Alex Speier

Orel Miraculous

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I was going to post this in the "Fellowship of the Miserable" thread as an example of a great piece of Red Sox reporting that you just don't see in the Globe anymore, but screw it. 
 
For a few years now, Alex Speier has been consistently producing the best Red Sox-related content around and he needs a thread dedicated to his work.  His knowledge of the minor league system is as vast as anyone in the Boston media, he understands statistical analysis, and, most importantly, he treats his readers with respect.
 
This opus he posted yesterday, The Blueprint:  Defining the Path to the Next Great Red Sox Team,  is essentially the defining article of the 2013 Boston Red Sox.  Read it, and then use this thread to continue to discuss his work throughout the season.
 

DaveRoberts'Shoes

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I'm a big fan of his work -  having spoken to him about Sox' injuries on a few occasions, can vouch for him being a very intelligent and thoughtful guy, unlike a lot of sports writers.
 
Then again, most of us Harvard guys are :blink:
 

absintheofmalaise

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Speier is, by far, the best Sox beat writer out there right now. I read his work almost exclusively, followed up by BMac, Britton and Bradford. He's a good guy too. He's always  willing to help out with our various charity endeavors. 
 

BellhornsBiatch

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absintheofmalaise said:
Speier is, by far, the best Sox beat writer out there right now. I read his work almost exclusively, followed up by BMac, Britton and Bradford. He's a good guy too. He's always  willing to help out with our various charity endeavors. 
I'm with you abs. Speier has been the best in town for a few years now, but MacPherson and Britton have that lauriat/lit-geek vibe that I find pretty refreshing in comparison to your standard, rote chronological record-of-event folks. Speier must love it here because he'd wipe the floor with a lot of the national guys too.
 

SoxLegacy

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I read that article yesterday and thought it was an outstanding piece of work--very insightful and filled with fascinating information. I agree, he's a great read and I enjoy listening to him on the Hot Stove podcasts as well.
 

Orel Miraculous

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This is what I'm talking about:  1500 words just about "power shagging" and JBJ's defense.  I love this stuff.

 
While those who watch Bradley and the outfielder himself note that his outstanding defense reflects incredible instincts, it's far more than that. Bradley spends batting practice adding to two databases that give him a mature sense of where a ball will conclude its flight. The first incorporates weather, trajectory, spin, field conditions and batter strength; the second involves the precise movements -- stride, angle, glove position -- that permit him to get to such a tremendous volume of balls hit between left-center and right-center.

And so, when Bradley amplifies the degree of difficulty in his power shagging, it is not eyewash.

"Sometimes, instead of getting around [the ball], I try to put myself in a difficult situation to see if I can re-enact a play," said Bradley. "You never know -- the spin, the wind, if you slip. I actually slow down in order to make a play more difficult sometimes.
 


 

 
How good is Bradley's defense? Consider the following:

When Bradley played with High-A Salem in the first half of 2012, the team gave up 4.3 runs per nine innings. After his promotion, the club permitted 5.6 runs per game, an increase of roughly 30 percent.

Prior to Bradley's arrival, Double-A Portland gave up 4.9 runs per game. Once he joined the Sea Dogs, Portland yielded 4.2 runs per game, a decrease of roughly 14 percent.

Perhaps other factors explained those changes in the fortunes of the two clubs. Perhaps.
 
 

SoxLegacy

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Just finished reading that JBJ article by Speier and thought I'd come here and share, but Orel beat me to it! It was another terrific piece of writing--definitely worth the read both for the information about JBJ as well as the excellent writing of Speier,
 

riboflav

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Alex is killing it this month. What a shot in the face to every sports commentator who complains there's nothing write about or talk about, especially this time of year.
 

Clears Cleaver

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Speier is tremendous. He writes like hes angling for a job within the organization. I mean that as a complement. It's always smart and cuts through the press conference directives we get from every other sox beat writer or columnist. But he needs to cut or shave that chest/neck hair. Lol
 

mabrowndog

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riboflav said:
Many cringe worthy moments in that listen and Alex handled them with graceful aplomb.
 
What struck me was how often he had to correct the hosts, who are clearly too lazy to verify easily verifiable facts like Aceves' salary and the nature of Napoli's hip condition. And as you note, Alex did so while remaining upbeat and without a shred of condescension.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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He's kicking their asses again this morning. This is great.

He tells them they're "empirically wrong" to say the Sox are too slow in bringing up prospects. Callahan asks "what does empirically mean?"
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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I just read the blueprint article and I'm glad I checked here before starting a thread on the main board, as it would have been redundant to a degree.  We've covered most of what he talks about in one thread or another since the end of last season, and while it puts a lot of answers in one place for easy reference, more discussion of the same wouldn't really serve that much purpose.  The main thrust of starting such a thread would have been to funnel some traffic to that article because it was a really well done piece and is worth the fifteen minutes or so it takes to dig into it.
 

mabrowndog

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Alex also has a really great piece titled "The Long Road From The Top" in the 2013 Lindy's Red Sox annual (being discussed on the main board). It's a detailed, sometimes castigating but brutally honest assessment of the tumultuous stretch from Sept 2011 through last fall, followed by a solid overview of what the FO appears to be doing to climb out of the grave.
 

absintheofmalaise

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Speier has the first part of a three part series on the Sox ownership today. I think it's a must read, as most of his work is. He will also be on of the speakers at the Saber Seminar this August, along with Brian MacPherson and Michael Silverman.
 

erfus

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This maybe better suited for the minor league forum, but I wanted to throw more kudos toward Alex Speier and also to his guest on the podcast this week, Jim Callis:
 
http://audio.weei.com/a/80300631/minor-details-ep-68-jim-callis-on-two-decades-of-red-sox-prospect-coverage-for-baseball-america.htm
 
I know Mr. Callis is also a friend of SoSH having done a couple of chats.  I happened to see an update on mlbtraderumors that linked to the podcast as Callis is leaving Baseball America for MLB.com.  Alex Speier will be doing the Red Sox top 30 list as a correspondent.  While I am sure he will do a great job, it's certainly odd to not have Callis doing the list for the first time in 20+ years!  
 
It's must-listen stuff for those of us who follow / have followed the prospect train.
 

SoxLegacy

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Another column by Speier concerning the end of the bridge. As always worth the read. He's following this one up with a position by position look at the minor league level.
 

Reverend

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SoxLegacy said:
Alex with another typically excellent piece concerning how the 2013 Sox were constructed: http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/alex-speier/2013/09/21/how-2013-red-sox-defied-probability-and-built-
 
Thanks for posting--that link didn't work for me (not sure why*), but I found it here.
 
Great piece, especially against the pre-season one that started the thread. This team represents some very, very good work.
 
 
*Ah. The previous link didn't include the final "-" in the hyperlink.
 

WenZink

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It's kind of telling that no one has bothered to comment on Alex Speier's columns in over 5 months, while every turd that emerges from Cafardo's bowels gets "dissected and analyzed."(to steal an obnoxious phrase from a former obnoxious, sports, radio personality.)
 
Last Friday, Speier wrote an excellent column on Xander's defensive issues: http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/alex-speier/2014/04/25/shortstops-education-red-sox-ready-live-throug with mention of Bogaerts history of dealing with defensive lapses as he sped through the Sox' farm system.
 
Today Speier continued his excellent series on the daily results and progress of the Sox farm prospects; http://fullcount.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/2014/04/28/red-sox-minor-league-roundup-mookie-can-dunk-henry-owens-struggling-the-greenville-unveiling-of-trey-ball-upstaged-by-an-offensive-explosion/  Although it's obvious to me that Speier regularly reads the SOSH minor league forum, as well as SoxProspects.com, he almost always manages to have extra information/insights.  Today he gives a fuller, more optimistic, silver-lining approach to the rough starts of Rubby De La Rosa (AAA) and Trey Ball's debut at Greenville.  Not to mention a nice clip of Mookie Betts making a catch-and-throw DP.
 
Speier's work and reporting on the farm system is consistently thorough and excellent.  A far cry from 15 years ago when I had to listen to Ted Sarandis and wait for the scouting reports from "Ray from Lynn."  (Still waiting for Jay Yennaco and Mike Spinelli to arrive... Ray says they're going to be front line starters.)
 

Reverend

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WenZink said:
It's kind of telling that no one has bothered to comment on Alex Speier's columns in over 5 months, while every turd that emerges from Cafardo's bowels gets "dissected and analyzed."(to steal an obnoxious phrase from a former obnoxious, sports, radio personality.)
 
There are a fair number of threads that are basically predicated, sometimes explicitly, on Speier columns, which tells a great deal about the difference between him and most of the Globe team.
 
If you want to learn about Red Sox specifically and baseball in general, Speier and Bradford, then Britton and BMac. Then basically the field, although I'd love to hear about other voices I should be listening to.
 

Hendu for Kutch

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WenZink said:
It's kind of telling that no one has bothered to comment on Alex Speier's columns in over 5 months, while every turd that emerges from Cafardo's bowels gets "dissected and analyzed."(to steal an obnoxious phrase from a former obnoxious, sports, radio personality.)
 
Last Friday, Speier wrote an excellent column on Xander's defensive issues: http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/alex-speier/2014/04/25/shortstops-education-red-sox-ready-live-throug with mention of Bogaerts history of dealing with defensive lapses as he sped through the Sox' farm system.
 
Today Speier continued his excellent series on the daily results and progress of the Sox farm prospects; http://fullcount.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/2014/04/28/red-sox-minor-league-roundup-mookie-can-dunk-henry-owens-struggling-the-greenville-unveiling-of-trey-ball-upstaged-by-an-offensive-explosion/  Although it's obvious to me that Speier regularly reads the SOSH minor league forum, as well as SoxProspects.com, he almost always manages to have extra information/insights.  Today he gives a fuller, more optimistic, silver-lining approach to the rough starts of Rubby De La Rosa (AAA) and Trey Ball's debut at Greenville.  Not to mention a nice clip of Mookie Betts making a catch-and-throw DP.
 
Speier's work and reporting on the farm system is consistently thorough and excellent.  A far cry from 15 years ago when I had to listen to Ted Sarandis and wait for the scouting reports from "Ray from Lynn."  (Still waiting for Jay Yennaco and Mike Spinelli to arrive... Ray says they're going to be front line starters.)
 
Hey, Yennaco begat Stanley, who begat Armas Jr., who begat Pedro.  Bite your tongue.
 
I think it's a credit to Speier that when he's discussed it's in the context of what he's writing about.  He doesn't present opinion as fact, he doesn't appear to be carrying water for anyone, and he's not arrogant or lazy.  At least personally, there's an element of trust in what he's writing that lends me to not really notice him per se, but rather his subject.  Which, I think, is the sign of a good writer.
 

WenZink

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Hendu for Kutch said:
 
Hey, Yennaco begat Stanley, who begat Armas Jr., who begat Pedro.  Bite your tongue.
 
.....
While Yennaco was traded for Mike Stanley, it was Stanley's second tour of duty with the Sox.  Pedro was already with the Sox.  (thanks to Ray from Lynn who PM'd me with that correction..... okay....not really.)
 

Hendu for Kutch

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WenZink said:
While Yennaco was traded for Mike Stanley, it was Stanley's second tour of duty with the Sox.  Pedro was already with the Sox.  (thanks to Ray from Lynn who PM'd me with that correction..... okay....not really.)
 
Jesus, my memory is turning to crap.  I played against Yennaco in high school, I really should have known that.  Thanks for the correction.
 

WenZink

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HriniakPosterChild

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The interview is interesting to listen to, but the transcript uses technology that can wreck a nice beach.
 

We as we add those two above the group. The grade Barnes. -- group that the industry and although although you know not far ahead. Those Diebler is first to to draft over again the -- is opposite that this or that the and often -- any good fortune as -- problems in decision making in the draft and then it became pretty clear that we need to focus in on that group of -- Barnes and Meyer. And as a really it's in the we spent. We spent a couple of hours every day four week that -- -- sorting through that group and trying to get them in the right order is we've -- Pretty sure of that -- stick with -- you're street players and is one of those times when there was there was real difference -- -- market go through who in the room had -- above the movement. Room but. That certain testing history these guys. You know upgrade -- school even knows where. Is gonna go to Vanderbilt -- use. A well known guy well doubted there Agilent and agree that this is really query to do -- only. Feel these are questions about amber were size and what law and well -- there at the time. 
 

IpswichSox

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JCizzle said:
Alex did a great interview with Theo this weekend: http://media.weei.com/a/94063743/minor-details-ep-92-theo-epstein-on-building-through-the-draft-in-boston-chicago.htm
 
Lots of talk about the '11 draft re: Barnes, Swihart, Owens and Mookie. 
 
Just wanted to second this.  I listened to the podcast driving into work today. Theo seemed really relaxed and almost unguarded. Alex did a nice job of teeing up some subjects and then getting out of the way and letting Theo talk.  Great stuff.