Middlebrooks to the DL?

absintheofmalaise

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WMB was scratched from the line up on Saturday after straining his right calf* doing sprints before the game on Saturday and will have an MRI today. Possible call ups are Garin Cecchini, Brock Holt or Brandon Snyder. Cecchini and Holt are both on the 40 man roster.
 
*multiple sources
 

bellowthecat

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If Middlebrooks does end up on the DL I would love to see Cecchini get the call over Holt.  I know he has a grand total of 249 PA above the A-level, but Holt doesn't exactly inspire confidence and Snyder isn't on the 40-man (not that I'd want him anyway).  ZiPS projects him for a .266/.342/.374 line in the majors this year despite the inexperience.  There really is no one else. Really hope this is nothing though and Middlebrooks is cleared to play tomorrow.  Much rather see him get PAs in the majors and Cecchini get them in Pawtucket.
 
Interestingly, Carson Cistulli at Fangraphs just posted an article where basically concludes that prospects known having the best hit-tool and plate-discipline in their systems tend to have fairly successful major league careers, particularly more successful than the those touted as having the best power in the system.  My thoughts naturally turned to Cecchini and I got all giddy.  Article here if you want to read.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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If this was May or later, I'd expect Cecchini to get the call.  But seeing as it's still early April and Cecchini has barely played a weekend in AAA, I think it'd be Holt who gets the call should Middlebrooks go to the DL.  That's what Holt is on the roster for, after all.
 

DaveRoberts'Shoes

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I assume the MRI is to assess the degree of injury to estimate a recovery timeframe.  If there's any significant amount of edema/inflammation in the muscle, I'd assume they'd put him in a boot for a short period of time and put him on the DL, especially given the cold weather games they are dealing with.  If the MRI looks good and he's feeling better today, he might be back in a day or two.
 

MakMan44

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
If this was May or later, I'd expect Cecchini to get the call.  But seeing as it's still early April and Cecchini has barely played a weekend in AAA, I think it'd be Holt who gets the call should Middlebrooks go to the DL.  That's what Holt is on the roster for, after all.
If they think that Cecchini is the better player now, they should call him up. It's not like he'd be called up to sit on the bench, with Middlebrooks down they could slot him to start.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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It's not about keeping Cecchini in consistent at bats, its about the progression. Making sure he doesn't get his confidence killed when Major League pitchers treat him like a bitch. I expect it to be Holt, he was up for significant time last year. He's on the 40 man, and its for this very reason.
 

SouthernBoSox

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PaulinMyrBch said:
It's not about keeping Cecchini in consistent at bats, its about the progression. Making sure he doesn't get his confidence killed when Major League pitchers treat him like a bitch. I expect it to be Holt, he was up for significant time last year. He's on the 40 man, and its for this very reason.
I've alluded to this before but Cecchini is basically the exact opposite hitter of WMB.

If he got major league at bats he absolutely wouldn't be made a "bitch." His approach is too good and his fundamentals too sound.

He has a unique ability to put the bat on the ball.
 

MakMan44

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PaulinMyrBch said:
It's not about keeping Cecchini in consistent at bats, its about the progression. Making sure he doesn't get his confidence killed when Major League pitchers treat him like a bitch. I expect it to be Holt, he was up for significant time last year. He's on the 40 man, and its for this very reason.
Right because Cecchini wasn't even close to ML ready last season. He's a hell of a lot closer now and 2 weeks of ML ABs isn't going to ruin him but it might win us a couple of extra games that Brock Holt wouldn't. Holt has shown literally nothing in his time playing for the Sox that shows he should be given any playing time unless absolutely unavoidable. 
 
I'll defer to SBS on Cecchini's approach, I've never seen him play but like I said, I don't think it'd ruin his confidence one way or the other. 
 

radsoxfan

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PaulinMyrBch said:
I expect it to be Holt, he was up for significant time last year. He's on the 40 man, and its for this very reason.
 
Is this the reason Holt is on the 40 man?  I assumed it's because he is a utility IF who can play a MI position if needed (Herrera's role).
 
I'm not sure he's really on the roster to be the starting 3B in case of a Middlebrooks injury.  Seems redundant to have both him and Herrera with the big league team.
 
Now since it's so early in the season, it wouldn't surprise me if Holt gets the call if Will goes to the DL, especially if they want Cecchini to get some more AAA at bats. But I think a pretty decent argument can be made that you should be bringing up the best starting 3B you can, not the best utility IF you have that can play 3B. 
 

radsoxfan

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And per Alex Speier, Middlebrooks to DL with grade 1 calf strain, Holt called up.  
 
Not surprising (though would have been more exciting to see Cecchini of course)
 
Apparently it was Holt over Cecchini because Garin still has some development to do defensively, according to Farrell.  
 

PaulinMyrBch

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SouthernBoSox said:
I've alluded to this before but Cecchini is basically the exact opposite hitter of WMB.

If he got major league at bats he absolutely wouldn't be made a "bitch." His approach is too good and his fundamentals too sound.

He has a unique ability to put the bat on the ball.
Well JBJ cruised through Double A, had a tremendous spring training in '13, and had a unique ability to put the bat on the ball at about this time last year right up to the point of taking a month long shit on the plate last April. Batted below .100 and none of us predicted that.
 
I like Cecchini, I just don't think he gets the call here.
 
(And before anyone brings it up, yes I'm aware Pedey got off to a tremendously slow start in his rookie year)
 
Edit: Move was made while I was putting this post together.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Rudy Pemberton said:
So, Herrera as regular 3b? Certainly not ideal (deep depth being tested early). That Mike Carp at 3b thing was a joke, right? You think Boras has called Ben about Drew yet (hey, doesn't like like you'll get that pick anyways.....)
 
I'd imagine Herrera and Holt will platoon until Middlebrooks returns.  Holt's the better bat, Herrera's the better glove.  Splitting time makes the most sense.
 

SouthernBoSox

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Herrera isn't a good third baseman though.

Per Farrell the reason Cecchini wasn't the called is due to needed development with the glove...
 

URI

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PaulinMyrBch said:
Making sure he doesn't get his confidence killed when Major League pitchers treat him like a bitch.
 
Just so you, and everyone else is aware, this is not an acceptable to post on the main board. 
 
Moving forward, I'm sure you can reach into your no-doubt vast vocabulary to express this thought better.
 

benhogan

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On the Drew 2.0 thread this winter/spring it was reiterated time and again that a good reason to re-sign Drew, to a team friendly contract, was to have deep depth.  
 
We'll get to see pretty quickly how having Herrera/Holt instead of Drew works out for us.
 

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benhogan said:
On the Drew 2.0 thread this winter/spring it was reiterated time and again that a good reason to re-sign Drew, to a team friendly contract, was to have deep depth.  
 
We'll get to see pretty quickly how having Herrera/Holt instead of Drew works out for us.
 
On the Drew 2.0 thread this winter/spring it was reiterated time and again that Drew probably wouldn't sign a contract at that time if it was understood that he was not going to be the starter.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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URI said:
 
Just so you, and everyone else is aware, this is not an acceptable to post on the main board. 
 
Moving forward, I'm sure you can reach into your no-doubt vast vocabulary to express this thought better.
Noted. I'll clean up the language on the main board.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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PaulinMyrBch said:
Noted. I'll clean up the language on the main board.
I would guess it's less about the language and more about the misogynistic undertones that the phrase carries, even if you don't mean it that way.

That said, I'm a bit surprised at how willing some of you are to put a kid with virtually no experience above AA on the major league roster for what they hope will be an incremental gain in wins over 2 weeks. Realistically, what does that best case of Cecchini offer? A fraction of a win?

He's not ready. Rushing him carries too much risk. Yes, every win matters, but so does the long term plan.
 

MakMan44

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Two weeks of ML ABs carries a major risk? I actually can buy Farrell's explanation that he needs to keep working on his defense at AAA and I will state that I forgot about Herrera (thought Holt would be starting) but I think you're overstating the impact it would have on his development.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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Then why don't more players make that jump? It's not like injuries don't put major league teams in the position of starting players like Holt every year. You are saying that Cecchini should be able to approximate or exceed Holt's production right now. What in historical comps or Cecchini's and Holt's individual numbers do you see that leads you to that conclusion?

I think there is probably a reason why we don't see top prospects called up in the case of injuries before they've accumulated a significant amount of AAA at bats more often. If you are arguing that Cecchini is the exception, I'd be interested to hear why beyond pointing out that he is a patient hitter.
 

Rasputin

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MakMan44 said:
Two weeks of ML ABs carries a major risk?
 
Can I point you in the direction of the argument we had last year when Bradley batted about nine thousand in spring training?
 
The downside, as unlikely as it is, is that Cecchini comes up, gets a big injury, and spends an entire season accruing service time on the disabled list.
 

Toe Nash

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I would argue that if Cecchini struggling against two weeks of MLB pitching ruins his confidence for any significant time, then he probably doesn't have a good makeup for MLB anyway. I don't think you worry about that but rather just try to figure out who the best player is.
 
I do question how much his defense is going to improve if it's not MLB-ready now. I mean, he has only played third as a pro and that's 282 games and 3 offseasons. Will it be MLB-ready by August after ~350 pro games? Next year? Ever?
 
I can buy that if his D is questionable, his bat probably isn't that much of an improvement at this point to push it (and a bad play or two in the field could swing a game or two in two weeks). Plus service time issues, and it makes total sense. But it's just a bit odd to imply as JF did that he'd be the replacement if he were better defensively.
 

benhogan

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Reverend said:
 
On the Drew 2.0 thread this winter/spring it was reiterated time and again that Drew probably wouldn't sign a contract at that time if it was understood that he was not going to be the starter.
I recall Drek making some good suggestions about rotating Drew/Bogie at SS and Bogie/WMB at 3rd. You could label Drew the "starter", if that makes him feel better.  
 
Then again Gammons suggested Boras/Drew were open to a position change to 3rd base.
 
http://sports.yahoo.com/news/york-yankees-stephen-drew-third-163700028--mlb.html
 
I guess we'll live with a Herrera/Holt as our back ups for SS/3rd base.
 
Hopefully Xander can stay healthy, because WMB hasn't been able to avoid the DL the last 3 seasons.
 

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I don't want to put words in Rev's mouth, but I'm pretty sure he really meant "Hey, until there's any rumbling about Drew, let's discuss what the Sox are actually doing."
 
Stephen Drew isn't walking through that door. The Red Sox will deal with this injury by relying on their utility guys to do their jobs and plug the temporary hole at third base.
 
Does anyone think they'll move Xander to third until Wombat comes back so Hererra can play short which is his more natural position?
 

KillerBs

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I think they really need to prioritize the development of Cecchini and Middlebrooks here. If they think GC would be best served by at least a half season of ABs at PAW, and not being bounced up and down, then that answers the question IMO. You can say that 2 weeks of struggling at the major league level shouldn't have any negative effect on Cecchini mid to longer term, and that is probably right, but if there is any real risk of it then you need to jettison the idea IMO. And if we comes up and rakes for a couple weeks, then you potentially compromise the apparent plan to give WMB at least 80 games so we can find out who he is.  Ideally both Cecchini and WMB are major contributors, perhaps even before the end of the year.
 
Likewise, from this distance, I don't want to start moving Xander around the diamond, Leave that guy alone and let him play SS.
 
Holt and Herrera do seem redundant; I wonder if Snyder is still considered an option at 3b at all?
 

MakMan44

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Snodgrass'Muff said:
Then why don't more players make that jump? It's not like injuries don't put major league teams in the position of starting players like Holt every year. You are saying that Cecchini should be able to approximate or exceed Holt's production right now. What in historical comps or Cecchini's and Holt's individual numbers do you see that leads you to that conclusion?

I think there is probably a reason why we don't see top prospects called up in the case of injuries before they've accumulated a significant amount of AAA at bats more often. If you are arguing that Cecchini is the exception, I'd be interested to hear why beyond pointing out that he is a patient hitter.
Puig did last season, the Dodgers were also considering Joc Pederson. JBJ did it. So did Aaron Hicks and Profar. Teams are willing to do it and it's seemingly becoming a more frequent thing among top prospects. 
 
Holt had an .636 OPS in AAA last year to along with a .513 cilp in the majors, I don't think it's a stretch to suggest that Cecchini could top that fairly easily. 
 
Rasputin said:
 
Can I point you in the direction of the argument we had last year when Bradley batted about nine thousand in spring training?
 
The downside, as unlikely as it is, is that Cecchini comes up, gets a big injury, and spends an entire season accruing service time on the disabled list.
This OTOH, is something I had forgotten about and is probably the best reason for calling up Holt I've seen. 
 

benhogan

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Darnell's Son said:
I don't want to put words in Rev's mouth, but I'm pretty sure he really meant "Hey, until there's any rumbling about Drew, let's discuss what the Sox are actually doing."
 
Stephen Drew isn't walking through that door. The Red Sox will deal with this injury by relying on their utility guys to do their jobs and plug the temporary hole at third base.
 
Does anyone think they'll move Xander to third until Wombat comes back so Hererra can play short which is his more natural position?
There is ZERO chance of Xander moving off SS for Herrera.
 

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MakMan44 said:
....He's a hell of a lot closer now and 2 weeks of ML ABs isn't going to ruin him but it might win us a couple of extra games that Brock Holt wouldn't.... 
Not picking on you because I've seen a lot of other people make similar posts on other situations. But we all really overestimate the impact of a single player over a limited period of time. If he really could gain us a couple of extra wins in 2 weeks then he'd have a WAR (or wins over Holt anyways) of like 26(!) Even if we were replacing Ted Williams in his prime with Scott Podsednik, you'd expect at MOST a difference of a win over a couple of weeks. In other words, if this is really only a few days, or even a 15 day DL that's not extended much more, it won't really make a difference (in the standings) of who is brought up.
 

MakMan44

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No, it's a fair point and I think the team as a whole has been pretty lack luster so Cecchini wouldn't have put us over the top in any case. I think I just have an irrational dislike of Brock Holt. 
 

radsoxfan

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Rice4HOF said:
Not picking on you because I've seen a lot of other people make similar posts on other situations. But we all really overestimate the impact of a single player over a limited period of time. If he really could gain us a couple of extra wins in 2 weeks then he'd have a WAR (or wins over Holt anyways) of like 26(!) Even if we were replacing Ted Williams in his prime with Scott Podsednik, you'd expect at MOST a difference of a win over a couple of weeks. In other words, if this is really only a few days, or even a 15 day DL that's not extended much more, it won't really make a difference (in the standings) of who is brought up.
 
As a counterpoint, it's worth noting that it's entirely possible for a superior player to be worth a win or two over a 2 week period (though not the most likely scenario).  WAR isn't some linear accumulation.  A 5 WAR player doesn't earn you .03 wins per game for the entire season.  You never know when that player will end up getting a key hit, making a key play, or being the difference between a win and a loss. In the end, each game is either entirely won, or entirely lost.  There is no in between.
 
Building the best team means you are constantly trying to give yourself every advantage because you never know when having the better player in the lineup will end up being worth a win.  In my opinion, it's not really sound logic to just assume playing an inferior player for 2 weeks makes little if any difference. It's entirely possible (though not the most likely scenario) for such a move to be worth a win or more over a short sample, and you need to improve your odds as often as you can.
 
Having said that, keeping Cecchini in AAA makes sense, particularly if he needs more defensive work.  I'm not saying Holt is the wrong move, or Cecchini is ready.  But management shouldn't have the attitude that a single player doesn't really make a difference over a short sample.  It definitely can. 
 

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He has a unique ability to put the bat on the ball.
 
What's "unique" about it? That's a bit hyperbolic no? A lot of kids with great approaches to hitting don't make that transition from mL to ML.
 

SouthernBoSox

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DrewDawg said:
 
What's "unique" about it? That's a bit hyperbolic no? A lot of kids with great approaches to hitting don't make that transition from mL to ML.
He lead the minors in on base percentage as a 22 year old in high A and AA. The lowest OBP he has ever had at any level is .394 at Grenville.

To say he has a unique ability is far from hyperbolic.
 

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SouthernBoSox said:
He lead the minors in on base percentage as a 22 year old in high A and AA. The lowest OBP he has ever had at any level is .394 at Grenville.

To say he has a unique ability is far from hyperbolic.
The use of the word unique alone is hyperbolic. To say he has a unique ability is to say no one has demonstrated his ability(ies) before. Cecchini has a lot of potential, but he's certainly not a generational talent that the descriptor "unique" implies.
 

koufax37

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radsoxfan said:
 
As a counterpoint, it's worth noting that it's entirely possible for a superior player to be worth a win or two over a 2 week period (though not the most likely scenario).  WAR isn't some linear accumulation.  A 5 WAR player doesn't earn you .03 wins per game for the entire season.  You never know when that player will end up getting a key hit, making a key play, or being the difference between a win and a loss. In the end, each game is either entirely won, or entirely lost.  There is no in between.
 
Building the best team means you are constantly trying to give yourself every advantage because you never know when having the better player in the lineup will end up being worth a win.  In my opinion, it's not really sound logic to just assume playing an inferior player for 2 weeks makes little if any difference. It's entirely possible (though not the most likely scenario) for such a move to be worth a win or more over a short sample, and you need to improve your odds as often as you can.
 
Having said that, keeping Cecchini in AAA makes sense, particularly if he needs more defensive work.  I'm not saying Holt is the wrong move, or Cecchini is ready.  But management shouldn't have the attitude that a single player doesn't really make a difference over a short sample.  It definitely can. 
 
Over a 2 week period it is entirely possible for an inferior player to worth a win or two as well.  And any measurable actual win impact will of course be in whole wins, and most in this sample (other than a starting pitcher who will be more concentrated in impact) will trend towards zero over small sample.
 
In its essence a 6.0 WAR player is worth on average 1.0 WAR per month of the season, and 0.5 WAR over half a month.  There is a lot of SSS room for random distribution, but the reasonable expectation is that such a player is as likely to add one win as zero.  Obviously it is a statistic that doesn't line up well with a 15 day span, but it also gives the rough average expectations of the impact of losing a player for a given period and replacing with a replacement player.
 
If it is Holt he is likely to be worth less than a win less than WMB during the time out, and on average should have no impact on our actual record during the period.  It would have to be a longer period where the difference amounted to .51 WAR and it was more likely to cost us an actual win than not.
 
You certainly don't move Xander off of SS or mess with Cecchini's development chasing a fraction of a win.  You put in the ready replacement and hope he plays to at least his abilities and that a couple bounces work out in the meantime.
 

radsoxfan

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koufax37 said:
 
 
You certainly don't move Xander off of SS or mess with Cecchini's development chasing a fraction of a win.  You put in the ready replacement and hope he plays to at least his abilities and that a couple bounces work out in the meantime.
 
I agree with your math, and I'm not advocating a different strategy in this case to chase a "fraction of a win".  I'm just pointing out the fallacy of assuming replacing an inferior player with a superior player, even over a short sample, won't be important. 
 
To look at a replacement player vs. an "average" 3 win player, they will be about 0.02 WAR different per game.  Over 2 weeks, about +0.25 WAR different.  But what this means in real world terms is not "basically the same so it doesn't matter" (at least to me).
 
It's more like a breakdown as follows, with ballpark but realistic percentages for each outcome:
 
+3 or more WAR: <1%
+2 WAR : 5%
+1 WAR: 15%
0 WAR: 75%
-1 or more WAR: 5% (crappy players get hot, and good players get cold of course)
 
You're not chasing a fraction of a win.  You're chasing a small, but real chance that the difference is actually worth a win or more, even over a short sample.  There is plenty of handwringing over individual game lineup decisions, pitching changes, etc. that have a much smaller impact than 2 week roster decisions, particularly if the call-up is going to be a full-time starter.
 
You don't blow up a development plan just for a 20% chance at 1 win, and a 5% chance at multiple wins.  But you also should have your eyes wide open when making these kind of decisions, and understand there actually is a chance they turn out to be important in the standings at the end of the year. 
 
FWIW. I'm not saying Cecchini is a 3 win player right now, just using the number for the math.
 

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koufax37 said:
 
Over a 2 week period it is entirely possible for an inferior player to worth a win or two as well.  And any measurable actual win impact will of course be in whole wins, and most in this sample (other than a starting pitcher who will be more concentrated in impact) will trend towards zero over small sample.
 
In its essence a 6.0 WAR player is worth on average 1.0 WAR per month of the season, and 0.5 WAR over half a month.  There is a lot of SSS room for random distribution, but the reasonable expectation is that such a player is as likely to add one win as zero.  Obviously it is a statistic that doesn't line up well with a 15 day span, but it also gives the rough average expectations of the impact of losing a player for a given period and replacing with a replacement player.
 
If it is Holt he is likely to be worth less than a win less than WMB during the time out, and on average should have no impact on our actual record during the period.  It would have to be a longer period where the difference amounted to .51 WAR and it was more likely to cost us an actual win than not.
 
You certainly don't move Xander off of SS or mess with Cecchini's development chasing a fraction of a win.  You put in the ready replacement and hope he plays to at least his abilities and that a couple bounces work out in the meantime.
 
 
A logical conclusion from your analysis is that the Red Sox should use Brock Holt at DH more often, because it really doesn't matter all that much if David Ortiz is in the lineup on any given night.
 

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I don't think playing David Ortiz at DH moves Xander or SS or has anything to do with Cecchini's development, so not sure how that's a logical extension of the argument.
 

threecy

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So, assuming the recent signing is an indication of WMB's health, perhaps he has more than just a calf strain?  Could there be Achilles or a ligament involved as well?  It wouldn't be the first time the Sox used misdirection with injury information to put themselves in a better trade or signing position (ie Brendan Donnelly in 2007).
 

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Plympton91 said:
 
A logical conclusion from your analysis is that the Red Sox should use Brock Holt at DH more often, because it really doesn't matter all that much if David Ortiz is in the lineup on any given night.
 
And that might be a reasonable conclusion if there was anything remotely resembling a compelling reason to use Brock Holt at DH. But there isn't, so this is the mother of all non sequiturs. Nobody is arguing that, all things being equal and in the absence of any significant factors to the contrary, you wouldn't always choose the best possible player in every situation. I mean, duh. But all things aren't equal, and there are significant factors to the contrary in this case: the issue of Cecchini's arb clock, and of optimizing his development path. When you're talking about a very small marginal improvement in expected WAR per game, those factors become important enough to matter--and actually the better we think Cecchini can be, the more they matter.