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Starting at SS...


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Poll: Starting at SS... (335 member(s) have cast votes)

Who SHOULD start at SS on Opening Day?

  1. Mike Aviles (239 votes [81.57%])

    Percentage of vote: 81.57%

  2. Nick Punto (6 votes [2.05%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.05%

  3. Jose Iglesias (48 votes [16.38%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.38%

Who WILL start at SS on Opening Day?

  1. Mike Aviles (243 votes [82.94%])

    Percentage of vote: 82.94%

  2. Nick Punto (18 votes [6.14%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.14%

  3. Jose Iglesias (32 votes [10.92%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.92%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#51 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:10 PM

There seems to be an inherent assumption that another several months or a year at AAA will materially aid in the development of Iglesias' hitting and/or that his failure at the big league level at the plate would materially retard his development as a player.

I don't buy either assumption. To be clear, I don't doubt that more practice games could help Iglesias' hitting, but I don't think the difference or perceived gains is worth the delay.


If I understand you, TS, you're saying that hitting against tougher pitching will not slow down or derail his development. Would you assert that as a general principle--i.e., hitters will tend to develop at about the same pace regardless of how quickly they're moved through the system, so the only reason not to rush them is to avoid being plagued by their suck in the short term--or are you saying it about Iglesias in particular?

#52 tonyarmasjr

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:19 PM

Fair to say is that he's never hit as well as Pedroia did at any level along his development. At each stop, Pedroia demonstrated a knack for starting slow, then tearing the cover off the ball. So when the slow start happened at the big league level, they let him ride it out and it paid huge dividends.

Iglesias has never sustained high production at any level, and has not yet demonstrated he can produce adaquetely at the AAA level. Until he demonstrates such an ability, he shouldn't be handed an everyday job at the big league level.

I would hope that those, like me, who think he needs to start the season in Pawtucket don't think he needs to put up a .900+ OPS for a full season down there before he gets called up. All I'm honestly looking for is a sustained period (2+ months) over .700 OPS before they ask him to hit in the big leagues on a regular basis. Not that they should rush him up immediately if he does that, especially if Aviles is holding his own. But other than on an emergency basis, they shouldn't think of bringing him up before they see that from him.

I'm in agreement with you. Both my votes above were for Aviles. I want no part of Iglesias in Fenway at any point this year (in part because that likely means Aviles works out). But I find fault with the notion that he's never been able to hit, especially because it usually leads to "he's never been able to hit, so he never will." The kid doesn't have much more than one full season's worth of professional ABs and would be the youngest hitter on Portland's roster this season...

#53 soxfan121


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:24 PM

All I'm honestly looking for is a sustained period (2+ months) over .700 OPS before they ask him to hit in the big leagues on a regular basis.


What is the average OPS for a SS in the majors?

#54 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:28 PM

262 / 316 / 378 was the line for MLB SS's last season.

OPS ranging from 615 (Bartlett) to 921 (Tulo).

#55 EddieYost


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:30 PM

I would be more than willing to give him a shot at the big league job after he puts up a ~.700 OPS in AAA for a couple of months.

#56 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:36 PM

Not that he's going to become him, but it's interesting to note that Vizquel's career minor league batting line was 241 / 321 / 319. Ordonez was 257 / 290 / 344. Adam Everett put up 259 / 346 / 368.

If you are waiting for iglesias to put up a 700 OPS in AAA, you may be waiting forever.

#57 JakeRae


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:37 PM

If I understand you, TS, you're saying that hitting against tougher pitching will not slow down or derail his development. Would you assert that as a general principle--i.e., hitters will tend to develop at about the same pace regardless of how quickly they're moved through the system, so the only reason not to rush them is to avoid being plagued by their suck in the short term--or are you saying it about Iglesias in particular?

I'm not going to answer for TS, but I think the costs of rushing a player are frequently overstated. Players are people and people react to challenges differently. For some players, getting placed against a level where you are overmatched will lead to frustration and a failure to progress. For others, it will lead to the player bearing down, working harder, and progressing faster. For some, it will make no difference.

I don't know enough about Iglesias (or any Sox player) to claim which grouping he falls under so I would defer to the judgement of those with more knowledge of his psychology. What I do know about Iglesias is that even if he belongs to the group that benefits from being rushed, he's already overmatched at AAA and needs to stay there until he figures out how to hit at that level. I'm not worried about his development being damaged. I'm worried that he isn't yet developed to the point where he is a MLB player.

#58 xpisblack

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:37 PM

Isn't choosing between Punto and Aviles basically picking between stale vanilla ice cream and stale French vanilla ice cream?

Neither one is going to be in the damn-good-to-exceptional range on each side of the ball. But each of those players has a more solid record than Iglesias, who hasn't managed to put together an entire uninjured mL season yet (out of the two he's attempted), and is therefore difficult to gauge (if enticing in the field). In Punto's case, his record is of general mediocrity at best; in the case of Aviles, it's more like slightly-above-averageness with fits of offensive competence. Which is, as others have said, fine. It would be lovely to field a team of 10 superb (even for the Majors) players, but that's passing rare. Gonzalez, Pedroia, Ortiz, Youkilis, and Ellsbury have been reliably known to hit; Saltalamacchia is less reliable, but still a fair bet. So that leaves Crawford and whoever winds up playing RF and SS as wild cards. None of the team's options looks terribly appealing just now, but there are degrees of distaste.

I'm not thrilled about any of these options, nor wavy-eyed about the now-departed and arthritic-looking Scutaro, as the starting SS, but given a field limited to these three, Aviles seems like the clear, if blandly unappetising, choice for Opening Day.

Meanwhile, I'm a wee bit worried that Valentine has a thing for Rey-Ordonez types and might hurry Iglesias along.

#59 EddieYost


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:39 PM

If you are waiting for iglesias to put up a 700 OPS in AAA, you may be waiting forever.


OK .650 then. Something better than awful.

#60 Red(s)HawksFan


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:49 PM

OK .650 then. Something better than awful.

This.

If Iglesias can show he's not overmatched at AAA, I'd certainly feel better about him eventually not being overmatched at the big league level. His OPS in 100 games at AAA was worse than the worst regular MLB SS last season. That doesn't fill me with confidence that he'd be anything but a black hole and a detriment to even an offense as otherwise potent as the Red Sox have.

I used .700 OPS because that's about average for MLB shortstops. If he can match that average at AAA, there's a fair chance he's going to eventually do that in the big leagues. And also a fair chance he won't be so far below average when he gets his first chance to start in the big leagues that his defense can't compensate.

#61 TheoShmeo


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:49 PM

If I understand you, TS, you're saying that hitting against tougher pitching will not slow down or derail his development. Would you assert that as a general principle--i.e., hitters will tend to develop at about the same pace regardless of how quickly they're moved through the system, so the only reason not to rush them is to avoid being plagued by their suck in the short term--or are you saying it about Iglesias in particular?

You're raising a good point but that's not what I was trying to convey.

I was suggesting that if he fails as a hitter at the major league level and is, as a result, sent down to AAA for the seasoning that many posters posit that he needs, that experience of failure is not going to leave an irreperable scar on him. He's not going to become damaged goods because he was rushed.

Edit: I missed JakeRae's solid post before I hit send. And yes, I am presuming some facts not in evidence. Just my take based on my view of most players and what little I think I know about this one.

Edited by TheoShmeo, 22 March 2012 - 02:51 PM.


#62 behindthepen


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:53 PM

isn't one of the other risks with Iglesias (or is he officially Joey Church yet?) his defensive consistency? I know he's capable of spectacular plays but have heard more than once that he's not as reliable on the routine stuff yet.

#63 OnWisc


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 03:01 PM

I'm not going to answer for TS, but I think the costs of rushing a player are frequently overstated. Players are people and people react to challenges differently. For some players, getting placed against a level where you are overmatched will lead to frustration and a failure to progress. For others, it will lead to the player bearing down, working harder, and progressing faster. For some, it will make no difference.

I don't know enough about Iglesias (or any Sox player) to claim which grouping he falls under so I would defer to the judgement of those with more knowledge of his psychology. What I do know about Iglesias is that even if he belongs to the group that benefits from being rushed, he's already overmatched at AAA and needs to stay there until he figures out how to hit at that level. I'm not worried about his development being damaged. I'm worried that he isn't yet developed to the point where he is a MLB player.


Exactly. Even if facing MLB pitching would somehow speed up Iglesias' development, he should still be in the minors.

At some point, hopefully, Iglesias' will be able to produce an OPS of .650+, or at least an OBP in excess of .333. The rate at which he progresses to that point may not be impacted by whether he faces AAA or MLB competition. But the numbers he's going to put up while he works toward that level should not come in an MLB park.

#64 soxfan121


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 03:03 PM

262 / 316 / 378 was the line for MLB SS's last season.

OPS ranging from 615 (Bartlett) to 921 (Tulo).


For reference, Mark Belanger's career line is .228/.300/.280.

While poking around BRef's info on WAR, I found this:

I've also added a column for what we calculate the player's defensive performance is worth (dWAR). Unlike with batting, it's generally believed that the replacement level fielder is around league average. The idea is that there are a lot more guys who can field in the major leagues than can hit in the major leagues. There our dWAR value is just the player's total zone defensive runs saved divided by the runs to win conversion (generally ten runs to a win).

For those who are very skeptical of our defensive metrics, I think our career and active defensive leaders pass the sniff test. Career: Brooks Robinson, Andruw Jones, Roberto Clemente, Ozzie Smith, Mark Belanger, Barry Bonds, Carl Yastrzemski, Germany Smith, Willie Mays and Cal Ripken. Active top 5: Andruw Jones, Ivan Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Omar Vizquel, and Ichiro Suzuki.


FWIW, Belanger is credited with oWAR of 11.6 and dWAR 20.9; Brooks Robinson is credited with 41.8 oWAR & 27.3 dWAR - the highest dWar figure of any MLB player in history. These figures strike me as absurdly low - oWAR leaders are in the 150s. I think the difficulty in measuring defense has led to some assumptions - like there are "a lot more" guys who can field than hit in the majors - that sound good until you unpack the assumptions. Based solely on comparing the numbers, it seems that elite oWAR (~150) "skill" is between 5 and 8 times less likely in the talent pool than elite defensive talent (~20 dWAR). It's certainly easier to judge an elite offensive talent, especially given the new-ish tools available but is that TRUE? What's the value of elite defense and is it being measured reliably and fairly?

I don't think we in Boston have had an elite defensive prospect in a very long time and Iglesias is going to be an opportunity to re-evaluate how we value and measure defense. I think there's going to be some spectacular, titanic arguments about whether he saved one run or two in the 7th inning of a July game with a spectacular play. I think it's going to be possible to measure how many runs an elite defensive SS can "save" for a team over a large sample size. We can quantify individual plays better because we all see every play and have the refined tools on offense to show win probabilities, etc. Iglesias is going to shift some WP% and those plays will be studied and we will understand defensive value better.

#65 Red(s)HawksFan


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 03:23 PM

For reference, Mark Belanger's career line is .228/.300/.280.

Just looking at the season in which Belanger posted a career high in OPS (.696), the MLB average for SS in 1969 was .645. Picking another random year during Belanger's career, 1975, the average MLB SS OPSed .612 (Belanger was .562). So we're talking about 50-80 points of OPS less for the average SS then compared to last season's average SS. It's a different era now than Belanger's day. A player isn't going to last in the modern game with an OPS under .600, no matter how good he may be defensively.

I think Iglesias has the potential to produce well above .600 OPS. I just won't be convinced he can do it until he does it at AAA for a while first.

#66 tims4wins


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 03:26 PM

Just looking at the season in which Belanger posted a career high in OPS (.696), the MLB average for SS in 1969 was .645. Picking another random year during Belanger's career, 1975, the average MLB SS OPSed .612 (Belanger was .562). So we're talking about 50-80 points of OPS less for the average SS then compared to last season's average SS. It's a different era now than Belanger's day. A player isn't going to last in the modern game with an OPS under .600, no matter how good he may be defensively.

I think Iglesias has the potential to produce well above .600 OPS. I just won't be convinced he can do it until he does it at AAA for a while first.


As was pointed out upthread, the MLB SS composite line for last year was 262 / 316 / 378 for a 694 OPS. Assuming that stays the same for the next 10 years, given what we know about Iglesias' defense, what would an acceptable OPS be? 650?

#67 PrometheusWakefield


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 03:34 PM

Based solely on comparing the numbers, it seems that elite oWAR (~150) "skill" is between 5 and 8 times less likely in the talent pool than elite defensive talent (~20 dWAR). It's certainly easier to judge an elite offensive talent, especially given the new-ish tools available but is that TRUE?

My guess would be yes. The offensive difference between Barry Bonds and the average offensive player is massive. The difference between Ozzie Smith and the average shortstop is far more subtle. The "average" shortstop is probably someone who was rated at least good defensively when he was a prospect (or he would have been moved from short to somewhere else), he is capable of almost always making the routine play and making a decent number of difficult plays and a few spectacular plays. Ozzie Smith made the difficult plays more regularly and had maybe twice the number of spectacular plays in an average year, but realistically, how often does that make the difference? UZR says it makes the difference to the tune of 15-20 runs per year. I find that believable.

Defense it seems to me is much more up against natural limits of human reaction time, speed, acceleration, etc. than hitting.

#68 JakeRae


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 03:49 PM

For reference, Mark Belanger's career line is .228/.300/.280.

While poking around BRef's info on WAR, I found this:



FWIW, Belanger is credited with oWAR of 11.6 and dWAR 20.9; Brooks Robinson is credited with 41.8 oWAR & 27.3 dWAR - the highest dWar figure of any MLB player in history. These figures strike me as absurdly low - oWAR leaders are in the 150s. I think the difficulty in measuring defense has led to some assumptions - like there are "a lot more" guys who can field than hit in the majors - that sound good until you unpack the assumptions. Based solely on comparing the numbers, it seems that elite oWAR (~150) "skill" is between 5 and 8 times less likely in the talent pool than elite defensive talent (~20 dWAR). It's certainly easier to judge an elite offensive talent, especially given the new-ish tools available but is that TRUE? What's the value of elite defense and is it being measured reliably and fairly?

I don't think we in Boston have had an elite defensive prospect in a very long time and Iglesias is going to be an opportunity to re-evaluate how we value and measure defense. I think there's going to be some spectacular, titanic arguments about whether he saved one run or two in the 7th inning of a July game with a spectacular play. I think it's going to be possible to measure how many runs an elite defensive SS can "save" for a team over a large sample size. We can quantify individual plays better because we all see every play and have the refined tools on offense to show win probabilities, etc. Iglesias is going to shift some WP% and those plays will be studied and we will understand defensive value better.

It's really hard to measure the impact of defense because of the inherent subjectivity involved in determining the odds that an average player at that position makes any given play. Watching Iglesias play every day will not impact our ability to meaningfully determine the answer to that question, which is the fundamental sticking point to accurately evaluating defensive value.

Offense is easy to evaluate because we have reams of evidence with which to create baselines for average and replacement level performance. Evaluating how much better a performance is than a well-defined baseline is easy.

To address the larger point about relative valuation, offensive production is generally assumed to be entirely to the credit of the batter (over a large enough sample size this eventually should be the truth). Offense is exactly half of the game. Run prevention value is split between pitchers and defenders. I believe the prevailing wisdom is that run prevention is at least 80% in the hands of pitching. (I cannot support this assertion.) If this is true, elite offense being 5+ times more valuable than elite defense makes perfect sense. To expand this, any argument that seeks to make the case that defense needs a larger valuation is necessarily arguing that pitching is less valuable than previously believed. The weighting of the contributions of pitching and defense to run prevention is a zero sum game.

#69 Al Zarilla


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 03:50 PM

Defense it seems to me is much more up against natural limits of human reaction time, speed, acceleration, etc. than hitting.

Tell Ted Williams about it. OK, don't get your point, but why isn't hitting about all those things just as much?

#70 Doctor G

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 04:25 PM

When you evaluate the impact of an exceptional SS/ 2B defensive combo on a pitching staff take a look at Texas vs Boston and NYY last yearhttp://www.baseball-...-fielding.shtml

Some of this is probably the product of type of pitchers, but Texas and LAA's pitchers certainly benefited over the course of the full season by the DP's turned etc.
It is hard to evaluate how many pitches a great middle infield saves a pitching staff , but it does have an impact over the course of 162 games both in pitchers confidence and health.

#71 barclay

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 08:12 PM

When you evaluate the impact of an exceptional SS/ 2B defensive combo on a pitching staff take a look at Texas vs Boston and NYY last yearhttp://www.baseball-...-fielding.shtml

Some of this is probably the product of type of pitchers, but Texas and LAA's pitchers certainly benefited over the course of the full season by the DP's turned etc.
It is hard to evaluate how many pitches a great middle infield saves a pitching staff , but it does have an impact over the course of 162 games both in pitchers confidence and health.



I have to wonder whether this is something that is going through the minds of BV and the Moustache in this sense: Cook may or may not be a starter -- but the Moustache loves him and it fits so well with BV’s love of Inglesias. Cook plus a gold glove infield (practically speaking)? Maybe both coaches will get their way. It could work well, should Cook not only sustain but also (and one might expect this) rise above the level he showed tonight vs the Yanks. And it’d be fun to watch the infield work. Very fun.

#72 tonyarmasjr

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:09 PM

As was pointed out upthread, the MLB SS composite line for last year was 262 / 316 / 378 for a 694 OPS. Assuming that stays the same for the next 10 years, given what we know about Iglesias' defense, what would an acceptable OPS be? 650?

I don't really know. In my mind, I want to say above .600 would be an acceptable rookie year. But I have no idea how that would stack up with defensive value (stupid objectivity...). It also assumes Aviles (or whoever else) has failed and average-ish is the best we're hoping for from the position. Fwiw, these are career OPS and age 22 season OPS for the guys he's been compared to in this thread.
Belanger - .580/.691 in AAA
Smith - .666/.753 in A-
Vizquel - .690/.534 in MLB (rookie)
Everett - .640/.741 in AA (which he's never matched at any level)
Ordonez - .600/.667 in an indep. league
The earliest any of them cracked .700 at the ML level was age 26.

#73 PrometheusWakefield


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:20 PM

Tell Ted Williams about it. OK, don't get your point, but why isn't hitting about all those things just as much?

Well, all due respect to the fine motor skills it takes to turn the double play, but the skills needed to consistently hit major league pitching are pretty incredible. I have a vague notion that the genius level fine motor skills are more likely to be unevenly distributed in the population, although I guess I don't really know. Does anyone know of any real research done on this question?

I don't really know. In my mind, I want to say above .600 would be an acceptable rookie year. But I have no idea how that would stack up with defensive value (stupid objectivity...). It also assumes Aviles (or whoever else) has failed and average-ish is the best we're hoping for from the position. Fwiw, these are career OPS and age 22 season OPS for the guys he's been compared to in this thread.
Belanger - .580/.691 in AAA
Smith - .666/.753 in A-
Vizquel - .690/.534 in MLB (rookie)
Everett - .640/.741 in AA (which he's never matched at any level)
Ordonez - .600/.667 in an indep. league
The earliest any of them cracked .700 at the ML level was age 26.

FWIW, according to WAR Vizquel was a (somewhat) above-average shortstop with an OPS just under .600 by his second year in the majors. But we have to keep in mind that a .600 Major League OPS would represent a huge leap forward for Iglesias and it's by no means certain he can ever reach that level.

Edited by PrometheusWakefield, 22 March 2012 - 09:24 PM.


#74 Plympton91


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:52 PM

As was pointed out upthread, the MLB SS composite line for last year was 262 / 316 / 378 for a 694 OPS. Assuming that stays the same for the next 10 years, given what we know about Iglesias' defense, what would an acceptable OPS be? 650?


I'd say, for team with aspirations of making the finals of the new playoff tournament out of the Big East, assuming Aviles is performing to his career norms, you'd go to Iglesias when his MLE for OBP / SLG is at least .325 / .375.

I think right now the best you could hope for out of Jose in the majors in 2012 is Pokey Reese without the power or speed and even less plate discipline.

That said, while I'll never be comfortable until he hits that in the major leagues, I can't shake the fact that Hanley Ramirez logged a 720 OPS in AA a year before emerging as a major league offensive stud. We know the Red Sox aren't just looking for their prospects to rack up pretty stats.

#75 Eric Van


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:59 PM

The handy rule of thumb to remember is that 40 points of OPS equals 10 runs / 1 win.

The average starting SS last year had about a 710 OPS, and 680 seems to be about as low as you want to go with an average defender before you have to start considering him a real weakness.

So if Igelsias can be a +10 defender, he becomes an asset with a 670 OPS or better, and he's adequate (not killing you overall) at 640 or so.

I think the hope is for something like .320 / .360 with +12 defense, which would make him a somewhat better than average starting SS. But that would still be a big step forward offensivey, of course.

#76 aron7awol

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 08:23 AM

Did some quick MLE calculations on http://mlsplits.driv...lsplits/mlecalc:
Iglesias' 236 PA as a 20 year old in AA: .241/.260./.297 (.557 OPS)
Iglesias' 387 PA as a 21 year old in AAA: .203/.238/.232 (.470 OPS)

I see no reason to expect him to be able to put up a .600 OPS at the major league level right now. Even if you project him to be a .550 OPS hitter in MLB (which I think is generous), he'd create around 35-40 runs over a full season. I'll be really generous and call him a +20 defender as well.

Now, what can we reasonably expect from Aviles this year? He has a career .737 OPS, which includes time coming back from Tommy John surgery, but I'll project him at a .730 OPS, which would mean he'd create about 70 runs over a full season. Defensively, UZR has him as at +12.4/150 games, but that's in only 1212 innings. Based on what I've seen, I would say he's somewhere close to average.

Even being very generous with Iglesias' projections, and conservative with Aviles', Aviles still comes out the more valuable player. Now, a lot of this depends on how productive Aviles actually will be this year, because if two months into the season, he has an .800 OPS (which is certainly possible), now he's raised the bar to a point that Iglesias would probably have a difficult time ever reaching, even if he's a +20 defender and Aviles is average. Now Iglesias is looking at having to hit at a .700+ OPS clip.

Realistically, even if Aviles can only put up a .700 OPS and play average defense, he's still likely the better bet this season.

#77 soxfan121


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Posted 23 March 2012 - 09:06 AM

If find the assumption that Aviles is going to be "average" as a defensive SS to be just as ludacrisp as the assumption that Iglesias's crappy, injury-plagued 2011 stats are predictive of his true ability.

Aviles is going to be below average defensively; his bat may make him an average player. If he doesn't hit above-the-league-average for a SS he will be a below-average player in total.

Iglesias may finally have recovered from the wrist injury that derailed his impressive debut in 2010 and contributed to his awful 2011 at the plate. Fixating on those stats without the context that generated them (second year of pro ball, in AAA as one of the youngest players in the league, coming off a wrist injury and hampered by other minor injuries) is rather useless.

Yep, Iglesias's 2011 MLE projections are terrible. Yep, Iglesias is probably going to be a below-average hitter in MLB for his first few seasons. And yes, Jose Iglesias is so far superior to Mike Aviles as a defensive SS it's comparing apples and kumquats.

Aviles better hit, and hit very well, or he's a poor starting MLB SS. His play at SS will result in extra pitches, extra outs for the opposition and runs allowed when seeing-eye groundballs end up in the OF instead of being converted to outs. His bat better make up for that or he's not long for the job.

#78 SumnerH


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Posted 23 March 2012 - 03:27 PM

Iglesias may finally have recovered from the wrist injury that derailed his impressive debut in 2010 and contributed to his awful 2011 at the plate. Fixating on those stats without the context that generated them (second year of pro ball, in AAA as one of the youngest players in the league, coming off a wrist injury and hampered by other minor injuries) is rather useless.

Yep, Iglesias's 2011 MLE projections are terrible.


It's not just the post-injury/recovery time stats that are alarming, though--if he'd posted a .950 OPS in AA for a season then people would feel differently about his AAA numbers I'm sure. I suppose if you look only at the 40 plate appearances he had at single-A, the debut of 2010 was impressive when measured against the expectations. But let's not go overboard--if you look at the entire 2010 (A and AA), Iglesias' MLE for the year was .238/.270/.298. That's still a .568 OPS with a horrific OBP.

Now, he is very young for the league. That bodes well for his chances to improve going forward. But it would be stupid to rush him now. _Especially_ if he does turn out to be a passable (or even good) hitter in a couple of years, making him an above average (or all-star) player all around. Why start his clock when he's hurting the ML team only to lose a couple of years of control when he could be a useful player?

If it gets a few months into the season and he's hitting well and scouting reports are backing that up, maybe it's worth revisiting. But at the moment there's been nothing to indicate that he should be with the parent club yet.

Aviles better hit, and hit very well, or he's a poor starting MLB SS.


I don't think anyone doubts that, I'm expecting Aviles to be in the bottom third of MLB SS. But until Iglesias shows anything at the plate, he's likely to be disastrously bad.

#79 dbn

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 07:46 PM

Mike Aviles is going to be fine in the field and fine at the plate. How high is the bar for SS in Boston? Not. Very. High...since Nomar. And even he got chased out of town because of his defense at the end. It is certainly not high enough to rush Iglesias. Fine will get the job done this season. For fun, let's just list the names of Post-Nomar SSs and everyone can groan where they most want to for crap defense, crap offense, both, injuries, or plain old mediocrity: Reese (technically with Nomar, but the point stands), OCab (ok, he was decent on the run to the title) Renteria, Gonzalez v1.0, Lugo, Cora, Green, Gonzalez v2.0, Lowrie, Scutaro. I don't think it's worth it to have Iglesias come up and hit .206/.300/.305 in MLB (if he's lucky) when he could be getting a chance to really refine whatever hitting skill he has in AAA - it could end up making a huge difference in his offensive abilities and confidence later this season or all of next season. Mike Aviles can match the production in the field of all the guys on that list, save Gonzalez. Mike Aviles can match or exceed the production at the plate of all the guys on that list, save Lowrie's first part of last season. I do not even see how there is an argument, except that Booby V seems to like guys to question his confidence in them. He is, so far, one of the more negative managers I've seen. I flat out don't like the guy because of shit like this. This should not even be a conversation, and if it is one, it should be with the players, not the media.


Before reading this post, I had forgotten about Julio Lugo. I mean, I've watched literally 1000+ innings of Red Sox baseball with that guy in the lineup, but had actually forgotten about him. The brain is an amazing thing. Thanks a lot, jerk.

(Now I'm afraid Eric Van is going to write a long post trying to justify why remembering Julio Lugo the Red Sox is really a pretty good thing.)

#80 Alcohol&Overcalls

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 08:55 PM

I was suggesting that if he fails as a hitter at the major league level and is, as a result, sent down to AAA for the seasoning that many posters posit that he needs, that experience of failure is not going to leave an irreperable scar on him. He's not going to become damaged goods because he was rushed.


Are you basing this on your understanding of his makeup, or as a general principle?

Also, this ignores the opportunity cost to the big club ... it's pretty basic pot odds: even if Iglesias has higher upside, the percentage play is to see how he does at AAA first, since the most likely scenario isn't "marked improvement."

#81 Alcohol&Overcalls

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 08:58 PM

If find the assumption that Aviles is going to be "average" as a defensive SS to be just as ludacrisp as the assumption that Iglesias's crappy, injury-plagued 2011 stats are predictive of his true ability.

Aviles is going to be below average defensively; his bat may make him an average player. If he doesn't hit above-the-league-average for a SS he will be a below-average player in total.


What evidence do you have for this?

Aviles isn't a particularly slick-looking fielder, but even considering his TJ, numbers across the board indicate he's probably around average. I don't see any support (even with my own eyes) that he's the abomination you're claiming here.

#82 twothousandone

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 09:27 PM

Iglesias may finally have recovered from the wrist injury that derailed his impressive debut in 2010 and contributed to his awful 2011 at the plate. Fixating on those stats without the context that generated them (second year of pro ball, in AAA as one of the youngest players in the league, coming off a wrist injury and hampered by other minor injuries) is rather useless.


Except that his "impressive" 2010 isn't enough to justify a spot in the major leagues in April of 2012. What stats should one fixate on?There is ZERO evidence that Jose Iglesias deserves major league at-bats in 2012. It's not about "fixating" on 2011. It's about coming up empty in the search for any evidence he can hit in the major leagues. They may have pitchers who are better bets at the plate in 2012 than Iglesias.

Edited by twothousandone, 23 March 2012 - 09:27 PM.


#83 Plympton91


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Posted 23 March 2012 - 09:27 PM

What evidence do you have for this?

Aviles isn't a particularly slick-looking fielder, but even considering his TJ, numbers across the board indicate he's probably around average. I don't see any support (even with my own eyes) that he's the abomination you're claiming here.


I'm bullish on Aviles, but there is the evidence that the Royals preferred Yuniesky Betancourt.

#84 Alcohol&Overcalls

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 09:49 PM

I'm bullish on Aviles, but there is the evidence that the Royals preferred Yuniesky Betancourt.


Yes - which, given some of the moves made by the Royals, may be decidedly in the favor of Aviles.

#85 OCD SS


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Posted 23 March 2012 - 10:14 PM

(Now I'm afraid Eric Van is going to write a long post trying to justify why remembering Julio Lugo the Red Sox is really a pretty good thing.)


Who was the starting SS on the Red Sox the last time they won the World Series?

#86 luckysox


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Posted 23 March 2012 - 10:59 PM

Who was the starting SS on the Red Sox the last time they won the World Series?

Exactly my point. Mike Aviles is not going to cost us a WS. But rushing Iglesias might cost us Iglesias. Not worth the risk.

#87 dbn

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 02:54 AM

Who was the starting SS on the Red Sox the last time they won the World Series?


Oops, my bad. Lugo was a good signing that totally was worth it.

Edited by dbn, 24 March 2012 - 03:02 AM.


#88 Rasputin


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Posted 24 March 2012 - 03:02 AM

Exactly my point. Mike Aviles is not going to cost us a WS. But rushing Iglesias might cost us Iglesias. Not worth the risk.


The reason Iglesias shouldn't be on the team now is not that it will ruin Iglesias, it's that we'll win more games with Aviles.

#89 aron7awol

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 09:27 AM

If find the assumption that Aviles is going to be "average" as a defensive SS to be just as ludacrisp as the assumption that Iglesias's crappy, injury-plagued 2011 stats are predictive of his true ability.

You think Aviles being an average defensive shortstop is ludacrisp??? No, this is ludacrisp...
Posted Image

Seriously, though, what makes you think Aviles will be a bad defensive shortstop?

#90 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 24 March 2012 - 10:07 AM

I'm bullish on Aviles, but there is the evidence that the Royals preferred Yuniesky Betancourt.


Jokes about the Royals' baseball acumen aside, I'm not sure that's true. They traded for Betancourt after Aviles got hurt, because they were being forced to throw Willie Bloomquist and Tony Pena out there. Then in 2010 when Aviles came back, they slotted him mostly at second because they decided that they were better with a pivot duo of Aviles and Betancourt than Aviles and Chris Getz, which is hard to argue with, since Getz makes Betancourt look like A-Rod at the plate.

So the record doesn't seem to show any evidence that the Royals made a decision, "Betancourt is a better shortstop than Aviles." It was more taking advantage of Aviles' versatility to put the best available lineup out there.

They did decide that Alcides Escobar is a better shortstop than Aviles, which makes sense because at least Escobar, unlike Betancourt, is a superior defensive player.

#91 Frisbetarian


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Posted 24 March 2012 - 10:48 AM

Not really. Last year, Iglesias put up 54 runs created in AAA. Let's say he maintains that at the major league level - which of course means that he in fact takes a major step forward given the difference in opposition talent. Well, Aviles during his bad year produced 88 runs - a difference of 34 runs of offense. Even if you assume that Aviles is -6 defensively and that Iglesias is Omar Vizquel in his prime (+15 or so), he just can't possibly make it up with his defense.

And again, that's comparing a pretty generous upside for Iglesias and a pretty serious downside estimate for Aviles. There's really no way to make the math work in Iglesias' favor given his offensive performance in AAA.

Right now, Iglesias is not a major league quality player, and while he may be able to develop into one, there's no reason to embarrass him and ourselves by throwing him into a role that he's obviously not ready for.

Edit: Another way of making this point. Iglesias' 54 runs created would place him dead last among all regulars in offense. But lets again say he's Omar Vizquel with the glove. The +15 defense would move him all the way up to... the fifth worst regular in the league, above only Alex Rios, Casey McGehee, Miguel Olivo and Juan Pierre.


For clarification, the numbers you posted above are weighted runs created + (wRC+) and, similar to OPS+, they do not reflect runs, instead showing how a players' runs created compare to league average (not positionally adjusted). This is a rate stat based on the linear weights derived wOBA where an average player would have a 100 wRC+. Iglesias' 54 says he contributed 54% of an average player in his league.

#92 Frisbetarian


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Posted 24 March 2012 - 11:04 AM

For clarification, the numbers you posted above are weighted runs created + (wRC+) and, similar to OPS+, they do not reflect runs, instead showing how a players' runs created compare to league average (not positionally adjusted). This is a rate stat based on the linear weights derived wOBA where an average player would have a 100 wRC+. Iglesias' 54 says he contributed 54% of an average player in his league.


If you wanted to use offensive runs for the comparison PW made above, I think it would be best to use the also wOBA derived Runs Above Average (RAA) as a rate stat based on 603 plate appearances. Doing that for Iglesias' 2011 minor league season shows him 32 runs below an average player (again, per 603 PA). Avilles in 2011 (in the major leagues) was 4 runs below average per 603, a 28 run difference.

I am not endorsing this methodology, just trying to be helpful.

#93 OCD SS


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Posted 24 March 2012 - 09:04 PM

Oops, my bad. Lugo was a good signing that totally was worth it.


Different standard. All you have to do is remember Lugo, and there's an easy positive to consider.

#94 E5 Yaz


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Posted 25 March 2012 - 12:26 AM

Right on cue, here coming Nicky!

The two best players at the catcher and shortstop positions in the Red Sox organization are Ryan Lavarnway and Jose Iglesias. If they don’t make the final 25-man roster, you have to wonder what’s going on.
Iglesias saves runs, will likely hit better than people think, and is almost necessary for what could be a challenged starting rotation. In other words, the pitchers are going to need help.

You can’t have balls trickle through the shortstop hole or go up the middle uncontested. You can’t have pop-ups falling in for base hits. You can’t extend innings for this pitching staff, especially when you reach the back of the rotation.


Iglesias has a tremendous ally in Valentine, who obviously sees his former Mets shortstop, Rey Ordonez, in him, though Valentine feels there’s more upside offensively.

It’s not a stretch to think he also sees former Met Mike Piazza in Lavarnway, an offensive catcher who can win games with his bat.

Valentine is a superb talent evaluator and has a lot of faith in these two. Shouldn’t the manager be given the 25 players he wants when camp breaks?


http://www.boston.co...lp_for_red_sox/

Edited by E5 Yaz, 25 March 2012 - 12:30 AM.


#95 The Boomer

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 08:22 AM

Gutsy! This is probably the right thing to do. It's more risky in the short term but is likely to have a long term payoff. Shoppach, Punto, Aviles and McDonald all define what it means to be a journeyman. Iglesias and Lavarnway will struggle at first (Iglesias with his offense and Lavarnway with his defense). However, it is ideal for them to break into a lineup with a comebacking Crawford, Ellsbury, Youkilis, Pedroia, Gonzalez and Ortiz. A RF platoon of Sweeney and Ross (and maybe eventually Kalish) looks likes a probable upgrade over cooked J.D. Drew. There is a ton of protection there for both of them. Those Valentine bunting and NL style fundamentals drills could make Iglesias passable offensively without destroying his confidence. If he is as good as advertised defensively the Fenway Faithful and the pitching staff will love him. Lavarnway's stick can platoon with and relieve Salty plus spare Ortiz from facing those tough lefties. SSS and spring training notwithstanding, is Ciriaco for real? As I understand it, he had a defensive rep but may now have more than a clue at the plate. Could he make both Aviles and Punto expendable if Iglesias is the regular SS? Nothing ventured - nothing gained. More than a rift with Cherington, ownership is genuinely more concerned about the bottom line going into this season. In this instance, Valentine's baseball choice to give the kids a chance in the majors right now won't hurt the budget. I can understand how Valentine believes that the team will be better with its bluechip prospects supplanting journeymen with nowhere near the same upside.

#96 CSteinhardt


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Posted 25 March 2012 - 08:44 AM

Here's the thing: I loved watching Pokey Reese play. I loved watching him homer twice in a game, of course, in no small part because there was no way that was ever going to happen again. But I really loved watching Pokey play defense. There are two reasons I watch sports: one is rooting for laundry and all that, but the other is watching athletes do things I couldn't possibly do. It's the same reason we show replays of the dunks, not the player who comes off a screen and hits a 15 footer.

I don't think Iglesias is the shortstop who will most contribute to the Sox winning in 2012, and I'll be up front about that. There's a chance he will be, but if I had to pick the shortstop most likely to help win the most games, it would be Aviles. But -- and this is definitely something that's changed for me since 2004 -- I hated last year's team. They won 90 games, but I didn't like rooting for them, and they weren't fun to watch, even during the large fraction of the season where they were playing like the best team in baseball. I'm conflicted, because I think I will enjoy watching this team with Iglesias more than this team with Aviles, even though I think it's a weaker team. And yeah, even in a tough division and a tough AL, I think after last year I'd rather watch the Sox with Iglesias, and have the fun every time I turn on the game of wondering if I'm about to see something special. Am I the only one reacting this way?

#97 aron7awol

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 09:00 AM

Gutsy! This is probably the right thing to do. It's more risky in the short term but is likely to have a long term payoff. Shoppach, Punto, Aviles and McDonald all define what it means to be a journeyman. Iglesias and Lavarnway will struggle at first (Iglesias with his offense and Lavarnway with his defense). However, it is ideal for them to break into a lineup with a comebacking Crawford, Ellsbury, Youkilis, Pedroia, Gonzalez and Ortiz. A RF platoon of Sweeney and Ross (and maybe eventually Kalish) looks likes a probable upgrade over cooked J.D. Drew. There is a ton of protection there for both of them. Those Valentine bunting and NL style fundamentals drills could make Iglesias passable offensively without destroying his confidence. If he is as good as advertised defensively the Fenway Faithful and the pitching staff will love him. Lavarnway's stick can platoon with and relieve Salty plus spare Ortiz from facing those tough lefties. SSS and spring training notwithstanding, is Ciriaco for real? As I understand it, he had a defensive rep but may now have more than a clue at the plate. Could he make both Aviles and Punto expendable if Iglesias is the regular SS? Nothing ventured - nothing gained. More than a rift with Cherington, ownership is genuinely more concerned about the bottom line going into this season. In this instance, Valentine's baseball choice to give the kids a chance in the majors right now won't hurt the budget. I can understand how Valentine believes that the team will be better with its bluechip prospects supplanting journeymen with nowhere near the same upside.

Why is the long term payoff higher if you put Iglesias in the majors now when his bat is clearly not ready? Knowing you have the confidence of your manager is all well and good until it's May and you're hitting .200 and the best thing you can do at the plate is bunt. It's difficult to be confident at that point no matter how much your manager/teammates love you. The bottom line is, the only way anyone can think Iglesias gives the Sox a better chance to win now than Aviles is if they believe that Aviles will be well below average defensively. Do you believe that? If so, why?

Lavarnway is a separate and drastically different case. He has the skills to succeed at the plate at the major league level, right now. He has a great approach, walks a ton, and has great power. He will work the count and be a very tough out. He has his question marks on the defensive side, and reports are that he is constantly improving in that aspect, but should they replace Shoppach with him? I'm not completely sure. Mike Fast's preliminary study on pitch framing determined that it could be worth +/- 20 runs easily over the course of a season. The problem is, we don't know how good Shoppach/Lavarnway are at framing pitches. Also, I think the answer to the question also depends on what role you want to give Lavarnway. You are suggesting he platoon with Salty. Shoppach is already an excellent candidate for that role; he has a career .902 OPS against LHP, and his defensive reputation has always been good. If someone thinks Lavarnway's defense is good enough now, and they want to make him the primary starting catcher, with Salty giving him some days off against RHP, well that's definitely arguable.

#98 geoduck no quahog


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Posted 25 March 2012 - 09:08 AM

... And yeah, even in a tough division and a tough AL, I think after last year I'd rather watch the Sox with Iglesias, and have the fun every time I turn on the game of wondering if I'm about to see something special. Am I the only one reacting this way?


Nope.

I'm with you 100%. I'd rather see a younger, homegrown Red Sox team entertain me (including defensive gems) than a statistical 90-win bunch. The Sox aren't going anywhere with this year's pitching staff anyway, so let the kids play. They might surprise us all.

#99 Toe Nash

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 09:27 AM

Nope.

I'm with you 100%. I'd rather see a younger, homegrown Red Sox team entertain me (including defensive gems) than a statistical 90-win bunch. The Sox aren't going anywhere with this year's pitching staff anyway, so let the kids play. They might surprise us all.

Yeesh. What's a "statistical" player? JD Drew? Well, he's gone. Kevin Youkilis, who walks a ton? Oh, he was drafted by the Sox. Do you not enjoy watching Pedroia or Ellsbury play? Were you having fun watching the team last year before September?

This is the same kind of drivel that Bill Simmons rightly gets torn to shreds for: "The team isn't lovable since they got rid of Manny and Victor Martinez's handshakes and got a bunch of robots!" Except there's plenty of stories to get excited about, you just didn't hear too many last fall because they had an epic collapse, not because guys weren't "exciting."

Sure, if you knew they were only going to win 90 and likely miss the playoffs, then you could make an argument for a youth movement. And I suspect if August comes around and they're 8 games out then we'll see one. But the Sox should try to put the best team on the field, and if they're winning, there will be plenty of hilarious Pedroia quotes and Ellsbury web gems and nasty Bard sliders to get excited by. And hey, maybe overpaid mercenary Carl Crawford will regain the form that made him one of the most exciting players in the game in the old-school, anti-"statistical" categories of great defense, stolen bases and triples.

#100 Plympton91


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Posted 25 March 2012 - 09:31 AM

That last line, "shouldn't the manager get to open the season with the 25 guys he wants?" suggests Cafardo knows Valentine prefers Ryan and Jose to Shoppach and Aviles, doesn't it. Is Valentine feeding Cafardo this story in order to force management's hand?

The bottom line is that there are just so many good reasons not to bring those two players up too soon, and almost no good reasons to have them start the season in Boston. Bringing either one North in April is a return to the irrationality and seat-of-you-pants management processes that led to 86 years of frustration. Please tell me that sanity will reign supreme.

If you bring up Iglesias, you have to cut McDonald, because you paid Punto for 2 years, and Aviles has to remain as Plan B for when Iglesias has an OPS of 400 on May 1st. That means you're incredibly weak in the outfield if Crawford doesn't hit lefties again or his injury lingers.

You've invested millions, going over the cap in the process to build a solid veteran bench, now you're going to throw that away, pay the luxury tax, and get no. Benefit, because the manager wants a shiny new object? Bullshit.

In the new world of baseball with a de facto salary cap, you're going to start both the arbitration clock and the free agency clock in order to - at best, get the same production from a different mix of offense and defense - and more likely downgrade two positions in 2012? Why? Simply insanity.

I love Lavarnway as much as anyone, but he's extraordinarily unlikely to outperform a platoon of Salty and Shoppach, which could potentially be one of the best catching tandems in baseball.