Link 10-5-2011: Top 50 pitching prospects

John Sickels at Minor League Ball gives his take on the top 50 pitching prospects and how they fared in 2011.

You have to go all the way down to number 46 to find Anthony Ranaudo, the only Red Sox prospect on the list. Not good for a team with some major questions about the rotation, not good.

To be fair, I don’t think that John Lackey will be this bad again in 2012, and with Clay Buchholz returning, we will have a strong rotation once more, but our number five is 43-year old Tim Wakefield right now, and if Lackey continues to struggle, we could be in big trouble going forward.

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12-9-2010: Why Carl Crawford is (probably) worth $20M per year

As I wrote my about the signing of Carl Crawford last night, lost in the ecstasy of the moment was the realization that we had just paid over $20M/season for a guy with a career .337 OBP and .444 SLG percentage. Like many others, this morning I started thinking: was it really worth it for us to spend like a drunken sailor on Crawford? And after doing some due diligence, I think the answer is yes. Let me explain.

Defense is underpaid in today’s game

Remember Moneyball, and how teams started signing players based on OBP after it came out? The real point of the book was not so much that on-base percentage was everything. Rather, it’s that you go after whatever is undervalued in the market to gain a competitive advantage. It has been suggested, and not by a few, that today’s undervalued asset is defense, primarily because it’s hard to measure and evaluations can be so subjective.

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Links 6-16-2010: Scutaro’s condition, Doubront debut, looking ahead, Lowell makes sense for Twins

Marco Scutaro was given a nerve root injection in his neck the other day to dull pain in his left arm. Turns out he’s been playing through a pinched nerve and herniated disc in his back all year. His numbers aren’t all that bad, in that light.

With two main starters out of the rotation, the Red Sox have chosen to give prospect Felix Doubront the ball Friday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Fenway. The 22-year old lefty, currently 2-1 with a 1.08 ERA at Pawtucket, will make his Major League debut against Manny Ramirez and friends. Best of luck, Doubie.

After all of the reasons for optimism I gave yesterday, Patrick Sullivan balances that out with some things that could turn sour for the Red Sox this year. David Golebiewski also throws some water on the idea that Clay Buchholz is having his breakout season.

Aaron Gleeman takes a detailed look at Mike Lowell and cautiously approves of him as a trade target. He suggests a prospect in their top 30 or so in return for Lowell.

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Links 5-21-2010: Ellsbury back Sat, Ortiz vs the press, offense fine, injury updates, prospect news

First the good news – Jacoby Ellsbury has been given the green light, and will return to the Red Sox on Saturday. Putting him in center improves the outfield defense a lot, and allows us to platoon Darnell McDonald and Jeremy Hermida in LF. Jonathan Van Every will likely be sent down to make room on the active roster.

There’s been a ton of misunderstandings about David Ortiz in the press, and he’s voiced his displeasure about it loudly now that he’s hitting again. Some have taken his quieter demeanor in the clubhouse to mean that he’s sulking.

Matthew Carruth at FanGraphs tells Red Sox fans to point the finger at the rotation and the bullpen, because the offense is doing its job just fine, thank you very much.

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Links 5-13-2010: Toronto series encouraging, Beckett, more

Despite the 3-2 loss to end the series, I’d argue that we actually ended that series on an up note. Sure, the offense looked pitiful against Shaun Marcum, but he’s a pretty good pitcher, and Dale Scott helped him and Tim Wakefield out plenty. Wake turned in a really good performance too, and we nearly pulled it out at the end.

David Ortiz continues to show signs of life, so the calls for him to be released are still premature. After being called out on strikes on a 3-2 fastball way out of the zone yesterday, Ortiz was livid. Terry Francona backed him up, getting tossed from the game, and Dustin Pedroia, J.D. Drew and Jerry Remy all agreed with PITCHf/x that there was no way that pitch was a strike (see pitch #7):

Papi called out on on "strikes" in the 9th

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Links 3-26-2010: The bullpen, Lowell, Beckett gets the ball first, all-time best Red Sox

The bullpen for 2010 is starting to take shape. Yesterday the Red Sox released 41-year old left-handed reliever Brian Shouse. Rather than keep him as a second LHP to complement Hideki Okajima, it looks like Boston will take advantage of Joe Nelson’s reverse split and use him in situational lefty spots for now. It’d be great if Dustin Richardson could come back up in a LOOGY role later this year.

The Mike Lowell drama continues. At least one scout says that Lowell doesn’t seem to have improved his mobility at all from last year, making him borderline untradeable as a third baseman. For his part, Lowell feels strong enough to play, but he knows he’s not his pre-injury self. All that talk about the Marlins reacquiring Lowell may be a bit overblown; their interest is tepid at best, and Lowell himself doesn’t really see much of a fit.

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Links 3-16-2010: Westmoreland, Lowrie, more ST notes, Nomar, our offense, the farm system

Bad news this week: OF prospect Ryan Westmoreland has been discovered to have a brain malformation, and he has been placed on medical leave. He’s due to have surgery today in Arizona, so let’s all remember him and his family. SS Jed Lowrie is also undergoing tests after feeling weak and experiencing an accelerated heartbeat this week. What is going on with all these repeat injury guys?

Despite earlier claims that he’s better, Daisuke Matsuzaka continues to disappoint Red Sox Nation, as he was scratched from throwing BP today. He threw a 19 pitch bullpen instead. First it was the back, then the neck.. He has been rescheduled for Wednesday, and there is speculation that he will start the year on the DL. David Ortiz, meanwhile, dismissed questions about his Spring hitting and then proceeded to blast a home run against the Orioles today. Nice work, Papi.

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