Links 7-16-2010: Mid-season analyses, Escobar to Jays, more fun stuff

Lots of fun analyses from all over as we start the second half after the ASB. Despite our recent slide, both BP and THT peg us with a 40-45% shot at the playoffs. I agree with Sox Therapy – we’re not in a bad position, all things considered. The consensus seems to be we should do something to shore up our bullpen and outfield. Here are some of my favorites:

Here’s a visual look at how the rotations and offenses stack up in the AL East based on FIP and OPS. Didn’t I tell you we’d have a good rotation? The problem was early that the defense was poor, and now some of our key pitchers are injured… For those of you who are convinced Daisuke Matsuzaka was one of the worst signings ever, here’s proof that that’s not the case at all. While it clearly wasn’t a jackpot signing, Boston has gotten a somewhat decent return for their money.

Our bullpen is another story. But when bullpens get overused, pitchers get exposed. And injured. That’s been one of the secrets to the success of the Rays’ bullpen, which is probably the best in the division right now.

The Hardball Times has a new visualization of “value” called PayScale, and they compared the 3 giants in the AL East. Boston is more efficient with their money than NY, but not as efficient as Tampa Bay. But we knew that… With the acquisition of Cliff Lee last week, the Texas Rangers are putting all the pieces in place to really make a run. Don’t underestimate them – I have their pitching staff as one of the best in baseball BEFORE the trade; it’s masked somewhat because their home field is so run-prone.

Speaking of defense, how has the improved run prevention strategy served the Red Sox so far? Here’s a look by BP based on defensive efficiency rating. According to them, the Sox are the third-most improved team defensively this season.

What about baserunning? In typical fashion, the Red Sox are the least out-prone team on the basepaths this year. The problem is, without Jacoby Ellsbury, we don’t steal a whole lot to begin with.

Turns out we do everything well. Even our broadcast team has been recognized for being one of the best in baseball. Another blessing of being a Sox fan.

The Escobar Trade

Interesting that Atlanta dealt SS Yunel Escobar to the Blue Jays this week for Alex Gonzalez; Theo Epstein really likes him and has been trying to land him for years. Of course, it’s not like the other guys in the deal were exactly chopped liver, but still… FanGraphs warns that Gonzalez’ power spike this year may not be quite as big as it looks. Pair that with his sub-.300 OBP, and the Braves might not be better after this deal.

More Links

The All-Stars really threw hard. I thought it was just the radar gun, but Mike Fast disagrees.

LHP Stolmy Pimentel impressed at the Futures game, throwing 94-95 mph gas. Pair that with his excellent curveball, and you’ve got a very good pitching prospect coming up… Speaking of prospects, Casey Kelly has been something of an enigma this year after being sent to Double-A. He’s still young, though, so I think it’s just growing pains.

Random fact: Jason Varitek has punished pitches on the outer third of the plate this year.

The players think J.D. Drew is one of the 5 most overrated players in baseball. But you might like to know that three Yankees made the top 5 as well. :)

If you’re convinced (along with me) that nobody was more clutch than David Ortiz back in 2005, you may be right, according to saberists.


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