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

Red(s)HawksFan

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But every team likely has a crazy blowout (or 2) and also every team likely gets shut out completely several times. Even the outliers level out
Level out over a full season, sure. I think ookami7m's point is that we're barely at the quarter mark of the season. The outliers might have outsized impact at this stage.
 

Rovin Romine

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I haven't done the legwork that others have, but this year's close losses seem to be from the lack of hitting. The pitching holds everyone to 4 or fewer. The offense just can't get there. "Things starting to align" is almost entirely "if the offense can get a bit better." (and hopefully the defense simply does not get worse).
From a top level view, this is absolutely right. We've given up the fewest earned runs in the Majors. They are the best. There's no more reasonable improvement to be mined out of this staff. We are 12 runs better than the #2 team - NYY.

When you add in unearned runs? Well, it's bad. But we only fall to #3 in all baseball: ATL, NYY, BOS, BAL, LAD - in that order. The top 5 are basically all within 10 runs of each other. If the defense improves that'd be great, but it's not exactly killing us.

Batting - actual runs crossing the plate, or OPS+? We're basically average at this point. But that's probably going to trend down if our recent performance stays the same.



Edit - here is a stat that better encapsulates what I'm trying to get across.

They seem to not have the ability to do - or at least haven't to this point have not done - anything impactful with runners in scoring position (which I'd say means they're incredibly "un-clutch" in laymen's terms - as in I don't think "clutch" has to be close and late.
I think the problem is likely that. Looking at just the AL teams we're very much middle of the road (or better) for most things, including making productive outs and so forth. But our HR numbers are low - very low for the home park splits. Also we have the second highest number of Ks.

So the hitting isn't bad - but without RBIs from HRs, we tend to get men on, move them over when we hit, but not bring them home. Because we're constantly striking out.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/2024-situational-batting.shtml

PS - resort the link you used in your post for strikeouts with runners in scoring position and tell me what you see?

Even better - https://www.mlb.com/stats/boston-red-sox/strikeouts?split=risp&playerPool=ALL
 
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ookami7m

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But every team likely has a crazy blowout (or 2) and also every team likely gets shut out completely several times. Even the outliers level out
Level out over a full season, sure. I think ookami7m's point is that we're barely at the quarter mark of the season. The outliers might have outsized impact at this stage.
RHF got my answer out before I did (stupid work keeping me away from SoSH during the day). Over 162, sure. But not yet.
 

HfxBob

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….Sox are in a funk. Figuring out every possible way to lose a game and exploring those ideas in real life it seems.
If someone told you before the season the Sox would be at .500 after 44 games you wouldn't be shocked.

If someone told you they'd be at .500 after 44 games with a 2.79 ERA, you'd have some very colorful replies.
 

RS2004foreever

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Since I made this comment 2 days ago Duran has 1 home run and 3 doubles.
You are welcome.
Well my comment led him to change his leg kick - which in turn is why he is hitting better.
Now that you mention it I am not wild about Rafaela's path to the ball. I'll see what I can do.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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If someone told you before the season the Sox would be at .500 after 44 games you wouldn't be shocked.

If someone told you they'd be at .500 after 44 games with a 2.79 ERA, you'd have some very colorful replies.
The team really looks undisciplined in my limited watching time. The pitching looks very good but to me, Cora is still not leading well. Makes poor decisions late in the games, still doesn’t emphasize situational hitting.
 

RS2004foreever

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I do wonder if you trim the pythag to limit the effect of 10+ blowouts whether it gets more predictive.
I went to the first two games of the series and watched all of last night - and to me the lineup is just not very good. It has 3 kids who are playing everyday (and who should), one guy who got off to a hot start and has cooled (O'Neill) and a guy who is hitting pretty high up in the lineup but who cannot be expected to be a major contributor offensively (Wong).
 

HfxBob

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The team really looks undisciplined in my limited watching time. The pitching looks very good but to me, Cora is still not leading well. Makes poor decisions late in the games, still doesn’t emphasize situational hitting.
I disagree that Cora is the issue. Our offense has been depleted by injury and we just have too many guys that can't even muster a .600 OPS., in some cases not .500, in some not .400...
 

geoflin

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I disagree that Cora is the issue. Our offense has been depleted by injury and we just have too many guys that can't even muster a .600 OPS., in some cases not .500, in some not .400...
I thought Cora mismanaged the pitching last night. His go-to template is Martin in the 8th and Jansen in the 9th. Slaten pitched the 7th and struck out the side with 16 pitches. Why not keep him in for the 8th? But Cora stuck to his template and Jansen lost the game.
 

HfxBob

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I thought Cora mismanaged the pitching last night. His go-to template is Martin in the 8th and Jansen in the 9th. Slaten pitched the 7th and struck out the side with 16 pitches. Why not keep him in for the 8th? But Cora stuck to his template and Jansen lost the game.
The template has worked in a lot of games though. Jansen has become iffy, of course.

This team just ends up in too many close games that are decided at the end. Almost every game is a struggle.

As for Slaten, he's one of those guys you have to be careful not to burn out with too many innings, I think. He could be an asset for years to come.
 

Rovin Romine

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I thought Cora mismanaged the pitching last night. His go-to template is Martin in the 8th and Jansen in the 9th. Slaten pitched the 7th and struck out the side with 16 pitches. Why not keep him in for the 8th? But Cora stuck to his template and Jansen lost the game.
Cora's very paint-by-numbers when it comes to the pen. When he has a good pen (like this year) it isn't so much an issue. We don't have any true B-squad "white flag" pitchers that Cora will automatically go to, even if down by one run in the 6th. Which he would. And so (IMO) one of his biggest weaknesses has been mitigated.

The team really looks undisciplined in my limited watching time. The pitching looks very good but to me, Cora is still not leading well. Makes poor decisions late in the games, still doesn’t emphasize situational hitting.
Cora's PH and situational hitting results aren't all that bad this year. (He used to drive me bananas with this.) Like the bullpen usage, it's at worst average managing. For example, look at % of platoon advantage and https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/2024-situational-batting.shtml

I don't want to sound like a broken drum, but the hitting coaches need to be fired. They need a new voice in there for about half the squad. The K numbers with RISP are absurd. And while that's driven by a few awful players, it also seems to be a top-down directive - a hitting philosophy. Smack the ball and it will all even out eventually. Except it's not doing that.

https://www.mlb.com/stats/boston-red-sox/strikeouts?split=risp&playerPool=ALL
Compare for a moment Devers/O'Neill and Duran/Abreu. The first group is very all-or-nothing. Few hits but for power - but that means their RBIs are clustered to fewer ABs (and so, games). And they K about half the time. The second has more hits and less power - which spreads the RBIs over more ABs, and so, more games. Valdez (for example) was trying to be like Devers. He should have tried to be like Abreu.
 

cantor44

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The team really looks undisciplined in my limited watching time. The pitching looks very good but to me, Cora is still not leading well. Makes poor decisions late in the games, still doesn’t emphasize situational hitting.
I fully agree. Cora's teams have all been sloppy teams, with mistake prone and unintelligent play (lack of situational hitting, bad base running, etc), with the juggernaut 2018 team being the exception. Despite that, for whatever reason, I like him as a personality, though not sure he's all that great a manager.

EDIT: Yes, Cora's hitting philosophy has been to be aggressive early. But it's a reductive: there are times to be aggressive and times to be patient. Just lacks any nuance or situational understanding.
 

HfxBob

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I don't want to sound like a broken drum, but the hitting coaches need to be fired. They need a new voice in there for about half the squad. The K numbers with RISP are absurd. And while that's driven by a few awful players, it also seems to be a top-down directive - a hitting philosophy. Smack the ball and it will all even out eventually. Except it's not doing that.
I found it a bit curious that the Red Sox hired Dillon Lawson as a hitting coordinator after he was fired by the Yankees mid-season. Lawson's stated hitting philosophy is "Hit Strikes Hard".
 

HfxBob

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I fully agree. Cora's teams have all been sloppy teams, with mistake prone and unintelligent play (lack of situational hitting, bad base running, etc), with the juggernaut 2018 team being the exception. Despite that, for whatever reason, I like him as a personality, though not sure he's all that great a manager.
I don't see how you can assess Cora's managerial record without mentioning the near-miracle of 2021.
 

ShaneTrot

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If someone told you before the season the Sox would be at .500 after 44 games you wouldn't be shocked.

If someone told you they'd be at .500 after 44 games with a 2.79 ERA, you'd have some very colorful replies.
This is my beef, the pitching for the most part has been sublime. I believe in the pitching program but I will be amazed if this current excellence continues. The Sox were awful defensively early and that cost them games, now they are pathetic offensively. Cooper and Smith are off the scrap heap and look the part, they have not gotten any offense out of second base, and man, this team has been striking out like you read about.
 

Rovin Romine

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I found it a bit curious that the Red Sox hired Dillon Lawson as a hitting coordinator after he was fired by the Yankees mid-season. Lawson's stated hitting philosophy is "Hit Strikes Hard".
I'll lead with the caveat that I'm sure the hitting coaches in-system have benefitted some of the players on the roster. I don't think we have enough information to begin to parse how effective which coaches are with which players. But on the whole, this isn't working.

Who has come here and gotten better? Who has taken a clear step forward this year? - as opposed to who has started cold or mildly-regressed or keeps under-performing?

I think Wong is clearly on the plus side of the ledger. You can make arguments for Duran/Abreu being in the "good plateau" category. (Perhaps Refsnyder also - who has cooled a bit.)

But that's it. Devers and O'Neill are having glittery but empty seasons, and so are in the under-performing category.

Most damning though is their getting basically nothing out of what should be average to sub-average-but-playable guys. Valdez, Dalbec, Smith, Cooper, Reyes. Even Rafaela and Hamilton. It seems like they just convert everyone's batting talent level to one or two notches below what they've been able to do before. (Or should be able to do at the MLB level.) Instead, these are all negative fWAR guys with the bats (except Hamilton). Not just below average hitters - below replacement level hitters. (Which is defined as a starter for a team with a .295 WP.)

Those guys are 1/3rd of the roster. They (plus Grissom) account for 554 ABs. Which is just under a third of the at-bats.

Think about that for a moment. The hitting coaches have: Cooper, Rafaela, Hamilton, Reyes, Dalbec, Smith, Grissom (and Short, I suppose.) These are all guys (with the exception of Hamilton) who have hit MLB pitching in the recent past. And they can't get them above replacement level?

I don't expect universal success of course, but that's an awful lot of craptastic at-bats. And we have not one single "we brought him in and fixed him to the point of playability" guy.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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How are Devers and O’Neill underperforming? They are well above career norms. I don’t know what the team should be expected to get out of guys like Cooper, Smith, Hamilton, Grissom etc but these guys have very few at bats and or / are generally seen as replacement level types.

It seems like you are just throwing out guys doing well for some reason, mentioning guys not doing great, and then saying it’s because of the hitting coaches. Ok, I guess.

This team entered the season with very little depth, once the inevitable injuries struck, they were stuck giving lots of at bats to crappy players.
 

Rovin Romine

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How are Devers and O’Neill underperforming? They are well above career norms. I don’t know what the team should be expected to get out of guys like Cooper, Smith, Hamilton, Grissom etc but these guys have very few at bats and or / are generally seen as replacement level types.

It seems like you are just throwing out guys doing well for some reason, mentioning guys not doing great, and then saying it’s because of the hitting coaches. Ok, I guess.
Conversely, I have no idea why people want to blindly defend the hitting coaches the same way they defended Dave Bush.

If you want to know about Devers and O'Neill, you can read this thread (and others) and respond to the points people have already raised.
 

Tony Pena's Gas Cloud

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The Sox hitters are second in MLB in strikeout rate at 26.1% and 19th in bb rate at 8.3%. This pretty much lines up with the eye test that the hitters are extremely undisciplined. I realize that any team missing its 3-4-5 hitters isn't going to be trotting about a robust lineup. But the failure lies in not maximizing the assets they do have.
In the last homestand they played two teams with hitting styles that are a complete contrast to the Sox. With the exception of Diaz and Paredes, the Nats and Rays have piss-poor lineups. But they made the most of their offenses - they put runners in motion, they went to the opposite field, they put together pesky at bats. Last night, Lowe, who is a #3 hitter with no stolen bases, tried for a bunt hit against a shift. It didn't work because he fouled it off, but the idea of "I'll take what the defense gives me" at least was there. On the other side, the Sox continue to string together non-competitive at bats by swinging from their heels time and again, no matter the hitter or the situation.
I'm not a "small ball" advocate, but again it's about maximizing your assets. If you're forced to play Duran, Rafeala, and Hamilton, then they should be bunting once a game, minimum. Forget hard contact, just make contact in the first place and put pressure on opposing defenses. Take what they'll give you.
The really terrifying piece of the puzzle is that they're fourth in BABIP at .309, so the bats may actually have been on the lucky side of things so far. If that normalizes, things could get ugly very quickly.
 

grimshaw

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K rates this season vs career:

Duran is down 4.4% (expected to get worse by Steamer)
Devers is up 3.9% (expected to get much better)
Abreu is about the same as last season
O'Neil is up 2.7%
Wong is down 10.4% (expected to go up by Steamer)
McGuire is up 4.1%
Casas was up 3.4%
Refsnyder is down 1.3%
Yoshida was down 1.4%
Rafaela is improved from last season and slightly above where Steamer projects for the ROS.
The rest of the garbage getting significant at bats early were really bad.. Reyes and Valdez were close to 30%. Obviously Dalbec. Hamilton is 27.8%
Smith and Cooper have been ok, Grissom has been good.

I think some of it is the quality of the pitching faced so far, some is Devers being able to be pitched around more. Wong is basically the only outlier but it's tough to maintain that type of improvement.
Unfortunately this is the normal pace.

Down on the farm, Meyer and Yorke are better than average and average respectively. Teel and Anthony are over 30% this season.
 
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Tony Pena's Gas Cloud

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K rates this season vs career:

Duran is down 4.4% (expected to get worse by Steamer)
Devers is up 3.9% (expected to get much better)
Abreu is about the same as last season
O'Neil is up 2.7%
Wong is down 10.4% (expected to go up by Steamer)
McGuire is up 4.1%
Casas was up 3.4%
Refsnyder is down 1.3%
Yoshida was down 1.4%
Rafaela is improved from last season and slightly above where Steamer projects for the ROS.
The rest of the garbage getting significant at bats early were really bad.. Reyes and Valdez were close to 30%. Obviously Dalbec. Hamilton is 27.8%
Smith and Cooper have been ok, Grissom has been good.

I think some of it is the quality of the pitching faced so far, some is Devers being able to be pitched around more. Wong is basically the only outlier but it's tough to maintain that type of improvement.
Unfortunately this is the normal pace.
I was skeptical about your "quality of pitching" statement, but you may be on to something. Min, Sea, Bal, Atl, Cle, Was, SFG are all in the top 11 teams in xFIP. The only team they've faced in the bottom nine is LAAAAA.
 

grimshaw

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I was skeptical about your "quality of pitching" statement, but you may be on to something. Min, Sea, Bal, Atl, Cle, Was, SFG are all in the top 11 teams in xFIP. The only team they've faced in the bottom nine is LAAAAA.
The offense also doesn't blow teams out (only a 7 run win vs Minnesota since the Cubs blowout, so they are facing good relievers instead of middle guys a lot. Their last 6 games have been decided by 1 or 2 runs.
 

richgedman'sghost

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The team really looks undisciplined in my limited watching time. The pitching looks very good but to me, Cora is still not leading well. Makes poor decisions late in the games, still doesn’t emphasize situational hitting.
I completely disagree that Cora is the problem. I actually think he's been more involved and more pro active this year than some of the previous years. Go back to the extra inning game in April in Oakland. Cora knew the rule about the Manfred Man exception (the runner is able to be replaced in certain situations). Replacing the runner in that case led directly to the Red Sox winning. The same strategy worked the other night when Romo got the walk off hit. Sometimes the manager can put the players in a position to succeed but due to their ability, they just don't make it. Sort of like the old saying you can lead the horse to water but you can't force it to drink.
Some of the fielding errors are due to the players lack of ability: eg..Hamilton has no business playing except for pinch running situations.
What players would you say have underachieved under Cora this year? I think Wong and Duran have continued to improve under Cora and Aberu has come on.
Finally, Cora has no control over injuries. It's not like he's Scott Proctoring or Tom Thibodaux ing the roster.
 

Benj4ever

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I thought Cora mismanaged the pitching last night. His go-to template is Martin in the 8th and Jansen in the 9th. Slaten pitched the 7th and struck out the side with 16 pitches. Why not keep him in for the 8th? But Cora stuck to his template and Jansen lost the game.
As many guys as he walks, I'm always worried when Jansen enters the game. And yeah, I was hoping they'd ride a hot Slaten for another inning...but it doesn't make any difference as long as Jansen owns the 9th.
 

Fishy1

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K rates this season vs career:

Duran is down 4.4% (expected to get worse by Steamer)
Devers is up 3.9% (expected to get much better)
Abreu is about the same as last season
O'Neil is up 2.7%
Wong is down 10.4% (expected to go up by Steamer)
McGuire is up 4.1%
Casas was up 3.4%
Refsnyder is down 1.3%
Yoshida was down 1.4%
Rafaela is improved from last season and slightly above where Steamer projects for the ROS.
The rest of the garbage getting significant at bats early were really bad.. Reyes and Valdez were close to 30%. Obviously Dalbec. Hamilton is 27.8%
Smith and Cooper have been ok, Grissom has been good.

I think some of it is the quality of the pitching faced so far, some is Devers being able to be pitched around more. Wong is basically the only outlier but it's tough to maintain that type of improvement.
Unfortunately this is the normal pace.

Down on the farm, Meyer and Yorke are better than average and average respectively. Teel and Anthony are over 30% this season.
Wong has improved his whiff rate by 7%, and he's about league average in that respect rather than being one of the worst in baseball. I don't see any reason to think it's only a temporary improvement. Whiff rates and K percentages are one of the fastest stabilizing statistics in baseball. I think the toe tap he used to have really was messing with his timing.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I don't get the Jansen hate. In his 8 outings previous to last night (dating back to 4/20), 7 have been scoreless. The one outlier was last Friday when he got into a game the Sox were losing mostly because he hadn't worked for a week. Even with that, his line for those 8 outings: 8 innings, 5 hits, 1 walk, 2 runs, 10 Ks, 111 total pitches (just under 14 pitches an inning...fairly efficient). What reason did Cora have to try to avoid him in that spot?
 

Rovin Romine

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Wong has improved his whiff rate by 7%, and he's about league average in that respect rather than being one of the worst in baseball. I don't see any reason to think it's only a temporary improvement. Whiff rates and K percentages are one of the fastest stabilizing statistics in baseball. I think the toe tap he used to have really was messing with his timing.
The good news is that Fatse helped with that over the off-season: https://www.mlb.com/news/connor-wong-red-sox-spring-camp-2024

The bad news is Fatse sat on his hands for 400 PAs in 2023, and so Wong, despite his native talent, garnered an 80 OPS+. While striking out 134 times.

Perhaps a spreadsheet wasn't ready or something?
 

grimshaw

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Wong has improved his whiff rate by 7%, and he's about league average in that respect rather than being one of the worst in baseball. I don't see any reason to think it's only a temporary improvement. Whiff rates and K percentages are one of the fastest stabilizing statistics in baseball. I think the toe tap he used to have really was messing with his timing.
I'm just saying that a 10% improvement from your career average is very difficult to maintain. If he cuts it down even 5% I think that's great.
 

Benj4ever

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I don't get the Jansen hate. In his 8 outings previous to last night (dating back to 4/20), 7 have been scoreless. The one outlier was last Friday when he got into a game the Sox were losing mostly because he hadn't worked for a week. Even with that, his line for those 8 outings: 8 innings, 5 hits, 1 walk, 2 runs, 10 Ks, 111 total pitches (just under 14 pitches an inning...fairly efficient). What reason did Cora have to try to avoid him in that spot?
Hate? No, not really. The guy just makes me nervous every time he goes out there. Maybe that's because he's walked 10 guys in 15.2 innings this year, and he has trouble holding guys on. He reminds me of Jonathan Papelbon in his last two years with the Sox. Every save seemed to be an adventure.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Hate? No, not really. The guy just makes me nervous every time he goes out there. Maybe that's because he's walked 10 guys in 15.2 innings this year, and he has trouble holding guys on. He reminds me of Jonathan Papelbon in his last two years with the Sox. Every save seemed to be an adventure.
Eight of those walks came in his first 6 outings (5.2 IP). Which means over his last 10 innings, he's walked two. As for holding guys on, of the 23 base runners he's allowed, they are 2 for 4 in steals against him. That doesn't strike me as trouble, particularly since both steals came in the same (bad) inning against the Nats last Friday. Basically, he's been good far far more often than he's been bad.
 

Benj4ever

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It's easy to pick a small sample that has the properties you desire. Plus, my memory goes back to last year as well, so holding on guys is a thing.
 

BaseballJones

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After play on May 1, the Sox were 18-13 and just 1.5 games out of first place. Since then:

4-11 record
47 runs scored, 68 runs allowed (-21 run differential, -1.4 runs per game differential)
3.1 runs per game scored, 4.5 runs allowed per game
only 5 out of the 15 games have they scored more than 3 runs
10 out of the 15 games they've allowed more than 3 runs
now are 9.5 games out of first

It's been a pretty awful stretch, at a time when a lot of folks here were thinking that this may be a key stretch of the season. Well....it's not going so great.
 
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BaseballJones

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Rafaela, from Apr 9-May 18:

129 PA, 122 AB, 12 R, 23 H, 7 2b, 4 HR, 18 RBI, .189/.213/.344/.557, with a .218 BABIP

And in one game, he went 4-4 with 2 doubles and a homer, so aside from that, his numbers have been catastrophically bad. Plus, his defense has waned. Under normal circumstances, this guy wouldn't be on the MLB roster, never mind playing every day.

I know these aren't normal circumstances, but good lord that's bad.

On the flip side, Raffy has been really good. Since Apr 24:

97 PA, 86 AB, 15 R, 29 H, 7 2b, 6 HR, .337/.412/.628/1.040, with a .434 BABIP
 

HfxBob

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The Sox hitters are second in MLB in strikeout rate at 26.1% and 19th in bb rate at 8.3%. This pretty much lines up with the eye test that the hitters are extremely undisciplined. I realize that any team missing its 3-4-5 hitters isn't going to be trotting about a robust lineup. But the failure lies in not maximizing the assets they do have.
In the last homestand they played two teams with hitting styles that are a complete contrast to the Sox. With the exception of Diaz and Paredes, the Nats and Rays have piss-poor lineups. But they made the most of their offenses - they put runners in motion, they went to the opposite field, they put together pesky at bats. Last night, Lowe, who is a #3 hitter with no stolen bases, tried for a bunt hit against a shift. It didn't work because he fouled it off, but the idea of "I'll take what the defense gives me" at least was there. On the other side, the Sox continue to string together non-competitive at bats by swinging from their heels time and again, no matter the hitter or the situation.
I'm not a "small ball" advocate, but again it's about maximizing your assets. If you're forced to play Duran, Rafeala, and Hamilton, then they should be bunting once a game, minimum. Forget hard contact, just make contact in the first place and put pressure on opposing defenses. Take what they'll give you.
The really terrifying piece of the puzzle is that they're fourth in BABIP at .309, so the bats may actually have been on the lucky side of things so far. If that normalizes, things could get ugly very quickly.
The more I think about it the more it blows my mind that the Sox hired Dillon Lawson as a hitting coordinator after the Yankees fired him. The Yankees offense the last few years was one-dimensional, home run or nothing. Swing hard in case you hit it. What exactly did they see in this guy's approach that they liked?
 

billy ashley

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The more I think about it the more it blows my mind that the Sox hired Dillon Lawson as a hitting coordinator after the Yankees fired him. The Yankees offense the last few years was one-dimensional, home run or nothing. Swing hard in case you hit it. What exactly did they see in this guy's approach that they liked?

I have no opinion of Lawson as a hitting coach but I think the issue with 2024 is mostly personnel.

Breaking down the hitters, it seems they've actually been fortunate with how players have performed:

Overperforming expectations:
  • Wong is playing like an All Star. There were reasons to like him before this year as a cheap catcher. He's playing well beyond that
  • Abreu, again, showed some positive signs last year but is playing great.
  • O'Neil, another guy who had some very positive indicators, and has been mashing
  • Duran repeating what he did last year is a very positive sign, something that was not a given
  • Refsnyder is doing great in limited time

About what was expected:
  • Devers is having an awesome season. Devers is awesome.
  • Reese McGuire remains an acceptable back up catcher
  • David Hamilton is probably overperforming expectations, and even then, he's not a MLB caliber player.
About what was expect, but hurt:
  • Casas was looking like the 40 homer, 100 BB guy many of us believe he will be before he broke his rib
  • Yoshida was the frustratingly slightly above average hitter that he was last year before his hand injury
  • Story was looking like a nice solid player before he got hurt. Offense was lagging, but SSS.

Bad, but expected to be bad, with some upside:
  • Rafaela came into this season with almost every secondary statistical indicator pointing towards him struggling in the majors. His defense and his development path probably would have required him to play in the majors, even if it weren't for the ridiculous number of injuries this team has faced but his struggles matter a lot more since they're currently fielding several automatic outs.
  • Vaugh Grissom didn't have a Spring Training, is coming back from an injury and is struggling adjusting to being a full time MLB player, something that happens to most rookies (or rookie adjacent players).
  • Emmanuel Valdez was really awful in 98 PAs and that's disappointing. It looked like he could be a decent platoon bat (the defense OTH) last year. I think it's fair to say that of this group, his stock has legitimately fallen but that's because he hadn't shown as much as Rafaela or Grissom to warrant sticking through a brutal start.
Hot garbage, but what did you expect?
  • Dom Smith was free for a reason
  • Garret Cooper was free for a reason
  • Pablo Reyes is not a MLB caliber position player
  • Bobby Dalbec did not need to give us 60 more PAs to demonstrate that he's a AAAA player
  • Zach Short was free for a reason. They let him go for free for the same reason

I mean, I just don't see how we can look at this and think the problem is the coaching staff. If your replace the dreck they have at 1B with a wRC+ of 130 (Casas) and insert Yoshida at DH, this team is a heck of a lot better offensively.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
21,603
Maine
I have no opinion of Lawson as a hitting coach but I think the issue with 2024 is mostly personnel.

Breaking down the hitters, it seems they've actually been fortunate with how players have performed:

Overperforming expectations:
  • Wong is playing like an All Star. There were reasons to like him before this year as a cheap catcher. He's playing well beyond that
  • Abreu, again, showed some positive signs last year but is playing great.
  • O'Neil, another guy who had some very positive indicators, and has been mashing
  • Duran repeating what he did last year is a very positive sign, something that was not a given
  • Refsnyder is doing great in limited time

About what was expected:
  • Devers is having an awesome season. Devers is awesome.
  • Reese McGuire remains an acceptable back up catcher
  • David Hamilton is probably overperforming expectations, and even then, he's not a MLB caliber player.
About what was expect, but hurt:
  • Casas was looking like the 40 homer, 100 BB guy many of us believe he will be before he broke his rib
  • Yoshida was the frustratingly slightly above average hitter that he was last year before his hand injury
  • Story was looking like a nice solid player before he got hurt. Offense was lagging, but SSS.

Bad, but expected to be bad, with some upside:
  • Rafaela came into this season with almost every secondary statistical indicator pointing towards him struggling in the majors. His defense and his development path probably would have required him to play in the majors, even if it weren't for the ridiculous number of injuries this team has faced but his struggles matter a lot more since they're currently fielding several automatic outs.
  • Vaugh Grissom didn't have a Spring Training, is coming back from an injury and is struggling adjusting to being a full time MLB player, something that happens to most rookies (or rookie adjacent players).
  • Emmanuel Valdez was really awful in 98 PAs and that's disappointing. It looked like he could be a decent platoon bat (the defense OTH) last year. I think it's fair to say that of this group, his stock has legitimately fallen but that's because he hadn't shown as much as Rafaela or Grissom to warrant sticking through a brutal start.
Hot garbage, but what did you expect?
  • Dom Smith was free for a reason
  • Garret Cooper was free for a reason
  • Pablo Reyes is not a MLB caliber position player
  • Bobby Dalbec did not need to give us 60 more PAs to demonstrate that he's a AAAA player
  • Zach Short was free for a reason. They let him go for free for the same reason

I mean, I just don't see how we can look at this and think the problem is the coaching staff. If your replace the dreck they have at 1B with a wRC+ of 130 (Casas) and insert Yoshida at DH, this team is a heck of a lot better offensively.
I agree with this entire assessment of the roster. I think part of the desire to blame the hitting coaches comes from seeing what the pitchers are doing and how much credit the coaching is getting for their performance. A fair number of pitchers are showing improvement from last year to this and the only significant change has been the coaching staff. It's not unreasonable to think that a change in coaching could yield positive results with the offense too.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,474
Re: Duran. They are now 28% through the regular season, and Duran already is at 2.7 bWAR. That projects to a 9.5 bWAR season, which would make him one of the best Red Sox players in the last decade.

Sox' top bWAR players by year since 2013:

2013: Pedroia, 6.1
2014: Pedroia, 3.9
2015: Betts, 6.1
2016: Betts, 9.5
2017: Betts, 6.4
2018: Betts, 10.7
2019: Betts, 7.3
2020 - covid shortened season
2021: Bogaerts/Kiké, 5.0
2022: Bogaerts, 5.9
2023: Devers, 3.5

Meanwhile, Abreu is at 1.5 bWAR, which projects to 5.3 bWAR, which is outstanding. And Wong is at 1.3, which projects to 4.6, again, which is excellent.

Duran's bWAR, by the way, is 1.6 oWAR and 1.1 dWAR, so he's getting it done both offensively and defensively. He's become, quite simply, an absolutely terrific MLB baseball player. Which is a lovely, lovely development.

Also, Crawford's at 2.3 bWAR right now, which projects to 8.1 bWAR over a full season. I had said before the season started that I expected him to be very good for the Sox, but I didn't expect THIS.
 

HfxBob

New Member
Nov 13, 2005
832
Re: Abreu - the only issue is whether he can hit lefties. Cora doesn't seem very confident that he can.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 13, 2021
13,395
Does war really project that way? It’s not a cumulative stat. It seems hard to believe that a team could have so many 4-5 or better win players and still be below .500.
 

Al Zarilla

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 8, 2005
60,299
San Andreas Fault
Re: Duran. They are now 28% through the regular season, and Duran already is at 2.7 bWAR. That projects to a 9.5 bWAR season, which would make him one of the best Red Sox players in the last decade.

Sox' top bWAR players by year since 2013:

2013: Pedroia, 6.1
2014: Pedroia, 3.9
2015: Betts, 6.1
2016: Betts, 9.5
2017: Betts, 6.4
2018: Betts, 10.7
2019: Betts, 7.3
2020 - covid shortened season
2021: Bogaerts/Kiké, 5.0
2022: Bogaerts, 5.9
2023: Devers, 3.5

Meanwhile, Abreu is at 1.5 bWAR, which projects to 5.3 bWAR, which is outstanding. And Wong is at 1.3, which projects to 4.6, again, which is excellent.

Duran's bWAR, by the way, is 1.6 oWAR and 1.1 dWAR, so he's getting it done both offensively and defensively. He's become, quite simply, an absolutely terrific MLB baseball player. Which is a lovely, lovely development.

Also, Crawford's at 2.3 bWAR right now, which projects to 8.1 bWAR over a full season. I had said before the season started that I expected him to be very good for the Sox, but I didn't expect THIS.
Fangraphs has Duran at 1.8 fWAR, which places him 17th in overall MLB out of 166 "qualified" players. Fangraphs, on their overall summary page has a baserunning component along with offense and defense. Naturally, Duran excels in the baserunning one. One thing, last of the 166 qualified players is old friend Andrew Benintendi at -1.4. At the top is Mookie of course at 3.1. Ohtani is at 3.0.
 

Yelling At Clouds

Post-darwinian
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
3,617
A kind of bonkers stat is that Wong is actually fifth in WAR among AL catchers despite how well he’s playing. Salvador Perez is having a career year at 34! (Adley, Raleigh, and Ryan Jeffers are the other three)
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
21,603
Maine
Does war really project that way? It’s not a cumulative stat. It seems hard to believe that a team could have so many 4-5 or better win players and still be below .500.
WAR is a cumulative stat. And it's not surprising to have a number of high WAR players and have a record below .500 if the rest of the roster is putting up negative WAR.

Enmanuel Valdez -0.9 bWAR
Isaiah Campbell -0.9 bWAR
Pablo Reyes -0.8 bWAR
Joely Rodriguez -0.7 bWAR
Garrett Cooper -0.5 bWAR
Cedenne Rafaela -0.4 bWAR
Vaughn Grissom -0.4 bWAR
Bobby Dalbec -0.4 bWAR
Dominic Smith -0.3 bWAR
Zach Short -0.2 bWAR (in two games!)
 

Petagine in a Bottle

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 13, 2021
13,395
There are 23 position players “projected” to have 5.9 wins this year; only 9 did so last year.

IIRC, Verdugo was on pace for a 5 win season at this point last year, and ended up at like 1.5.

(Just checked- a year ago the Sox leaders were Verdugo at 1.3 and Yoshida at 0.6 fWAR- on pace for 4.5 and 2.1 wins. They ended up at 1.4 and 0.6).