Theo’s first half report card


Let’s look at the moves Theo Epstein has made this offseason, and how they’ve panned out so far:

Hideki Okajima: A++
This was not the Japanese pitcher we expected would make the All-Star game, but Okajima has totally rocked in a setup role for Jonathan Papelbon. The left-hander has a 0.81 ERA and is making a damn strong case for Rookie of the Year. Without him this team would have been up a creek, with Mike Timlin injured in the first half.

Daisuke Matsuzaka: A+
I don’t care what the posting fee was, I think a rookie with a 10-6 record and 3.84 ERA at the All-Star Break is an unqualified success. He’s also 5th in the AL in strikeouts, with 123. Matsuzaka has shown mental toughness and the ability to adjust when things are not going right. He’s got the makeup and potential to be very good for years to come, and looks to be a key cog in our rotation behind Josh Beckett.

J.D. Drew: B
I know, his season numbers have been disappointing, and he’s not terribly exciting. But we knew that already. I don’t know what people were expecting from Drew, but he’s only a 15-20 HR guy, despite a couple of good years. He should be pounding out a lot more doubles, than he is, however. He’s been relatively healthy except for one stretch in May, he’s playing good defense in right, and he’s 24th in the AL in OBP. Throw out that miserable May (when the Sox were cruising), and Drew is hitting .293. In June, when our offense struggled a lot, he hit .325/.404/.558, so I’ll give him a pass for now.

Brendan Donnelly: B
The veteran has been a gritty addition to this bullpen, giving some attitude to our bullpen. I like the way he goes full-effort, all-out on the mound.

Joel Pineiro: C-
I don’t like the guy, but Pineiro has had good outings as well as bad ones. It’s his inconsistency more than anything else that makes me think he’s not reliable for a contending team. He also makes too much money ($4 million) for what he is.

Julio Lugo: D
So far, Lugo has been a colossal disappointment. I never thought he was that great of a hitter, but then I never thought he was a .200 hitter, either. His fielding has been shaky at times, but more or less solid. He’s sure to rebound at some point, but the question is, will Boston fans ever accept him at that point?

J.C. Romero: F
This lefty was released after being found not guilty of being a relief pitcher.

OVERALL: A
It’s hard to argue when Boston has had the best record in baseball most of the first half and is holding a 10 game lead in the AL East. Our pitching staff has been the best in baseball, our roster is young(er) and there is some depth, except a couple of positions (catcher, cough, cough). The high salaries make it hard to dump some of the disappointing players, but then they shouldn’t continue to disappoint if we stay patient.

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2 Responses to Theo’s first half report card

  1. BigShrek3382 says:

    I would have to disagree with some of your grades. The sox are in first place, but they have the same record that had last year. The Yankees piss poor first half has gotten the Sox a 10 game lead. Over the past 40 games the sox are under .500. Here are my grades:

    J.D. Drew. ~ C-
    Lugo ~ F
    Donnelly ~ Inc.
    Matzusaka ~ B (good, but too inconsistent)
    Theo ~ C – (lucked out with Okijima)

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  2. donchoi says:

    You are right that our record is not better than 2006, but you are forgetting that our pitching staff has allowed the fewest runs in the majors. Who built that staff? If you look at our run differential, we should be about two more wins ahead at this point. This team is significantly better than last year’s, and has better depth, esp in the bullpen.

    I don’t consider Okajima to be all luck, though I think he’s exceeded what even Jon Deeble and Craig Shipley were hoping for when they scouted him in Japan. They’ve said from the beginning that he’s not just a lefty specialist and could contribute in the late innings. I think our international scouting team is pretty good, as we didn’t sign any Kei Igawas.

    What exactly were you expecting out of Matsuzaka his rookie season? He’s outperformed 90% of pitchers in the AL this year. Sure, he’s had his struggles, but what rookie doesn’t? And he’s transitioning to a new slicker baseball, a new mound, a new catcher and pitching coach who don’t speak Japanese, a new culture, everything.

    I was maybe a little generous to Drew, but then my expectations of him were not so high to begin with.

    I don’t see Lugo as an F until he starts costing us first place.

    Donnelly has pitched pretty well, I don’t know why he’s inconclusive.

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