Let's talk about this ballclub.

joe dokes

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It would be hard to know for sure, but what if this was a truly legit thing? I suppose it's entirely possible, right?
On the one hand, it seems like an obvious "yes" to me. But on the other, the game has been trending towards only Ks and HRs for the last few years.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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On the one hand, it seems like an obvious "yes" to me. But on the other, the game has been trending towards only Ks and HRs for the last few years.
Could be like the dip in offense after the PED issues (not that there are not still PEDs)
 

Danny_Darwin

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In retrospect, it sure looks like 2018 was a massive outlier for him. 2017 and 2019 look pretty similar. 2020 looks like a complete "send him to the minors at once" disaster.

Not that Devers, JBJ and JDM are doing much of anything either. But at least their OPS+ marks are higher than friggin' three.
I ask in the least-trollish way possible: do we chalk this up to the sign-stealing scheme? We’d almost certainly say something like that if it were an Astro.

EDIT: meaning the 2018 outlier success
 

BaseballJones

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It's dumb to call it an "injustice" (sorry, Kevin Cash). It's the way the game was played for more than a century. Players shouldn't need in-game video in order to play. Obviously it's helpful, but taking it away (in order to prevent what appears to be the inevitable cheating) isn't an "injustice".
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I ask in the least-trollish way possible: do we chalk this up to the sign-stealing scheme? We’d almost certainly say something like that if it were an Astro.
As others have pointed out, the changes in video viewing rules certainly might have an effect here. Baseball players are notorious creatures of habit, a change in their game day routines and no longer being able to access (previously legal) video might have an adverse effect, for sure.
 

joe dokes

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Kevin Cash complained about the lack of video over the weekend, this is definitely impacting JDM for one.

I'm not a qualified hitting analyst, but it seems to me that, in terms of new information, in-game can only really be an advantage to looking at the pitcher possibly tipping and sign sequences. If a hitter was in a slump where he was dropping a shoulder, or scwering up a leg kick or holding the bat wrong, he wouldn't need the at-bat from 5 minutes ago to tell him that. And similarly, there's only one guy pitching or hitting at a time., so I dont buy the "coaches need this" aspect. I think SJH has apoint in that it's could be routine for the sake of routine for some.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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It's dumb to call it an "injustice" (sorry, Kevin Cash). It's the way the game was played for more than a century. Players shouldn't need in-game video in order to play. Obviously it's helpful, but taking it away (in order to prevent what appears to be the inevitable cheating) isn't an "injustice".
No it's not. It's an adjustment and the players will have to make it.
 

A Bad Man

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Here's a good article on the reliability of statistics and sample size. 30 or 40 ABs is not much.

Here is the original article noted in the above, which is likely more informative - also it uses PA.
 

BaseballJones

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Pitch tipping, maybe. But I doubt that’s a meaningful portion of PAs.

Sign stealing (barring trash can banging) only affects PAs with runners on second.
Right but pitch-tipping could be significant. And combine that with the PAs with runners on second...it could add up to a pretty decent disadvantage (or....more like...neutralizing) for the hitters, compared with the past few years.
 

Earthbound64

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As I pointed out yesterday, that runs per game number is still disproportionately supported by the big number they put up Opening Day. Since then, they're averaging 3.57 runs per game, which would put them 25th in MLB. The offense has been more than slightly below average for much of the season.
Don't forget to take out every other team's top-scoring game as well.
 

nvalvo

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Right but pitch-tipping could be significant. And combine that with the PAs with runners on second...it could add up to a pretty decent disadvantage (or....more like...neutralizing) for the hitters, compared with the past few years.
How many of the 29 pitchers Benintendi has faced would you guess were tipping? How common do you think pitch tipping is?

edit: I have no idea, but my guess would be not that common.
 

BaseballJones

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How many of the 29 pitchers Benintendi has faced would you guess were tipping? How common do you think pitch tipping is?

edit: I have no idea, but my guess would be not that common.
Not to be argumentative or a dick, but if you don’t know how much this happens, how can you say, “ No, it absolutely isn't.” a few posts ago?
 

OurF'ingCity

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How many of the 29 pitchers Benintendi has faced would you guess were tipping? How common do you think pitch tipping is?

edit: I have no idea, but my guess would be not that common.
It doesn't just have to be pitch-tipping. From JDM's comments, players (I assume on all teams) would routinely use the video room not to steal signs or even necessarily to look for tipped pitches but just to study in-game film more generally. A player could go to the video room and note, for example, that a pitcher was throwing a lot of breaking balls down and away when he was ahead in the count to lefthanders (or whatever).

Count me as someone who thinks, to the extent the above is correct, the players should just suck it up and adjust. As BaseballJones notes, players managed to do okay without these rooms for most of the history of baseball. If it's an adjusting-to-new-routine thing like SJH posits, then this might just a one-year thing.
 

joe dokes

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How many of the 29 pitchers Benintendi has faced would you guess were tipping? How common do you think pitch tipping is?

edit: I have no idea, but my guess would be not that common.
Maybe tipping is the wrong word. ( Which I used first..). That suggests the pitcher is doing something wrong. Maybe JDM has superior "picking up" skills. "He doesn't usually do this, but tonight he spits before every changeup"
And it doesn't have be a hit every time. Just spoiling a nasty slider accomplishes something.

Admittedly, we're all guessing here. And if I can suggest that benintendi 47PAs aren't yet a sample of anything permanent, I suppose I should accept the same for others adjusting to no video.
 

nvalvo

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Not to be argumentative or a dick, but if you don’t know how much this happens, how can you say, “ No, it absolutely isn't.” a few posts ago?
Because pitch tipping and sign stealing are both rare phenomena, and the change we're looking at is massive. I'm not sure exactly how rare pitch tipping is, but I am quite sure that the absence of in-game pitch tipping using video — again, pre-game video scouting is still allowed! — is not enough to turn a .774 OPS hitter into a .344 OPS hitter.

And after last off-season's fallout, we have a pretty good idea of the impact of even a completely over-the-top sign stealing operation. The Astros turned a 114 OPS+ offense into a 124 OPS+ offense with their trash-can schtick, an improvement of almost 9 percent relative to league average. (The very different accusations made against the 2018 Red Sox, even if fully true, would not have approached that efficacy.) Benintendi has gone from being a 100 OPS+ hitter to a 3 OPS+ hitter, a collapse of 97 percent.

Maybe tipping is the wrong word. ( Which I used first..). That suggests the pitcher is doing something wrong. Maybe JDM has superior "picking up" skills. "He doesn't usually do this, but tonight he spits before every changeup"
And it doesn't have be a hit every time. Just spoiling a nasty slider accomplishes something.

Admittedly, we're all guessing here. And if I can suggest that benintendi 47PAs aren't yet a sample of anything permanent, I suppose I should accept the same for others adjusting to no video.
I don't think it's necessarily permanent either, but it's quite clear that something is up with him from his plate discipline numbers, which should be stabilizing soon. These are rounded from his fangraphs page.

Here are his OOZ Swing% from 2016-2020, rounded: 24%, 26, 24, 31, 28. Nothing too weird here.

Here are his Zone Swing% from 2016-2020, rounded: 60, 64, 68, 74, 63. He should probably swing at a few more strikes, but that's within tolerances.

Here is his overall swing percentage from 2016-2020, rounded: 43, 44, 46, 51, 44. This seems fine.

Here is his contact percentage from 2016-2020, rounded: 83, 83, 83, 77, 72. Huh. That's troubling. Let's break that down by zone/OOZ.

In the zone contact: 87, 88, 87, 82, 88. That's actually a really good number! So the out of zone numbers must be pretty rough...

Out of zone contact: 73, 70, 72, 68, 41. ALARMS SOUND.

I just don't see how that's compatible with a story about missing in-game video. If that were it, wouldn’t he be swinging at *more* OOZ pitches than last year, instead of fewer?

He's swinging a bit less, and making more contact in the zone, and waaaaaaaaay less contact out of it.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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SSS but Perez has been good. Not great... and definitely not "no. 2" on a good rotation good. But if he can keep this up in 2021 he's going to be a great signing (if he doesn't get traded).
Eovaldi has been very good. Chavis is looking to be the real deal also.
Trying to find bright spots... granted, I've only watched highlights and maybe a grand total of 9 scattered innings so far.
 

Rovin Romine

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SSS but Perez has been good. Not great... and definitely not "no. 2" on a good rotation good. But if he can keep this up in 2021 he's going to be a great signing (if he doesn't get traded).
Eovaldi has been very good. Chavis is looking to be the real deal also.
Trying to find bright spots... granted, I've only watched highlights and maybe a grand total of 9 scattered innings so far.
The offense will wake up eventually - and the club is only a #1 and a #2 away from contending. So I'm not worried long term. But this season is toast. I'm rooting for the #1 pick. . .although with Covid, who knows how easy *that* will be to translate into value?
 

BaseballJones

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Chavis is getting a ton of grief here in SoSH. And to be fair, I haven't watched much of the games so I'm sure I've missed so much of what he's done. But I look at his line through his 10 games played, and it's more than respectable:

34 ab, 5 r, 9 h, 1 2b, 1 3b, 2 hr, 5 rbi, .265/.286/.529/.815

Obviously the OBP is awful, but we kind of expected that, right? His slugging and OPS are well above average.

For first-basemen, his SLG would rank 3rd in all of MLB among qualified candidates. His OPS would rank 5th.

For second-basemen, his SLG would rank 3rd as well, and his OPS would rank 4th.

So either position we're talking about, his power has played well so far, as a much better than average bat.

His glove and on-base skills not so much, but you can totally live with a guy like this especially if you stick him near the bottom of the lineup. Just live with his low OBP but 25 homers out of the 8-hole, at dirt-cheap cost. There's definitely room for a guy like that even on a very good major league team. Never mind THIS team.
 

shaggydog2000

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Chavis is getting a ton of grief here in SoSH. And to be fair, I haven't watched much of the games so I'm sure I've missed so much of what he's done. But I look at his line through his 10 games played, and it's more than respectable:

34 ab, 5 r, 9 h, 1 2b, 1 3b, 2 hr, 5 rbi, .265/.286/.529/.815

Obviously the OBP is awful, but we kind of expected that, right? His slugging and OPS are well above average.

For first-basemen, his SLG would rank 3rd in all of MLB among qualified candidates. His OPS would rank 5th.

For second-basemen, his SLG would rank 3rd as well, and his OPS would rank 4th.

So either position we're talking about, his power has played well so far, as a much better than average bat.

His glove and on-base skills not so much, but you can totally live with a guy like this especially if you stick him near the bottom of the lineup. Just live with his low OBP but 25 homers out of the 8-hole, at dirt-cheap cost. There's definitely room for a guy like that even on a very good major league team. Never mind THIS team.
2 of his last 3 games have been really good, a 3/4 1HR game and a 2/4 game with a triple. Those have pulled his numbers up. But as you say, he's only played 10 games. His BB% is way down and his iso is way up, and I think we can expect those things to return to normal baselines eventually. We just don't know what those baselines are since he doesn't have much experience and is still developing.
 

grimshaw

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I know this team has been hot garbage, but being what they are in this kind of environment without us being subjected to 162 games of misery is the silver lining. Two picks in the top 40 is going to help next draft but man, losing a minor league season when most of your future is below Double A is devastating.
 

OurF'ingCity

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SSS but Perez has been good. Not great... and definitely not "no. 2" on a good rotation good. But if he can keep this up in 2021 he's going to be a great signing (if he doesn't get traded).
Eovaldi has been very good. Chavis is looking to be the real deal also.
Trying to find bright spots... granted, I've only watched highlights and maybe a grand total of 9 scattered innings so far.
Other bright spots (all with massive SSS warnings):
- The catcher spot. Vazquez's offensive improvement from last year seems to be legit and not a one-year fluke. And Plawecki seems like a perfectly serviceable backup that they have cheap for at least one more year.
- First base. Partially addressed above re: Chavis but obviously Moreland has been hot too. It's really not the worst thing in the world if they enter next season with the same Chavis/Moreland duo as their 1B options (Moreland will likely regress due to age/regressing to mean but hopefully improvement from Chavis will balance that out).
- Xander looks like himself. Not worried about him (although it sucks to waste his age-27 season on this shitty ass team).
- Verdugo has shown signs of being a very solid offensive player and has a lot of time to improve. Hopefully he can turn out to be what Benintendi may not be at this point (a solid young cost-controlled OF who doesn't do anything badly)
- Workman has been solid if unspectacular in relatively limited playing time (xFIP of 3.14 in 5 innings) which hopefully will be enough to convince some team to throw the Sox a lottery ticket or two for him.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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SSS but Perez has been good. Not great... and definitely not "no. 2" on a good rotation good. But if he can keep this up in 2021 he's going to be a great signing (if he doesn't get traded).
Eovaldi has been very good. Chavis is looking to be the real deal also.
Trying to find bright spots... granted, I've only watched highlights and maybe a grand total of 9 scattered innings so far.
Perez was signed to be the #4 at best, so that he's not "#2 in a good rotation" good shouldn't be surprising or disappointing. He is what he is, and that's not a bad thing. RR is right...with a healthy Sale and ERod, this team is a very solid contender. Instead, they'll be fortunate to finish near .500, especially if the offense keeps scuffling.

It's not the most fun team to watch at the moment, but the "oh, they're doomed for years" naysayers are going a bit overboard.
 

Pedroia's Itchy Nose

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@grimshaw -- I can't say that I understand the intricacies of player development very well, but I'm curious as to why it's particularly devastating to lose an MiLB season when most of your organizational talent is in the low minors. Not knowing any better my instinct is that players who are in the high minors would be hurt more as they are likely to be older (and thus more likely to be directly losing years off their peak) and the higher level of competition in the high minors would be more difficult to simulate in training/drills/simulations. Meanwhile, the lower level of competition in the low minors would be easier to replicate artificially and those players would be more likely to benefit from drilling fundamentals etc.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I really hope taking a snapshot of a guy in his age 25 season in his 10th game with a .286 OBP, a 3% walk rate and a 37% k-rate while in a platoon isn't how we'd evaluate a guy being a real deal.
Maybe you missed the "SSS" caveat in my post... maybe it wasn't clear that it applied to all players mentioned in it? But as mentioned- if he can keep as high a BA and SLG pct (and there's some large enough sample sizes to suggest he can), that shitty OBP isn't much of an issue. I also suspect that lower OBP's are going to be the norm going forward