is full of guys who have potential, but it is two mid-20's guys who haven't proven anything in the majors yet. I would start Aaron Heilman if I were the D-backs, of course I have said he should be a starter for a couple of years, sometimes forgetting his value in the bullpen. He is a fairly valuable bullpen guy. Regardless I also don't like the D-backs bullpen in regards to LH pitchers and the options at the back end of the rotation.

Final record

You know what? After all that negativity, I am buying this year. I like the D-backs hitters, though I still believe they should be better than they are. If Edwin Jackson has the year he should have and Brandon Webb makes it all the way back from his injury last year this is a good rotation. I like the D-backs because I think this lineup is going to be fairly strong, the front end of the rotation looks good and I think the bullpen should hold up fairly well. I don't know if they can win the NL West but I think they are going to be much improved over last year.

Last year: 70-92
This year: 84-78

Atlanta Braves


The Braves did not have a very good hitting team last year. They tried to their best to improve the lineup as the season went along, but they never quite got the hitter they wanted or needed to win games. I feel the same way about this year's lineup. Brian McCann is not a cleanup hitter, but it looks like he may be put in that spot again this year. Chipper Jones was healthy for most of the year and he had one of the worst years of his career. Naturally the Braves signed him to a contract extension even though he is on the downside of his career (not that I disagree, I just needed to point this out). I love Yunel Escobar (underrated guy in my mind), Jones, and McCann, but other than that I have problems with the lineup. Trusting in Troy Glaus to rebound from injuries this year seems like a desperation move to me and if he gets hurt who plays 1B? The best thing the Braves could do is use go ahead and play Jason Heyward if he wins the job out of spring training and worry about him being a Super Two later. The entire OF has no power and this offense needs as much help as it can get. Sure Nate McLouth may have a good year powerwise, but a great team doesn't have Nate McLouth as their best hitting outfielder.

Pitching Rotation

Other than trading their best pitcher last year for a 4th OF in Melky Cabrera the starting rotation looks really good. A team could do a lot worse than Derek Lowe as the 4th best starter and Hudson looks like he will rebound from his Tommy John surgery and pitch well this year. Of course he pitched against Florida (twice), Washington, New York, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati last year so it isn't like he was going against a murderer's row or teams, other than Florida, who got to hit against him twice. The Braves rotation should be nearly as good as it was last year, it's just they may have to throw shutouts every night to win games. Ok, maybe that is overstating the case a little bit.


The main set-up guy and closer are a combined 79 years old and Bobby Cox is the worst overuser of a bullpen a team could ever have in a manager, so this is a bad combination. Sure, it looks like a good bullpen with Moylan and Saito setting up Wagner, but I have real questions about how the overuse of the bullpen is going to affect the older members of the bullpen. The Braves are going to have to dip into the minor leagues at some point to make up for the fact Cox only uses the guys he trusts and he only trusts three relievers...and of those three relievers 2 of them are either 40 years old or nearing 40 years old.

What I Like

I love the starting rotation. I love the fact the Braves have outfielders who can play multiple positions in the outfield and I love the fact the 2nd and 3rd best outfielders are in the minor leagues. Other than that offensively, I don't like much else other than McCann, Jones, and Escobar. Maybe you could sell me on McLouth and as long as a left handed pitcher is pitching Matt Diaz is Babe Ruth at the plate. I like the fact the team tried to upgrade the offense, but they upgraded to guys with injury concerns (Glaus) and guys who are 3rd best outfielders on a good team (Cabrera). The bench looks good with Hinske, Infante, David Ross, Joe Thurston, and Gregor Blanco, so that counts for something.

What I Don't Like

The bullshit way they fixed their problems. They essentially traded a young reliever with arm problems for an old reliever with arm problems. they traded a young reliever who can close for a 40 year old reliever that may not be able to be used on back-to-back nights. To compete in the NL East, you have to do better than that. This team is the same team as last year. Weak in the outfield, no pop in the batting order and a team that will rely on 3 guys to score some runs. Does the offense have potential? Yes, it does, but it still lacks power in the outfield and the team has their fingers crossed for good health a bit much for my taste.

Final record

I bought on the Braves last year. I bought that they would not need to hit a bunch of homeruns to win the Wild Card. I am not doing that this year. The bullpen will be this team's downfall. There is too much reliance on guys who are too old. If injuries hit, the bullpen is ruined, unless call-ups from the minors can perform well (As a fan of the team, I would like to see what some relievers in the minors could do). I love the rotation but feel like the team is a hitter short of doing something in the NL East. I bought last year and am not buying again until I see proof this team can hit.

Last year: 86-76
This year: 80-82

Baltimore Orioles


I have to admit, just looking at the Orioles lineup, it looks pretty good. Unfortunately before talking about the Orioles lineup or rotation we have to remember they play the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays many times this year and adjust our expectations accordingly. The Orioles are going to be able to hit the ball and they have 2/3 of an outfield that would be the envy of many teams in Nick Markakis and Adam "Not Pacman" Jones. The PED-ridden corpse of Miguel Tejada is back, playing third base this time, and Garrett Atkins is no longer injured and looking to play first base. By all accounts this is a pretty good looking lineup. Of course the lineup is not the problem with this team.

Pitching Rotation

HERE is the problem with the Baltimore Orioles. They in no way have the pitching necessary to compete in the AL East. Jeremy Guthrie doesn't look like a #2 starter and the 3 guys behind him are all going to come from a group of young pitchers that haven't either performed well or proven themselves in the major leagues. Brad Bergesen has played the best of the young guys so far so I am guessing he will have the #3 spot nailed down (unless he gets hurt making another commercial). Great story.

Other than that, there is not too much to rely on in the rotation. I have heard positive things about Brian Matusz and I think possibly next year he could make a difference for this team, but not this year. The signing of Kevin Millwood is going to be important because he is a major upgrade in the starting rotation and maybe he can tutor some of these younger guys. I could get crazy and give the Orioles a shot at 3rd in the AL East if they had any starters I feel like they can count on, but they don't.


I don't hate the Orioles bullpen, though I don't like it either. I love Mike Gonzalez in the closer role, because he is great in that role, but the rest of the bullpen is very blah for me. I don't need to recognize the names in the bullpen or anything, but the bullpen for the Orioles seems to be made up of guys who I am not sure can get the job done in front of Gonzalez. Cla Meredith has a positive track record but other than him I don't know who can get guys out in this bullpen. They all seem like young 5.00 ERA guys to me.

What I Like

I like the Orioles are trying to get better. They just play in a tough division and can't seem to get that much better. This team isn't the Pirates who trade away all the good players or the Royals who can't seem to develop good players, but the Orioles seem to get good players on the roster...just offensively. Pitching? They haven't quite gotten to the point of developing good pitchers yet. I love the lineup for the Orioles, mostly the outfield, but this team is going to score runs in my mind, I just question whether they will be able to acquit themselves enough in regard to pitching. If you play the Red Sox and Yankees many times a year, you have to build a team that can pitch.

What I Don't Like

My personal opinion is that a team needs to be built around pitching, but it feels like the Orioles have gone backwards. They have Wieters, Markakis, Jones, and even Felix Pie. Not that Baltimore hasn't tried to build the team around pitching, they just haven't had much success at this point. I just don't like the pitching of this team, and to a lesser extent, I don't like the corner positions at the infield positions. Atkins, Wigginton and Tejada used to be serviceable players (ok, Tejada was more than serviceable), but I wonder a little bit what the players have left to offer a team like the Orioles, outside of trade bait at the deadline. I also don't like the fact they have to play in the same division as the Red Sox and the Yankees. That sucks.

Final Record

They just can't pitch well enough to keep up in the division. They can hit, but a team that is a playoff contender can't lose too many in-division games and I think the Orioles are going to struggle in their division. They have 3 teams above them that are clearly superior to them. They can't stop anyone from hitting the ball past the #1 spot in the rotation and I don't know if the bullpen can get the ball to Gonzalez to close games out. I think they will end up 4th/5th in the AL East.

Last year: 64-98
This year: 72-90

Boston Red Sox


The talk all winter has been that the Red Sox have gone a more defensive route by signing Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro, and Mike Cameron in the offseason. That's not incorrect but I also am interested in how these guys fit in offensively. I believe Beltre could have a bounce back season in Fenway and I think Mike Cameron may have one more good season in him. Top-to-bottom, I am not incredibly impressed with the Red Sox lineup. It is not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't know how I feel about them not having a power guy in the middle of the order, like Manny Ramirez or David Ortiz used to be. Ortiz bounced back later last year and I am going to be interested to see how he plays for the entirety of the 2010 campaign. I don't dislike the lineup, it has the feel of a lineup that will be great when one guy gets hot and they can get rhythm. I don't believe they have that guy in the order that can break the team out of a slump during a game when the hitting is struggling and they lack a player the other team fears. I am not sure if other teams fear Kevin Youkilis, though maybe they should. Bottom line, I like the lineup, and I actually like the depth of the lineup with Mike Lowell, Jed Lowrie, Bill Hall, Jason Varitek and Jeremy Hermida on the bench. They have what I consider a more balanced lineup this year.

Pitching Rotation

Clearly there is an incredible amount of depth here and it may not matter what the hitters for the Red Sox can do because the pitching is the best in baseball from starter #1 to starter #6. They have 3 pitchers that can be dominant in Lester, Beckett, and Lackey and a pitcher with a ceiling I am not sure we even know about yet with Clay Buchholz. I am not even sure what to write here any more because this is the best pitching rotation in the majors in my mind and I think they match up incredibly well with the Yankees, which is what everyone is concerned with anyway. When the Yankees are trotting out Sergio Mitre, the Red Sox will have Clay Buchholz or Daisuke Matsuzaka (This statement is incredibly wrong. I am in denial the Braves traded Javy Vazquez. The Yankees 5th starter would most likely be Joba Chamberlain. Advantage sort of nullifed. Thanks to anon for catching that). That's an advantage. Lackey fits in perfectly with the Red Sox because he isn't a #1 starter but he is a fantastic #2 or #3 guy.


The bullpen for the Red Sox is pretty strong as well. Delcarmen struggled a bit last year but I have high hopes he can turn it around. The Red Sox have Wakefield to be the long reliever (assuming they don't use a 6 man rotation sometimes), they have a power arm in Daniel Bard, and a left handed guy who can get guys out from both sides of the plate in Okajima. Of course Papelbon is a free agent after this season, so he is going to be looking to have a fantastic year and raise his value as much as possible. The bullpen is solid and with the starting pitching the Red Sox have it doesn't look like it will get overworked.

What I Like

I like the Red Sox starting pitching, I like their lineup depth, and I like the fact they have made an attempt to improve the defense. I think top-to-bottom the six starting pitchers the Red Sox have is the best starting rotation in baseball. Nothing against Jason Varitek, but he needs to be on the bench at this point in his career and that is where having Victor Martinez puts him for most of the time. I also love the ability some of the Red Sox players have to play multiple positions. Youkilis can play 1B and 3B and Martinez can play C and 1B. So that way if there is an injury to Beltre, Lowell, or Youkilis (not all at the same time) the position is still covered by someone competent.

What I Don't Like

I don't like the way the Red Sox lineup looks top-to-bottom. It's not specifically that I don't like the players, but I don't feel like the lineup is as strong from leadoff to the last hitter as it has been in the past. Maybe that is the intention with the focus on defense for this year, but I still believe the lineup lacks something...and it is hard for me to put my finger on. Possibly I am h holding them to a high standard. Losing Jason Bay hurts them more than we know, I think. I don't like how Delcarmen pitched last year but other than that there isn't a whole lot not to like about the Red Sox bullpen.

Final Record

I like this Red Sox team more than I liked last year's Red Sox team. I feel like they have fewer question marks in their lineup, but I also think they lack the big bat that Jason Bay represented in the batting order. The way they have upgraded their pitching staff, I can't help but think they are going to present a major challenge to the Yankees this year in the AL East. The pitching rotation is strong and can match up well with any other team. I still come back to the lineup and wonder if this is a Red Sox team that will be able to hit well. If Ortiz plays as well for the entire year like he did in the 2nd half last year, this will take care of many of the power concerns I have. I don't know if it is reasonable to expect this from a 34 (36/37?) year old player. Overall I like the team and unless the lineup collapses they will make the playoffs this year and quite possibly have that pitching carry them to the World Series.

Last year: 95-67
This year: 97-65

Next week I will cover four more teams.


Anonymous said...

"When the Yankees are trotting out Sergio Mitre, the Red Sox will have Clay Buchholz or Daisuke Matsuzaka. That's an advantage."

Barring injury, the Yankees' fifth starter will be Joba Chamberlain or maybe Phil Hughes, not Mitre.

Anonymous said...

Also, just stopping by, this blog is great. And the Orioles will be pretty good by 2011 or 2012. I don't know if they'll have that crazy jump like the Rays did in 2008, but they'll be good.

Fred Trigger said...

a commenter from RJG wants me to tell you that you rule, Ben.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I got that wrong. Shit, I am in such denial the Braves traded Javy Vazquez I can't even admit he is the #3 starter for them. I thought the rotation for some reason was CC, AJ, Pettitte, Chamberlain, Mitre/anyone else. It's an inexcusable error since I watch so many Yankees games and live with a Yankees fan. Thanks for catching that. I will update the post since this was a big error.

Thanks for liking the blog and I don't think the Orioles will make a 2008 Rays jump either, but I can see them having a good team in a couple years. It's so hard to do in the AL East against the BoSox and Yankees.

Fred, I appreciate that and I don't rule.

Anonymous said...

Hey bengoodfella -

I am actually the commenter from RJG who said that (and the one who wrote the other two anon things). Sorry about the Javy thing... maybe you can convince my fellow Yankee fans it's not OMG THE WORST MOVE EVER because they're way too hung up on one really really bad happening? (And, I apologize for my fandom, heh.)

Like I said, your blog is really good. I don't understand basketball at all and I barely understand football, but your baseball commentary is excellent so I'll assume those are terrific too. I don't agree with some things you said about Teixeira earlier on, and if you want me to get into detail on that, I can, because I'll probably be checking this blog quite a bit. But other than that, your analysis is very very very good. And I LOVE the Bill Simmons takedowns.

- me.

Jeremy Conlin said...

Boston will win fewer than 85 games this year. Pitching and defense is great until you realize that their offense features J.D. Drew, Marco Scutaro, Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron, and The Artist Formerly Known as David Ortiz. One of those players will end up hitting 5th in Boston's lineup. At some point a team has to score runs.

Bengoodfella said...

Javy had a tough time in his last stint with the Yankees and I know many fans aren't looking forward to him coming back. I don't know if I can convince you enough he is not just an NL pitcher but he was lights out last year against AL and NL teams. He was using his fastball effectively early in the count to get ahead of hitters. He was as much of an ace as I have seen in Atlanta last year since the days of the Big 3. Obviously he was a step below them long-term, but he pitched really well over the season. I think he is a great catch for the Yankees, even though he is a FA after this year. I don't think he will struggle like he did last time. I could be wrong though.

I am glad you like the football and basketball commentary. I don't know if I consider myself actually good at any of it. I give my opinion and sometimes I am wrong, but sometimes I am right.

About Tex, I really like him as a baseball player and I always call him the best 2nd best player on a team. What I mean is that I don't believe he can carry a team or be the #1 star on a team. I think he is great but he's not A-Rod, Albert Pujols or Manny Ramirez in my mind. He's just a small step below them.

I know when I explain it, it doesn't necessarily make sense. I believe Tex is a great baseball player but he isn't a guy you build a franchise around and he gets paid like he is. Either way, he fits the Yankees perfectly. They don't need a franchise guy.

Maybe I can explain better some other time. Either way, I am glad you like the Simmons post.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy - I'm a Yankee fan and JD Drew is awesome. I think a lot of people are too high on the Sox right now because everyone is always too high on the Sox prior to the beginning of the season since 2004, but their offense is still quite good. Cameron, Beltre, these guys don't suck.

I hope David Ortiz falls off a cliff though, I really do. Well, more than he did last year.

Bengoodfella said...

Jeremy, I do agree with you about the offense for BoSox, there is something that doesn't sit well wtih me. But I went the high end because they have such good pitching and a bullpen, I think they can win games that way. Of course they will have to score runs and I went optimistic for them for the upcoming year, but you are right, the lineup is a concern.

Fred Trigger said...

The thing with the sox is, they are replacing Variteks bat with Martinez, Scutaro is replacing Lugo, Green and Gonzalez, and call it a hunch but I think Beltre will have a solid season playing away from safeco field. The offense is not nearly as weak as people would lead you to believe.

1.Ellsbury (could be a breakthrough year)
2.Pedroia (will continue his awesomeness)
3.Victor? (very good)
4.Youkilus (very good)
5.Ortiz (kind of a question mark)
6.JD Drew (very good)
7.Beltre (good)
8.Cameron (average)
9.Scutaro (good for a shortstop)

Not a bad little lineup, no?

Anonymous said...

Jeremy - The Red Sox winning only 85 games is crazy. I'd scream in joy if that happened, but that's sooo low. And, again, I'm a Yankee fan. I think they're getting overhyped (I see the LEGENDARY DEPTH and BESTEST BULLPEN EVER proclamations are back from pretty much everyone), but 85 wins would be crazy low.

Ben (can I call you Ben?) - ah, I misread your writings about Teixeira. For some reason I read it as you saying he was the second-best hitter in baseball, and I thought that was a huge exaggeration. Then, there were a couple of posts where you definitely said, looking back at the end of the year, that he wouldn't make a difference on a team - again, as a Yankee fan, I definitely disagree. I was a big fan of the guy even before he came to the Yankees, though, so I might be biased. But I don't think you'd find a Yankee fan out there that would say he didn't make a difference.

Fred - yeah, the "Boston's lineup is SOOOO BADDDD" whining from a couple of people is as overblown as the "BEST PITCHING EVERRRR" coming from a larger number of people. I think people are expecting the powerhouse Red Sox of 2003 and 2004, and well, that's probably not gonna happen because Papi's off the milkshakes (sorry). But it's not bad at all. Helped by Fenway a f-ckton, yeah. But not bad. A lot of teams would be really really happy to have Youkilis, V-Mart, and JD.

Anonymous said...

oh, and re: Javy, I thought the Yankees rushed him out last time. 2004 wasn't his fault. I'm not expecting AT ALL what he did last season for the Braves, but I am expecting him to give us around 200 innings, a bunch of strikeouts, and a league-average ERA. He did have a good first half in 2004, before his mechanics got all messed up.

Fred Trigger said...

I think we need a name for the anonymous commenter. The guys at RJG gave me mine when I was posting anonymously because I had no idea how to set up an account. Unfortunately, I'm terrible at giving out names.

Bengoodfella said...

Fred, it's not a lineup but I just think it lacks something. I am not sure exactly what but there is something missing.

Anon, you can call me whatever you want. Ben works though. I don't know if I said he wouldn't make a difference on a team. If I said that I was wrong. I probably said he wouldn't make a difference on a team compared to the contract that he will receive. He did make a difference during the year, but he was also incredibly terrible in the playoffs. I don't care about small sample sizes like that but I just don't think he is a franchise player. He is a difference maker but not compared to his salary in my mind.

I would love for my team to have Youk, V-Mart, and JD, but I still don't know how I feel about the lineup. A lot of teams would love to have those guys but a lot of teams don't reasonably expect to win a World Series this year either.

Javy is going to be fine in NY this year. He wasn't that bad last time, as you said.

I am terrible at giving out nicknames also. I got nothing.

Anonymous said...

Ben - that makes sense. He's not A-Rod, Pujols, or prime Manny. He's a tick under them. But he's clearly still an elite player. I don't know if he alone would have made up the however many game difference between NYY and BOS in the standings, but I'm very happy he's on my team and not Boston.

Since that post is old, I figured I'd bring my commentary on this over here.
This was really good overall, but I definitely think you can go through a whole bunch of success and still be bothered by losses (I don't think it was your argument that "you can't suffer if you've known success," I'm just saying). If I was a Red Sox fan, I might still get hives over the Aaron Boone/Grady Little game, even though we won it all the next year. I know there are YANKEE fans that whine about how they can't watch that game any more because of what happened in 2004. I am a Yankee fan. I was eight when they won in 1996 (sorry :( ). I got to see some amazing things growing up alongside those dynasty teams. They won three years in a row, and four times in five years. The 2001 World Series, and the way it ended, STILL breaks my heart. Am I saying I went through what a Seattle Mariners fan goes through, what a Buffalo Bills fan went through? Hell, no. Doesn't mean it didn't (and doesn't still) hurt.

It was really a dick thing to say the White Sox didn't have "scars," though. Like, how do you know, Bill? Sorry White Sox fans don't whine about/mythologize every loss like the Boston media did prior to 2004. And the Giants' loss in 2002 was definitely "Level 1" by his standards.

Also, with Bartman, there was a Game 7 in that series too, like the 1986 WS. Moises Alou said he wouldn't have caught the ball after all, either. I can't blame the fans when the Cubs' pitchers couldn't get three outs without giving up eight runs in the Bartman game.

Jeremy Conlin said...

When did JD Drew become "awesome?" Did I miss something? This is the thing that really bothers me about moneyball. Everyone falls in love with OBP and OPS, which is great, but at some point someone has to come up with a big hit. On paper, yes, it's better to avoid an out than to get a hit, but at some point someone has to drive those guys in.

Last year, Drew hit .213 with RISP and took approximately 742 called third strikes. Ask anyone you know who watches the Red Sox regularly (unfortunately, I count in that group thanks to my roommates) how many clutch hits JD Drew has had over the last two seasons. The list isn't exactly extensive.

As for Cameron/Scutaro/Beltre, yes, they aren't killing your lineup on their own, but collectively, they can (and my guess is they will). Beltre had a classic contract year/PED season in 2004, and hasn't come anywhere remotely close to those stats again. Even for stat guys, his OBP hasn't topped .328 once over the last 5 years.

Like I said, individually, Drew, Beltre, Cameron, Scutaro, and Ortiz won't single-handedly submarine your lineup. But if those guys are hitting in spots 5-9 in some order, I think you're going to be in serious trouble.

The other thing that's bothering me about the Beltre/Cameron signings is that everyone is making the whole "defense is the future!" cries, yet completely ignoring that the Yankees won 103 games and the World Series starting Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, and Jorge Posada at three crucial positions. The 2007 Red Sox had Manny Ramirez, Julio Lugo, the wildly overrated Coco Crisp, and the artist formerly known as Jason Varitek. Sorry, I'm not buying it

Fred Trigger said...

"how many clutch hits JD Drew has had over the last two seasons."

It may have been 3 seasons ago, but I seem to remember he had a little hit in the ALCS off of Fausto Carmona.

2 seasons ago, when Ortiz was out, he carried the entire lineup on his back hitting something ridiculous like .350/.450/.700. If you watched as many Sox games as you claim to, you would know this. When Drew gets hot, he is really, really tough to get out.

"Last year, Drew hit .213 with RISP and took approximately 742 called third strikes."

I might have to check the numbers, but I'm pretty sure Drew did not strike out 742 times last year. Heck, I dont think he has struck out that much in his Red sox career.

"This is the thing that really bothers me about moneyball. Everyone falls in love with OBP and OPS, which is great, but at some point someone has to come up with a big hit."

Guys who have a high OPS is not "Moneyball". Moneyball is finding things in the market that are undervalued. Right now, defense is undervalued.

"The other thing that's bothering me about the Beltre/Cameron signings is that everyone is making the whole "defense is the future!" cries, yet completely ignoring that the Yankees won 103 games and the World Series starting Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, and Jorge Posada at three crucial positions. The 2007 Red Sox had Manny Ramirez, Julio Lugo, the wildly overrated Coco Crisp, and the artist formerly known as Jason Varitek."

Derek Jeter had one of his best years defensivly in his career and Cano is no slouch. I'll give you posada, though.

Your comparing apples and oranges. The yankees last year were built on Pitching and hitting the crap out of the ball. Same with the 07, 04 red sox. This year the Sox have great pitching, great defense and an above average offense.

Care for a little wager on the over/under of your red sox prediction of 85 wins? I'll take the over on that one.

Anonymous said...

Everyone falls in love with OBP and OPS, which is great, but at some point someone has to come up with a big hit.

You gotta be kidding me. This game? <a href=">This game?</a> He hit a big HR in Game 3 of this year's ALDS, too, but he won't get credit for it because the bullpen had an implosion (he was actually the only Red Sox with a non-embarrassing series, OPS-wise). Seriously, if the Red Sox don't want him, I will happily take the guy on my team. The only knock on him is that he's more injury-prone than other players.

Also, hitting with RISP is generally a situational thing from year to year, and complaining about what he does based on stuff you observed is really subject to confirmation bias.

Sorry, maybe as a Yankee fan I am really oversensitive to people saying players aren't "clutch" because I heard people say stupid-ass things like "I'd rather have Scott Brosius than Alex Rodriguez because A-Rod chokes in the clutch." SO STUPID.

That said, I hope JD Drew doesn't have a hit with RISP all year. Hah.

I think the "defense is the future" thing IS silly of the Red Sox to be claiming, considering they play in Fenway. It's not like they're Oakland or Seattle playing in those huuuge pitchers' parks for 81 games. I don't know why everyone's in love with the Seattle model considering Seattle wildly overperformed their Pythag and should have actually been a sub-.500 team, but whatever. Defense is a good thing, I just don't know if it'll cut it in the AL East and at Fenway. But their top three pitchers are probably the best 1-2-3 punch in the game. Are those three pitchers unbeatable? Nope. But they're quite good.

Ew, why am I defending the Red Sox?

And Jeter was actually a plus defensive shortstop in 2009, believe it or not (did he deserve the GG? Eh, maybe not. But it wasn't an embarrassing choice like it had been in the past).

Anonymous said...

Also, Fred:

"The yankees last year were built on Pitching and hitting the crap out of the ball."

Maybe it's because I'm super paranoid about overrating the Yankees, but the Yankees of last year weren't really based on pitching. They happened to get fantastic pitching during the playoffs, and their pitching was definitely better than it had been for the past few years, but once it became obvious that Chien-Ming Wang wasn't the CMW of 2006 and 2007, the rotation was essentially:
1. a true ace (who took a bit to get it together)
2. a guy who has amazing stuff when he's on, but is prone to The Bad Inning, walks too many guys (to be fair, he strikes out a ton), has been injury-prone in the past, and who I do not trust at all rather irrationally.
3. a guy who will be 38 by the All-Star Break (who, funnily enough, I would trust with my life)
4. a young guy going through a lot of growing pains
5. a cast of thousands

I would not have felt extremely comfortable with a CC/AJ/Andy/Joba/Hughes rotation going into 2010.

Fred Trigger said...

well, I meant pitching as a whole. AJ is streaky, but when he is on, he is on. Joba looked unhittable in one game against the sox last year. I think he had a line that was something ridiculous like 12K in 5IN. Plus, when you have the panamanian destructicon coming out of the bullpen, their pitching is pretty solid.

Anonymous said...

Fred, that's fair. As I said, when chatting on non-Yankee blogs I don't want to overstate how good the Yankees are because I don't want to be called a homer. And yeah Joba had that game where he K'd 12, he also gave up 4 runs in the first. :( But he's a kid. He's gonna take a while to totally figure it out (no, I'm not one of those Yakee fans that's yelling JOBA TO THE PEN!).

"Panamanian Destructicon," I LOVE THAT.

Fred Trigger said...

I wish I could take credit for that, but I think I got it from an old FJM post. It is a pretty awesome nickname, though.

Bengoodfella said... are a homer. There you have been called a homer. Feel free to say whatever you want about the Yankees and don't worry about being called a homer. If you are wrong, someone will challenge you or tell you why you are wrong.

I just want the Yankees to figure out what the hell they want to do with Joba. Either let him start and throw more than 90 pitches or put him in the bullpen.

In regard to the Red Sox lineup, I don't feel as strongly as Jeremy does, but I did say I went on the high end in predicting the BoSox would win 97 games. I think the pitching will lead them there and I have questions about the lineup. I am not sold quite yet is all I am saying.

Trust me, anon, you say you want JD Drew but after having him on your team you will re-think that. I only had the pleasure of seeing his blank stare for one season when he played for my favorite team and that was enough. He played well but the blank stare annoyed me.

Anonymous said...

Ben - Nooooo ;)
Even with the whole "homer" thing taken care of, I still don't think the 2009 Yankees had an awesome pitching staff. Very good, yeah, and an excellent bullpen. But starting pitching was definitely the biggest weakness and I'm very, very happy we traded for Javy.

I agree about Joba. IMO he's gonna be a starter, and I think that's what the Yankees plan to do with him. I'm pretty sure he has no innings limits this year. He is not economical in his pitch counts, at all, which is annoying. However, he's still a young guy and he has time to figure it out.

I'll take the over on the 85 wins prediction and the under on the 97 wins prediction for the 2010 Red Sox, BTW. The team last year was good, but I'm pretty surprised they won 95 games. They weren't that good. I've seen some awesome Red Sox teams that I can remember - 2003, 2004, 2007 - and that 2009 team just wasn't one of them.

I LOLed @ JD Drew's "blank stare."