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JBJ: Elite Defender With Some Pop

Discussion in 'Red Sox Forum' started by gedman211, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

    Then I'm more confused. You're predicting he can change the way he hits and that will allow him to hit .320 in a season, but won't be able to repeat it?
  2. sean1562

    sean1562 Member SoSH Member

    it seems like he is saying that, with a few adjustments to his swing, "he could hit .320". So he has the potential to maybe hit for a high average if he could make some adjustments, as opposed to being the .236 career average guy he has been up to this point. He is obviously never going to be a .320 career hitter.
  3. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

    Getting a great reminder tonight of how unbelievable Jose Iglesias can be when he's healthy, reminded me of my favorite talk radio sports show host from back in my youth. He always argued that, "I want to see excellence, when I'm paying professional sports prices." Consistent with that, he always advocated for baseball to go the way of football, and have full substitution on offense and defense. He argued that this would make two-way players even more valuable, and allow more players to be major leaguers, which is good economically for them and in general, so should be supported by the union given the need to increase roster size. Despite almost always favoring tradition over change, that was always something that appealed to me.

    Watching JBJ and Iglesias play defense is worth the price of admission. Watching them hit is worth timing your trip to the concession stand. I wonder if in baseball's never-ending attempt to engage the attention span of millennials, this would ever come up on the radar of the new commissioner?
  4. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

    You expect the owners to agree to pay for more major league salaries? I don’t exactly see that happening.
  5. crow216

    crow216 Dragon Wangler SoSH Member

    Why not just have 2 DHs? One is your pitcher and one is any other player on defense who isn't allowed to hit.
  6. grimshaw

    grimshaw the new rudy SoSH Member

    Or figure out a way to let players re-enter the game.
  7. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

    This. The "once out, never back" rule seems like a relic of the days when small pitching staff sizes allowed for 6- or 7-man benches.
  8. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

    But if you allowed them back, how would you prevent the Angels from giving Mike Trout 9 at bats a game? Only allowing them to be inserted back in the game once, and/or in their original lineup slot?
  9. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

    Use Little League rules...re-insertion allowed only if it's into the original lineup slot. Might have to come with some sort of minimum number of outs the sub must play before the original player can return (say 9 defensive outs) so there's some consequence to substituting. For example, if the Sox pinch hit for JBJ against a LOOGY in the 6th, they couldn't just re-insert him into the lineup in the next half-inning to play defense. His replacement would have to take the field in some capacity.

    Something like this could make double switches in NL games more compelling. Double switch to move the pitcher's slot, then potentially re-insert the player into the new pitcher's slot when it comes up again.
  10. Humphrey

    Humphrey Member SoSH Member

    Re-entry has been in the softball rule book for over 30 years. The starter can only go back in the game in the place in the batting order they were in originally. And a sub can go back in too...in either case next time he is replaced he's done for the day.

    Example: Leon gets a base hit, is replaced on the bases by Holt. When the inning is over, Leon goes back in to catcher. Later on in the game, Leon gets another hit, Holt runs for him again. Leon is done for the day. End of inning, Vasquez goes in to catch. Holt's now done too.
  11. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

    Shorthand....you can only re-enter once?
  12. JimD

    JimD Member SoSH Member

    The late May resurgence was just another JBJ tease - 121/231/212/443 with 12 K's in 33 June at-bats.
  13. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

    JBJ's Swinging Strike% is 24.7% this year, a career high. Prior to this year, his career rate was 20.2%. He's also at a career low in Look/strike%, at 24.1%, with a career rate of 28.1%. This continues a trend that started last year. He's also never been a line drive hitter and this year his HR/GB% is about half of his career rate at 5.5%. Smells like a recipe for disaster.

    He's been 2013/2014 levels of bad and hasn't really shown any signs of breaking out of it, minus a few games at the end of May that was BAbip heavy.
  14. bosockboy

    bosockboy Member SoSH Member

    He’s approaching 2000 career AB’s and has a career .711 OPS and falling fast. He’s probably something we need to look at fixing at the trade deadline.
  15. TFisNEXT

    TFisNEXT Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    He'd be a solid asset at a .711 OPS. Hopefully he can regain his form. It's a bit strange to think he would permanently lose it at this age. He just turned 28 years old.
  16. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

    Lin has a 14 game hitting streak and continues to hit the ball in the air. I doubt they'd do it, though. There's always Brock Holt too, assuming Pedroia is back and Devers doesn't fall off a cliff.

    Good thing is, if they decide to fix the JBJ issue, it doesn't have to be with a CF since you can just slide Ben10 over.
  17. Van Everyman

    Van Everyman Member SoSH Member

    A tease? Or did his time off fix some issues mechanically only for them to resurface (or for new ones to arise)? JBJ has a long swing so it doesn’t surprise me that he constantly has to work on this stuff more than most players.

    All that said, with Leon (and maybe Vaz) coming around a bit—and Nuñez showing some signs as well—I would be surprised if they move him during the season.
  18. Saints Rest

    Saints Rest Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    I wonder if/when Pedroia comes back, he (DP) sees some time (maybe even half his games) at DH with JDM playing LF and AB playing CF. If they are ahead, then JBJ comes in as a late-inning defensive replacement for JDM.
  19. Plantiers Wart

    Plantiers Wart Member SoSH Member

    Seen this one before - blow a lead, and instead of your clean up hitter coming up in extras, it's a banjo hitting defensive replacement or pinch runner.....
  20. Bergs

    Bergs Member SoSH Member

    When his career is finally over, that Willie Mays-esque stretch he put together in 2016 (and to a lesser extent August 2015) is going to look like one of the weirdest hot streaks in MLB history. Which sucks.

    Edit: P.S. - the only AL team JBJ has a AVG over .300 and an OPS over .900 against is Seattle. So we have a lot of DOB "Jackie loves facing Seattle" comments to look forward to this weekend and next. Oh boy. On the (morbid) bright side, I predict neither of those numbers will be worth commenting on after these 7 games.
    #170 Bergs, Jun 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  21. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

    I guess it depends on what you think his true talent is. He was good from Aug 2015 to July 2016 and for about 2 months in 2017 but outside of that, he's been pretty mediocre. If he was just some generic 28 year old with a career .711 OPS in 2000 PA, I don't think anyone would be surprised if he lost his skills. Of course, his career isn't very normal.

    From 8/9/15 to 7/31/16: .295/.372/.563 in 592 PA.
    The rest of his carer: .211/.293/.335 in 1587 PA

    Last year he had a 45 game stretch where he hit .331/.422/.584 in 192 PA and had an OPS of .860 on July 4th before free falling into suck mode. Before that 45 game stretch he was slashing .182/.238/.299 in 84 PA, after the 45 games: .205/.279/.310 in 265 PA. That is kinda the story of his career though. He hit's like Babe Ruth for a 30-50 game stretch and the rest of the time he's one of the worst in the league.

    Depending on how you look at it, you'd either want to cut bait or wait for that hot streak to happen.

    edit: His 2015 was essentially 25 hot games where he hit .446/.489/.952 in 90 PA and the rest was full of suck. In 2016, he was a god from 4/30 to 5/30 but was good from 6/1 to 8/1.
    #171 bosox79, Jun 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  22. nvalvo

    nvalvo Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    I would wait. He's hitting the ball hard.

    2015-2018, wOBA: .355, .354, .313, .260.
    2015, 2018, xwOBA: .289, .333, .320, .319.
    Exit velocity: 88.5, 90.1, .88.1, 91.0.

    The .059 point gap between his wOBA and xwOBA (a statistic assembled from statcast data on balls in play) is pretty glaring. There's a lot in there that looks promising. I'd say that as long as he's keeping his WAR above 0, the upside is worth waiting for.
  23. Hank Scorpio

    Hank Scorpio Member SoSH Member

    His salary is $6.1M this year, and while it’s not very high and he’s probably unlikely to see much of a raise in arbitration, a better option this offseason may be letting him walk, picking up a cheap DH somewhere, and putting whatever other savings towards Sale/Betts.

    There’s still time for him to show something, of course.
  24. Shore Thing

    Shore Thing lurker

    It's a good thing he's not the designated hitter for the 2018 Boston Red Sox or we would be in deep shit. He is an elite defensive centerfielder with extremely volatile hitting results. Rather than looking at his offense in a vacuum, how about looking at his overall defensive/offensive/baserunning performance relative to other CF's and other members of the 2018 Red Sox team first and then seeing if a "trade deadline" upgrade is needed.
  25. SirPsychoSquints

    SirPsychoSquints Member SoSH Member

    So he'll cost what, $9M next year? Meaning he needs to be worth around 1 WAR. Averaging B-R and Fangraphs, he's been worth:
    • 2018 - 0.1 so far, 0.1 extended to 500 PA
    • 2017 - 2.6
    • 2016 - 5.4
    • 2015 - 2.1, 4.0 extended to 500 PA
    • 2014 - 0.4, 0.5 extended to 500 PA
    • 2013 - negative 0.3, negative 1.2 extended to 500 PA.
    Granted this year has been replacement level so far, but you're confident enough that he won't be worth 1 WAR next year that you'd rather save the $9M?
  26. Buzzkill Pauley

    Buzzkill Pauley Member SoSH Member

    This is my takeaway. At least for this year. That might change in 2019, depending on his raise. But at least once a game it seems like he’s stinging the ball right at someone. And this data shows why it seems that way.
  27. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

    I agree on evaluating players on total value. But with two options available on the team already who would provide plus center field defense and plus to plus plus bats, you might get more total value out of shifting Betts or Benintendi to center, playing JD in LF where his defense may not hurt you very much, or bringing in what should be an easier to find and less expensive LF/DH type, and trading Bradley for something. That something may even be the corner outfielder that effectively replaces him. If his hitting doesn't bounce back, this option becomes more and more sensible.
  28. lexrageorge

    lexrageorge Member SoSH Member

    The Sox are not going to, under any circumstances, "let him walk". If they decide they don't want him, they will trade him. Plus defenders that are still a couple of years from free agency have value.
  29. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

    I dunno. If we knew he would give the team 1 WAR over the course of 140ish games, it seems like a waste of 9 mil. There would have to be better options for that price.
  30. FanSinceTed

    FanSinceTed lurker

    Some great numbers/analytics here. All very helpful and interesting. I will opt for the eye-test here, and say, Finally !!
    Last night ( Tue vs Balt ) was very, very encouraging. Slightly bent knees, bat back at a 45 degree to begin AB, and, most importantly, the hands were at a 45 also and stayed there ( ! ) did NOT invert into the upward and somewhat forward extension that is the killer of so many hitters - and most significantly, JBJ. ( check out Devers doing the same thing far too often ). He hit the ball hard every time; the liner to right in second AB was best AB I have ever seen JBJ have. Someone has been getting through .... goodness knows he has tried everything to this point ... except the hand action. ( which, to me, has been the most ironic of all - because it is the thing he needs the most ). Anyone notice the difference in Benitendi from April/May to now ? The hands laying back and being quiet.
    Yes, JBJ went 0-4 last night. It was one of the best oh-fers I have ever seen. Maybe the manager / hitting coaches have finally spotted it. Or, perhaps the hitter himself. Let's see what happens next. Maybe he lets the oh-fer get him down. I sincerely hope not.
  31. TFisNEXT

    TFisNEXT Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    His HR/FB percentage usually sits around 15-18% too and this year it is sitting at a Julio Lugo-esque 6.8%. He's hitting the ball hard still. I'd expect to see an uptick in HRs as the summer wears along. JBJ is frustrating, but his defense combined with his hot streaks at the plate still give a lot of value.
  32. MikeM

    MikeM Member SoSH Member

    I don't know if the $9m arb estimate being thrown around is correct, but at that price tag I think the face value assumption that he's worth a tender gets pretty questionable if he continues to suck it up the rest of the year. Probable with a best case trade scenario, if it even gets that far, that plays out a lot like the much debated Buchholz decision.
  33. Van Everyman

    Van Everyman Member SoSH Member

    This is where Dombrowski not being an advanced metrics guy gets kind of interesting.

    I think JBJ’s otherworldly defense (which i suspect is rated more highly by DD than the metrics alone), flexibility (in CF and RF, giving Mookie a blow) and the pop on his bat give him more room to run with Dombrowski than he might otherwise have with another GM or if he were missing any one of those elements. Is he worth $9M when he’s swinging thru everything? Probably not – but when he’s hot (which he isn’t that often) he’s obviously a pretty valuable—and dangerous—player.

    My guess is that it will take an exceptionally long period of suck at the plate with no relief for Dombrowski to move him.
  34. Max Power

    Max Power thai good. you like shirt? SoSH Member

    Since there are only 9 spots in a lineup and 25 roster spots, yes. The money is secondary to playing someone who is barely above replacement.
  35. chawson

    chawson Well-Known Member Bronze Supporter

    This is my position too. Whiffs are still a bit up, mostly on fastballs which he used to crush, but he’s not seeing appreciably harder fastballs than he used to. Leads me to believe he’s a tweak away.

    Exit velocities for Bradley’s last 10 PAs:
    103.2 mph

    MLB average: 88.8 mph.
  36. JimD

    JimD Member SoSH Member

    He's had almost a full season of suck since his last really hot streak in June and early July of last year.
  37. Van Everyman

    Van Everyman Member SoSH Member

    Yep -- and if he continues to suck for the rest of the year with no real hot streaks to speak of, I suspect DD will try to move him during the offseason.

    But I would be shocked if he didn't ride JBJ out for the rest of the year -- even if, as noted above, he loses playing time and gets platooned more. This team has shown that their pitching is good enough to win even with C/CF/2B/3B underperforming. Unless that changes, I suspect nothing with JBJ will either.
  38. Hank Scorpio

    Hank Scorpio Member SoSH Member

    I think the "value of 1.0 WAR" is more of a hindsight number, as in "this is what teams paid for in free agency" - and not some sort of guideline for what teams should aim to pay a player. No one if lining up to pay $9M/win - and I'd argue any player getting paid $9M/win is a massive, massive disappointment.

    As great as Sale has been, how many teams would have been willing to pay him $170 over the past three seasons? Realistically, he gets 60-65% of that number. Is anyone going to pay Mike Trout $70M per year?
  39. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

    Yeah, given the free agent market we saw last season, I think it would be a mistake to use the average $WAR as a benchmark for value. Seems like we are back in a bifurcated market like 2013 or 2002 where the real superstars will still get their 5 year, $100+ million contact, but players like Jackie Bradley are getting squeezed hard. Adam Lind has been a phenomenal example of a solid platoon DH/1B for 3 straight seasons and he’s in the minor leagues. Mitch Moreland is A gold glove 1B and a more consistent bat than JBj, but he got $6 million only. No way you pay $9 million for.Bradley in this market.
  40. mauidano

    mauidano Mai Tais for everyone! SoSH Member

    Is Bryce Harper worth a $500MM? Neither of those guys. Pujols, Josh Hamilton, A-Rod are just a couple names that jump off the page of massive contracts that did not end well.
  41. Niastri

    Niastri Member SoSH Member

    A good glove CF is worth many millions more than a good glove 1b. Comparing him to Moreland isn't very apt. Bradley's elite skill is a very valuable one. No matter how good of a fielder a 1b could be, he wouldn't have a job at all if he hit like Bradley is this year.

    On the other hand:

    When Bradley gets super hot, like he has on multiple occasions in his career, he brings his whole season numbers up to respectable levels. He also wins a lot of games for you in a short period, earning much of his WAR in quick bursts.

    The long term hope had been that he would figure out how to increase the duration and frequency of his blistering hot streaks... The likelihood of his figuring it out is less and less as he gets older, but he gets more expensive every year.

    The Bradley of 2016 was younger, cheaper and (so far) better than our current version.

    The decision to give up on him is much easier if he doesn't once again have a Ted Williams quality month at the plate. I personally hope he scuffles along all year and has a 1200 OPS in October
  42. Lowrielicious

    Lowrielicious Member SoSH Member

    Moreland is apples to JBJ oranges.

    elite CF fielding is orders of magnitude more valuable than elite 1b.
    4 years age difference.
    OPS+ last 4 years
    compared to

    Without that last year in there I doubt many people could pick which players stats were which
  43. sean1562

    sean1562 Member SoSH Member

    I love the guy, but what happens if he is off in the playoffs? do you bench him? with his known streakiness, if he has been playing poorly, does he just become a 4th OF by default? There is something to be said for consistency. Is a guy with a consistent OPS of .690 better/more reliable than a guy like JBJ?
  44. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

    From what I remember, they say streaky players are actually more valuable.
  45. JimD

    JimD Member SoSH Member

    I haven't seen any games yet this year where Benintendi is in CF - how does he look out there? Is there any reason to think he wouldn't be an above-average fielder as a full-time player at the position, minus the occasional ridiculous highlight plays that JBJ is known for?
  46. Rovin Romine

    Rovin Romine Johnny Rico Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    If JBJ were injured, and we picked up a hypothetical 4th OF who was a defensive wizard and average offensively, but prone to long slumps, no one would think anything of it.

    Maybe it's time to view the OF as RF: Mookie, CF: Beni, LF: JD/defensive replacement.
  47. tonyarmasjr

    tonyarmasjr Member SoSH Member

    That certainly makes the decision to give up on him much easier. A 1 win CFer isn't worth $6M or $9M. But he's yet to be that guy.** I've been (and still am) a JBJ supporter. He's certainly been all over the map offensively and that makes him hard to value. But I think it's foolish to value him as the guy he's been when on a cold streak (aka as the guy he's been in 2018). Even as he struggled some in 2017, he still amassed 2.2 fWAR by the end of the year. His season batting line ended up .245/.323/.402 with a 90 wRC+. That's a Gold Glove CFer you feel good about paying $9M for. As we know, though, he runs hot or cold. 2017 wRC+ by month: 53, 108, 167, 52, 11, 30 - with the 30 coming in Sept/Oct. So, if the streaky player is more valuable than the steady one, that's negated by the timing in this case. At $6M, I think it's hard to argue against that guy. For $9M, it may be a different story.

    But what we're holding out for is the 2015-2016 version of JBJ. In 900 PA over that year and a half he slashed .262/.345/.489, 120 wRC+, as a 5-win player (and was the same guy in his additional 300 AAA PA). He was also that type of hitter coming up through the minors. His career minor league line stands at .294/.391/.462. That's the guy we're hoping he can be on a (more) consistent basis. And it would be worth a lot more than $9M. He was a top-20 outfielder in all of baseball by fWAR from 2015-2017.

    I think it's obvious his true talent level lies somewhere between those two extremes. And, for me, it's been easy to this point to write off his 2014 as a period of adjustment to MLB. But I can't completely ignore the fact that **he was a replacement level player for his first full season-plus of big league experience. And it becomes more relevant as this current period of suck goes on.

    2014 - .198/.265/.266, 46 wRC+, 7.3 BB%, 28.6 K%, .284 BABIP, .068 ISO, 18.0 LD%
    2018 - .181/.276/.285, 54 wRC+, 8.1 BB%, 27.1 K%, .242 BABIP, .104 ISO, 20.0 LD%

    There's a lot of similarity between those two lines that I don't like. It's still hard for me to believe that his season line is going to end up looking that bad, though. Just factoring in a bit of BABIP luck (his career BABIP is .292), his line could very easily look something like .230/.320/.330 right now. But it doesn't. So, in terms of job security, I don't think he should be feeling the heat just yet. If we get into the 2nd half and he hasn't turned a corner, it could make sense to look for a replacement for this year's playoff run, whether internal or external. Facing a sub-50 wRC+ going into Sept/Oct is a tough pill to swallow. But, assuming he reverts to some semblance of his career norms, I think you have to live with the hot and cold through his arb years. Having Benintendi and JDM as a potential CF and 4th OF to minimize some of the risk of his struggles makes things a little easier.
  48. Al Zarilla

    Al Zarilla Member SoSH Member

    Beni looks fine in CF. That was his position in the minors, he’s got the speed to run down balls and his arm, although not JBJ’s (who else has one like that?), is good. It’s certainly far better than Damon or Ellsbury had. The problem if you bench JBJ is the non-Betts, non-Benintendi OF position. But, JD wants to play outfield, so that accommodates him.

    Cora keeps saying encouraging things about JBJ in after game pressers, like he’s hitting the ball hard, he’s improving...Sounds to me like he’s not getting benched in the foreseeable future, unless Cora does a 180. Last thing, Cora keeps sounding like JBJ is like a project for him and the hitting coaches, and they don’t want to give up on him.
  49. 21st Century Sox

    21st Century Sox Member SoSH Member

    JD scares me with lots of time in LF. Poor OF'er, and injury risk increases. I will take JBJ's D every time, and hope at this point that he has a hot streak or two.
  50. Remagellan

    Remagellan Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    This is still where I am. I’d rather not risk JDM in the field for injury and incompetency reasons, and would rather wait for JBJ to start to hit, even though I’m increasingly feeling like Linus in the pumpkin patch on that one.

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