Keeping the Sky Up. What is going right?

EricFeczko

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This is an excellent analysis of Mitch Moreland and wonder if his new approach reflects some degree of hitting mentorship JDM is providing this team.
I'm far less certain of this explanation.

In looking at Moreland's 2018 splits (https://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=3086&position=1B&season=2018) by 1st and 2nd half, one sees a similar shift in batted ball profiles. He went from a pull-happy masher in the first half (with a 126 wRC+) to a balanced approach in the 2nd half (complete with a 58+ wRC) It's possible that Moreland has made an adjustment, it is also possible that pitching inside is just a mistake with Moreland.
 

chawson

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I'm far less certain of this explanation.

In looking at Moreland's 2018 splits (https://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=3086&position=1B&season=2018) by 1st and 2nd half, one sees a similar shift in batted ball profiles. He went from a pull-happy masher in the first half (with a 126 wRC+) to a balanced approach in the 2nd half (complete with a 58+ wRC) It's possible that Moreland has made an adjustment, it is also possible that pitching inside is just a mistake with Moreland.
Good pull, I’m sure where he’s pitched is a huge factor.

One thing that stands out is his pull/oppo numbers specifically while being shifted on. They did decline in the second half last year:

Pull / Oppo % vs. shift:

1st half last year: 44.5 / 20.0
2nd half last year: 31.7 / 31.7
Total: 39.5 / 24.6 (256 batted ball events)

April 2019: 52.1 / 12.5 (48 BBE)

It’ll very likely normalize — that’s only a difference of 2-3 balls pulled vs sprayed this year — but I started poking around because of his hard hit increase compared to hot starts by other shift-prone lefties like Bellinger and Gallo.
 

shaggydog2000

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By mid June, Devers will finally turn into an offensive beast.
His batting average has been right where you'd expect it to be. His walk rate is up and his k rate is down. The only hole in his offensive profile has been his power numbers, and do you really think that will keep up all year? The dude has power to spare, the doubles and dingers are going to come soon.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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His batting average has been right where you'd expect it to be. His walk rate is up and his k rate is down. The only hole in his offensive profile has been his power numbers, and do you really think that will keep up all year? The dude has power to spare, the doubles and dingers are going to come soon.
Right. I’m very bullish on his future as a middle of the lineup power threat with a few .900+ OPS , 35HR seasons. I just worry that they’re going to run out of patience and start platooning him which IMO would stunt his development
 

Pitt the Elder

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After its moribund start, this team is slowly coming back to life in fits and starts. Mookie is starting to rake while other guys on the offense start to pick it up. Each of the 4 healthy starting pitchers have had encouraging starts where they go deeper into games. A few more pieces click into place and I think this team could go on a run.
 

AB in DC

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Per MLB.com, the HR rate (0.81 per 9) of Sox starters in the past 21 games is the best in the majors. Even discounting for cherry-picking the time span that's still pretty impressive.

The last three turns through the rotation have been excellent (3.14 ERA in 15 games)
 

uncannymanny

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Boston --> NYC --> LA --> NYC
Per MLB.com, the HR rate (0.81 per 9) of Sox starters in the past 21 games is the best in the majors. Even discounting for cherry-picking the time span that's still pretty impressive.

The last three turns through the rotation have been excellent (3.14 ERA in 15 games)
Considering they all had whiplash watching balls fly out of the yard the first couple (few?) weeks, nothing to sneeze at here.
 

Adrian's Dome

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Walden and Workman. Combined with Barnes and Brasier, they've been four-deep in solid, consistent, and reliable relievers.

You could do a lot worse than Hembree and Brewer for mopup/white flag guys, as well.

Velazquez has stepped up and made serviceable appearances (limited, but serviceable) as a starter.

Mookie is hot.

Devers' average is rising.

Chavis' bat looks to be major-league ready.

If The Real Chris Sale shows up, there's going to be a lot to like here.
 

SemperFidelisSox

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Seattle’s record since taking 3 of 4 from Boston to start the season: 13-14

Oakland’s record since taking 3 of 4 from Boston to start the season: 8-13

That 2-8 road trip from hell to begin the season is looking more like an unlucky stretch of early April baseball.
 

Pandarama

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Seattle’s record since taking 3 of 4 from Boston to start the season: 13-14

Oakland’s record since taking 3 of 4 from Boston to start the season: 8-13

That 2-8 road trip from hell to begin the season is looking more like an unlucky stretch of early April baseball.
Seattle's losses in the last week include some real thrashings, too. 1-14 and 1-15 against Texas and 0-11 against the Cubs today. SOMEBODY's figured out how to pitch to those guys.

They come to Fenway for three games next weekend.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Per Rob Bradford at weei.com, the Sox banned Fortnite from the locker room this year. "Decided by the team" is the quote, although that doesn't say if it was the players or some level of management.

Of course they played it all last year and that turned out ok
 

Bosox4416

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FWIW from @redsoxstats on Twitter;

"Devers made 68% of routine plays as a rookie, he made 70% last season, he is making 76% this season. League average 3B makes 72%. His range is excellent. He's been -1 defensive run this season, so league average. People that want to move him off 3B are legitimately dumb."

 

Max Power

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How can a play that only gets made 72% of the time be considered "routine?" That doesn't make any sense to me.
 

Byrdbrain

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I saw him explain it somewhere but can't find it now, it is certainly worded oddly.
My understanding is he took all balls hit in to his zone and calculated the % of plays made. He compared it to his peers and he was somewhat above average with the number made.
 

DirtyWater90

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Nov 26, 2018
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Walden and Workman. Combined with Barnes and Brasier, they've been four-deep in solid, consistent, and reliable relievers.

You could do a lot worse than Hembree and Brewer for mopup/white flag guys, as well.

Velazquez has stepped up and made serviceable appearances (limited, but serviceable) as a starter.

Mookie is hot.

Devers' average is rising.

Chavis' bat looks to be major-league ready.

If The Real Chris Sale shows up, there's going to be a lot to like here.
John Tomase said this is the real Chris Sale now. It’s written in stone, no ace has ever had an awful month and then rebounding back to what he was before. Nope, never happened.
 
Dec 6, 2017
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Over the last three weeks and 19 games, we're 11-8 which is a 94 win pace. I'm pretty sure we're out of the sky is falling portion of the season and now to the slowly filling the whole we dug earlier and hoping it wasn't too deep.
 

chrisfont9

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Seattle's losses in the last week include some real thrashings, too. 1-14 and 1-15 against Texas and 0-11 against the Cubs today. SOMEBODY's figured out how to pitch to those guys.

They come to Fenway for three games next weekend.
This is the Ms' perennial swoon, just when their fans have been tricked into caring. By the end of May they will be completely irrelevant.
 

Pandarama

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Aug 20, 2018
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This is the Ms' perennial swoon, just when their fans have been tricked into caring. By the end of May they will be completely irrelevant.
Alas, the Sox don’t get to wait until June to play them again.

I’ve seen this movie; in fact, I own it on BluRay. They will get swept in 4 games next week at The Bidet, but taking 2 out of 3 in Fenway will give their radio and TV announcers all they need to say that they are back on track.
 

Sampo Gida

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Over the last three weeks and 19 games, we're 11-8 which is a 94 win pace. I'm pretty sure we're out of the sky is falling portion of the season and now to the slowly filling the whole we dug earlier and hoping it wasn't too deep.
Well, 7 of the last 21 games have been against sub 500 teams and mostly at home. The schedule toughens up after the Whitesox and Orioles and hopefully they hole continues filling up
 

Pitt the Elder

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Well, 7 of the last 21 games have been against sub 500 teams and mostly at home. The schedule toughens up after the Whitesox and Orioles and hopefully they hole continues filling up
Which means 14 of the last 21 games have been against teams over .500, which implies that the schedule was tougher than average, not easier. Of course, it's still early to be using W/L records to determine strength of schedule.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Both Chavis and Devers last night showed some big-time power. The Devers home run was in the bushes, dead central in Chicago, and he somehow did it with a ball on the outer half of the plate. The Chavs bomb was on an inside pitch where he opened up his hips beautifully and cleaned it out into the last row before the concourse. Just a huge blast.
 

In my lifetime

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Okay.
I guess I'm forced to state the obvious:
Sale: 6 shutout innings, 10 Ks, Fast ball with an uptick in velocity (still not to what had previously been typical) ave FB velocity 93.6 with max of 97 resulting in 17% swing and misses. Even when he located the ball near the middle of the plate, there was minimal damage done.
So for all the worrying about the starting pitching for the first 2 weeks of the season, it looks like as designed the starting pitching will be a strength of this team.

 

In my lifetime

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Finally .500 with Sale as the true ace.
Things are certainly looking up now and the sky is staying right where it is.
 

Blue Monkey

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Finally .500 with Sale as the true ace.
Things are certainly looking up now and the sky is staying right where it is.
Looking up indeed. Considering how poorly they played for the first month of the season, now only 1.5 games out of a playoff spot. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done but I’m not worried.
 

joe dokes

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Fantastic.
But legit question: if his offensive numbers stay at their jaw-dropping level, does he stay in anyway?
Probably not full time. But if Vazquez and 2B manage not to suck regularly, then his lack of offense becomes slightly more tolerable I suppose. Last May 9, he was also quite shitty (173/264/264). Not as shitty as now, though. Then he got two stretches of 3 games off in the next week or two and then slowly began to turn it around. And on paper, anyway, they dont have great options behind him. His OBP is at least near 300 against RHP, so I'd guess the first shoe to drop would be having him skip LHPs if possible.
 

Byrdbrain

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Fantastic.
But legit question: if his offensive numbers stay at their jaw-dropping level, does he stay in anyway?
The thing is there aren't exactly any options that look to be any better.
I don't want JDM in the field every day, he's a bit of a butcher and I'd be concerned he'd end up getting hurt. If JBJ continues to be awful at bat then you will see more of this but I can't see it full time.
I know they are talking about Chavis ending up in LF and they may work eventually but in the short term it makes you worse defensively in 2 positions and then who is playing 2B(Nunez? ugh).

They seem to be stuck with him out there most days in the short term seemingly no matter how bad his bat is.
 

joe dokes

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The thing is there aren't exactly any options that look to be any better.
I don't want JDM in the field every day, he's a bit of a butcher and I'd be concerned he'd end up getting hurt. If JBJ continues to be awful at bat then you will see more of this but I can't see it full time.
I know they are talking about Chavis ending up in LF and they may work eventually but in the short term it makes you worse defensively in 2 positions and then who is playing 2B(Nunez? ugh).

They seem to be stuck with him out there most days in the short term seemingly no matter how bad his bat is.
It would be nice if Pearce was hitting. I'd rather see him in LF once in awhile than Chavis.
 

bosockboy

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He has a steady history of hitting his way out of these and going on 4-6 week white hot streaks. We have enough offense to wait it out until it happens.
 

DeadlySplitter

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it looks like they pulled themselves out of it, and only 3.5 / 4 games behind the other two division contenders at the moment.

the narrative is they have gone 14-6 after starting 6-13 to recover, but really they played terrible for close to 30 games (they were 11-17 after losing a home series to the Rays, and 6 / 7.5 GB), then have gone 9-2 since. if that went on a couple weeks longer, the season may have been buried. to defend the division crown, they can't really afford another prolonged awful stretch now. it's turned into another interesting season.

the key series this first quarter was sweeping the Rays at Tropicana, keeping them from being completely in the hole. Yankee games are weird this year with 2 at London - there will only be two series at Fenway, but 4 gamers, and both after ASB. that could decide a lot.

going forward in the short term this homestand, I'd love to see Devers build upon easily his best night of the year. Moreland will not be Joey Gallo forever, we saw this last year.
 

EllisTheRimMan

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By mid June, Devers will finally turn into an offensive beast.
Devers is ahead of schedule. Look at his K/BB this year compared to his track record. He has a .390 OBP and a not freakish .365 BABIP. The BABIP may come down slightly, but the current number is not freakishly high if you’ve been watching him hit this year.

Not since Adrian Beltre, or dare I say Youk... Boggs? have we had a 3B like Devers. Some observations:

1). He seems relaxed and he’s genuinely enjoying himself no matter how he’s playing. I’ve noticed this since he arrived 2/3 years ago.

2) He seems to be continuously improving offensively and defensively. He still can look like a dog humping a football at 3B, but he’s better than Middlebrooks. He’s a very different hitter this year at the plate than ever before. The higher OBP and lower K rate makes me believe that his raw power is gonna be unleashed soon and for years to come.

3) He is 22 and still has some baby fat. He’s going to grow into his body and gain coordination. His raw talent is already apparent and the numbers are indicating growth too.

For me, Devers is something that’s going right and will keep me watching the Sox no matter what the record. I’ve got a feeling about this kid.
 

BaseballJones

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5-0 in their last 5
8-1 in their last 9
11-2 in their last 13
13-4 in their last 17
16-6 in their last 22

First 19 games: 6-13 (.316), 77 runs, 119 opp. runs, -42 run diff
Last 22 games: 16-6 (.727), 143 runs, 74 opp. runs, +69 run diff

First 19 games: 4.1 runs per game, 6.3 runs allowed per game
Last 22 games: 6.5 runs per game, 3.4 runs allowed per game
 

BaseballJones

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On April 24, I posted this:

Sox' AL (15 teams) offensive rankings (OPS) by position (from espn.com's sortable stats):

C - 9th (.665; 1st is Min at 1.208)
1b - 6th (.795; 1st is Cle at 1.060)
2b - 15th (.354; 1st is Hou at .970; 14th is Oak at .480)
3b - 11th (.681; 1st is Oak at 1.037)
SS - 7th (.849; 1st is Min at 1.046)
LF - 7th (.860; 1st is Tex at 1.060)
CF - 13th (.505; 1st is LAA at 1.075)
RF - 11th (.720; 1st is TB at .975)
DH - 13th (.664; 1st is Sea at 1.072)

Here's where they're at now:

C - 4th (.786) +121
1b - 3rd (.855) +60
2b - 15th (.538) +184
3b - 3rd (.868) +187
SS - 7th (.822) -27
LF - 8th (.798) -62
CF - 12th (.567) +62
RF - 2nd (.901) +181
DH - 14th (.632) -32

Season overall:
Runs: 3rd (220)
HR: 7th (54)
AVG: .253 (5th)
OBP: .341 (2nd)
SLG: .423 (8th)
OPS: .754 (6th)

That's a whole lot of overall offensive improvement since their horrific start.
 

Hank Scorpio

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5-0 in their last 5
8-1 in their last 9
11-2 in their last 13
13-4 in their last 17
16-6 in their last 22

First 19 games: 6-13 (.316), 77 runs, 119 opp. runs, -42 run diff
Last 22 games: 16-6 (.727), 143 runs, 74 opp. runs, +69 run diff

First 19 games: 4.1 runs per game, 6.3 runs allowed per game
Last 22 games: 6.5 runs per game, 3.4 runs allowed per game

If we can keep up that .727 win pace the rest of the season, we’ll wind up at 109-110 wins.

Clearly, we’re even better than last year.
 

bosockboy

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Lots of credit to Cora for getting that horrific start cleaned up quickly. Playing at full speed at the quarter pole is impressive from where we were.
 
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Lots of credit to Cora for getting that horrific start cleaned up quickly. Playing at full speed at the quarter pole is impressive from where we were.
Come on. According to SOSHers he was the Second Coming last year, but this year he botched Spring Training and the start of the season. Now he deserves credit for turning the team around. Managers are like presidents and the economy; too much credit and too much blame.
 

oumbi

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Also not falling and going right, for now, are the hitting lines for Red Sox catchers.

Vazquez:
AB = 97
Line = .278/.336/.485, OPS is .821
HR = 5
WAR = 0.8

Leon:
AB = 27
Line = .222/.323/.370, OPS is .693
HR = 1
WAR = 0.3
 

Adrian's Dome

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Come on. According to SOSHers he was the Second Coming last year, but this year he botched Spring Training and the start of the season. Now he deserves credit for turning the team around. Managers are like presidents and the economy; too much credit and too much blame.
Or maybe SoSH overreacts to small sample sizes.

Cora's a good manager. No manager is perfect, nor do they deserve full blame or full credit for what happens on the field.
 

uk_sox_fan

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it looks like they pulled themselves out of it, and only 3.5 / 4 games behind the other two division contenders at the moment.

the narrative is they have gone 14-6 after starting 6-13 to recover, but really they played terrible for close to 30 games (they were 11-17 after losing a home series to the Rays, and 6 / 7.5 GB), then have gone 9-2 since. if that went on a couple weeks longer, the season may have been buried. to defend the division crown, they can't really afford another prolonged awful stretch now. it's turned into another interesting season.

the key series this first quarter was sweeping the Rays at Tropicana, keeping them from being completely in the hole. Yankee games are weird this year with 2 at London - there will only be two series at Fenway, but 4 gamers, and both after ASB. that could decide a lot.

going forward in the short term this homestand, I'd love to see Devers build upon easily his best night of the year. Moreland will not be Joey Gallo forever, we saw this last year.
According to FG's projected wins, the low point came both at 6-13 (4/18) and at 11-17 (4/28) when their projected wins dropped to 87.4. In terms of playoff odds, the 28th was worse than the 18th as it became the first time they dropped below 50%, but the nadir came a day later when, despite a win, the playoff odds dropped to a low of 48.3% and odds of BtB championships dropped to a low of 4.0%.

Going 11-2 since the 28th has increased the projected win total to 93.0 which is the first time this year FG has them ahead of the Yankees (as well as the Rays) who are at 92.9 and 91.4 respectively. Odds of winning the East is now 37.4% (vs 36.8% NYY and 25.8% TBR) and a WS win is back above 10% (now 10.3%) for the first time since they were still stuck in Seattle sporting a 1-2 record.

Incidentally, after 41 games last year the Sox were 6-games better at 28-13 and FG was projecting them to finish with 98.8 wins. They were given a 40.4% chance to win the East (though NY came in at 59%) and a 12.2% of having Steve Pearce lead them to their 9th World Series Championship.

Over the past 5 years (FG hasn't archived projected records for 2013 and before, sadly) here's how things stood at the end of the 1Q:

Code:
Year   Record  Pr Wins    Div   Playoffs    WS        Result
2014    20-22    85.0    34.2%    49.4%    6.7%    71-91, missed
2015    19-22    83.9    28.7%    44.0%    5.2%    78-84, missed
2016    25-16    91.9    70.4%    89.5%   14.6%    93-69, won Div
2017    21-20    88.8    46.6%    73.6%    9.6%    93-69, won Div
2018    28-13    98.8    40.4%    97.8%   12.2%   108-54, won Div and WS
2019    22-19    93.0    37.4%    82.0%   10.3%       ???
So on average the win projections have overestimated by 1.1 (though it's been getting better lately!), underestimated the odds of winning the division by 16%, overestimated the odds of making the playoffs by 11% and underestimated the odds of winning the WS by 10.3%.