It's the quarter mark. Where are we at?

Based on the health of the opening day roster have the Sox performed . . .

  • Much better than you expected?

    Votes: 51 16.6%
  • A little better than you expected?

    Votes: 177 57.7%
  • About the same as you expected?

    Votes: 71 23.1%
  • A little worse than you expected?

    Votes: 7 2.3%
  • Much worse than you expected?

    Votes: 1 0.3%

  • Total voters
    307
  • Poll closed .

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I started typing a whole reply, but then I saw this post and realized I could just say “basically this.” I thought they’d be around .500 with some possible upside, and they’ve been… around .500 with yet some unrealized upside. I agree that they’re probably another MI (maybe that’s Story?) and another decent SP away from “real” contention right now - whatever that means - but I’m less eager to see them trade from the farm depth than I was about a week ago. I still think that’s one of the big questions for them at the moment.
Long ways away but addressing any shortcomings in the rotation via FA in ‘24 are Ohtani, Urias and Nola. All likely to be $30m for 6-8 years minimum.
Trading seems like the best option and Bloom has a bunch of good young 2B options that all appear blocked over the next 4-5 years
 

mfried

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I don’t think that we really have six starters: Pivetta and Kluber are not sustainable. Houck’s problems from the 4th inning on make him questionable. Schrecker’s injury is a serious blow. I think Winkowski is a genuine 2-3 inning reliever with Late-inning stuff. I basically like Whitlock a lot, but am not sure about his starting role.
 

chrisfont9

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I don’t think that we really have six starters: Pivetta and Kluber are not sustainable. Houck’s problems from the 4th inning on make him questionable. Schrecker’s injury is a serious blow. I think Winkowski is a genuine 2-3 inning reliever with Late-inning stuff. I basically like Whitlock a lot, but am not sure about his starting role.
The fact that they are trying six starters supports Southern's theory about how this is about testing controllable assets -- which I agree with and support. I do hope they make the postseason as a way to set themselves up for the real open window that's coming very soon. The sudden bullpen crisis is hard to watch but hopefully they staunch the bleeding tonight.
 

Daniel_Son

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I said a little worse than expected.
  • Starting Pitching: I didn't think the starting pitching would be this bad. Kluber was decent in Tampa last year and he's been a pretty consistent workhorse throughout his career. I thought he'd be a bigger positive for the starting rotation. I also thought that Pivetta would grade out at least average with a hot streak like he had last year. Our starters consistently unable to get out of the 5th inning was not something I thought would happen. It's going to start to have a negative effect on the bullpen.
  • Strong Opponents: I didn't Baltimore was for real last year. It looks like I was wrong. I also didn't think Tampa would be this much of a juggernaut. This division leaves absolutely zero room for error.
  • Casas: I've been a little disappointed that he didn't pick up where he left off last year. That said, his underlying numbers are good, he's still getting on base at a respectable clip, and he doesn't look lost at the plate. If he was striking out a bunch, I'd be worried. I think he's going to be good eventually, I just don't think he's going to be a RoY candidate.
  • Shortstop: Hernandez has been an absolute butcher. I didn't think he'd be great but I mean christ, for a guy who's 850+ innings at shortstop, he looks like he's never played out there. Story and Mondesi need to get back ASAP.
That said, 40ish games into the season and I'm pleased with what we've got: a young, exciting core that can be built upon. The lineup is long and gritty. If nothing, they're fun to watch.
 

grimshaw

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I said a little worse than expected.
  • Starting Pitching: I didn't think the starting pitching would be this bad. Kluber was decent in Tampa last year and he's been a pretty consistent workhorse throughout his career. I thought he'd be a bigger positive for the starting rotation. I also thought that Pivetta would grade out at least average with a hot streak like he had last year. Our starters consistently unable to get out of the 5th inning was not something I thought would happen. It's going to start to have a negative effect on the bullpen.
  • Strong Opponents: I didn't Baltimore was for real last year. It looks like I was wrong. I also didn't think Tampa would be this much of a juggernaut. This division leaves absolutely zero room for error.
  • Casas: I've been a little disappointed that he didn't pick up where he left off last year. That said, his underlying numbers are good, he's still getting on base at a respectable clip, and he doesn't look lost at the plate. If he was striking out a bunch, I'd be worried. I think he's going to be good eventually, I just don't think he's going to be a RoY candidate.
  • Shortstop: Hernandez has been an absolute butcher. I didn't think he'd be great but I mean christ, for a guy who's 850+ innings at shortstop, he looks like he's never played out there. Story and Mondesi need to get back ASAP.
I really thought Hernandez would be a plus defender at short because he was above average there in earlier years and be a harmless regular this season. 4 out of the 5 projection systems believe he will improve dramatically on defense. He has to because he is feeble against righties and getting feebler. And he did not capitalize on all the lefties during that lengthy string so has already hurt this team big time.

He should be a platoon player at this stage of his career if he isn't an impactful defender IMO.

As for Casas, Steamer projects an wOBA increase of 39 points - most on the team.

Baltimore should but haven't decided to spend or trade yet to improve their team. I'm not sure what they are waiting for. Well I do. They have a shitty owner.

Agree also about the starters, but it sure doesn't help that they are 5th worst in ERA but 13th worst in FIP thanks to the defense.
 
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Daniel_Son

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I really thought Hernandez would be a plus defender at short because he was above average there in earlier years and be a harmless regular this season. 4 out of the 5 projection systems believe he will improve dramatically on defense. He has to because he is feeble against righties and getting feebler. And he did not capitalize on all the lefties during that lengthy string so has already hurt this team big time.

He should be a platoon player at this stage of his career if he isn't an impactful defender IMO.


As for Casas, Steamer projects an wOBA increase of 39 points - most on the team.

Baltimore should but haven't decided to spend or trade yet to improve their team. I'm not sure what they are waiting for. Well I do. They have a shitty owner.

Agree also about the starters, but it sure doesn't help that they are 5th worst in ERA but 13th worst in FIP thanks to the defense.
The tough part is what do you do with him? Duran's numbers vs. lefties are better. Reyes is a vastly superior defender who also doesn't hit RHP. Valdez's bat is too good to keep out of the lineup. Tapia and Refsnyder have been a great bench. And that's not even getting into what happens if/when Story, Mondesi, and Duvall come back.

It's a shame because I think he's a huge clubhouse presence/intangibles guy but it feels like he's going to quickly become a man without a clear role.
 

AB in DC

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I voted much better.

The only position player worse than I expected is Kike. Verdugo, Duvall/Duran, Yoshida, Turner, Wong are playing better than expected, some way better. Devers is Devers, Casas is improving, and Valdez has been a surprisingly good injury sub at 2B. Tapia/Refsnyder are fine depth pieces. The bullpen is better than expected (would have said much better before the weekend meltdown). Among starters, Sale/Bello/Paxton are trending upwards. Only Kluber and Pivetta are duds, and at least one of them will be forced out when Whitlock returns. With the tough schedule and injury situation, I would have expected 16-17 wins at the quarter mark, not 22.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I think it’s worth pointing out that since the Cardinals came in to Boston, they’ve gone 7-1 beating other good teams with crazy offense. They were a team clearly WAY better than their record when they played the Sox and swept them. Really Sox should have taken 2/3 but meltdowns do happen of course and Sox have lucked out/stolen a few also.
Just thinking about strength of schedule and how misleading it can be at this point. So far I think they’ve caught the Pirates, Rays and Cardinals playing very well.
 

SouthernBoSox

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I think it’s worth pointing out that since the Cardinals came in to Boston, they’ve gone 7-1 beating other good teams with crazy offense. They were a team clearly WAY better than their record when they played the Sox and swept them. Really Sox should have taken 2/3 but meltdowns do happen of course and Sox have lucked out/stolen a few also.
Just thinking about strength of schedule and how misleading it can be at this point. So far I think they’ve caught the Pirates, Rays and Cardinals playing very well.
That being said. The Red Sox have played the strongest schedule in all of baseball this year.

Something I think people aren’t weighing enough. They’ve played great baseball.
 

The Gray Eagle

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The Cardinals also won 3 out of 4 before they even got to Boston. Their turnaround started right before we caught them. Arenado went from cold to on fire-- he's now homered in 6 of the last 7 games and their whole team is playing way better than it was in April.
Meanwhile the Pirates have been the opposite, playing great in April but not in May. The Rays, Toronto and Baltimore all got to play them in May after O'Neil Cruz got hurt and their pitching came back down to earth. Brian Reynolds had a 152 OPS+ in April with 5 HR; so far in May he has an OPS+ of 80 with 0 HR.
Lucky us.
 

greenmountains

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I've wondered if there should be a Strength of Opponent metric with measures how good / bad the opponent was playing (and I'm making this up) the two series before playing and the two series immediately after playing. Two series on either side, plus the current series would generally capture 15/16 games, call it 10% of the season. The Strength of Opponent would capture Bad Teams with hot streaks and Good Teams with bad streaks. As opposed to Strength of Schedule which is an overall measure, Strength of Opponent would only measure a certain time adjacent to the series being played and would be a relative measure of how good the opponent was playing at that time.
 
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Manramsclan

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Jul 14, 2005
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As far as record goes, this team is pretty in line with my expectations. As far as how they have played, and the emergence of key pieces like Duran and Valdez, Sale being back to himself, Verdugo leveling up, and Casas on the verge they are doing much better than I expected.
This team is worth my time. I am excited to be seeing them tonight in San Diego!
 

chrisfont9

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As far as record goes, this team is pretty in line with my expectations. As far as how they have played, and the emergence of key pieces like Duran and Valdez, Sale being back to himself, Verdugo leveling up, and Casas on the verge they are doing much better than I expected.
This team is worth my time. I am excited to be seeing them tonight in San Diego!
88-win pace right now. I had them at 94 (bullish!) but if they had won one more game they'd be on a 92-win pace so I'd say they are about where I expected. Since we are around the 1/4-season mark, we could talk about possible regressions. I won't go so far as to say their injury luck will regress (progress?) to the mean, i.e. get better, because it hasn't been terrible if you look around at what everyone else is dealing with. Basically they hit an availability wall in the bullpen a couple times, including this past week, and their SS/2B situation is hitting Spinal Tap drummer levels of treachery, but otherwise it hasn't been abnormal. I do think the schedule will regress a bit, although as discussed above it's hard to make definitive statements about which opposing teams are "good" and "bad" -- hot/cold may mean more than their overall record. Anyway, it's not hard to see the next quarter being better than a .545 pace with good injury luck.
 

Benj4ever

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Nov 21, 2022
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88-win pace right now. I had them at 94 (bullish!) but if they had won one more game they'd be on a 92-win pace so I'd say they are about where I expected. Since we are around the 1/4-season mark, we could talk about possible regressions. I won't go so far as to say their injury luck will regress (progress?) to the mean, i.e. get better, because it hasn't been terrible if you look around at what everyone else is dealing with. Basically they hit an availability wall in the bullpen a couple times, including this past week, and their SS/2B situation is hitting Spinal Tap drummer levels of treachery, but otherwise it hasn't been abnormal. I do think the schedule will regress a bit, although as discussed above it's hard to make definitive statements about which opposing teams are "good" and "bad" -- hot/cold may mean more than their overall record. Anyway, it's not hard to see the next quarter being better than a .545 pace with good injury luck.
I don't see anything wrong with what Chris just said, but I'd like to add a fairly quick mathematical note. Regression "to" the mean is better read as regression "toward" the mean. It's really a rather weak term, mathematically. It simply implies that when the sample observation you draw is an outlier (i.e., bad injury luck), the next sample observation is likely to be closer to the mean. Again, for example, if a really large number of pitchers (say, 8) experience an injury in the first quarter. All regression towards the mean says is that the number of pitchers injured in the second quarter will be closer to the mean than the outlier (in this case 8) is. It doesn't say that the next observation will be "close" to the mean! So, if the mean is 2, regression to the mean does not state that the injuries will be 1, 2, or 3 (all of which are "close" to the mean). The number of injuries could be 7, and you would still have regression "towards" the mean, simply because 7 is closer to the mean than is 8.

I point this out because, from my reading, it looks like there is some confusion among sports fans on this subject. Some people seem to think that regression to the mean implies that every sample observation following an outlier will bring the sample closer to the population mean. That isn't what it says. It refers to only the observation immediately following the outlier (and no further observations, so it says nothing about actually getting to the mean), and it doesn't even say that that one observation will be "close" to the mean, in any real sense. Really, regression towards the mean is a very weak concept, and I think that sports fans tend to read more into it than is actually there.

For further insight into the subject, you can go to https://fs.blog/regression-to-the-mean/ (just one of several websites devoted to the subject).
 

TFisNEXT

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St. Louis is 8-2 in last 10. Fifth in MLB in Runs Scored. Finished 1st in Division last season. Loaded with talent. Not terrible.
Also, STL "only" had a -10 run differential when they were 12-25....they weren't playing as bad as their record indicated, and as others said, once some of their underperforming talent got hot, they have gone on a tear. Red Sox still shouldn't have pissed away those first two games to them in the 9th inning, but it's not like they were the 2000-2002 Devil Rays.

I think the Red Sox are playing pretty solid baseball. The starting rotation has been maddening but there finally seems to be some signs of stabilization with Bello becoming a bit more consistent, Sale getting back to his previous self, and there's some hope that Paxton actually has some bullets in his arm after his electric 2023 debut.

Still feels like this rotation could use an innings-eater type arm at league average ERA (basically what we hoped Pivetta would be this year).
 

chrisfont9

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I don't see anything wrong with what Chris just said, but I'd like to add a fairly quick mathematical note. Regression "to" the mean is better read as regression "toward" the mean. It's really a rather weak term, mathematically. It simply implies that when the sample observation you draw is an outlier (i.e., bad injury luck), the next sample observation is likely to be closer to the mean. Again, for example, if a really large number of pitchers (say, 8) experience an injury in the first quarter. All regression towards the mean says is that the number of pitchers injured in the second quarter will be closer to the mean than the outlier (in this case 8) is. It doesn't say that the next observation will be "close" to the mean! So, if the mean is 2, regression to the mean does not state that the injuries will be 1, 2, or 3 (all of which are "close" to the mean). The number of injuries could be 7, and you would still have regression "towards" the mean, simply because 7 is closer to the mean than is 8.

I point this out because, from my reading, it looks like there is some confusion among sports fans on this subject. Some people seem to think that regression to the mean implies that every sample observation following an outlier will bring the sample closer to the population mean. That isn't what it says. It refers to only the observation immediately following the outlier (and no further observations, so it says nothing about actually getting to the mean), and it doesn't even say that that one observation will be "close" to the mean, in any real sense. Really, regression towards the mean is a very weak concept, and I think that sports fans tend to read more into it than is actually there.

For further insight into the subject, you can go to https://fs.blog/regression-to-the-mean/ (just one of several websites devoted to the subject).
Much appreciated!
 

chrisfont9

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Also, STL "only" had a -10 run differential when they were 12-25....they weren't playing as bad as their record indicated, and as others said, once some of their underperforming talent got hot, they have gone on a tear. Red Sox still shouldn't have pissed away those first two games to them in the 9th inning, but it's not like they were the 2000-2002 Devil Rays.

I think the Red Sox are playing pretty solid baseball. The starting rotation has been maddening but there finally seems to be some signs of stabilization with Bello becoming a bit more consistent, Sale getting back to his previous self, and there's some hope that Paxton actually has some bullets in his arm after his electric 2023 debut.

Still feels like this rotation could use an innings-eater type arm at league average ERA (basically what we hoped Pivetta would be this year).
Kluber was supposed to be that guy, and may yet if whatever isn't happening for him starts happening. The rotation has suffered a bit from weirdly bad weather -- does Bello walk five guys Wednesday if he can feel his fingers? -- so hopefully hopefull they can regress toward or all the way past their expected mean performance (!).