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2011 Red Sox Offense--Historically Good?


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#1 RedOctober3829


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Posted 25 July 2011 - 12:14 AM

B-Ref sent a tweet out tonight that really puts into perspective just how good this offense really is to this point. Through 7/23, 4 Red Sox hold spots in the top 5 in B-Ref WAR among position players. Dustin Pedroia is #2 with a 5.3, Ellsbury and Gonzalez are tied for 3rd with 4.8, and Youkilis is tied for 5th(with Beltre) with 3.9. All 4 players are on pace to have 6.4 WAR(keep in mind they use 6.0 as MVP level) or higher. Only one team in MLB history has had 4 players with 6.0 or higher and that was the 1902 Pirates. There are only 9 teams in history that even had 4 players above 5.5 WAR(2001 Mariners, 1999 Indians, 1998 Yankees, 1993 Blue Jays, 1982 Brewers, 1968 Tigers, 1939 Yankees, 1927 Yankees, and the '02 Pirates). The average win % of these teams is .663 and 5 won the World Series.

FWIW, Fangraphs WAR has Pedroia 2nd, Ellsbury 3rd, Gonzalez 6th, and Youkilis tied for 16th.

Looking at some other stats among AL players, it boggles my mind just how good this lineup is.

OBP--Red Sox players are 3rd, 4th, and 5th
BA--2 Red Sox in top 10
SLG--2 Red Sox in top 5
OPS--5 Red Sox in top 11
Hits--3 Red Sox in top 10
Total Bases--2 Red Sox in top 5
OPS+--3 Red Sox in top 10
wRC--5 Red Sox in top 11
wRAA--4 Red Sox in top 10
wRC+--4 Red Sox in top 10
wOBA--5 Red Sox in the top 10
WPA--4 Red Sox in top 10

Looking position-by-position, here is how the starters rank by OPS in the AL. We'll ignore Reddick because of his lack of ABs but we all know he's on fire right now. 5 of the 8 are ranked in the top 2 in their position and all but Crawford are in the top 10.

Salty--6th
Gonzalez--2nd
Pedroia--1st
Scutaro--8th
Youkilis--1st
Crawford--29th
Ellsbury--2nd
Reddick--incomplete because of so few ABs, but he boasts a 1.030 OPS right now.
Ortiz--1st

With Crawford starting to swing the bat well since returning from the DL, it's scary to think the lineup could get even better.

#2 TomRicardo


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Posted 25 July 2011 - 12:32 AM

Considering the team has over .800 OPS I would say yes.

#3 BucketOBalls


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Posted 25 July 2011 - 01:20 AM

The teams OPS+ is 119, which is higher than any of the past Sox teams I checked. (next is the 2003 Sox, with 118). Teams that are higher are(I only checked RO's list):

1982 Brewers (121)
The 1927 Yankee's had a 127 though.

#4 anakin

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 02:28 AM

I made a stat called 'Adjust R.. aka R+'. It works same way with OPS+

and 2011 Red Sox is the best offensive team in this century.

Posted Image
* I made this spreadsheet last week so it could be change a little

Edited by anakin, 25 July 2011 - 02:29 AM.


#5 Worst Trade Evah


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Posted 25 July 2011 - 09:16 AM

I like wRC+, which is a park- and league-adjusted linear weights (based on Tango's wOBA) view of team offense. I took all the Fangraphs data for every team from 1969 on and put them in a spreadsheet. Here are the top 20 offenses sorted by wRC+

20 Best Offenses Since 1969 (ranked by wRC+)
Team Year wRC+
Reds 1976 123
Red Sox 2011 122
Brewers 1982 121
Yankees 2007 120
Red Sox 2003 120
Mariners 1997 119
Yankees 2009 118
Mariners 2001 117
Yankees 1998 117
Indians 1995 117
Yankees 1994 117
Brewers 1978 117
Yankees 1977 117
Yankees 2011 116
Yankees 2005 116
Yankees 2002 116
Yankees 2006 115
Yankees 2003 115
Red Sox 1988 115
Yankees 1986 115
Tigers 1984 115
Brewers 1979 115


The 2011 Red Sox are so far just behind the Big Red Machine, which is probably the best offense (and best team not including pitching) in the history of baseball. They're ahead of the under-rated 1982 Brewers (Harvey's Wallbangers) as well as teams like the Lumber Company (Pirates of the 1970s) and the last 50 years or so of Bronx Bombers (the recent versions of which really have been pretty wonderful offenses). So far, the 2011 Red Sox are right there among the greatest offenses of the last 42 years. Those 1976 Reds though -- what a team.

For fun, here are the bottom 20, again ranked by wRC+:

20 Worst Offenses Since 1969 (ranked by wRC+)
Team Year wRC+
Blue Jays 1981 70
Diamondbacks 2004 73
Padres 1969 74
Angels 1992 75
Cubs 1981 75
Expos 1976 75
Rangers 1972 75
Twins 1981 76
Braves 1975 76
Phillies 1970 76
Angels 1969 76
Mariners 2011 77
Cubs 1980 77
Expos 1972 77
Mariners 2010 78
Expos 2004 78
Dodgers 2003 78
Tigers 2003 78
Expos 2001 78
Twins 1999 78
Marlins 1993 78
Braves 1989 78
Braves 1988 78
Cardinals 1986 78
Mariners 1980 78
Blue Jays 1979 78
Athletics 1979 78
Indians 1972 78
Padres 1972 78
Indians 1971 78


The Mariners of the last two years have had 2 of the 20 worst offenses in the last 42 years, which is a set of 1168 teams. Ouch. That can't be much fun to watch. Z's run prevention plan is going to have to be historically great to match that.

Edited by Worst Trade Evah, 25 July 2011 - 09:24 AM.


#6 locknload

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 11:45 AM

The 2011 Red Sox are so far just behind the Big Red Machine, which is probably the best offense (and best team not including pitching) in the history of baseball. They're ahead of the under-rated 1982 Brewers (Harvey's Wallbangers) as well as teams like the Lumber Company (Pirates of the 1970s) and the last 50 years or so of Bronx Bombers (the recent versions of which really have been pretty wonderful offenses). So far, the 2011 Red Sox are right there among the greatest offenses of the last 42 years. Those 1976 Reds though -- what a team.


So when do they get a cool nickname?

#7 Worst Trade Evah


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Posted 25 July 2011 - 12:20 PM

So when do they get a cool nickname?

I was wondering about that as I was writing it. I haven't seen any sign of a nickname emerge yet. I don't really care much, as long as it's something that's not too lame and arises more or less organically. Of course, the Mariners of 97 and 01 never had a nickname either (steroid monkeys? mainlinin' Mariners? Juice Brigade? Disappointing Dozen?).

Look at these Yankee teams though -- 11 of the top 20, and 7 in the last 10 years.

#8 Bucknahs Bum Ankle


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Posted 25 July 2011 - 01:19 PM

Lets not go overboard here. While this team certainly has the makings of an historically great offense thus far, there is still more than a third of the season left to play. The fact that this thread even exists at this point probably means we are in for a freak collision of unprecedented devastation involving Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Youkilis on a flare into shallow center field tonight. I don't know how that could possibly happen either, but that's why you never see these things coming.

#9 Worst Trade Evah


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Posted 25 July 2011 - 02:09 PM

Lets not go overboard here. While this team certainly has the makings of an historically great offense thus far, there is still more than a third of the season left to play. The fact that this thread even exists at this point probably means we are in for a freak collision of unprecedented devastation involving Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Youkilis on a flare into shallow center field tonight. I don't know how that could possibly happen either, but that's why you never see these things coming.

That's true. This is why I used the phrase "so far" twice in my first post. And of course, we can always dream that Crawford is better in the second half than he was in the first.

Edited by Worst Trade Evah, 25 July 2011 - 02:42 PM.


#10 Phragle


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Posted 25 July 2011 - 03:26 PM

Good stuff WTE. I was looking a same numbers a few days ago, and I said this:

Posted Imagesmastroyin, on 21 July 2011 - 09:10 AM, said:Put Crawford at his normal levels and this offense is in its own league.

Actually it already is, this team has the highest wRC+ (which is adjusted) of any team since 1995 at 121. 1995 was just the year I got bored and stopped, the real year is probably much longer ago. The 2003 Red Sox and 2007 Yankees were closest at 120 wRC+.

http://sonsofsamhorn.net/topic/66491-the-possible-urigrade-thread/page__view__findpost__p__3644738


I had no idea it went back that far though. Also for perspective, the 1927 Yankees had a 127 wRC+.



#11 trekfan55


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Posted 25 July 2011 - 04:29 PM

Think this belongs here:

kirkmin Kirk Minihane
by bradfo
The Sox have five regulars (Gonzalez, Ortiz, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Youkilis) with an OPS over .870. The rest of the American League has six.


Historically good or not that's just sick.

#12 Mister Roper

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 08:17 PM

Think this belongs here:



Historically good or not that's just sick.


How about this. OPS through games on 7/26/11:

Gonzalez .968
Ortiz .963
Ellsbury .903
Pedroia .892
Youks .892
Pujols .862

I get that Pujols is having an un-Pujols-like year, but still. Over half of the regular lineup has an OPS at least thirty points higher than Albert Pujols. That's ridiculous.

#13 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 27 July 2011 - 08:31 PM

A few months ago I asked whether we might see a team with 3-5 posting a .900 OPS, and compared that potential 3-5 to some of the best 3-4-5's in Red Sox history. Now we're talking about our 1-5 all being at .900 OPS or higher? The fact that it's even remotely possible is preposterous.

#14 Rasputin


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Posted 27 July 2011 - 09:57 PM

A few months ago I asked whether we might see a team with 3-5 posting a .900 OPS, and compared that potential 3-5 to some of the best 3-4-5's in Red Sox history. Now we're talking about our 1-5 all being at .900 OPS or higher? The fact that it's even remotely possible is preposterous.


It's approaching video game territory and not just in the sheer volume of runs generated but in the timeliness of the responses. Take tonight. We start off down 3-0 and within ten pitches we've got two runs. It's just sick and someone should take a look at innings after we allow multiple runs to see how frequently we come back with a crooked number of our own.

I decided a week or so ago that if I didn't love this team I would absolutely hate this team and everyone we steamroll.

#15 HriniakPosterChild

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 09:59 PM

A few months ago I asked whether we might see a team with 3-5 posting a .900 OPS, and compared that potential 3-5 to some of the best 3-4-5's in Red Sox history. Now we're talking about our 1-5 all being at .900 OPS or higher? The fact that it's even remotely possible is preposterous.

If they were wearing pinstripes, would we be having this conversation in Radomski's Lounge?

#16 Rasputin


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Posted 27 July 2011 - 10:08 PM

If they were wearing pinstripes, would we be having this conversation in Radomski's Lounge?


No, ESPN.

#17 Hee-Seop's Fable

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 11:47 PM

As jaw dropping as the production is now, not surprisingly the surge has corresponded with slippery hot summer air and a fair chunk of it against inferior pitching. If they can produce half as well in the heavier, colder Fall air against top pitching, that will really be something.

A lineup with five or six guys in a row no one can keep down would still be preferable to a lineup of more evenly distributed talent when the run environment becomes more scarce, no?

#18 Eric Van


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Posted 28 July 2011 - 12:03 AM

Here's a question: might this be the best performance by 1 through 5 hitters in the history of MLB? All 5 are in the top 9 in the league in wRC+.

The 1927 Yankees had 5 in the top 11 (in an 8-team rather than 14-team league), but they hit 1 and 3 through 6; SS Mark Koenig hit 2nd, and he had an 83 wRC+ (and OPS+).

The first 4 guys on the '76 Reds were all in the top 6 in wRC+, but Johnny Bench, who hit 5th, was 24th with 115.

#19 The Gray Eagle


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Posted 28 July 2011 - 12:19 AM

The vast difference is all those other teams' numbers are full season numbers, whereas this Red Sox team numbers are only through late July. It's not even August yet, so it's pretty pointless to compare a-little-over-half-season numbers from a team that's got a half-dozen red-hot hitters peaking right now to full-season numbers from teams of the past.

By the way, the answer to the thread title question is Yes-- so far. With a lot of baseball still to be played.

Hopefully this thread won't end up in the Everything Lasts Forever Premature Internet Exuberance Hall of Fame. Like the annual "The Yankees Really Stink This Year, I Can Tell After a Month" threads always do, every year.

#20 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 28 July 2011 - 12:32 AM

Here's a question: might this be the best performance by 1 through 5 hitters in the history of MLB?


There's a thread in the MLB section discussing this very question. The preliminary look done by the group of posters who contributed had the Sox near the top of the list. But the point about this season being long from done is a good one. One long cold streak from one of those players and the question is no longer valid.

Even if they don't end up maintaining this level of production (and they very well may not), this has still be an absolute treat to watch.

#21 Eric Van


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Posted 28 July 2011 - 12:36 AM

Here's a question: might this be the best performance by 1 through 5 hitters in the history of MLB? All 5 are in the top 9 in the league in wRC+.

Thanks to the magic of FanGraphs' export to Excel, and pivot tables ...

Only one team in the history of MLB ever had 5 players with wRC+ of 135 or better: the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers.

165 Duke Snider
143 Jackie Robinson
153 Roy Campanella
138 Gil Hodges
147 Carl Furillo

The catch is that these guys hit 3 through 7. Junior Gilliam (107) and Pee Wee Reese (110) hit 1-2.

Going into tonight's game, the Sox had 5 guys with 145 or better:

149 Ellsbury
148 Pedroia
162 Gonzalez
145 Youkilis
158 Ortiz

Collectively it's besting the Dodgers (averaging 152 versus 149), and these guys do hit 1-5.

I've got a list of the other 22 teams with 5 guys with 125 or better, and I'll look to see if any of them hit 1 through 5.

And, yeah, there's two months to go, but one of these guys would have to get hurt or slump seriously to fall below 125, so that finding might be worth attending to now.

#22 JakeRae


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Posted 28 July 2011 - 01:25 AM

The vast difference is all those other teams' numbers are full season numbers, whereas this Red Sox team numbers are only through late July. It's not even August yet, so it's pretty pointless to compare a-little-over-half-season numbers from a team that's got a half-dozen red-hot hitters peaking right now to full-season numbers from teams of the past.

By the way, the answer to the thread title question is Yes-- so far. With a lot of baseball still to be played.

Hopefully this thread won't end up in the Everything Lasts Forever Premature Internet Exuberance Hall of Fame. Like the annual "The Yankees Really Stink This Year, I Can Tell After a Month" threads always do, every year.

What should we discuss then?

And, what makes you think this is about "hot streaks"?

Ellsbury is breaking out. He probably won't remain this good, but his performance doesn't feel unsustainable either.

Pedroia, Gonzalez, and Youkilis are all having reasonable offensive seasons. There is no reason to think they can't sustain their offense.

Ortiz is a huge wildcard but definitely has huge offensive talent.

RF has been awful. Reddick will be better than Drew was but significantly worse than he has been. Overall, that will create improved performance from the position.

Crawford was terrible. Even with Reddick boosting LF offense, LF has been terrible and we should expect Crawford to perform much better the rest of the way.

SS is what it is. Scutaro has been himself. Lowrie, if he comes back, will be a bit better than Scutaro. Overall, SS is very stable and we shouldn't expect a real change.

Catcher is more or less like SS with a bit more volatility. Salty has performed at a level reasonably similar to expectations offensively. Some believe he is better than that still. I would expect him to maintain the status quo. Varitek is similarly performing at a level that is reasonable but does have collapse potential.

Overall, only Ellsbury and Ortiz have performed at significantly better than expected levels and that is balanced out by how bad the corner outfield has been. The season-to-date offensive level is not the result of hot streaks. Now, it could very easily be derailed by injuries. But, if we assume health, this team is actually capable of being even better than it's been so far despite the historic rate of production.

#23 Eric Van


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Posted 28 July 2011 - 02:18 AM

True Murder's Rows

(five straight hitters with RC+ of 125 or better)

1933 Yankees

3. Babe Ruth, 169
4. Lou Gehrig, 167
5. Ben Chapman, 125
6. Tony Lazzeri, 134
7. Bill Dickey, 133

1953 Dodgers

3. Duke Snider, 165
4. Jackie Robinson, 143
5. Roy Campanella, 153
6. Gil Hodges, 138
7. Carl Furillo, 147

1999 Mets

1. Ricky Henderson, 136
2. Edgar Alfonzo, 128
3. John Olerud, 136
4. Mike Piazza, 130
5. Robin Ventura, 128

2011 Red Sox?

Tomorrow: the additional list of clubs who did this some of the time but not as a rule.

#24 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 28 July 2011 - 07:14 AM

Going into tonight's game, the Sox had 5 guys with 145 or better:

149 Ellsbury
148 Pedroia
162 Gonzalez
145 Youkilis
158 Ortiz



And this morning, Youk is the only one under 150:

153 Ellsbury
151 Pedroia
163 Gonzalez
146 Youkilis
159 Ortiz

#25 Al Zarilla


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Posted 28 July 2011 - 09:32 AM

Only one team in the history of MLB ever had 5 players with wRC+ of 135 or better: the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers.

165 Duke Snider
143 Jackie Robinson
153 Roy Campanella
138 Gil Hodges
147 Carl Furillo

The catch is that these guys hit 3 through 7. Junior Gilliam (107) and Pee Wee Reese (110) hit 1-2.

Going into tonight's game, the Sox had 5 guys with 145 or better:

149 Ellsbury
148 Pedroia
162 Gonzalez
145 Youkilis
158 Ortiz

Collectively it's besting the Dodgers (averaging 152 versus 149), and these guys do hit 1-5.

Gilliam and Reese were your prototypical table setters (hate that term but it kind of works). Ellsbury and Pedroia are hitting like full on production guys. I keep thinking about what would it be like with one of them hitting third, but of course I get stopped by Gonzalez, and who would hit leadoff? And of course, why break up a winning combination, if it ain't broke don't fix it, and who in the world would bat leadoff?

#26 RedOctober3829


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Posted 28 July 2011 - 09:55 AM

If you wanted to move Ellsbury down in the order to take advantage of his new-found power(which I wouldn't do), here's the only option and it doesn't look like it will ever come to fruition. If Crawford had the patience to even put up a .365-.370 OBP, you could have a lineup of Crawford-Pedroia-Gonzalez-Youkilis-Ortiz-Ellsbury-Reddick-Salty-Scutaro.

#27 Eric Van


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Posted 28 July 2011 - 10:40 AM

Gilliam and Reese were your prototypical table setters (hate that term but it kind of works). Ellsbury and Pedroia are hitting like full on production guys. I keep thinking about what would it be like with one of them hitting third, but of course I get stopped by Gonzalez, and who would hit leadoff? And of course, why break up a winning combination, if it ain't broke don't fix it, and who in the world would bat leadoff?

Wait till you see how many teams had five great hitters and put an average guy in the 2 hole. The '27 Yankees not only had Mark Koening hit 2nd, when he got hurt and missed 40 games, they hit their utility infielder Ray Morehart there while keeping Tony Lazzeri and his .309 / .382 / .482 in the 6 hole. Koenig and Morehart combined for 20 sacrifices -- with Ruth (214 wRC+) and Gehrig (210) due up next.

#28 Eric Van


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Posted 28 July 2011 - 10:40 AM

Gilliam and Reese were your prototypical table setters (hate that term but it kind of works). Ellsbury and Pedroia are hitting like full on production guys. I keep thinking about what would it be like with one of them hitting third, but of course I get stopped by Gonzalez, and who would hit leadoff? And of course, why break up a winning combination, if it ain't broke don't fix it, and who in the world would bat leadoff?

Wait till you see how many teams had five great hitters and put an average guy in the 2 hole. The '27 Yankees not only had Mark Koening hit 2nd, when he got hurt and missed 40 games, they hit their utility infielder Ray Morehart (also an 83 wRC+) there while keeping Tony Lazzeri and his .309 / .382 / .482 (125 wRC+) in the 6 hole. Koenig and Morehart combined for 20 sacrifices -- with Ruth (214) and Gehrig (210) due up next.

Edited by Eric Van, 28 July 2011 - 10:42 AM.