MIA JBJ

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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A lot of discussion and hair-pulling in the Price elbow thread about JBJ. He's struggling... yet again... on possibly his worst and streaks of all time. Are the Sox stuck with him for the season? Is his defense good enough to compensate for his nothing-bat? There's some metrics out there that show he's nowhere near as good as we all seem to think he is... I can't even begin to say how much I disagree with the stats. Defensive stats to me are still like Roman numerals compared to the Persian Algebraic system of offensive stats at this point. To me, his arm and his defensive skills are on a whole other level. But would shifting Benintendi there during all Home Games and putting JDM in LF make for a better complete package? It'd be a way to get 2B and 1B and DH and even 3B as moving parts/rest for Pearce, Chavis, Devers, etc....
I'm however (as I'm sure both Cora, DD not to mention just about every other SoSH member) concerned about not just letting him uncork himsef... we all know what sort of damage he can do when he gets on a hot streak. He starts to look MVP-worthy during those sometimes 2 month long stretches.
I'm not good at looking and analysing batting stances, swings, all that crap... I've also only been able to watch 3 games this season but he looks tight and twisted up and more frustrated than I've ever seen him before.
I don't think trades or Rusney F'in Castillo are the answer (for obvious reasons on both).
 

chawson

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A lot of discussion and hair-pulling in the Price elbow thread about JBJ. He's struggling... yet again... on possibly his worst and streaks of all time. Are the Sox stuck with him for the season? Is his defense good enough to compensate for his nothing-bat? There's some metrics out there that show he's nowhere near as good as we all seem to think he is... I can't even begin to say how much I disagree with the stats. Defensive stats to me are still like Roman numerals compared to the Persian Algebraic system of offensive stats at this point. To me, his arm and his defensive skills are on a whole other level. But would shifting Benintendi there during all Home Games and putting JDM in LF make for a better complete package? It'd be a way to get 2B and 1B and DH and even 3B as moving parts/rest for Pearce, Chavis, Devers, etc....
I'm however (as I'm sure both Cora, DD not to mention just about every other SoSH member) concerned about not just letting him uncork himsef... we all know what sort of damage he can do when he gets on a hot streak. He starts to look MVP-worthy during those sometimes 2 month long stretches.
I'm not good at looking and analysing batting stances, swings, all that crap... I've also only been able to watch 3 games this season but he looks tight and twisted up and more frustrated than I've ever seen him before.
I don't think trades or Rusney F'in Castillo are the answer (for obvious reasons on both).
He always does figure it out, but the question is worth exploring.

No to the bolded, however. Benintendi was a -36 defensive runs saved center fielder in 2018 (bref) and JDM has already botched (at least) two routine plays playing left this year.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
About JBJ's defense -- I think he's not quite the generational wizard some were proclaiming him to be when he arrived. But he's a really, really good defender whose advanced stats are skewed downward by two things:

1) playing in an OF with a CF-qualified defensive whiz on either side of him -- an effect possibly amplified by Fenway's geometry, which encourages a division of labor that gives Mookie a lot of what would otherwise be JBJ's chances in the gap, while giving JBJ full scope to perform extraordinary feats of run prevention in the triangle;

2) playing at a time of a historic defensive talent glut at CF, especially in the AL. The closest thing to it I can think of in my lifetime is the 90s, when Devon White, Lance Johnson, Griffey, Lofton, and the young Andruw Jones were all out there. But those guys weren't all in their prime at the same time the way JBJ, Kiermaier, Pillar, Hamilton, Cain, Inciarte, and Leonys Martin have been.
 

chawson

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About JBJ's defense -- I think he's not quite the generational wizard some were proclaiming him to be when he arrived. But he's a really, really good defender whose advanced stats are skewed downward by two things:

1) playing in an OF with a CF-qualified defensive whiz on either side of him -- an effect possibly amplified by Fenway's geometry, which encourages a division of labor that gives Mookie a lot of what would otherwise be JBJ's chances in the gap, while giving JBJ full scope to perform extraordinary feats of run prevention in the triangle;

2) playing at a time of a historic defensive talent glut at CF, especially in the AL. The closest thing to it I can think of in my lifetime is the 90s, when Devon White, Lance Johnson, Griffey, Lofton, and the young Andruw Jones were all out there. But those guys weren't all in their prime at the same time the way JBJ, Kiermaier, Pillar, Hamilton, Cain, Inciarte, and Leonys Martin have been.
Now that you mention it, Leonys Martin is actually an interesting parallel-universe JBJ. I don't mean to knock Jackie and I think he's incredible when he's on, but there's a pretty big gap between the $60-80 million some folks were spitballing extending him for this past offseason and the 1/$3M Martin just signed. (To be fair, Martin was coming off a serious injury and is two years older.)

2017-19:
Bradley - 8.8 BB%, 24.8 K%, .231/.311/382, 4.6 UZR/150
Martin - 7.9 BB%, 24.2 K%, .226/.298/.383, 12.4 UZR/150
 

Rice4HOF

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I don't think I've seen this mentioned anywhere (maybe it has, and I've missed it), but on Thursday I was in Chicago and because of the rain there was no on-field batting practice. However, before the game, the Red Sox were hitting soft toss indoors in a cage. There was a hole in the fence where you could peek through and see what was happening. When I looked through I saw JBJ batting, RIGHT-HANDED. It was only a few swings, and then he went back to the left side. Is he working on hitting from the right side against lefties? Was he a switch hitter when he was younger and evolved to just a lefty, and is now thinking of going back? Or was he just fooling around? (Note: didn't look like he was joking around when he batted righty - looked serious AF).
 

Tyrone Biggums

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He's hitting under .150. I can't remember a worse stretch for him. Bad timing for him being a walk year and all.
 

Sam Ray Not

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Sox had their A+ lineup tonight.

OPS
.811 Benintendi
.894 Betts
.895 Martinez
.847 Moreland
.818 Bogaerts
.783 Devers
1.061 Chavis
.417 Bradley, Jr.
.822 Vazquez

There's slumping and then there's .417 OPS. Even in last year's frigid start he was .600 in March/April and .599 in May. If they could get even Clayton Kershaw level hitting (.622 OPS last year) from JBJ, this offense could really take off.
 

nvalvo

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I watch most of the games, and I think he's turning it around.

I checked out his batted ball charts in Fangraphs. The first three weeks or so of the season were complete garbage, but since that time he's climbed his hard-hit percentage from ~25% (bad) to above 40% (pretty good!), mostly at the expense of his soft-hit percentage dropping from ~20% (terrible!) to about 9% (okay!).

His BABIP is still garbage, though at .224. In the first 3 weeks or so, he was earning that low BABIP with soft contact. But now he's hitting the ball better, without results.

It seems he's been a toxic mixture of bad and unlucky. Based on his quality of contact, Baseball Savant's xwOBA stat has him at .269 — bad! — but not nearly as bad as his .201 wOBA, which is one of the very worst for a non-pitcher in the game.

I'd stick with him.
 

joe dokes

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I watch most of the games, and I think he's turning it around.

I checked out his batted ball charts in Fangraphs. The first three weeks or so of the season were complete garbage, but since that time he's climbed his hard-hit percentage from ~25% (bad) to above 40% (pretty good!), mostly at the expense of his soft-hit percentage dropping from ~20% (terrible!) to about 9% (okay!).

His BABIP is still garbage, though at .224. In the first 3 weeks or so, he was earning that low BABIP with soft contact. But now he's hitting the ball better, without results.

It seems he's been a toxic mixture of bad and unlucky. Based on his quality of contact, Baseball Savant's xwOBA stat has him at .269 — bad! — but not nearly as bad as his .201 wOBA, which is one of the very worst for a non-pitcher in the game.

I'd stick with him.
Perhaps the team is seeing the same thing, since the manager *is* sticking with him. IIRC, this is how it went last year -- a period of hard(er) hit balls with little or nothing to show for it, followed by a sustained period of something to show for it. Here's hoping . . . .
 

Dewey'sCannon

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Well, I think JBJ's leash is getting shorter. Today, Cora was on EEI and said about Chavis: "He's such a good athlete that maybe a few starts in the outfield might be in the future" because "his bat is that good." they plan to keep moving him around the IF for now, but Cora noted that guys are getting healthy and will be back, so they are thinking about the OF as a way to keep his bat in the lineup. Which almost certainly would be at JBJs expense if he doesn't kick it in soon.
 

nvalvo

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... I notice that this hasn’t been bumped since the eleventh inning last night.
 

The Needler

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... I notice that this hasn’t been bumped since the eleventh inning last night.
He probably could’ve made that catch as a late-inning defensive replacement, which is where his major league value lies at this point. Or are we still crediting his defense as being worth two runs per game?
 

mfried

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If JBJ's offense doesn't pick up, the next step would probably involve a platoon - starting vs. RH pitchers, defensive replacement vs. lefties. I can't believe he couldn't improve his bunting and/or punching grounders down the 3rd base line.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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It's a great game, you should watch more.

But if JBJ wasn't in the lineup that night your OF would likely have been Beni, Mookie, and JD, and you aren't pinchitting or pinchrunning for any of them, most likely
 

cheekydave

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Im hard pressed to remember any batter who can be so terrible for long stretches of times, but then can also get insanely hot for 6 weeks or so. Ho does talent disappear, and reappear? Cannot remember any other ballplayer doing this and Ive been watching since 1966.
 
Dec 8, 2017
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I'd never heard of it before so I googled "JBJ hitting right handed" and the article below came up. The gist is it is a drill/exercise he's been doing for a while.
https://www.masslive.com/redsox/2017/02/why_has_jackie_bradley_jr_been.html
From the article:
<<By swinging right-handed in the cages and batting practice, Bradley is forced to focus harder which in turn has helped from the left side.
It's not likely he'll use it in a game anytime soon. But he's not ruling it out either.
"I'm not sure they'll let me give it a try," Bradley said. "But I'm always working.">>

Might we be approaching the time to let him try? Say, against a lefty who drops down a bit?
 

The Needler

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It's a great game, you should watch more.

But if JBJ wasn't in the lineup that night your OF would likely have been Beni, Mookie, and JD, and you aren't pinchitting or pinchrunning for any of them, most likely
Interesting. Is there any possibility the game might not have been tied had the .409 OPS CF not been in the lineup? I’ve heard he left a few runners on base.
 

Byrdbrain

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Interesting. Is there any possibility the game might not have been tied had the .409 OPS CF not been in the lineup? I’ve heard he left a few runners on base.
All three of those guys he talked about play pretty much every day but who is the DH in this alternate game, they don't exactly have a bunch of options worth making the defense worse in two outfield spots.

I get it JBJs offense has been awful, but there aren't great alternatives.
 

The Needler

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All three of those guys he talked about play pretty much every day but who is the DH in this alternate game, they don't exactly have a bunch of options worth making the defense worse in two outfield spots.

I get it JBJs offense has been awful, but there aren't great alternatives.
At -13.2 RAR through 32 games played, the better DH at this point is nearly every other player on a major league roster. At a certain point, the better alternatives beyond the other disappointing members of the 25-man become those on the minor league roster.

This tangent started because someone decided the Haterz should suck it because JBJ made an amazing catch, the timing of which he had no control of. Forgive me if I’ve had enough of the endless apologizing for a 29-year-old player as though he’s just one of those kids we need to give room to bloom.
 

Byrdbrain

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At -13.2 RAR through 32 games played, the better DH at this point is nearly every other player on a major league roster. At a certain point, the better alternatives beyond the other disappointing members of the 25-man become those on the minor league roster.

This tangent started because someone decided the Haterz should suck it because JBJ made an amazing catch, the timing of which he had no control of. Forgive me if I’ve had enough of the endless apologizing for a 29-year-old player as though he’s just one of those kids we need to give room to bloom.
I understand why the tangent started and I'm not one of those people. JBJ looks lost and I'd be all for replacing him but I don't think playing JDM in the field every day and DHing Steve Pearce(and his .316 OPS) is a better option.

Due to the payroll situation the Sox are very limited in what they can do and any in house option would be a serious defensive downgrade with a limited offensive upside. Also if you think the players on the major league roster are disappointing you should check out the guys on the minor league roster, Rusney Castillo excepted of course.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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This tangent started because someone decided the Haterz should suck it because JBJ made an amazing catch, the timing of which he had no control of. Forgive me if I’ve had enough of the endless apologizing for a 29-year-old player as though he’s just one of those kids we need to give room to bloom.
Your ideas may have some merit but until you identify the better lineup I am not sure where you can go with this.

And using "Haterz" on a grownup message board won't make it easier to get folks to listen to your ideas with much gusto.
 
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I'm not good at looking and analysing batting stances, swings, all that crap... I've also only been able to watch 3 games this season but he looks tight and twisted up and more frustrated than I've ever seen him before.
When JBJ struggles, he’s almost certainly trying to pull the ball too much. The result being a lot of weak grounders into the shift. When he’s hot, he’s going with the pitch and hitting the ball with authority to all fields.
 

richgedman'sghost

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I understand why the tangent started and I'm not one of those people. JBJ looks lost and I'd be all for replacing him but I don't think playing JDM in the field every day and DHing Steve Pearce(and his .316 OPS) is a better option.

Due to the payroll situation the Sox are very limited in what they can do and any in house option would be a serious defensive downgrade with a limited offensive upside. Also if you think the players on the major league roster are disappointing you should check out the guys on the minor league roster, Rusney Castillo excepted of course.
It is extremely frustrating that the Red Sox best outfield option in Triple A will never ever get a chance with the club. I do think that Rusney Castillo deserves another shot but won't get it due to his contract. His career will be a great what if.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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I’m not sure it’s that big of a concern anymore. They’re already past the threshold and they are paying either way. So it’s an extra 30% on his salary. They aren’t finding a better alternative for $3M.
 

In my lifetime

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Castillo would push them past the next level and result in the drop of 10 picks plus incremental increase in tax. So unless he all of a sudden shows a substantial improvement, he is not going to be on the 40 man any time soon.
 
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Byrdbrain

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He is also under contract for next year, that is a really big concern for a guy who has been just OK in AAA.

There is zero chance he is brought up this year, as next year progresses and his prorated salary decreases then it becomes possible.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Any addition would push them past, they’ve got like $500k to work with. It’s jbj or might as well bring him up.

His paycheck next year has no bearing on it - it’s aav not yearly salary so even if his salary was one dollar next year, they’d still get hit with the average.

I’m not saying he’s a solution, merely that it’s not about the money at this point.
 

Byrdbrain

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It's all about the money(in relation to the CBA) and the fact that his contract goes through next year has a huge bearing on it, a $10.5M AAV isn't going to fly.

If they add him to the 40 man they can't use the loophole again to eliminate his salary from the books.
 

TeddyBallgame9

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It's all about the money(in relation to the CBA) and the fact that his contract goes through next year has a huge bearing on it, a $10.5M AAV isn't going to fly.

If they add him to the 40 man they can't use the loophole again to eliminate his salary from the books.
Actually, it’s all about the fact that Rusney Castillo is not the answer to any question. This is an ownership that cut bait on Pablo and Hanley at an enormous cost. If Rusney could play, he’d be playing.
 

Byrdbrain

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Actually, it’s all about the fact that Rusney Castillo is not the answer to any question. This is an ownership that cut bait on Pablo and Hanley at an enormous cost. If Rusney could play, he’d be playing.
He could probably play well enough to be a 4/5th OF type guy but he certainly can't play to anywhere near the contract.
So he won't be activated because he makes too much money and the penalties for activating him aren't worth the level of production he would be expected to bring.

I'm sorry I responded to a joke about activating Rusney, damned E5.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Actually, it’s all about the fact that Rusney Castillo is not the answer to any question. This is an ownership that cut bait on Pablo and Hanley at an enormous cost. If Rusney could play, he’d be playing.
Yeah pretty much this.

They can’t add anyone without breaking that second barrier. And they aren’t shy about spending. Next year, we’re they to let jbj go (which they should) it’d basically be a wash on him and Castillo salary wise.

So either do it or don’t and live with jbj. Even if they let him go, they’d need to replace the roster hole to move Benny to CF. Unfortunately we have shit for OF prospects right now.
 

The Needler

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He could probably play well enough to be a 4/5th OF type guy but he certainly can't play to anywhere near the contract.
So he won't be activated because he makes too much money and the penalties for activating him aren't worth the level of production he would be expected to bring.

I'm sorry I responded to a joke about activating Rusney, damned E5.
I am admittedly not as well versed on the CBT as some of you guys, but based on what I do (think) I know, I couldn’t agree that “he certainly can’t play anywhere near the contract.” It seems that the Sox will cross the thresholds one way or another and be responsible for tax on the overages. So if they bring him up, they’d have to pay, what, 60% on his $10.5 mil AAV? I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that he puts up say .340/.400 the rest of the way. Would that really be worth nowhere near the $6 or $7 million that it would cost? That seems about the going rate, no?
 

jon abbey

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I am admittedly not as well versed on the CBT as some of you guys, but based on what I do (think) I know, I couldn’t agree that “he certainly can’t play anywhere near the contract.” It seems that the Sox will cross the thresholds one way or another and be responsible for tax on the overages. So if they bring him up, they’d have to pay, what, 60% on his $10.5 mil AAV? I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that he puts up say .340/.400 the rest of the way. Would that really be worth nowhere near the $6 or $7 million that it would cost? That seems about the going rate, no?
It’s not really the money, it’s that their first draft pick would be pushed back 10 slots and their overall draft pool would be reduced, which can impact other picks too.
 

bosox79

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Position Name, PA, OPS+
C Vazquez: 116, 130
1b Moreland: 145,123
2b Chavis: 100, 147
SS Xander: 187, 125
3b Devers: 184, 121
LF Benny: 186, 111
RF Betts: 198, 133
DH Victor: 187, 148
CF Bradley: 138, 22
---------------------------
UI Nunez: 76, 19
UI Pearce: 69, -13
--------------------------
Team: 1726, 102

Kind of amazing how 3 players can bring down an offense that much. If Pearce, Bradley and Nunez were merely just bad (70-80 OPS+) instead of anemic, this club would be an absolute juggernaut and challenging for the single season Team OPS+ record.