2010: The Year in Review

I’ll spare you the same comments again about the team’s overall performance here, but let’s go and examine each phase of the game and each player in detail.

Offense

We predicted the offense to be capable of scoring upwards of 832 runs this season, and the 2010 team scored 818 runs (still good for second in the AL), which is understandable given the injury situation. So offensively, things went more or less as planned, or even better. There were a number of big surprises from individual players.

Projected Actual
Name AB BA OBP SLG AB BA OBP SLG
Jed Lowrie 275 0.260 0.334 0.391 171 0.287 0.381 0.526
Adrian Beltre 581 0.277 0.326 0.444 589 0.321 0.365 0.553
Bill Hall 337 0.230 0.293 0.396 344 0.247 0.316 0.456
Kevin Youkilis 517 0.292 0.393 0.514 362 0.307 0.411 0.564
Jason Varitek 196 0.222 0.328 0.380 112 0.232 0.293 0.473
David Ortiz 514 0.258 0.358 0.483 518 0.270 0.370 0.529
Dustin Pedroia 630 0.300 0.369 0.451 302 0.288 0.367 0.493
Victor Martinez 499 0.298 0.374 0.480 493 0.302 0.351 0.493
Marco Scutaro 540 0.285 0.369 0.404 632 0.275 0.333 0.388
Mike Cameron 477 0.254 0.337 0.458 162 0.259 0.328 0.401
J.D. Drew 437 0.273 0.386 0.487 478 0.255 0.341 0.452
Mike Lowell 463 0.285 0.343 0.461 218 0.239 0.307 0.367
Jeremy Hermida 226 0.255 0.338 0.402 158 0.203 0.257 0.348
Josh Reddick 92 0.252 0.312 0.429 62 0.194 0.206 0.323
Jacoby Ellsbury 541 0.290 0.347 0.410 78 0.192 0.241 0.244

At the top of the table, you see those players who outperformed their predicted OPS by the greatest margin, and at the bottom are the laggards. Although he wasn’t the biggest plus on a pure OPS scale, playing time meant that Adrian Beltre was this season’s offensive MVP. Jed Lowrie was a big boost at the end of the season, and performed surprisingly well at the dish after finally recovering from mononucleosis.

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8-2-2010: Minor moves at the deadline, Lowell still in play

The Red Sox, expected to land an additional bullpen arm by the deadline, dealt one instead, and made another small acquisition at catcher. It was hard watching the Yankees land Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood and Austin Kearns, and this is a signal from Boston’s front office that while we’re not giving up on this season, they’re content to let it play out and finish third if we have to. Theo Epstein is clearly thinking 2011 at this point, and I don’t really blame him.

What it will take

Currently at 60-45, the Red Sox sit 6.5 games back of Tampa Bay. If the Rays play .600 baseball the rest of the way, they will have a 100 win season, and we need to go 41-16 to edge them. If they play .550 baseball, they will still have 97 wins and we will need to go 38-19 (.667) the rest of the way. Is this team capable of that? With a healthy rotation, an easier second half schedule and the impending returns of Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, you have to think that it’s at least possible. But it means we will have to win just about every series, and probably sweep the Rays in at least one of our two remaining series. We can’t play any worse than taking two of three from the Tigers, or we’re done. That’s why the management decided to go conservative at the deadline.

Let’s look at each move that was made:

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Links 7-27-2010: Sox addressing bullpen and catcher, Lowell, Ellsbury, and random stuff

Rumors are flying. The Sox were pursuing Scott Downs, but then the Jays wanted Jose Iglesias. Still sane, Theo Epstein said no. That’s just fine, says Brian MacPherson, because Downs might add only one win to the team anyways. Daniel Bard even suggests that we might not need to add an arm; ah, the ignorance of youth.

Then there were rumors that the Red Sox were actually trying to trade one of their relievers, rumored to be Manny Delcarmen or Ramon Ramirez. I think we’d be alright without either one, but you’d better have something else lined up besides Michael Bowden and Robert Manuel. That proposed deal would have brought veteran catcher Rod Barajas, who the Sox have liked in the past, to be our backup catcher; however it doesn’t seem like it’s still in play.

We’ve got Victor Martinez back, but catcher is far from settled at this point. The brass would definitely like to see someone in there with some experience who can play defense and hit some more than Kevin Cash as Jason Varitek insurance.

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6-15-2010: What moves could be made?

As we are now fully into the month of June, we know that the two-month “evaluation period” is over, and the Red Sox are looking for ways to improve their team. After a horrid start by Boston and a torrid one by both New York and Tampa Bay, it would be easy to discount the Sox, but the truth is that Boston has the best record of all three teams since May 1 and has climbed to within 4 games of the division leaders.

Team W L Pct RS RA Diff
Boston 26 16 0.619 250 186 64
New York 25 16 0.610 237 173 64
Tampa 23 17 0.575 189 160 29

And that’s been done with Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron missing a huge chunk of that time. So it’s not like anything is irreparably broken, but there’s always room for improvement, right?

Evaluating areas of need

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6-14-2010: Nava!, roster shuffling, draft signings, the Ellsbury fiasco

Daniel Nava stands a stocky 5-10, 200 lbs. He is 27 years old, and has never played above Double-A ball until this season. After not making his college team initially, he was an undrafted player out of Santa Clara, and went to play independent league ball. The Sox signed Nava in 2007 for $1. Seriously. He’s not supposed to be in the big leagues. Yet here he is, slugging a grand slam in his first Major League game; no, check that, first at-bat; no, check that- on the first pitch he ever saw in the Majors off of Phillies starter Joe Blanton, a legitimate big league starter. Nava is actually a very well-rounded player; it’s just that none of his tools predict any level of success at the highest level. His journey is a great story, and I hope that he does stick somewhere, if not with us. Sabermatricians have said that Nava’s excellent minor league numbers bode well for him at this level.

With Josh Reddick already sent back to Pawtucket, Nava was called up to replace the injured Jeremy Hermida, who went on the DL with a severe case of Adrian Beltre. Reliever Joe Nelson was designated as well, making room for Jonathan Papelbon to return to active duty. Unfortunately, Nelson proved ineffective in his stint here, and his future with the team is uncertain. Also called up was left-handed reliever Dustin Richardson, as Daisuke Matsuzaka was suddenly¬†placed on the 15-day DL for forearm problems. He immediately came out and said that it wasn’t a big problem at all, which is a good thing, but I think he should keep his mouth shut more on issues like this.

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Links 5-10-2010: The Yankees series, the rotation, more Ortiz, Cameron starts rehab

I won’t rehash this series for you to too much gory detail. Just check out the excellent game summaries at WEEI’s Full Count blog (game 1, game 2, game 3). Not a lot to be enthused about, despite yesterday’s win. Still, I’m not panicking.

With the two bad starts against the Yankees this weekend and the pattern of bad pitching to start this season, there are plenty of questions being raised. Perhaps the Red Sox are not preparing their pitchers properly coming out of Spring Training? I think it’s some bad pitching, some bad luck, and some bad defense all converging in a perfect storm of sorts. There’s some hope, as Jason Varitek, John Farrell and Terry Francona all swear that Josh Beckett started off with some really sick (in a good way) stuff on Friday, only to implode in the 6th inning. Even Daisuke Matsuzaka’s fastball snapped back in the second inning after that awful first on Saturday. He’s happiest with his progress on that pitch. Once the rotation gets upright, the overworked bullpen is sure to follow. Let’s hope we are past the worst of it.

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Links 4-26-2010: Sox add Van Every, sign Ibarra, pitching staff shakeup

The Red Sox apparently really wanted to send Josh Reddick back to Triple-A pretty badly, because they traded a PTBNL to reacquire Jonathan Van Every from the Pirates. It makes sense that they’d want to keep Reddick starting every day and limit his exposure at the Major League level. It controls his service time and retains his value as a trade chip. Recently claimed RHP Santo Luis was designated in order to make room on the 40-man roster. Both Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury will travel with the team on this next trip, meaning they could step back in at any time. Good news.

Boston has apparently signed a Major League deal with Cuban catcher Adalberto Ibarra worth a reported $4.3M. That means he’ll go right onto the 40-man roster, and one of the upper-tier catchers (Dusty Brown?) may have to be designated.

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