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Should Adrian play OF in NL parks?


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#1 Corsi


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:20 PM

Francona on whether Adrian Gonzalez will play some OF in NL ballparks: "We'll see." That would allow Ortiz to make few starts at 1B

http://twitter.com/#...903755862966272

Edited by Corsi, 20 June 2011 - 03:21 PM.


#2 Rudy's Curve

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:29 PM

I think he should in the smaller LFs of Philly and Houston. Ortiz is so hot right now that his bat vs. Reddick's/McDonald's is probably worth the defensive downgrades.

#3 NoLastCall125

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:31 PM

Gonzalez hasn't played in the outfield since he was with the Rangers in 2005. He played right field for one game. I get that they don't want to have to choose between Gonzalez and Papi when it comes to playing time, especially since they've been the two best hitters in on the team (and two of the three or four best in the AL), but for nine games, mostly against competition that's vastly inferior, I don't know whether I'd want to run the risk of trying to get away with Gonzo in left field.

Although from what I've read on the board and heard on NESN, if they do this in any park, it'll be in Philadelphia, but how comfortable can Gonzalez really be out there?

#4 OttoC


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:33 PM

He played one game (8.0 innings) for the Ranger in RF in 2005. That is his only professional experience as an outfielder.

#5 HriniakPosterChild

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:34 PM

Francona on whether Adrian Gonzalez will play some OF in NL ballparks: "We'll see."


Hmm. My mom used to say exactly the same thing when I would ask if we could go to Disney World.

(She never took us to Disney World.)

#6 SaveBooFerriss


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:34 PM

It is hard to see enough value after significantly degrading at two defensive positions (LF, 1b) to justify this.

#7 rembrat


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:37 PM

The organization that gave Crawford $142m is really considering sticking Gonzo out in LF? I think Tito is just having fun with whatever daft reporter asked him this.

#8 Corsi


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:39 PM

He played one game (8.0 innings) for the Ranger in RF in 2005. That is his only professional experience as an outfielder.


Just enough time to commit an error.

#9 wutang112878


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:41 PM

I think:
Defensive downgrade < Offensive upgrade

But:
Defensive downgrade + Injury risk to the best hitter in baseball > Offensive upgrade

#10 BucketOBalls


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:41 PM

It is hard to see enough value after significantly degrading at two defensive positions (LF, 1b) to justify this.


Wouldn't it make just as much sense to just stick Ortiz in LF? I imagine their range is about the same(0), and that way, you would only be downgrading 1 position defensively.

But:
Defensive downgrade + Injury risk to the best hitter in baseball > Offensive upgrade


I think you got this one reversed.

Edited by BucketOBalls, 20 June 2011 - 03:43 PM.


#11 RedOctober3829


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:43 PM

The organization that gave Crawford $142m is really considering sticking Gonzo out in LF? I think Tito is just having fun with whatever daft reporter asked him this.

Yes, they are.

GordonEdes
Tito on Adrian Gonzalez playing OF: "We've already talked to him a little bit. We'll see. I'm glad he's willing to do it. I don't want (Ortz) to sit 9


And Adrian Gonzalez on the potential situation:

GordonEdes
Gonzalez said he played OF 1 game in Texas and in winter ball. "I'm not an OF,'' he said, ''but if it's a matter of getting Papi in...''



#12 TomRicardo


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:46 PM

This is really going to mess up Lackey's ERA.

#13 PrometheusWakefield


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:47 PM

Well, my rudimentary math skills suggest it's an easy call just on the numbers. If you assume a -5 UZR/150 for Gonzalez in left, Kalish's 7.9 UZR/150 in left (SSS but it seems approximately what you'd expect), and Ortiz' -4.3 UZR career at 1B, you get this:

Defensive and offensive value
RC / G UZR / G
Ortiz 0.76 -0.024
Gonzalez 1B 0.90 0.014
Gonzalez LF 0.90 -0.033
Kalish 0.39 0.053



That adds up to 0.46 R/G in added offensive value for the Ortiz / Gonzalez lineup compared to a loss of 0.13 R/G in defensive value.

The question IMO is whether putting a guy in a new position - or playing Ortiz defensively at all - risks an injury to either Adrian Gonzalez or Ortiz.

#14 rembrat


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:48 PM

Yes, they are.


And Adrian Gonzalez on the potential situation:

Wow, this is really dumb.

#15 Ed Hillel


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:51 PM

It is hard to see enough value after significantly degrading at two defensive positions (LF, 1b) to justify this.


I have to agree with this, particularly given that Ortiz would still have the opportunity to PH in every game at an opportune time. Maybe give it a chance for a game or two in Philly to see how it may shake out in a potential World Series game, but don't think I'd want to see much more beyond that.

#16 JakeRae


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:54 PM

Well, my rudimentary math skills suggest it's an easy call just on the numbers. If you assume a -5 UZR/150 for Gonzalez in left, Kalish's 7.9 UZR/150 in left (SSS but it seems approximately what you'd expect), and Ortiz' -4.3 UZR career at 1B, you get this:

Defensive and offensive value
RC / G UZR / G
Ortiz 0.76 -0.024
Gonzalez 1B 0.90 0.014
Gonzalez LF 0.90 -0.033
Kalish 0.39 0.053



That adds up to 0.46 R/G in added offensive value for the Ortiz / Gonzalez lineup compared to a loss of 0.13 R/G in defensive value.

The question IMO is whether putting a guy in a new position - or playing Ortiz defensively at all - risks an injury to either Adrian Gonzalez or Ortiz.

Why would you assume the Gonzalez can play a close to average left field? I'd think something in the range of -20 UZR/150 would be a more reasonable estimate, and even that could easily be too optimistic, although I really have no idea. -5 UZR/150 seems unrealistically high as an estimate. That would make him better than a reasonable number of people who are actually outfielders.

#17 redsox2020

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:58 PM

If they want Ortiz in the lineup this bad, why don't they just let him pitch? Makes almost as much sense.

#18 TheYellowDart5


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:58 PM

Dear God, no.

Think of how slow Adrian Gonzalez is on the basepaths. Now imagine him trying to track down a line drive that's quickly falling to the ground. Imagine him trying to go back on a flyball that just keeps carrying. Imagine him trying to cut off a line drive headed for the gap. Imagine him coming in on a popup. Imagine him trying to make a close play at the wall.

If you managed to imagine any of those scenarios without screaming in fear, congratulations: You're a fool. But I have to believe that Gonzalez would put forth one of the worst defensive performances in history if you stuck him in the outfield.

#19 aron7awol

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 04:01 PM

Why would you assume the Gonzalez can play a close to average left field? I'd think something in the range of -20 UZR/150 would be a more reasonable estimate, and even that could easily be too optimistic, although I really have no idea. -5 UZR/150 seems unrealistically high as an estimate. That would make him better than a reasonable number of people who are actually outfielders.


This. And why are you looking at Kalish and not Reddick, anyway?

#20 joe dokes

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 04:02 PM

I was not drunk when I posted this on Friday in the Interleague thread:

Posted 17 June 2011 - 04:34 PM
There's always this:
http://www.baseball-...200509300.shtml
Adrian Gonzalez RF-1B


Instead I was being sarcastic. I was kidding. It is the worst idea in recent RedSox history. Did someone take this seriously?

As for Gonzalez's comment, I recall Don Mattingly's comment when the NYY acquired Ken Phelps, potentially forcing Mattingly to the OF: "My contract doesn't say 'first baseman.'" I don't think Gonzalez in constitutionally capable of telling the Sox "no." And he certainly won't do it publicly. I think he trusts the Sox not to do something so monumentally stupid, and has enough smarts to tell them that in private, rather than publicly announcing that he intends to defy the manager's orders/call the manager stoooopid.

They might as well add Carlton Fisk to the roster and put *him* in LF. After all, he's played there before.

We're talking about NINE games. Six of which are against teams that absolutely suck.

Edited by joe dokes, 20 June 2011 - 04:04 PM.


#21 Al Zarilla


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 04:03 PM

Have him shag flies in the OF for 10 minutes a night for a couple weeks in advance of when he plays the OF. Make some OF throws in practice. Left field is relatively small in the parks they're considering and also doesn't have the long throws center and right field require. Gonzo seems to possess great instinct on all the plays at first base. I hope he can judge a flyball. Then there was Youks in left though. It's not as though they'd be asking him to play the positions that require special skills like P, C, SS or 2B. I know, he's a lefty thrower. Gonzo is a baseball player. He can do it. Oh, there used to be this guy:



Edit, I saw Roy Oswalt in LF this year. He even made a catch.

Edited by Al Zarilla, 20 June 2011 - 04:04 PM.


#22 Eric Van


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 04:03 PM

Well, my rudimentary math skills suggest it's an easy call just on the numbers. If you assume a -5 UZR/150 for Gonzalez in left, Kalish's 7.9 UZR/150 in left (SSS but it seems approximately what you'd expect), and Ortiz' -4.3 UZR career at 1B, you get this:

The numbers I would have used would be something like -35 in LF (what Adam Dunn and Adam Lind have done out there in 500+ innings, 2009-2011) for Gonzalez and -10 at 1B for Papi.

The rationale for this is not to make the team better that day, but get Papi some PA in the middle of the 9 game stretch. But it almost certainly makes much more sense to simply give Adrian his semi-annual day off.

Edited by Eric Van, 20 June 2011 - 04:05 PM.


#23 Oil Can Dan

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 04:10 PM

Perhaps you do something like this in NL parks in the World Series. But for regular season games??

#24 joe dokes

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 04:11 PM

[snip]
The rationale for this is not to make the team better that day, but get Papi some PA in the middle of the 9 game stretch. But it almost certainly makes much more sense to simply give Adrian his semi-annual day off.



This. A million times over.

#25 Sprowl


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 04:14 PM

Hmm. My mom used to say exactly the same thing when I would ask if we could go to Disney World.

(She never took us to Disney World.)


My dad used to say exactly the same thing in response to anything we wanted to do. "We'll see" is the most annoying expression a 7-year-old can imagine.


Can Adrian Gonzalez injure himself playing the outfield? Unlike Ramirez, he doesn't seem prone to pulling a hamstring, mostly because he rarely builds up enough speed to pull anything. He strikes me as perhaps the least rangy outfielder imaginable because he is so slow to accelerate and so slow at full speed, but a relatively low injury risk. UZR/150 of -35 sounds about right, but I think Lind and Dunn are probably faster than Gonzalez. He should be able to hang on to anything he can reach, though, which is better than Youkilis.

I'd rather see Gonzalez get a day off. He and Ortiz can still get 1 at-bat as a pinch-hitter for each game they are sitting out.

#26 PrometheusWakefield


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 04:20 PM

I guess I underestimated how hard it is to play -5 UZR/150 LF. At -35 UZR for Adrian Gonzalez and -10 for Papi it comes out to .46 R/G in added offense for .37 in lost defensive value.

#27 Ed Hillel


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 04:22 PM

I actually think if the team is insistent on playing both in the field, the best value for their money is putting Ortiz in left. Just typing that is pretty hilarious and disgusting at the same time, though.

#28 HriniakPosterChild

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 04:30 PM

They might as well add Carlton Fisk to the roster and put *him* in LF. After all, he's played there before.


As long as we're doing thought experiments, can we get Todd Walker back for these interleague games and stand him where a 2nd baseman usually plays?

#29 E5 Yaz


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 04:47 PM

"I wouldn't say it's willingness, but the fact that I've done it before," he said. "If I was approached on it, and Tito wanted to do it for a couple games, I'd be OK with it. I'm not an outfielder, and I wasn't an outfielder, but if it meant getting Papi in the game and get him a few more games, it's definitely something I would do."


http://sports.espn.g...tory?id=6683076

#30 phrenile


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 05:05 PM

http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/mlb/news/story?id=6683076

Teams cannot use a designated hitter in interleague play.

Edes needs a better editor.

#31 ThatsMyPeskyPole

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 05:11 PM

As a friend emailed me, " put Ortiz in a chair in rt and ellsbury to shade towards right.

#32 Eric Van


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 05:13 PM

I'd rather see Gonzalez get a day off. He and Ortiz can still get 1 at-bat as a pinch-hitter for each game they are sitting out.

So, when?

Opposing pitchers with Gonzalez and Ortiz stats versus them (Astros will either go Norris-Happ-Lyles or Happ-Lyles-Myers; red is night game then day game):

The Trip
Date Team P Adrian Gonzalez Papi
24-Jun @ Pit Maholm (L) 1/9, BB, 3K --
25-Jun @ Pit Kartsens 2/7, BB, 2K 2/3, 3B, HR
26-Jun @ Pit Morton 0/4, BB --
27-Jun x
28-Jun @ Phi Lee (L) 2000 629
29-Jun @ Phi Oswalt 975 --
30-Jun @ Phi Hamels (L) 1098 0/3, K
1-Jul @ Htn Norris 0/3, 2K --
2-Jul @ Htn Happ (L) 0/3 BB --
3-Jul @ Htn Lyles --- --
Myers 1/4, HR, 2 BB 1406

There's not a real opportunity to rest Gonzalez versus the Phillies; that's when you least want to make the team worse, and he's hit all three pitchers great.

I would have him sit next Sunday afternoon, giving him two days off in a row, and then again Saturday (or Friday) night versus Happ. Having him sit out one of a night game / day game combo, which is always tiring, is desirable. Papi sits 3 days, 5 days, 2 days (or 3, 4, 3), instead of 11 straight, which is breaking it up reasonably evenly. And right now Papi is hitting LHP better than Adrian, so getting him in versus Happ sounds good.

Edited by Eric Van, 20 June 2011 - 05:14 PM.


#33 aron7awol

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 05:56 PM

Wouldn't it make just as much sense to just stick Ortiz in LF? I imagine their range is about the same(0), and that way, you would only be downgrading 1 position defensively.

Well, my rudimentary math skills suggest it's an easy call just on the numbers. If you assume a -5 UZR/150 for Gonzalez in left, Kalish's 7.9 UZR/150 in left (SSS but it seems approximately what you'd expect), and Ortiz' -4.3 UZR career at 1B, you get this:

Defensive and offensive value
RC / G UZR / G
Ortiz 0.76 -0.024
Gonzalez 1B 0.90 0.014
Gonzalez LF 0.90 -0.033
Kalish 0.39 0.053



That adds up to 0.46 R/G in added offensive value for the Ortiz / Gonzalez lineup compared to a loss of 0.13 R/G in defensive value.

The question IMO is whether putting a guy in a new position - or playing Ortiz defensively at all - risks an injury to either Adrian Gonzalez or Ortiz.


* I put Ortiz in this run environment at about 0.73 RC/G.
* I'm not sure why PrometheusWake used Kalish, and he also projected him to be a Juan Pierre caliber player. I'll use Reddick instead, and put him at a .50 RC/G and 0.07 UZR/G which I think is conservative and reasonable.

These parameters put the breakeven point for Papi's defense at -0.16 UZR/G or -24 UZR/150. I'd say he's almost certainly worse than that, and that -24 is a very high percentile upside.

Given that we're talking about a potential difference of maybe 0.1 R/G for 9 games, and the likelihood of Ortiz being much worse than -24 UZR/150, I have to conclude that should the Sox make this switch, it will field a worse overall team. However, I'm rooting for it to happen because I would love to see Ortiz do his best Manny impression in LF. I'll even sacrifice a small fraction of win expectancy to see it.

#34 curly2

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 06:06 PM

There is NO WAY they should play Gonzalez in the outfield. They should sit him the last game in Pittsburgh. It's a day game after a night game, and they're off the next day, so it would be like two days off. Play Papi at first that day.

Then maybe you can give Adrian one of the games in Houston as a day off. Otherwise, sorry Papi, you're a pinch hitter.

The last thing this team needs is Adrian Gonzalez running into an outfield wall or pulling a hammy lumbering after a fly ball.

#35 Buzzkill Pauley


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 06:11 PM

By "we'll see" I assume Tito meant "no way in hell" but hey, we'll see.

Ortiz will probably get one start at 1B, and PH appearance in all the other games. In a way, it's kind of nice that Crawford's hurt during interleague, because it makes for twice as many PH opportunities in the OF.

#36 Carl Everetts Therapist


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 06:13 PM

And Gonzie I know has done it in winter ball. And there are a few right fields on this trip that aren't huge, so we'll see. That's the best way I can say it. It's gotta work though, you know, where I don't want to outsmart myself. We'll see."


This is what Tito said.... He never mentions LF only RF.

That is much better as I'm sure we can take advantage of Gonzo's gun out there in right

#37 CSteinhardt


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 07:41 PM

The only way I can see this making sense is if Tito thinks it's essential to give both of them regular ABs in order to prevent a slump or something. And even if that's the case, I'd be more in favor of some sort of time-share, where one of them is the first PH and then stays in the game to play 1B. I say this mainly because both are hitting well in their current roles, and while there seems to numerically be an improvement possible with both in the lineup, this assumes they will hit equally well when taken out of their routines. IMO the effects of changing their routine in the middle of both having tremendous success, something that must be done to some extent anyway even if you sit one of them, are going to be dominant. I'm particularly concerned here about Ortiz, since he's the one vastly outperforming expectations and most likely to decline in the second half. But, let's assume that these considerations do dictate that you want to find as big of a role as possible for both.

On the plus side, playing one of them at corner outfield has the advantage of replacing the worst hitter in the lineup with the best available bat, so you get the most bang for your buck. However, Adrian Gonzalez is a good enough 1B that moving him to the OF hurts you twice.

As crazy as this sounds, I'm pretty sure the best solution from a net runs perspective is actually to put Papi in the outfield. Basically, treat him like the extra guy you got to show up for your softball team to avoid forfeiting, stick him in RF against RHB and LF against LHB, and ask the other two guys to cover for him as much as possible.

However, this analysis is currently ignoring that the Red Sox are a very good team. For a team that expects to win 100 games, creating, say, 11 more runs at the expense of conceding 10 is actually a *bad* idea. When that's factored in, it becomes much less obvious.

My instinct here is a hybrid approach: by default, Papi is the first PH into the game, but if the Sox get into a situation where higher variance is good, leave him in the game after an early PH appearance to play corner outfield, being willing to then use a defensive replacement with a lead. A lot more work for the manager, but basically using him to increase or reduce variance, as desired, seems like the best option if it can work from a man management point of view.

Edit: hit post before I meant to.

Edited by CSteinhardt, 20 June 2011 - 07:45 PM.


#38 HriniakPosterChild

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 08:33 PM

I'd rather see Gonzalez get a day off. He and Ortiz can still get 1 at-bat as a pinch-hitter for each game they are sitting out.


When's the last time Ortiz played 9 innings in the field when the Sox had the lead in a NL park?

If Gonzales is the defensive replacement for Oritz, you lose a bit of flexibility about when you can pinch hit with him.

--
Edit: Redundant redundancy.

Edited by HriniakPosterChild, 20 June 2011 - 08:36 PM.


#39 glennhoffmania


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 09:10 PM

This would be an incredibly dumb idea, and just one of many reasons why IL is so ridiculously stupid. You've got Detroit playing Avila at 3B, and now Boston is going to put a 1B MVP candidate in LF. Baseball is by far my favorite sport, but MLB is the most illogical of the professional leagues.

#40 86spike


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Posted 20 June 2011 - 10:11 PM

These projections are dumb. Sure, it might be a differential of .14 runs a game when projected out over a season... But one horrible defensive play in one game could be a 1, 2, 3' or 4 run difference. It could be the difference between winning and losing each game they attempted this shit. And as hot as the Sox are, the MFYs are right behind us keeping pace so let's not go risking losses all willy nilly, ok?

And that's not even considering injury risk to our best hitter.

Dumb.

#41 mfried

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 10:16 PM

These projections are dumb. Sure, it might be a differential of .14 runs a game when projected out over a season... But one horrible defensive play in one game could be a 1, 2, 3' or 4 run difference. It could be the difference between winning and losing each game they attempted this shit. And as hot as the Sox are, the MFYs are right behind us keeping pace so let's not go risking losses all willy nilly, ok?

And that's not even considering injury risk to our best hitter.

Dumb.


True. Two major defensive downgrades: Gonzalez is a great defensive 1st baseman. Papi doesn't even remember what a decent 1st baseman is. Gonzalez won't catch up to anything 10 steps away. Adrian could be drilled into reasonable shape as a (left-handed) 3rd baseman, but outfield is best reserved as a place for him to hit line drives.

#42 Flynn4ever

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 11:12 PM

True. Two major defensive downgrades: Gonzalez is a great defensive 1st baseman. Papi doesn't even remember what a decent 1st baseman is. Gonzalez won't catch up to anything 10 steps away. Adrian could be drilled into reasonable shape as a (left-handed) 3rd baseman, but outfield is best reserved as a place for him to hit line drives.

It looks like Youks is hurt, would hate to risk doing anything to hurt Adrian. With a 100% healthy lineup maybe a game or two (OF, not third,) but we can't afford to have our three and four hitters both playing hurt or not playing at all.

#43 teejay1324

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 08:40 AM

From a team perspective I think this is a quite less than ideal solution to not having a DH. Gonzo playing left like was said above could lead to him making some monumental mistakes in the outfield and costing the team several runs in maybe as little as a single game.

I can see the concern for throwing Ortiz or Gonzo out of their rhythms with them being as hot as they have been, but who's to say sticking Ortiz at first and Gonzo in left, a dramatic shift in what they usually spend each game doing, won't throw off their rhythms anyways? Don't want to tread too deep into the mindsets of guys I've never met but wouldn't potentially messing with just Ortiz's playing time and position be better than messing around with both him and Gonzo's playing time and positioning for nine games?

Also, naturally, the team would rather have a healthy Crawford in left but him being injured does at least open up playing time for a couple of young outfielders and getting them at-bats and time in the field would benefit them and potentially the team. Not drastically so, obviously nine games of playing time isn't significant but it is what it is and it would be better used on real actual outfielders playing left field.

#44 PrometheusWakefield


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Posted 21 June 2011 - 09:52 AM

These projections are dumb. Sure, it might be a differential of .14 runs a game when projected out over a season... But one horrible defensive play in one game could be a 1, 2, 3' or 4 run difference. It could be the difference between winning and losing each game they attempted this shit. And as hot as the Sox are, the MFYs are right behind us keeping pace so let's not go risking losses all willy nilly, ok?

And that's not even considering injury risk to our best hitter.

Dumb.

FTR, I agree, because of the injury risk first and foremost.

#45 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 21 June 2011 - 10:33 AM

True. Two major defensive downgrades: Gonzalez is a great defensive 1st baseman. Papi doesn't even remember what a decent 1st baseman is. Gonzalez won't catch up to anything 10 steps away. Adrian could be drilled into reasonable shape as a (left-handed) 3rd baseman, but outfield is best reserved as a place for him to hit line drives.

I think this is overly harsh. He's certainly not a guy you would want there long-term, but (granted SSS issues) his career defensive numbers aren't horrible, and he doesn't look horrible to me when he plays, just like a typical big guy with poor mobility and mediocre skills. I think he's probably a better defensive 1B than, for instance, Richie Sexson. I realize that's damning with faint praise, but I guess my point is that Ortiz is a 1B, just not a good one. Putting him there isn't something you want to do more often than you can help, but it isn't a strategic monstrosity either. Putting Adrian in the outfield, with his non-existent speed and near-total lack of experience, might qualify as a strategic monstrosity.

I agree with those who say that you give Adrian a couple of days off, strategically spaced, and start Ortiz on those days, using him the rest of the time as a pinch hitter.

#46 JimBoSox9


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Posted 21 June 2011 - 10:57 AM

I know three things for sure:

1) I'd rather Gonzo learn how to throw right-handed and play 3B than see him in the outfield.

2) Worry about Ortiz getting iced and slumping after the interleague stretch is definitely why Tito is thinking about this, and it's a legitimate concern.

3) I'd rather leave Ortiz in Boston and let him take BP against Millwood for three hours every night than see Gonzo in the outfield.

#47 twothousandone

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 11:30 AM

I think this is overly harsh. He's certainly not a guy you would want there long-term, but (granted SSS issues) his career defensive numbers aren't horrible, and he doesn't look horrible to me when he plays, just like a typical big guy with poor mobility and mediocre skills. I think he's probably a better defensive 1B than, for instance, Richie Sexson. I realize that's damning with faint praise, but I guess my point is that Ortiz is a 1B, just not a good one. Putting him there isn't something you want to do more often than you can help, but it isn't a strategic monstrosity either.



But if it's true that Ortiz didn't even play any at 1B in spring training, then the "remember" part of the phrase has added emphasis. As with Gonzalez in the OF, there's a chance Ortiz make a multi-run error (a drop of out #3, followed by a rushed throw that goes into left field?) and there's a chance he hurts himself. Pujols just got hurt on bad positioning. A collision with the runner, Ortiz ends up trying to dive for something, a pick-off throe that goes wide and Ortiz gets tripped up going after it, all seem much more likely to me, now, than five years ago. Since's he's always played a handful of games at 1B, I suppose starting two their during inter-league play isn't a big risk, but compounding it by moving Gonzalez seems silly.

#48 grsharky7

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 12:31 PM

I don't want to see Adrian in the outfield. As someone above said, we've seen how slow he is on the base paths, watching him go after balls in the gap sounds terrifying. I can't imagine they would do this is in Pittsburgh where left field is pretty spacious. I'd say sit Adrian one game apiece in each series and start Ortiz. Plus Papi will be coming off the bench to pinch hit in these games, which is a great bonus. None of the NL teams have a hitter the caliber of Papi coming into PH in the later innings.

#49 mabrowndog


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Posted 21 June 2011 - 12:40 PM

I realize I should have changed the station, but I just couldn't take my paralyzed ears off the morons calling into EEI this morning clamoring for this to happen. One of them actually said Gonzalez should replace Drew, and that Adrian could easily play right field just as well as J.D. because "Gonzo isn't really as slow as you think." Dale Arnold appropriately laughed him off the air at that point...

The whole "We gutta have Awww-teez in da lineup!!1!" mantra, which conjures up images of drool puddles and lobotomy scars, turns a blind eye to more than defensive calamities and frightening injury risks. It also ignores that the Sox won't have Papi's bat available to pinch-hit for pitchers when the need arises, which it invariably will.

For every game in which he pinch-hits, the "lost offensive opportunity cost" is reduced by 20 to 25%, since instead of having him miss 4 or 5 PAs he'd only be missing 3 or 4.

If a Boston starter is pitching well enough to work through the 7th inning or later, that only improves the odds that the Sox aren't going to need any additional offensive boost that Ortiz might give them -- whether in a full game or in a pinch-hitting appearance. And the best way to enhance the chances of such deep starts is by providing a sound backing defense.

The regimen prescribed by EV upthread, with AG sitting a few games as Papi playing first, is the only sensible option.

Edited by mabrowndog, 21 June 2011 - 12:44 PM.


#50 aron7awol

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 02:18 PM

These projections are dumb. Sure, it might be a differential of .14 runs a game when projected out over a season... But one horrible defensive play in one game could be a 1, 2, 3' or 4 run difference. It could be the difference between winning and losing each game they attempted this shit. And as hot as the Sox are, the MFYs are right behind us keeping pace so let's not go risking losses all willy nilly, ok?

Gonzo playing left like was said above could lead to him making some monumental mistakes in the outfield and costing the team several runs in maybe as little as a single game.

You guys clearly don't understand how projections work. These cases are considered in projections. Yes, one horrible defensive play could be the difference in winning or losing. So could Gonzalez or Ortiz having a great day at the plate.

FTR, I agree, because of the injury risk first and foremost.

I don't buy the injury risk argument, really. How much additional risk is there? I doubt there will be any running into walls; they are likely too slow to even get to a ball that is hit to the wall. I don't think it's much riskier than chasing foul balls toward the stands or dugout from 1B. I'm not talking about putting my grandmother in the outfield. I'm talking about a guy who despite being really slow, is actually quite athletic.


The bottom line is, this is definitely a bad decision as far as win expectancy. Not because of the injury risk. Not because a defensive mistake could be a multiple run error. Because the difference in projected offensive value gained is not enough to make up for the difference in projected defensive value lost. How much win expectancy is lost? Probably not that much over the course of a few games. Is it worth doing to keep both guys fresh and prevent them from slumping? I would still say no.

Edited by aron7awol, 21 June 2011 - 02:19 PM.