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The Outfield in 2013


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#1 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:05 PM

I did a search for threads on this year's outfield and came up with nothing after April of 2012, so if I missed a thread, my apologies.  That said, with the Carp deal being reported, it seems the Sox have pieces of the outfield they'll start 2013 with and there is some discussion on how that's going to break down going on in the Carp thread that I thought I'd nudge this way before it gets too derailed.

 

At present the team has Ellsbury in CF and Victorino in RF.  Left field will be played by a combination of Gomes, Carp, Nava and Sweeney with one of those three not making the major league club.  Only Nava has options left.  Down the pipeline, they have Jackie Bradley hoping to see a promotion later in the year and still have one and a half legs of Bryce Brentz in Pawtucket along with Hazelbaker, Linares and Hassan as depth.

 

The discussion started here, and this is the last post in that thread about outfield composition.

 

 

Carp has no options left, so he can't be stashed.  Sweeney is on a minor league deal that he can opt out of if he doesn't break camp with the big club.  Nava is the only one that has options and can be sent down.  So I think, barring injuries, the most likely scenario might be Sweeney and Carp on the 25-man and Nava at Pawtucket.

 



#2 MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 01:29 PM

I wonder if Victorino won't find himself in the platoon mix as well. Last year he absolutely cratered against righties in 482 PAs, putting up a 229/296/333, while throwing up a 906 OPS against lefties (186 PAs).

 

Obviously, he's getting paid a ton of cash not to play everyday, but his career split is 881/732, so it's not like last year was a complete outlier.

 

I'm not sure he can be penciled in for 500+ ABs.



#3 maufman


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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:35 PM

I wonder if Victorino won't find himself in the platoon mix as well. Last year he absolutely cratered against righties in 482 PAs, putting up a 229/296/333, while throwing up a 906 OPS against lefties (186 PAs).

 

Obviously, he's getting paid a ton of cash not to play everyday, but his career split is 881/732, so it's not like last year was a complete outlier.

 

I'm not sure he can be penciled in for 500+ ABs.

 

500 ABs works out to about 125 GP. Barring injury, Victorino will easily clear that hurdle. But you're right about his suck vs. RHPs -- Sweeney actually has a better career split against RHP (749) than Victorino. I suspect Farrell will take advantage of this to get Sweeney some ABs.

 

But I think Snod basically hits the nail on the head in the thread-starter -- Victorino is the RF, Ellsbury is the CF, Carp and Gomes will platoon in LF, and Sweeney is the 5th OF. Nava might be able to push Carp out with a sensational spring, but it's far more likely that Nava will open the season in Pawtucket.

 

One thing that's nice about this outfield is the ability to withstand injury. Carp and Nava are largely fungible. Victorino could slide over to CF if Ellsbury got hurt, leaving a Sweeney/Gomes platoon in LF. That same Sweeney/Gomes platoon could man RF if Victorino went down. And obviously the platoon in LF, plus Nava in the minors, provides depth there. There's no real replacement for Gomes in the organization (or redundancy, if he gets moved to RF), but in terms of a loss due to injury, dealing with a bad weak half of a platoon is hardly a worst-case scenario, and it's a hole that could probably be filled affordably by trade if someone is out for an extended time.


Edited by maufman, 20 February 2013 - 06:27 PM.


#4 Rudy Pemberton


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Posted 20 February 2013 - 03:04 PM

But I think Snod basically hits the nail on the head in the thread-starter -- Victorino is the RF, Ellsbury is the CF, Carp and Nava will platoon in LF, and Sweeney is the 5th OF. Nava might be able to push Carp out with a sensational spring, but it's far more likely that Nava will open the season in Pawtucket.

 

It seems pretty clear, to me, that Gomes is the starter in LF. They didn't give him 2 years and $10M to be a bat off the bench. 

 

As far the OF depth, not sure I really see it. They are an Ellsbury injury away from a Gomes - Victorino - Sweeney OF.



#5 MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 03:09 PM

And if Victorino is slugging .333 against righties 125 games is a lot to be running him out there.

 

Something like 2/3 of all starters are righthanded, so you've got maybe 55 games started by lefties, and 107 by righthanders. That's a gaping hole out there for ~70 games if Victorino gets that much playing time and he doesn't recover somewhat from the wrist injury and get to a point where he's at least passable against righties.



#6 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 20 February 2013 - 03:20 PM

It seems pretty clear, to me, that Gomes is the starter in LF. They didn't give him 2 years and $10M to be a bat off the bench. 

 

As far the OF depth, not sure I really see it. They are an Ellsbury injury away from a Gomes - Victorino - Sweeney OF.

 

 

Besides which, as I mentioned in the other thread, in spite of being a LHH Carp has yet to prove that he hits RHP better than Gomes does. He may very well do so in the long run, but the numbers don't show that yet, so for any number of reasons it seems highly unlikely that they'll approach this as a straight platoon right out of the gate. Maybe if Carp gets hot.

 

As for Victorino's difficulty with RHP, he's a good enough defensive player to provide some value even on days when he matches up poorly with the pitcher, so I don't anticipate the Sox platooning him. At most, they may give him a little extra rest, and spot those extra days off vs. RHP, but I'll be very surprised if he doesn't make 500 PA unless he gets hurt.



#7 Rasputin


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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:23 PM

Every single unit on the team is in transition. I think in an ideal world, Bryce Brentz takes over sometime this season just to provide a little stability as they deal with the transition from Ellsbury to Bradley, Jr. 



#8 maufman


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Posted 20 February 2013 - 06:40 PM

 

 

Besides which, as I mentioned in the other thread, in spite of being a LHH Carp has yet to prove that he hits RHP better than Gomes does. 

 

Carp has a 721 career OPS versus RHP and is entering his age 27 season.

Gomes has a 731 career OPS versus RHP and is entering his age 32 season.

Nava has a 768 career OPS versus RHP and is entering his age 30 season.

 

Nothing is certain. Those career numbers are relatively SSS for both Carp and Nava, and Carp's minor-league numbers last year were even worse than his numbers in Seattle. But assuming they are all equally bad defensively, the smart money says Gomes is the least likely of those three to be a passable option against RHP.



#9 Papelbon's Poutine


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Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:12 PM

 That same Sweeney/Gomes platoon could man RF if Victorino went down. And obviously the platoon in LF, plus Nava in the minors, provides depth there. There's no real replacement for Gomes in the organization (or redundancy, if he gets moved to RF), but in terms of a loss due to injury, dealing with a bad weak half of a platoon is hardly a worst-case scenario, and it's a hole that could probably be filled affordably by trade if someone is out for an extended time.

 

If Gomes sees an inning in RF, we have issues. He's passable in LF but in the event Victorino goes down, another option will have to be found.



#10 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:43 AM

Carp has a 721 career OPS versus RHP and is entering his age 27 season.

Gomes has a 731 career OPS versus RHP and is entering his age 32 season.

Nava has a 768 career OPS versus RHP and is entering his age 30 season.

 

Nothing is certain. Those career numbers are relatively SSS for both Carp and Nava, and Carp's minor-league numbers last year were even worse than his numbers in Seattle. But assuming they are all equally bad defensively, the smart money says Gomes is the least likely of those three to be a passable option against RHP.

 

I don't think there's any question that Nava is the best bet of the three to hit RHP well, and if he beats Sweeney out for the 4th OF slot I'd be in favor of straight-platooning him with Gomes (not that I think Farrell will do that, but it would make sense). But in Carp's case, I'm not sure I get your logic. From what we've seen so far, Carp simply isn't as good a hitter as Gomes, period. Put him on the good side (or what ought to be the good side) of his platoon split, and put Gomes on the bad side of his, and Gomes is still (so far) the better hitter.

 

Sure, Gomes is 32, but that's not old enough to assume any particular degree of decline. The smart money may be that Carp is more likely to improve than Gomes at this point, but he has to improve in order to be even as good an option vs. RHP as Gomes, let alone a better one. If that happens, yay. But I don't see any reason to assume it from the get-go.

 

If Gomes sees an inning in RF at home, we have issues. He's passable in LF but in the event Victorino goes down, another option will have to be found.

 

FTFY. Gomes has an average-or-better arm, and in neutral parks there's no particular reason why he should be worse in right than left (his career defensive numbers in RF and LF are essentially identical). In the Toilet I'd probably switch him and Victorino routinely. Fenway is a different story, of course.



#11 Rovin Romine

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:30 PM

Is there some place out there with a chart on our possible backup OF/IFs in terms of options remaining?

 

On the 40 man we have the follow 4th OF candidates: Nava, Carp, Hassan (injured), Kalish (60 day DL).

 

And the following IF candidates: Ciriaco (SS, 2B, 3B), Gomez (1B, emergency 3B), Holt (SS, 2B), Iglesias (SS), Carp (1B, OF).

 

We also have Sweeney (OF) and Overbay (1B).

 

I don't see any real IF/OF overlap, except for Carp, who has been discussed upthread. 

 

1) Any thoughts on how this meshes with our backup infielder?  (Ciriaco
has been thrown into the outfield for a handful of games.) 

 

2) Any thoughts on Napoli and injuries? - do they make special plans to carry a backup 1B because of the hip so you can rest Napoli as you go, or do you just DL him at the first sign of trouble and call someone up?

 

As Red(s)HawksFan pointed out, Carp has no options, so he'll initially spell Napoli and the outfield, with Ciriaco covering the IF?  Nava/Gomez up for OF in case of a DL stint from Napoli? 



#12 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:36 PM

I would guess the plan, as it pertains to outfield pieces is to have Carp as a backup for first base in case Napoli needs a day off or ends up day to day with a hammy or something, so they won't have to make any roster moves every time something goes wrong with him.  They also still have Salty on the roster who can also cover 1st on days when Napoli is taking a breather or banged up and Carp is in LF.

 

If a long term need arises, I imagine Nava gets called up and so Carp can slide over to 1st or Lavarnway gets called up so Salty can cover the not-so-hot corner.  Lavarnway could take reps at 1st as well while in Pawtucket to give them another emergency option.

 

In short, I don't think it'll be difficult to cover first in the event of a minor injury to Napoli with the pieces they already have in house and while the outfield isn't perfect, Gomes, Ellsbury, Victorino starting with Carp and Sweeney on the bench is still pretty good and seems to make the most sense to start the year.



#13 Red(s)HawksFan


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Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:45 PM

Is there some place out there with a chart on our possible backup OF/IFs in terms of options remaining?

 

SoxProspects.com has remaining options listed on their 40-man roster.

 

Back-ups with options in parenthesis:

OF: Nava (1), Carp (0), Hassan (3), Kalish (1).

IF: Ciriaco (0), Gomez (2), Holt (3), Iglesias (1), Carp (0)

C: Lavarnway (2), Butler (3), Vasquez (3)



#14 Saints Rest

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:05 PM

I'm just finishing up the Fancona book and one of the things that jumped out at me in his own retrospect was the value to him of a veteran bench.  He highly valued the Kapler's, Casey's, Hinske's, Cora's, Reese's not only for the professionalism they brought to the challenges of part-time play, but also for their intangibles in terms of being leaders in the clubhouse.  Francona even mirrored that against the lack thereof in his final couple years.

 

Farrell and Francona were (are?) tight.  I wonder if we see a trade for some more veterans to round out the bench.  Or maybe the addition of supposed "good clubhouse guys" in the first string will be intended to offset the youth on the bench. (and by youth, I mean "non-grizzled-veterans.")



#15 Red(s)HawksFan


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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:32 PM

Farrell and Francona were (are?) tight.  I wonder if we see a trade for some more veterans to round out the bench.  Or maybe the addition of supposed "good clubhouse guys" in the first string will be intended to offset the youth on the bench. (and by youth, I mean "non-grizzled-veterans.")

 

Veterans to fill which roles on the bench, though?  Things seem pretty full up as is unless at this late stage they can somehow find that veteran clubhouse presence who is also an on the field upgrade to Ciriaco or Nava/Carp/Sweeney.  David Ross probably fits the mold of a veteran who's been around for a while who is comfortable in a part-time role, Gomes too, even if he's thinks he's going to be a full time starter.

 

The thing with the Kaplers and Coras and Caseys of the world was that the starters in front of them were good enough to not even consider a platoon situation.  So their professionalism in a part-time role was a bit higher in priority than their on-field contribution because barring injuries, they were going to be one game a week players.  With this year's roster, many of the bench spots have to be filled by guys who are there for their platoon splits because the "starter' isn't a guy that can be run out there 150 games a year for various reasons.  Professionalism in a part-time role is secondary to their skill level.



#16 Super Nomario


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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:44 PM

I'm just finishing up the Fancona book and one of the things that jumped out at me in his own retrospect was the value to him of a veteran bench.  He highly valued the Kapler's, Casey's, Hinske's, Cora's, Reese's not only for the professionalism they brought to the challenges of part-time play, but also for their intangibles in terms of being leaders in the clubhouse.  Francona even mirrored that against the lack thereof in his final couple years.

 

Farrell and Francona were (are?) tight.  I wonder if we see a trade for some more veterans to round out the bench.  Or maybe the addition of supposed "good clubhouse guys" in the first string will be intended to offset the youth on the bench. (and by youth, I mean "non-grizzled-veterans.")

We can file this one under "managers tend to like players who remind them of themselves when they were players," right? It's not surprising that Francona, ex-veteran bench guy, respects the contributions of veteran bench guys. Maybe he's right and this role is underrated, but I'd expect him to have a blindspot here.






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