March/April: Red Sox discussion, observations and trend tracking...AKA It's not all about the Benjamins

richgedman'sghost

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
May 13, 2006
1,878
ct
Has anybody else noticed the improved defense of Valdez? With his offensive ability it’s going to make the Grissom call difficult especially if Grissom struggles. I wish Valdez could add 4” in height and start working out at 1B and 3B.
@kazuneko Are you paying attention? You were very dismissive or Valdez's improved defense and thought he was a real weakness. Have you been able to see any of the games? What is your impression?
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
24,213
Miami (oh, Miami!)
Agreed that his defense has been solidly average-ish, and that's nice, but Valdez needs to calm down at the plate is my read.

He's swinging out of his shoes trying to crush every fastball that's thrown to him and swinging over the top of a lot of bad breaking pitches. This is a guy who took a walk nearly 18% of the time last year at AAA. He seems to take a long time to adjust at each level. When he first got promoted to AAA, he only walked 6.4% of the time, then that number steadily climbed in his exposure to that level.

He hasn't taken a walk yet this year and only walked 5.4% of the time in the bigs last year. Ceddane-ish numbers. I suspect his true talent level is around a 9-10% walk rate. If he wants to stick as a starting player, he needs to get there.

Not that my speculation, but I wonder if he's feeling some pressure to have a great month to make the battle for 2B a question. I mean, I would be. If he is, it'd behoove him to calm down rather than trying to send every pitch that comes his way 450 feet.
My impressions are very close to yours, all the way through.

What I take from this is that his solid average-ish defense is a real upgrade from 2023, and makes him a viable ML player, even if his bat is a bit of a work in progress.

I think Grissom gets 2B when he's ready. He's outperformed Valdez at every single MiL level, and by every single age-to-age comparison.

But I think if Valdez's bat steadies, Valdez/Reyes will be the IF bench for a time. It's a bit unconventional since Valdez only has one position - but Grissom has two, and may be able to fill in at SS at some point. But he'd be a platoon partner for Grissom, and could be a potent LHH option off the bench.

Ultimately, maybe he's traded if Grissom settles in and our other MiL middle-infielders develop on pace, but he'll fetch more with more of a ML track record.
 

mannydelcarwreck

New Member
Oct 9, 2009
34
It’s early. First thoughts.

1. Fun to watch.
2. Chemistry feels very good.
3. Starters are over performing or they have taken a step forward. Time will tell.
4. Story at SS all season will be a massive improvement.

I will take fun to watch and nipping at October Baseball all day long.
 

cantor44

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 23, 2020
1,641
Chicago, IL
And mine:
- I was bullish on Crawford and Pivetta coming into the season. And enthusiastic about Bello. First start for Whitlock and Houck looked nice, though I do worry there's a solid sample size for them as starters, and I'll believe them in that role only after a few quality starts. Even with a step forward from the current guys, there is no starter depth on the roster - they could still use quality arms! But maybe the B&B program is as advertised!
- Yes, Story at SS makes a huge difference. And Rafaela in center. Just huge.
- Youth movement is fun indeed
- Feel like they need another power bat, but we will see.
My take in the off season was they were better than cellar dwellers and with 2 or 3 key additions could compete for a playoff spot. But as constructed not quite there yet. That's still my feeling. The A's are terrible btw, and we should temper our enthusiasm about beating them!
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 7, 2022
1,201
And mine:
- I was bullish on Crawford and Pivetta coming into the season. And enthusiastic about Bello. First start for Whitlock and Houck looked nice, though I do worry there's a solid sample size for them as starters, and I'll believe them in that role only after a few quality starts. Even with a step forward from the current guys, there is no starter depth on the roster - they could still use quality arms! But maybe the B&B program is as advertised!
- Yes, Story at SS makes a huge difference. And Rafaela in center. Just huge.
- Youth movement is fun indeed
- Feel like they need another power bat, but we will see.
My take in the off season was they were better than cellar dwellers and with 2 or 3 key additions could compete for a playoff spot. But as constructed not quite there yet. That's still my feeling. The A's are terrible btw, and we should temper our enthusiasm about beating them!
Agree with a lot of this. The depth part is of course tough though in that it's not like you could go sign someone like Lorenzen or Flaherty or whatever other one year deal was out there AND still be getting the chance to see if the Breslow / Bailey approach could work for the pitchers on the staff in a starting capacity. Would I still prefer to have Monty on a 5/$100m deal - yes, absolutely. But as i always maintained, the one year deals to starting pitchers were never something that I wanted them to do - the pitchers aren't young and if they weren't going to be "tried out" as starters this year, the decision had to be made that they weren't going to be staters in Boston. At least in my opinion.

Not only Story at SS, but the improved play of Casas at 1b (which we saw middle part of last year), and the trickle down effect of Rafaela in center being a huge upgrade to Duran in center; Duran in LF being a huge upgrade to Yoshida in LF, and having continued competency in RF. I wonder if as the minor league season starts out, that you'll see Anthony get more and more reps in RF; kind of something like 65% of his games in CF and 35% in RF.

I THINK we agree on the bat, but I'm more of the opinion that they need (and have needed for the past two years) a core (as in multiple year solution), RH middle of the order bat. Story is a good player but not really a middle of the line up bat. He's a career .234/.303/.418/.721 hitter on the road (ie taking out Colorado) and in Fenway he's better (naturally) but only a .256/.304/.492/.796 player, so average it out to around a .760OPS - with his D that's a good player but not a middle of the order bat. The Sox especially need that for the short AND long term because it's not like you're getting that from any of Anthony, Teel or Mayer (all of whom hit left handed).

Grissom I suppose "could" grow into that, but as of now he seems more like a 2 hitter. If you can get something like .780OPS out of both him and Story, you'd be fine there I guess, but you're of course missing that presence that players like Ramirez, Lowell, Youk, Bay, Napoli, Bogaerts and JD Martinez have provided during the Sox run of recent success and they don't have anyone in the minors that projects like that either.


Honestly, my feeling on the team is still pretty much the same. I think they've got a lower floor but a higher ceiling than the 2022 or 2023 teams did. Even though I think "this roster" would be good for about 80 wins, I also still think there is very little chance they finish with call it 80 wins. If they're truly in it come June and July, I think Breslow will make the moves necessary to make an 80ish win team into a high 80s team and actually compete for the playoffs. If they're somewhere around .500 within 3ish games of WC3 but he's not going to add, I think he's going to be smart enough to sell pieces that won't be here in 2025 (Jansen, Martin, Pivetta, O'Neill if he's healthy) - which is where I arrive at the idea of low 70s wins that I predicted.



Though they're a lot more fun to watch (the youth movement) which is in many ways why I wanted them to start that last year...
 

Benj4ever

New Member
Nov 21, 2022
361
It's not really though, unless you're only talking about subjective expectations. You may have personally be surprised that the pitching would be excellent. (I think you are far from alone in that boat.) But does that really matter? In the real world, at the end of the day, the pitching was excellent.

Game 1: we took the lead and kept it.
Game 2: we lost 0-1 in a classic pitching duel. Coin-flip. We'll win some of those and lose some.
Game 3: we blew a 3-1 lead in the 10th. Not quite a coin-flip. We should be winning most of the time in that situation.
Game 4: we took the lead and kept it.

That's two wins, a shoulda-won, and a coin-flip. We could have easily gone 4-0 based on what the players did on the field. 3-1 seems like the middle outcome here. It's also the pythag for 14 RS/10 RA.

But 2-2 overall is not a disaster when facing 3 excellent SP in a short series - as long as close-losses do not become a pattern.
Oh, I've always been a fan of these guys. I was lobbying for Crawford in the starting rotation 2 years ago, and I called Whitlock and Bello number 1 or 2 starters last year (and was mocked for it). From what I've read on here (as well as in the media), people were way down on the Sox pitching staff. And, yeah, Game 3 is very frustrating. I'm just saying that, ex ante, 2 of 4 in Seattle is a fine result. Ex post, it was disappointing, as you point out.
 

YTF

Member
SoSH Member
Oh, I've always been a fan of these guys. I was lobbying for Crawford in the starting rotation 2 years ago, and I called Whitlock and Bello number 1 or 2 starters last year (and was mocked for it). From what I've read on here (as well as in the media), people were way down on the Sox pitching staff. And, yeah, Game 3 is very frustrating. I'm just saying that, ex ante, 2 of 4 in Seattle is a fine result. Ex post, it was disappointing, as you point out.
Not mocking, but for what its worth I'm a fan of Whitock and I'm hopeful that A) he is able to remain healthy and B) Breslow and Bailey use him in a way that best benefits the player and team. IMO, he's been nowhere near a number one or two at any point in his career including now. I would love nothing more for him to become a top of the rotation type, but he's a long way to go to get there.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 24, 2007
1,095
Pittsboro NC
Story is a good player but not really a middle of the line up bat.
Agree. Don’t understand why he’s hitting 3 — and why he was hitting high in the order when he returned last year. He’s yet to prove capable of producing in that spot for the Sox.
Right now, I’d flip him and O’Neill — at minimum. If Ceddanne keeps making contact, I might flip him further down.
 

Max Power

thai good. you like shirt?
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
7,979
Boston, MA
Agree. Don’t understand why he’s hitting 3 — and why he was hitting high in the order when he returned last year. He’s yet to prove capable of producing in that spot for the Sox.
Right now, I’d flip him and O’Neill — at minimum. If Ceddanne keeps making contact, I might flip him further down.
Story had an excellent spring. Hitting him up in the lineup is defensible when the only other real RH option is O'Neill. But flipping them until he starts hitting would help out a bit. Rafaela should be nowhere near the top of the lineup. He's run into some balls, but his approach still looks terrible.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 7, 2022
1,201
Agree. Don’t understand why he’s hitting 3 — and why he was hitting high in the order when he returned last year. He’s yet to prove capable of producing in that spot for the Sox.
Right now, I’d flip him and O’Neill — at minimum. If Ceddanne keeps making contact, I might flip him further down.
Because there really isn't another option...

The only true middle of the order bats are Devers and Casas. There is no core RH middle of the order bat (and I don't care about Justin Turner for instance here because even then that solves the problem for one year, and you're right back to the same issue), along with the fact that none of the top prospects are RH hitters.

I'd have to assume this is a lot of the reason they were listening on Yoshida (and where the Teoscar interest came in) if there had been any way to move Yoshida for something whereby they could get someone to take like 75% of his deal. He's a good hitter, but not exactly a middle of the line up presence and he doesn't hit right handed - but you can see what Breslow was thinking.

Duran, Story, Devers, Hernandez, Casas, O'Neill (for 80 games and hopefully Anthony when he gets hurt, but if not in 2025), Grissom, Wong, Rafaela would have been a really nice line up for this year and for the next 3 as well. Especially so when Wong is replaced by Teel (again, hopefully by 2025). I also don't think it would have been too long before Grissom and Story were flipped in this hypothetical.
 

chrisfont9

Member
SoSH Member
Agree with a lot of this. The depth part is of course tough though in that it's not like you could go sign someone like Lorenzen or Flaherty or whatever other one year deal was out there AND still be getting the chance to see if the Breslow / Bailey approach could work for the pitchers on the staff in a starting capacity. Would I still prefer to have Monty on a 5/$100m deal - yes, absolutely. But as i always maintained, the one year deals to starting pitchers were never something that I wanted them to do - the pitchers aren't young and if they weren't going to be "tried out" as starters this year, the decision had to be made that they weren't going to be staters in Boston. At least in my opinion.
If this is what they are going to do, then I wouldn't even prefer to have Monty getting in the way and sending probably Houck to the pen. Big IF, of course. I think it's fair to say that we don't really know how this will go based on one mere trip through the rotation... but if the pitching staff *were* going to suddenly improve across the board into something very competitive, this is what it would look like. Not just "like before only a bit better;" more like a changed approach that plays up everyone's stuff more.
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
24,213
Miami (oh, Miami!)
There is no core RH middle of the order bat (and I don't care about Justin Turner for instance here because even then that solves the problem for one year, and you're right back to the same issue), along with the fact that none of the top prospects are RH hitters.
Why does this matter? It's kind of a meme around here, and I'm curious as to why.

Well, to take my own question seriously, the answer is that not having a core RH middle of the order bat would make the Sox lineup vulnerable to LHP. But is that true?

Devers and Casas each have only a small .050 OPS swing against LHP. As far as the rest of the roster goes: Story, Rafaela, Wong and O'Neill are all RHH. The bench has Reyes and (eh) Dalbec. Refsnyder and Grissom are on the IL but on a path to return. That's a full lineup of RHH and two powerful LHH without significant splits.

But maybe the Sox will face lots of LHP and so should trend more RHH in general?

NY- Cortes, Rodon.​
BAL - ?​
TBR - ?​
TOR - Kickuchi.​
DET - Skubai​
MIN - ?​
CLE - Allen.​
KCR - Regans.​
CWS - Crochet.​
TEX - Bradford.​
SEA - ?.​
LAA - Demeters, Sandoval.​
HOU - Valdez.​
OAK - Sears, Wood.​

That's 13 starters out of 60 slots. I might have missed one or two, but you get the point. The majority of ABs are against RHP, and there's no dangerous concentration of lefties in the AL.

So where is your concern to get a "core RH bat" coming from?
 

nvalvo

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
21,650
Rogers Park
Teel, Mayer, and Anthony are all LHH, but a few of our other top position prospects, Yorke, Bleis, and Cespedes, do hit RH, as does Rafaela.

Yorke is the closest of the six; Bleis and Cespedes are the furthest away. This will work itself out IMO; in the meantime, we can fill in with O’Neill types.
 

Just a bit outside

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 6, 2011
7,984
Monument, CO
Why does this matter? It's kind of a meme around here, and I'm curious as to why.

Well, to take my own question seriously, the answer is that not having a core RH middle of the order bat would make the Sox lineup vulnerable to LHP. But is that true?

Devers and Casas each have only a small .050 OPS swing against LHP. As far as the rest of the roster goes: Story, Rafaela, Wong and O'Neill are all RHH. The bench has Reyes and (eh) Dalbec. Refsnyder and Grissom are on the IL but on a path to return. That's a full lineup of RHH and two powerful LHH without significant splits.

But maybe the Sox will face lots of LHP and so should trend more RHH in general?

NY- Cortes, Rodon.​
BAL - ?​
TBR - ?​
TOR - Kickuchi.​
DET - Skubai​
MIN - ?​
CLE - Allen.​
KCR - Regans.​
CWS - Crochet.​
TEX - Bradford.​
SEA - ?.​
LAA - Demeters, Sandoval.​
HOU - Valdez.​
OAK - Sears, Wood.​

That's 13 starters out of 60 slots. I might have missed one or two, but you get the point. The majority of ABs are against RHP, and there's no dangerous concentration of lefties in the AL.

So where is your concern to get a "core RH bat" coming from?
I think the fear is mostly a holdover from the loogy days. There are still a few left handed relievers who just dominate left handed hitters but nothing like there used to be before the 3 hitter rule.
 

KillerBs

New Member
Nov 16, 2006
940
I think the "core right handed bat" really means someone who deserves the extra PAs which comes with batting 2nd or 3rd and who could break up the run of lefties, Duran-Devers-Casas. Hence, it is more about combatting susceptibility to lefty relievers. Even (especially) without LOOGY, a string of 3 or 4 lefties in a row is sub optimal.

O'Neill looks like the obvious candidate to move into that role, if Story scuffles, or perhaps Grissom.

I wonder if Valdez has a chance to stick (over Abreu?) when Grissom comes back. The bat is so intriguing. I see he has played more 3b and OF in the minors than I knew, plus I could see him getting at least a few starts at 2b even DH vs RHPers if he really gets going with the bat, including walking more than he has at the MLB level to date.
 

YTF

Member
SoSH Member
Some of the talk about Valdez has me intrigued. I think we're all hoping that Grissom comes in and plays decent 2B and the bat plays as advertised. SSS, but Valdez has been playing decent defense and has shown that he can hit with power. We've got Story under contract until '27 (option for '28), Mayer hopefully on the horizon and maybe there's something there with Yorke. In some way, shape or form the team seems set in the middle of the infield for the foreseeable future with a piece or two to spare. If Valdez can shine in whatever playing time he can get this Christian Vazquez deal could be the trade that keeps on giving.
 

LoLsapien

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 5, 2022
192
Maybe instead of a "core RHH" we need more of a Jonny Gomes type to pinch hit, be a match up guy, and pick the clubhouse theme songs.
 

Erik Hanson's Hook

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 20, 2013
1,081
Pleasantly surprised by this team so far. Very watchable with the speed/youth. I think they got a little bit tired of reading how bad they were supposed to be. O'Neil seems like a prick and I love it. Take 2 out of 3 in OAK and I'm in for the duration.
 

Heating up in the bullpen

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 24, 2007
1,095
Pittsboro NC
Story had an excellent spring. Hitting him up in the lineup is defensible when the only other real RH option is O'Neill. But flipping them until he starts hitting would help out a bit. Rafaela should be nowhere near the top of the lineup. He's run into some balls, but his approach still looks terrible.
I liked CR going with pitches for sac flies last night. Previously he’d been looking way too pull happy.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
20,838
Maine
Yeah, it was the A's but I'm really encouraged by what was a complete team win last night. Cora manipulating the lineup, used the whole bench, and had Rafaela bouncing between the outfield and infield (including mid-inning). Bello wasn't sharp but battled through five and the bullpen was spectacular for six innings. These are the kind of games you need to win to contend.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 13, 2021
12,192
Agreed, lot of team wins so far with many players contributing. Nice to get a win when your starter doesn’t have his best stuff. Such a relief to be talking about actual games in the field; at the very least it feels like this teams play has completely changed the narrative in advance of opening day at Fenway; the lack of money spent in the offseason will feel like an afterthought with a few more wins on this trip.
 

simplicio

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 11, 2012
5,061
Great to see a resurgence from Story last night but the offense overall remains concerning. Another 15 Ks last night. Some of that (like Wong) is unavoidable, but there's just too much swing and miss in a lineup that naturally wants to benefit from the KAOS guys.
 

YTF

Member
SoSH Member
Agreed, lot of team wins so far with many players contributing. Nice to get a win when your starter doesn’t have his best stuff. Such a relief to be talking about actual games in the field; at the very least it feels like this teams play has completely changed the narrative in advance of opening day at Fenway; the lack of money spent in the offseason will feel like an afterthought with a few more wins on this trip.
Once again asking that we refrain from anything pertaining to money.
 

HfxBob

New Member
Nov 13, 2005
599
I think the fear is mostly a holdover from the loogy days. There are still a few left handed relievers who just dominate left handed hitters but nothing like there used to be before the 3 hitter rule.
True, but the 2023 MLB splits show that, generally speaking, there's still a lopsided advantage to having RHB facing LHP as much as possible:

RHB vs LHP 760
LHB vs LHP 689
Spread = 71

LHB vs RHP 754
RHB vs RHP 713
Spread = 41
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
24,213
Miami (oh, Miami!)
True, but the 2023 MLB splits show that, generally speaking, there's still a lopsided advantage to having RHB facing LHP as much as possible:

RHB vs LHP 760
LHB vs LHP 689
Spread = 71

LHB vs RHP 754
RHB vs RHP 713
Spread = 41
That's not very germane is it, since we can actually see the split that our LHBs have against LHP.
 

Slappy

New Member
Jul 13, 2022
6
Great to see a resurgence from Story last night but the offense overall remains concerning. Another 15 Ks last night. Some of that (like Wong) is unavoidable, but there's just too much swing and miss in a lineup that naturally wants to benefit from the KAOS guys.
Sox batting

2nd most K's.......11.2/gm
2nd fewest HRs.....0.67/gm

156 games to go
 

SouthernBoSox

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 23, 2005
12,104

HfxBob

New Member
Nov 13, 2005
599
That's not very germane is it, since we can actually see the split that our LHBs have against LHP.
I interpreted the post I responded to as more of a general baseball comment about lefty-lefty matchups with the new 3-batter rule.

Your point about the Sox lefty hitters having smaller splits still stands of course.
 

CR67dream

blue devils forevah!
Dope
SoSH Member
Oct 4, 2001
7,486
I'm going home
View: https://twitter.com/gfstarr1/status/1775387647437107352?s=46


I’ve said this since he was announced and Cora was a lame duck. Breslow comments on Cora have always been strange.

Bailey is your next manager.
Maybe, but this is not evidence of that. Cora was smiling widely when he said it, and it was more of a compliment to Bailey than anything. I'm sure it was in their book, and it would have been sorted out, but that dude's a walking baseball encyclopedia.
 

HfxBob

New Member
Nov 13, 2005
599
What about it? You expect Breslow so say something bad about Cora?

Listen to their actions. They did not resign him, he’s a lame duck, he’s in the line to be the next big manager signing.
OK, but you said "Breslow's comments on Cora have always been strange".
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
30,456
Great to see a resurgence from Story last night but the offense overall remains concerning. Another 15 Ks last night. Some of that (like Wong) is unavoidable, but there's just too much swing and miss in a lineup that naturally wants to benefit from the KAOS guys.
At least they're 3rd in walks.
Offense around the league is pretty pitiful. Their 317(!!) OBP is both above league average and 5th in the AL.
(LgAvg is 228/303/376)

Obviously it's a bit different with counting stats, but I've always answered the question "is it too early for these numbers to matter?" with "If one series (or one game) can dramatically (like 50 or 100 pts) alter a player's averages, then it's too early." Angels are next to last in K's among pitchers. (Sox pitchers are way out front). The upcoming series could drop the Sox hitters much closer to league average.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

Throw Momma From the Train
Moderator
SoSH Member
May 20, 2003
35,829
Deep inside Muppet Labs
At least they're 3rd in walks.
Offense around the league is pretty pitiful. Their 317(!!) OBP is both above league average and 5th in the AL.
(LgAvg is 228/303/376)

Obviously it's a bit different with counting stats, but I've always answered the question "is it too early for these numbers to matter?" with "If one series (or one game) can dramatically (like 50 or 100 pts) alter a player's averages, then it's too early." Angels are next to last in K's among pitchers. (Sox pitchers are way out front). The upcoming series could drop the Sox hitters much closer to league average.
It's just too early for anything to be determined. And that's OK.

Casas has been a victim of getting rung up on pitches out of the zone lately. He's got a great eye and has been robbed several times by terrible umpiring.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 7, 2022
1,201
Why does this matter? It's kind of a meme around here, and I'm curious as to why.

Well, to take my own question seriously, the answer is that not having a core RH middle of the order bat would make the Sox lineup vulnerable to LHP. But is that true?

Devers and Casas each have only a small .050 OPS swing against LHP. As far as the rest of the roster goes: Story, Rafaela, Wong and O'Neill are all RHH. The bench has Reyes and (eh) Dalbec. Refsnyder and Grissom are on the IL but on a path to return. That's a full lineup of RHH and two powerful LHH without significant splits.

So where is your concern to get a "core RH bat" coming from?
Edited down to reply, but I think it makes them quite susceptible to LH starters but it also really neutralizes the entire middle of the line up if an opponent wants to bring in a LH relief pitcher in the biggest spot of a close game (likely facing the middle of the order as the highest leverage situation). This will probably be exacerbated on the road as well, away from the Wall in left.

I agree it wouldn't matter if they all could be expected to hit LHPs the way Casas has (and assuming he learns how to handle sliders) and I think he's going to be fine, but they don't...

Looking at the top portion of the line up (generally speaking):
Duran has a .586 OPS against LHP in his career.

You actually have Devers numbers overall incorrect - you're looking, or at least cited, his career against LH starters only. Overall against LHPs he is a .748OPS hitter (which is .150 below his numbers against RHP). https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.fcgi?id=deverra01&year=Career&t=b

Story I'm not sure what to make of. His career vs LHP on the road is still pretty good (118 wRC+) but starting with the 2020 season (for whatever that's worth) it's been 105; 98; 68; and -25 (he's had 5 AB in such a situation this year). To be optimistic, lets throw out 2021, 2022 and 2023 and assume he's going to be the 105 wRC+ guy on the road but be very good against them at home. https://www.fangraphs.com/players/trevor-story/12564/splits?season=0&position=SS&split=1.5

Casas as you mentioned, hasn't had much of a split and is an .800 OPS guy against LHP in his young career. Not worried about him.

Yoshida has been a .733OPS hitter against LHPs thus far in his career.


So looking at "comparable" numbers, LHPs have taken the top part of the line up from Duran, Devers, Story, Casas and Yoshida to:

"unusable";
"Alex Verdugo" (Verdugo's career OPS is .766, Devers vs LHPs is .748);
No idea what to really expect on Story, but lets assume beastly at home and "Verdugo" on the road;
Still very good
Below average MLB bat

That is a pretty big mitigation of the ostensible top 5 hitters in the line up when facing LHPs, especially on the road if Story can't get back to the 130 wRC+ he put up but hasn't come close to since 2019. It looks like a pretty big problem at present, and we obviously don't know what to expect from ATM.


*Sorry for the "toggle" between wRC+ and OPS but some splits are easier to see on BBRef and some on FG.
 
Last edited:

Stan Papi Was Framed

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 5, 2012
2,932
Great to see a resurgence from Story last night but the offense overall remains concerning. Another 15 Ks last night. Some of that (like Wong) is unavoidable, but there's just too much swing and miss in a lineup that naturally wants to benefit from the KAOS guys.
agreed, but I'd also note that at least 2 of the Sox Ks were on terrible calls against Casas and Dalbec. The Casas call was especially tough as it was in a big situation with one out and runners at 2nd and 3rd. Great job for Sox to win in spite of that. Hopefully Casas stops getting hosed on the low out of the zone "strike" calls.
 

moondog80

heart is two sizes two small
SoSH Member
Sep 20, 2005
8,184
Great to see a resurgence from Story last night but the offense overall remains concerning. Another 15 Ks last night. Some of that (like Wong) is unavoidable, but there's just too much swing and miss in a lineup that naturally wants to benefit from the KAOS guys.
Dalbec presumably won't be out there all that often going forward.

5 Ks and a fly out in 6 PA so far. Is his OPS+ of -100 the absolute minimum for the metric?
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
24,213
Miami (oh, Miami!)
Edited down to reply, but I think it makes them quite susceptible to LH starters but it also really neutralizes the entire middle of the line up if an opponent wants to bring in a LH relief pitcher in the biggest spot of a close game (likely facing the middle of the order as the highest leverage situation). This will probably be exacerbated on the road as well, away from the Wall in left. . .
FWIW, I was using Devers numbers from last year, not his career splits. I don't think what he did in 2017 is really relevant today, given his own development and changes in the game (pitch clocks and sweepers) although Devers did have significant L/R splits in 2022 as opposed to 2023.

Likewise Duran (for example) is very much a work in progress. He's got a .349/.327 OBP v. R/L in 2023. So for him, I'll take it, given his speed. The .070 shift in SLG is real, but again, for less than 1/3 the ABs, I'd live with it.

Most importantly though, I don't disagree with the basic fact that platoon advantage exists. And obviously if Story/Grissom/Rafaela do not hit and Refsnyder turns into a pumpkin - we'd need to address that. So I'm not saying wanting a solid RHB is foolish or irrational or anything like that.

I certainly wouldn't object to Dalbec magically reverting to late 2021 form! Nor would I object to Pablo Reyes' .772 OPS v. LHP being his baseline going forward. I don't expect either. However, given the other hitters - Story, Grissom, O'Neill, Refsnyder (.828 OPS v. LHP last year, and 1.000 the year before), I just don't think a RHH bench bat is a glaring need with the expected production from the roster.
 

Hendu Candu

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 6, 2003
472
Upstate NY
agreed, but I'd also note that at least 2 of the Sox Ks were on terrible calls against Casas and Dalbec. The Casas call was especially tough as it was in a big situation with one out and runners at 2nd and 3rd. Great job for Sox to win in spite of that. Hopefully Casas stops getting hosed on the low out of the zone "strike" calls.
Is Casas still doing his thing where he tells the umpire what he thinks the call really should be? Because he has consistently been the one hosed by the umps thus far this year and, I mean, if I was the ump, I might be annoyed and inclined to stretch the strike zone a little too.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 7, 2022
1,201
FWIW, I was using Devers numbers from last year, not his career splits. I don't think what he did in 2017 is really relevant today, given his own development and changes in the game (pitch clocks and sweepers) although Devers did have significant L/R splits in 2022 as opposed to 2023.

Likewise Duran (for example) is very much a work in progress. He's got a .349/.327 OBP v. R/L in 2023. So for him, I'll take it, given his speed. The .070 shift in SLG is real, but again, for less than 1/3 the ABs, I'd live with it.

Most importantly though, I don't disagree with the basic fact that platoon advantage exists. And obviously if Story/Grissom/Rafaela do not hit and Refsnyder turns into a pumpkin - we'd need to address that. So I'm not saying wanting a solid RHB is foolish or irrational or anything like that.

I certainly wouldn't object to Dalbec magically reverting to late 2021 form! Nor would I object to Pablo Reyes' .772 OPS v. LHP being his baseline going forward. I don't expect either. However, given the other hitters - Story, Grissom, O'Neill, Refsnyder (.828 OPS v. LHP last year, and 1.000 the year before), I just don't think a RHH bench bat is a glaring need with the expected production from the roster.

Yeah, I just think we kind of disagree on the "type" of bat needed. I think you need more than just "platoon" players, at least one, in terms of the middle of your line up.

Or - put another way - I agree totally that the team doesn't need another bench bat that is a right handed hitter. I think they need a core piece in the middle of the line up that is a right handed bat. This isn't new for me at least, for the record, I said the same last year too. Hopefully Grissom becomes that - I think the talent is there on the offensive side - but they don't have it yet and they really don't have it in the minors that we can reasonably project right now either.

Asking for another Manny Ramirez is totally unfair. I think they need to get a Mike Napoli; JD Martinez (the younger version); Kevin Youkilis, Xander Bogaerts type of presence that is a sure fire 2-5 hitter that you can set and forget. They don't have that, and I don't think they're winning titles without it - which is of course an issue not just for 2024 but (based on the top prospects) I think is one that will continue to manifest itself in 2025 and beyond if it's addressed.

That's why a scenario where you could have maaaaybe gotten rid of the next 4 years of Yoshida and replaced it with the next 3 of Hernandez would have been appealing to me. The idea of another RH bench bat (or even TH on one year) has / had no appeal to me.
 

HfxBob

New Member
Nov 13, 2005
599
Is Casas still doing his thing where he tells the umpire what he thinks the call really should be? Because he has consistently been the one hosed by the umps thus far this year and, I mean, if I was the ump, I might be annoyed and inclined to stretch the strike zone a little too.
Which IMHO is one more reason we need robot umps, if the human ones are still letting their calls be influenced by whether the player has criticized previous calls or not.
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
24,213
Miami (oh, Miami!)
That's why a scenario where you could have maaaaybe gotten rid of the next 4 years of Yoshida and replaced it with the next 3 of Hernandez would have been appealing to me. The idea of another RH bench bat (or even TH on one year) has / had no appeal to me.
Yoshida's tricky to project, given his Jekyl and Hyde 2023.

Do you know what his recent track record against LHP in Japan was? This is a new environment obviously, but if he had a significant split already, it would probably be good to know.
 

Stan Papi Was Framed

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 5, 2012
2,932
Is Casas still doing his thing where he tells the umpire what he thinks the call really should be? Because he has consistently been the one hosed by the umps thus far this year and, I mean, if I was the ump, I might be annoyed and inclined to stretch the strike zone a little too.
good question. I am not sure. I remember hearing that Casas would tell umpires that he yells out "ball" not to show up the ump but just as a tool he uses. He's obviously an unusual guy--not that this is a bad thing, but I could see umpires might not like it, even when he provides his explanation in advance. As someone else mentioned, assuming this is an issue for umps, it simply underlines the case for robots--but I realize that doesn't help for now.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
20,838
Maine
Which IMHO is one more reason we need robot umps, if the human ones are still letting their calls be influenced by whether the player has criticized previous calls or not.
It's not even criticizing when it comes to Casas. He is calling the pitch location (or where he thinks it is) in real time. The pitch recognition process that players normally do internally is one that he verbalizes. It's not aimed at the umps at all, and IIRC, he has made a point of making sure that's clear to the umpires before the game or his at bat starts so they understand it's his quirk and not meant as a comment on them or their job.

But I agree, if the umps are taking offense and "punishing" Casas because of it, they need to grow the fuck up.
 

Tuor

New Member
Mar 20, 2024
5
I was noticing while watching last night’s game that I am not hearing him do that this year. Perhaps I’m just missing it, but you’d think if it were audible last year on the TV broadcast, it would be easy to hear in the echoing tomb that is the Oakland Coliseum.
 

YTF

Member
SoSH Member
I was noticing while watching last night’s game that I am not hearing him do that this year. Perhaps I’m just missing it, but you’d think if it were audible last year on the TV broadcast, it would be easy to hear in the echoing tomb that is the Oakland Coliseum.
Hard to say. I seem to recall that being featured once when Casas was miked up. If the closest mic is near the backstop it may not pick him up given the extra room back there.
 

Big Papi's Mango Salsa

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 7, 2022
1,201
Yoshida's tricky to project, given his Jekyl and Hyde 2023.

Do you know what his recent track record against LHP in Japan was? This is a new environment obviously, but if he had a significant split already, it would probably be good to know.
I do not. They have straight up Japan league stats on the well known sites, but not splits. A google search didn't turn anything up. Maybe @Tokyo Sox or @kazuneko (I believe they are our two Japan based posters) know of a site and I'm happy to look them up, but I haven't been able to find one.

Just to be clear as well, I'm not trying to say Yoshida is a bad player. He's not. I think he's a bad fit for the 2024 Red Sox and (ostensibly at least) a bad fit for the "core" in 2025+ as the team's two best hitters are LHH (one with a significant career split at least) as is their lead-off hitter. As well as their top 3 offensive prospects.

So while I agree he's difficult to project (for the reasons you mentioned) I can see why it may have been a good time to move on and look for someone that fits the team better, now and in the future. Didn't happen, but I think it will bear watching to see what the team looks like against capable LHP, and that there continues to be a lot of reason for concern about this. Unless Story goes back to being the guy he was in Colorado (not impossible, certainly, but I think you're looking at more like a player between his Fenway Park and "road" numbers while getting rid of Colorado, so call that something like a .765 OPS player), that is something I think they'd do well to address for the long term.

Miniscule sample size, but the last two nights the line up has struggled with Kyle Muller and Alex Wood. We're not exactly talking Randy Johnson and Tommy Glavine.
 

YTF

Member
SoSH Member
Good win today. Ugly, but good. 5-2 to start the season and now a quick flight with plenty of time to get settled tonight heading into a much needed day off. Taking at least 2 games vs the Angels would be an amazing start to the season. Overall the pitching's looked great. Jansen is a bit concerning, but he's missed most of ST so hopefully he can clean things up a bit and not find himself needing over 20 pitches to get out of an inning. Pivetta didn't have his best stuff today, but still managed to get through 5 innings without giving up a run. Defense could have been better, but it didn't cost us. Get some rest boys, enjoy your off day and come out swinging on Friday.