6-26-2010: Papelbummed, Pedroia and Buchholz hurt

It looks like someone is conspiring against the Red Sox. After riding an incredible hot streak in which they went 32-17, Boston finds themselves in deeper than before. Exhibit number 1: Jonathan Papelbon’s seeming early decline. First of all, let’s address the elephant in the room: Daniel Bard is NOT going to displace Papelbon anytime soon. Deal with it. Pap himself says he’s not bothered by the Colorado series, but you know he is very bothered.

To tell you the truth, I’m kind of flummoxed about Papelbon this year. His secondary stats are declining, yes, but not THAT much. People have been quick to point to Papelbon’s fastball velocity and command, but that doesn’t seem to be noticeably different. Here’s a quick look at his past three seasons (data from texasleaguers.com):

Pap’s fastball 2008 2009 2010
Velocity 95.0 94.5 94.3
Percent thrown 88.7 84.0 78.9
Horiz mov -8.54 -8.35 -7.95
Vert mov 8.53 9.58 9.07
Strike% 71.6 67.5 66.9
Whiff% 11.8 10.4 10.9
Foul% 26.3 25.8 24
In play% 18.5 15.6 15.9

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On the Farm 4-30-2010: Anderson, Tejeda lead the top performers

Now that we’re at the end of April, let’s take a look down on the farm and see what’s going on with the talent at each level.

AAA Pawtucket

There’s not been a whole lot of excitement at Pawtucket since Darnell McDonald was recalled earlier this month. Their pitching has been poor, but their hitting has been even worse. 27-year old OF Daniel Nava has been the next best hitter at .309/.397/.426, but hasn’t really distinguished himself in any meaningful way.

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Hot Stove 2010: The shortstop situation, more on Halladay, Sox acquire Hulett

The Toronto Blue Jays signed Alex Gonzalez this week to a one-year deal for $2.75M. They also hold a $2.5M option for 2011. The Sox reportedly had offered one year and $3M, but they weren’t ready to sign Gonzalez without checking out their other options at the upcoming Winter Meetings, so they lost him. This is one case in which Boston’s circumspection hurt them. Some see Marco Scutaro as the only remaining viable option on the free agent market, but he’s 34 and coming off of a career year (he has mentioned Boston as one of his top choices). Don’t be surprised if the Sox try to get a younger shortstop via trade rather than give an overpriced three-year deal to Scutaro and a first-round pick to Toronto.

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