2010: The Year in Review
October 8, 2010 2 Comments
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.
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.
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.
Injuries were critical, but I think they hurt us more on defense than anything else, since players like Beltre and Bill Hall overperformed and we got some very decent performance from our callups. I didn’t even bother to project players like Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava, since we had plenty of outfielders (or so I thought).
As a team, the defensive efficiency ratio was .694, which ranked 12th in baseball and 7th in the AL. That means it was basically average. And if you look at team UZR, it had us at -8.9 runs on the year, squarely well below average. Still an improvement over 2009, but we learned this year that you can’t play a whole season without a legitimate center fielder. Outfield and middle infield defense combined to drag an otherwise excellent defense down to league average. That’s saying something.
Looking at the individual numbers, the infield was more or less fine, but the outfield was atrocious.
Let’s just say that Hall should not be playing any more outfield any time soon. McDonald was good in left, but below average in right and downright awful in centerfield. And if you think HE was bad, you should take a look at Jeremy Hermida and Nava (God love him) in left. After Mike Cameron came up lame and Jacoby Ellsbury broken, CF was a massacre most of the year until Ryan Kalish came in and stabilized things.
Alas, our pitching was nowhere near where I (and most everyone) thought it would be. I had them pegged for 704 runs given up, but the actual number was 744 (which is roughly four losses worth). I projected the rotation to be strong (4.02 ERA) and the bullpen to be pretty good (4.04 ERA), but the reality was much uglier (4.17 for the rotation and 4.24 for the bullpen). Jon Lester clearly emerged as the ace of the staff, and Clay Buchholz worked some ERA magic, despite a much higher FIP and xFIP. Some of this can be attributed to the defense, but there were some major disappointments as well.
What happened to Josh Beckett and John Lackey? Well, looking at the FIP numbers, Beckett got hurt and Lackey just underperformed, and not by a huge amount. I think people looked at Lackey’s numbers in Anaheim and automatically expected that to translate over here. Nuh-uh, not in a division like the AL Beast and at a park like Fenway. And Daisuke Matsuzaka was his usual frustrating self. Not good, but not bad enough to cut.
The bullpen was overutilized early, and that’s when Hideki Okajima was struggling with injuries. Okajima, Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen were all unexpectedly ineffective, which left us in a real bind. With only Daniel Bard to lean on, things got ugly quickly. I happen to like the guy, but when you’ve got Scott Atchison pitching 60 innings for your team, there’s problems.
Anyway, that’s 2010 for you. Lessons learned and all that. Let’s get cracking on next year!