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Will Hanley Play 1B Competently - First Hand Observations

Discussion in 'Red Sox Forum' started by Plympton91, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. Plympton91

    Plympton91 bubble burster SoSH Member

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    So I've been taking a break from SoSH for lent, but using the Sunday exception logged in today thinking I'd catch up on Red Sox spring training news, and came here to find the place moribund. So, there must be scores of people who read this site attending spring training, I figured having a thread for them to chronical every Hanley foible and step forward. That to me seems like the most important issue of the spring. Consider this a safe space for fun discussion that doesn't have to be accompanied by a full length dissertation in applied statistics.

    For the first contribution, my parents are down there and my dad is dismayed. anyone else have anything positive to report?
     
  2. johnnywayback

    johnnywayback Member SoSH Member

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    I've seen three games, so around 15 innings of Hanley-at-1B, plus some drills. He looks like what he is: a generally athletic person doing his best to get comfortable with a new thing and slowly improving with practice?

    I think it was reported somewhere that Butterfield is working with him on not snapping the glove when receiving throws, which is a thing that was noticeable when I was there early in camp. I saw him bobble one backspun soft two-hopper, but he recovered and got the out. In the same game, he did a good job of letting Pedroia have a ball in the hole and getting back to the bag. He's missed a couple in-the-dirt throws that were definitely throwing errors and not his fault, but that a Gold Glove 1B might have cleaned up? I haven't seen him have a problem on pick-off throws (and since I saw a Buchholz start, I had a large sample), nor have I seen his footwork around the bag being a problem on the handful of routine putouts I've seen him execute. I also haven't seen him have to make a particularly difficult play in terms of instincts or decision-making -- no bunts, no cut-offs, etc.

    He doesn't appear to be a great (or even average) defensive 1B, but I've seen nothing to suggest he'll be as hopelessly lost as he was in LF and no evidence that he's failing to work hard at it (in fact, I saw him and Butterfield working at like 8:30 one morning, before anyone else was out and about), or that he's being a pill (he seems pretty cheerful, actually). And he's hitting the ball well. So, my sabermetric analysis is that I suspect it's going to be okay.
     
  3. Rasputin

    Rasputin Will outlive SeanBerry Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Everything I have seen on TV suggests he's going to be adequate.
     
  4. Joe Tall

    Joe Tall lurker

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    As long as his bat speed was as high as it was last year, it will not matter much.
     
  5. ToeKneeArmAss

    ToeKneeArmAss Paul Byrd's pitching coach Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I only saw him once (vs Miami on Sat) but I did notice little-leaguer footwork. That is, he gets to the bag, puts one foot on it and reaches toward the fielder before the throw is made.

    I can't imagine that they're not working on that with him. I'm hoping that if they could coach the "snatch-catch" out of his game that they can do the same with this. But it did disturb me.
     
  6. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

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    For those of us who are fielding technique noobs, can you explain what the difference is between this and the right way?
     
  7. Just a bit outside

    Just a bit outside Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    You don't want to stretch before the ball is thrown. You want to stretch toward the throw or you limit your reach to the ball.
     
  8. ElcaballitoMVP

    ElcaballitoMVP Member SoSH Member

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    Wait until you see ball thrown and only reach once you see the trajectory of the ball. If you put your foot on first, step towards Pedroia and have an errant throw up or down the baseline you're in trouble.
     
  9. EddieYost

    EddieYost has a special friend in GHoff SoSH Member

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    He needs to wait and see where the throw is going before he stretches towards it. If the throw is offline it's easier to adjust if you don't commit early.
     
  10. PaulinMyrBch

    PaulinMyrBch Don't touch his dog food Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Also, don't assume you even have to stretch. It's something you do on a close play, not every play. But it's fairly easy to learn, so we should see that get better soon.
     
  11. E5 Yaz

    E5 Yaz Transcends message boarding Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    My question, since I haven't seen him yet, is whether he's ranging too far toward second for grounders in the hole.
     
  12. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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    Right. Throwing side foot nearer to the base; give the thrower a target so you both at least have an agreed-upon plan as to where the thrower is attempting to throw it; then move throwing side foot onto the base and the other toward the ball. And most of the time no stretch is necessary. (Stretching on a routine play just means the 1bman can't adjust if its a bad throw.) A high school coach once told me that the target solves about half of any 1st baseman's problems.
     
  13. Al Zarilla

    Al Zarilla Member SoSH Member

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    Hopefully he'll be like Ted shouting "you get it Dommy" back in the day, although there isn't time on grounders for anything like that. I wish we could turn back the clock and have him study Adrian Gonzalez when they were both with the Dodgers.

    Q for Plympton: why was your Dad dismayed?
     
  14. Rasputin

    Rasputin Will outlive SeanBerry Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I'm watching last night's game and Hanley just made a play where he had to come off the bag to grab a bad throw and tag the runner. It wasn't a particularly hard version of the play, but whatever the left field equivalent is, he didn't make it last year.

    He's gonna be okay.
     
  15. uncannymanny

    uncannymanny Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Yup saw that too. Shows he's paying attention to Butterfield. Definitely encouraging.
     
  16. Red(s)HawksFan

    Red(s)HawksFan Member SoSH Member

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    Not to turn this thread into a game thread about Hanley's defense, but there was just another encouraging defensive play from Hanley, being in position to cut off a throw to home and throw out a runner at second.
     
  17. BannedbyNYYFans.com

    BannedbyNYYFans.com Member SoSH Member

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  18. Lowrielicious

    Lowrielicious Member SoSH Member

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    Nice!
    Thanks for posting that.
    Flip could be a little flatter if you really want to pick nits, but otherwise that's pretty tasty.
     
  19. Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

    Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat has big, douchey shoulders Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Certainly no reason to be dismayed
     
  20. moondog80

    moondog80 heart is two sizes two small SoSH Member

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    That's great but putting aside the flip (which my 10 year old could do), it's not really a 1B-specific play, right? It's just ranging to his left for a ball, same as he would have at SS. We knew he could do that. Fielding throws that are in the dirt or off the bag are more the concern.
     
  21. trs

    trs lurker

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    I'd disagree. Ranging to the line for a ball bouncing near the bag is limited to the corner positions and can be difficult. I realize that's not a huge difference to ranging to the left from the SS position, but it's different enough. As others who have played a bit of first base can attest, the toss to a moving pitcher is far more difficult than it appears and is certainly more difficult than tossing towards a mostly stationary 2b to start a DP. Plus 2bmen usually enjoy a bit more coordination than some pitcher taking random angles to the 1b bag.
     
  22. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

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    His instincts looked right, and he moved well and efficiently to complete a play, and that's something you really couldn't say about him in the outfield. It's only one play, but it's more encouraging than not.
     
  23. Smiling Joe Hesketh

    Smiling Joe Hesketh All Hail King Boron Dope

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    Is this the way it's gonna be this year? Is every damn play over at 1B going to be subject to Zapruder-film-esque breakdowns for execution and timing?

    Because honestly, the spring training handwringing is a bit much. Kevin Millar fielded 1B like a man with a machete and I seem to remember those teams doing alright. Hanley is an INF by trade, and I'm pretty confident he'll be OK over there. And even if he's not, we have ample evidence that teams can overcome that because 1B is simply not a premier defensive position.

    Have we forgotten already that expectations for Napoli over at first were extremely low when he was acquired?
     
  24. Green Monster

    Green Monster Member SoSH Member

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    I was at the March 4th game against the Rays. He missed a throw in the dirt from X that I thought was very pickable. The other thing I noticed is that he appeared to be reluctant to shuffle off the bag when holding a runner. This might increase the size of the hole between him and Pedroia.
     
  25. JayMags71

    JayMags71 Member SoSH Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  26. Savin Hillbilly

    Savin Hillbilly loves the secret sauce SoSH Member

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    1B is a non-premier defensive position because the basic athletic skills required to play it are widely distributed among the population of young men who can reasonably aspire to a professional baseball career in the first place. But saying that the pool of people who can play it respectably well is a large one is not the same thing as saying that it is not important to have a 1B who can play the position respectably well. This is like saying that because it's pretty easy to cook a decent hamburger, therefore a badly cooked hamburger tastes good.

    Hopefully Hanley's 1B hamburger will taste better than his LF hamburger. But the fact that lots of guys can cook a good 1B hamburger won't make the Sox' position any more palatable if it turns out that Hanley can't.
     
    #26 Savin Hillbilly, Mar 17, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  27. nighthob

    nighthob Member SoSH Member

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    Given the date you should have been talking about his shepherds pie.
     
  28. Mugsy's Jock

    Mugsy's Jock Longtime Member Lifetime Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Jumping on the over analyzing, don't forget Hanley's only barely started using a first base mitt, way more different than the change from an IF glove to an OF glove. The more nice plays he makes with that equipment, the less it'll be any kind of thing in his mind.
     
  29. Detts

    Detts Member SoSH Member

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    You must be new here.
     
  30. bohous

    bohous Member SoSH Member

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    Piling on.. there is also a lot of distraction going on there. You have the umpire coming in at you from behind, the 1B coach dancing around, and the runner and pitcher running toward the bag. But yeah, it's a play one would expect him to make, and he did.
     
  31. Smiling Joe Hesketh

    Smiling Joe Hesketh All Hail King Boron Dope

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    I've made more posts here than you've had hot meals!
     
  32. reggiecleveland

    reggiecleveland sublime Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness.
     
  33. E5 Yaz

    E5 Yaz Transcends message boarding Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Build a fire for a man, he'll be warm for one night. Set a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
     
  34. Reverend

    Reverend for king and country Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I think we should have a thread for every play to first.

    Maybe a new subforum for them?
     
  35. E5 Yaz

    E5 Yaz Transcends message boarding Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Leave it to you to propose blanket coverage
     
  36. CoRP

    CoRP Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Not if he's a typical SoSHer.
     
  37. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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    Does philoshophical and scientific speculation about warmth and setting a really large man on fire belong here or the Sandoval thread?
     
  38. Rovin Romine

    Rovin Romine Johnny Rico Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Agreed. Beyond the ability to position, catch, and throw, receiving throws is a big skill for a 1B. I thought someone did an analysis during the Millar/Olerud period which suggested that having a 1B who receives infield throws well was very much noticed and leaned on by the infield. I.e., more close plays were made because the infielders didn't hesitate to make sure the 1B was alert and in position before throwing. They also weren't as worried about minor erratic throws since the 1B could at least prevent the extra base even if he was pulled off the bag.

    As far as Hanley goes, he seems to be competent in the early going; I don't mind the nitty gritty analysis now, because I'm curious to see how he progresses (or not) over the season.

    It seems like everyone has him pegged for DH ASAP. But he may turn out to be defensively neutral (or even good) at 1B - which is something I'd love to see, given inter-league play and post season. More options are always better.
     
  39. flymrfreakjar

    flymrfreakjar Member SoSH Member

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    He executed a successful pick-off play with Vazquez this afternoon. Yet another good sign.
     
  40. Smiling Joe Hesketh

    Smiling Joe Hesketh All Hail King Boron Dope

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    BUT OMG DID HE THROW THE BALL BACK TO THE PITCHER PROMPTLY?
     
  41. E5 Yaz

    E5 Yaz Transcends message boarding Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    He apparently dropped the warmup ball tossed from the dugout as he was leaving the field
     
  42. Smiling Joe Hesketh

    Smiling Joe Hesketh All Hail King Boron Dope

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    29,558
  43. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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    I think there is probably something to the idea that a really skilled 1Bman can give the other infielders a dose of confidence that either helps them to make great plays, or just keeps them from overthinking the routine ones ("gotta make it perfect," he thinks as he Knoblauchs it onto Van Ness St.)
     
  44. Montana Fan

    Montana Fan Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I'm surprised that anyone on SoSH is interested in how Hanley's looked in the field so far. It's not like he was the worst fielder in all of baseball last year. And yes, I'm on record as expecting him to be an average fielder at first. Why shit all over a thread discussing how he looks so far? If he doesn't suck, he won't be nitpicked to death.
     
  45. Sprowl

    Sprowl gentleman, scholar, slumpbuster and glutton Dope

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    Having Kevin Youkilis scooping up Julio Lugo's many errant throws made Lugo an almost tolerable shortstop and earned Youk a gold glove in 2007. Fortunately for the 2016 Red Sox, Pedroia, Bogaerts and Sandoval can each throw well and accurately -- none of them bounces throws on a regular basis.
     
  46. joe dokes

    joe dokes Member SoSH Member

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    I think the issue is along the lines of boiling it down to micro analysis of every single play as a proxy for "how he looks."
     
  47. ToeKneeArmAss

    ToeKneeArmAss Paul Byrd's pitching coach Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    So here's the thing. It's clear that at least for the start of the season he's the team's choice. We can argue that others might offer superior defense. It's tenuous to suggest we have a better alternative at 1b offensively.

    He's our guy until he's not. Hopefully his O more than makes up for his D. That wouldn't be the first such 1b net equation.
     
  48. mwonow

    mwonow Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    You take that back.
     
  49. Todd Benzinger

    Todd Benzinger Member SoSH Member

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    I would like to beg for more "microanalysis" in this thread.

    It seems to me that whether or not Hanley can play a passable 1B is about the only important question for this season that could be answered in ST. Bigger questions like do Rusney & Panda have a future in the majors, or which of our non Price SP will be decent or better, cannot be answered in SSS.

    The only real microanalysis so far has been about his bad stretching habits, and a flippant remark on a flip. I thought both of those were worth hearing. Any other specifics about specific plays would welcome, to me anyway, as someone who finds TV of ST games too boring to sit through.

    So, is he doing better with the stretch yet? Has he made any impressive picks on bad throws? Is he missing them altogether? Anyone have other gifs of his plays, good bad or indifferent?

    I am hoping that his historically bad D last year will magically go away with a return to the IF, but it is troubling.
     
  50. flymrfreakjar

    flymrfreakjar Member SoSH Member

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    I've been able to watch a lot of games this spring, somehow, and from my eyes Hanley has been absolutely fine. He's made some picks, had a few diving plays, a successful pick-off. Everything you could ask. On this ESPN feed right now, Olney gave a little report on how pleased everyone in the organization has been with him. Someone in the booth right now is saying how people he's talked to around the league think he looks shockingly good. I'm not sure micro-analysis is warranted right now...
     

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