Fangraphs Positional Power Rankings by Team (Red Sox Ranks and Overall Discussion)

LogansDad

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
29,699
Alamogordo
Thanks to @absintheofmalaise for getting all of the other threads started, and I thought we could have one that discusses the Red Sox as a whole. I am breaking out to respond to this post, which makes a good point, I think:

At this point only 3B (4th), DH (6th), and 1B and LF (8th) grade as higher than 15th. I don't know what I was expecting for 2024, but this is... not it.
But I will respond with a couple of thoughts and some numbers at the end.

My first thought is that, while Fangraphs is great at what they do (and one of the very few site I happily subscribe to on a monthly basis), their projections usually don't end up too close to 100% accurate, and like all projections of their type should be a good discussion point, but not necessarily something that we should use to portend doom.

Second, I expect the rotation to be pretty close to the bottom as well, when it drops tomorrow. Personally, I like the guys they have in the rotation (especially Bello/Pivetta/Crawford), but I totally understand that all five of the projected starters have A LOT to prove if the team is going to move up this list.

Third, I think that Trevor Story is severely under projected in their system for whatever reason, and I think that he will be solidly in the top 10 by the end of the season. I also think that they are underrated in CF, but that is a function of Rafaela's mixed bag last season. I don't think the team had a lot of room to upgrade at either of these positions, and I expect them to perform solidly above their projections this season, even if a lot of that value comes from defense. Let's say both of those positions get into (or at least near) the top 10, now all of a sudden you have six positions in the top 3rd of the league.

Catcher is a serious issue, I think, as I have never been sold on Wong and think McGuire is essentially a decent to below average backup. Second base has a lot of wild outcomes and could be awesome or could be atrocious.

What I wanted to look at in this thread, though, was how far off of league average they are in all of the positions as a whole, and how far from being top half or top third the projections have them at each position. I think this is a high variance team (personally I lean toward them outperforming their projections, as most of you have grown tired of), but I think they are not THAT far off of being a serious contender, if not in the AL East, then at least in the wild card race. So, let's see the numbers.

80007

So, I think this really accentuates the catching issues. Wong has looked good this spring with the bat, but I really think that they are kind of boned there barring a miracle or Kyle Teel being ready this year way sooner than expected. I also don't know that there was a way for them to improve this position over the course of this offseason because neither of the current catchers are going to fetch any kind of return, and none of the stopgap free agents would have been a marked improvement, so I think the position is what it is, and we need to hope one of the prospects, hopefully Teel and hopefully soon, blossoms and becomes an MLB regular.

Literally every other position they are projected within half a WAR of the top 15, and less than 1 WAR from the top 10. Essentially, one extra hot week from, say Tyler O'Neill, and all of a sudden they are in the top 10 in RF. (NOTE: The bullpen is 1.1 WAR from the top 10, but bullpens are so high variance when it comes to WAR that I think the extra .1 is negligible).

And I think this was the biggest issue for the team this offseason and the biggest reason you didn't see them make a major splash in the free agent market (at least until Montgomery signs with them Thursday night, am I right?). They are essentially looking at a team that is league average across the board, so in order to make any type of assured and more than marginal upgrade, they would have had to sign a monster deal, and I am not even sure there was anyone on the market outside of Ohtani (bullet dodged? I kid) or one of the big starting pitchers that would have made it worth it. At this point, I think they were sort of stuck in the land of "hope for a couple of your league average guys to pop off and give the kids a year to develop in Portland" land. The fact that their big time, high projection prospects also happen to be at the same positions that would require monster contracts to get a real, demonstrable upgrade to the MLB roster only made it harder.

I do think that one more reasonably quality starting pitcher would immediately turn this team into a formidable opponent, but I also still don't think they are THAT far from being a contender with the current roster. And I stand by my previous statement from all winter than anyone railing that this team is going to lose 100 game is out of their god damned mind, or just a shit stirring troll. You know who you are.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

AB in DC

OG Football Writing
SoSH Member
Jul 10, 2002
13,778
Springfield, VA
On the other hand --

At this point only 3B (4th), DH (6th), and 1B and LF (8th) grade as higher than 15th. I don't know what I was expecting for 2024, but this is... not it.
This doesn't even count the team's weakness at SP, which is by far the biggest area of concern going into the season.
 

streeter88

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 2, 2006
1,807
Melbourne, Australia
@LogansDad this is a great summary of the rankings. I totalled your third column of data (FWAR by position 15th ranked team?) and it came out to 24.6 - so as it stands now without the SP projection, the Red Sox in 2024 are predicted by Fangraphs (assuming this is all additive) to better by 0.4 WAR than the 15th ranked team (makes sense as the positive gaps of the 4 positions I noted add to 3.3).

However, this data is missing the rotation rankings which will likely reverse that gap with the 15th ranked team, and frankly I think the gap we would all be more interested in is the one with the 10th rated team (would be 2.8), as that is probably what it will take to compete for the wild card, let alone the AL East (probably 5th is more likely).

I agree with your contention of there being no easy way to upgrade any one position without a massive contract, and as well with the possibility that some of our young players may outperform these predictions. My implied overall point I think still stands, though -- while this team won't lose 100 games, I can't see it winning more than 80 - even if all goes well.
 

GB5

New Member
Aug 26, 2013
689
A few years ago the catcher position across MLB was a cesspool for offensive numbers. Has it increased fairly significantly? I kind of thought the tandem of McGuire/Womg was a little below average offensively not bottom five in MLB. Are they that poor offensively or are they dragged down by defensive metrics?
 

Stan Papi Was Framed

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 5, 2012
2,932
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2024-positional-power-rankings-starting-rotation-no-16-30/

Rotation is up. 20th overall at 11.4 WAR. pretty fair writeup I think?
It did seem fair, and contained reason for optimism--but also little margin for error. A strong "He's the ace" vibe that could be addressed, perhaps, by adding Montgomery (though maybe he'd simply be another guy to wear the old t-shirt)

last line in the Fangraphs writeup for the Red Sox: "This is a rotation crying out for an ace."
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
24,332
Miami (oh, Miami!)
And I think this was the biggest issue for the team this offseason and the biggest reason you didn't see them make a major splash in the free agent market (at least until Montgomery signs with them Thursday night, am I right?). They are essentially looking at a team that is league average across the board, so in order to make any type of assured and more than marginal upgrade, they would have had to sign a monster deal, and I am not even sure there was anyone on the market outside of Ohtani (bullet dodged? I kid) or one of the big starting pitchers that would have made it worth it. At this point, I think they were sort of stuck in the land of "hope for a couple of your league average guys to pop off and give the kids a year to develop in Portland" land. The fact that their big time, high projection prospects also happen to be at the same positions that would require monster contracts to get a real, demonstrable upgrade to the MLB roster only made it harder.
I'd also add that herein is the reason for cautious optimism. I can't really articulate this well, but I feel that their upside collectively as a club is more solid than some think. It's not that everyone has to do astoundingly well, but that, with health, you can squint and see a very deep unrelenting lineup. You can see a very deep rotation where, if there's not a #1, there may not also be a #5. They have to stay healthy since at this moment they have little depth (may change midseason with any AAA development.)

Of course they can faceplant as well, and then with crappy depth, the opposite will occur - a handful of good players surrounded by drek. But the solution there isn't to necessarily upgrade your very-good players to great, it's to make sure you don't have an automatic out or two in the lineup, or a catastrophic pitcher putting games beyond reach.

But this is what you want to avoid: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BOS/BOS202304190.shtml
 

OCD SS

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
I’m assuming all of these projections are heavily weighted based on how the players performed last year, which objectively was not good. The systems don’t take into account the reasons for that performance that we may be optimistically seeing as a reason for them to improve, they just regress and move on. I’m sure the fans of plenty of teams have reasons to be more optimistic than these projections.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 7, 2022
1,201
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2024-positional-power-rankings-starting-rotation-no-16-30/

Rotation is up. 20th overall at 11.4 WAR. pretty fair writeup I think?
Pretty fair, I agree. I'm truly surprised to see the Sox ahead of Cleveland for the rotation, but other than that, total agreement. Gavin Williams injury concern complicates things for the Guardians, obviously, so I'd have to assume that is a big part of it.

I think it's also about exactly where they belong in terms of the AL on the whole. (9th or 10th out of 15).
 

LogansDad

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
29,699
Alamogordo
Updated the original post with the rotation projections, which had the Sox at 20th, honestly a little higher than I expected to see them, even though I am probably a bit more optimistic about our starters than most here.

They are essentially less than 1 WAR off the projection in the rotation from the World Series champs, and while there is a decent gap between there and the top 10, I think that all five starters are at a good point in their careers, and now have a coaching staff that has the ability, for them to exceed the expectations (which FG pulls a lot of weight from previous results).

Bello - 24 years old
Crawford - 28 years old (go look at his comps to Jordan Montgomery's 24-27 year old seasons if you want to feel good about him)
Pivetta- 31 years old, durable, seems to have unlocked something
Houck- 27
Whitlock- 27 and (fingers crossed) finally fully healthy for the first time since 2021

I think they are a long, long way from top 5, but with the presumably improved defense I could see this staff contending for the top 10.

I am sad about Montgomery going to Arizona (but also hope he wins another ring if the Sox don't win, because I love that Diamondbacks team), but I don't think not signing him is a death knell for this season or anything.
 

AB in DC

OG Football Writing
SoSH Member
Jul 10, 2002
13,778
Springfield, VA
Not a death knell, but going into the offseason we all felt the team needed to add two starters and instead they're down one. And other than I guess Criswell there's no real depth in AAA.