Predicting and Opining on the Opening Day CFer; and SPOILER: It's Sizemore

Who does Farrell Start in CF on March 31 and for the immediate future beyond then?


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doctorogres

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You've gotta keep Carp because of the nature of Napoli's hip condition. If he goes down, or Papi's achilles flairs up, you still have someone with big power and something to prove. As for Nava, the big question is if that power boost will stay. Seems like he showed more game power in the minors (AAA 2010: .458, 2011: 406, 2012: .525 but only 120 PA), so hopefully yes.
 
The answer with JBJ vs. Sizemore is obvious. JBJ will still be 4+ years under the avg age for AAA, and has played only 80 games. Someone of Sizemore, Victorino, Napoli, Ortiz, Nava, Games, or Carp will do some DL time or crater, and he'll come up then.
 

mabrowndog

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Hazen & Alex Speier sat in on the EEI broadcast tonight:
 

Brian MacPherson ‏@brianmacp
Mike Hazen, asked about Jackie Bradley Jr. on WEEI: "He needs more at-bats. ... Where those at-bats end up being, we don't know."
 
Mike's just being coy. Those at-bats will be in Pawtucket, where they belong. JBJ's plate approach is all sorts of fucked up right now, as he's no longer laying off pitches on the outside. This is about much more than Sizemore having a kick-ass spring. It's about a prospect whose high system ranking belies some significant flaws and bad habits.
 
Signing Sizemore was a brilliant lottery ticket. His comeback thus far has been a blessing, as with Victorino slow out of the gates I have no earthly idea what the club would do in CF without Grady as an option. Sustained performance and durability are obviously concerns, but you have to cash in this gift card before it expires.
 

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Plympton91 said:
That's an accurately superficial read of the front page of Nava's BRef record. Some rather adept Sabr folks on this board and others have dug through the game logs and daily injury reports to conclude that Nava's 2010 and 2012 indicate that he will not fall off much from his 2013 numbers. You should read those.
 
Perhaps even more importantly, the post you were responding to, in my opinion, slags off the OPS numbers too much for being OBP heavy. I believe that there is evidence that the Red Sox have designed an OBP heavy offense to avoid depending on power which is both more mercurial and expensive, a plan with which they won the World Series. Seems to me that Farrell is more focused on trying to figure out where in the lineup to put this on-base machine than anything else; he was playing with him at lead-off the other day.
 

Rasputin

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Reverend said:
 
Perhaps even more importantly, the post you were responding to, in my opinion, slags off the OPS numbers too much for being OBP heavy. I believe that there is evidence that the Red Sox have designed an OBP heavy offense to avoid depending on power which is both more mercurial and expensive, a plan with which they won the World Series. Seems to me that Farrell is more focused on trying to figure out where in the lineup to put this on-base machine than anything else; he was playing with him at lead-off the other day.
If you're referring to my posts, noting that his OPS is OBP heavy is not in any way a criticism.

Editing to add that against RHP Nava should lead off.
 

JimD

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They must feel confident that Victorino will not miss any time.  Hope this is true, because JBJ needs to get himself sorted out at Pawtucket.
 

Rasputin

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swingin val said:
This is quite the change considering last page you were advocating that Nava get sent down to AAA
 
You might want to actually go read the posts between here and there.
 

Drek717

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RedOctober3829 said:
The OD CF is Grady Sizemore
 
https://twitter.com/brianmacp/status/449566658412421120
Not surprising at all and lets be honest, Bradley's as good a bet as any other OF in the organization for most starts in 2014 given the health issues of Sizemore and Victorino.
 
A secondary reason why I'm a fan of this is that if Sizemore stays health and with the Red Sox for a few more years it would free up Jackie Bradley to take over RF from Victorino.  The organization clearly values range in Fenway's unique RF, and finding guys who have a center fielder's range and a right fielder's arm isn't easy.  Bradley has both.  In turn that could free up CF for Mookie Betts to slide into if he continues to hit, removing the block in front of Kieth Law's  "most blocked" prospect in baseball.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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Yeah, definitely not surprising because this is the decision that allows the team to keep control of as many assets as possible.  This team loves having depth, not just on the roster, but in the organization.  I really hope we don't see a lot of Bradley this year, not because I don't like Bradley (I do, a lot.) but because not seeing much of him means Sizemore, Victorino, Gomes, Nava and Carp are healthy and effective rotating through the outfield spots all year.  At worst, we're looking at a day or two of Nava in right field if something serious happens to Victorino or Sizemore, so the downside risk of having Bradley in Pawtucket is virtually nil.
 

Rasputin

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benhogan said:
Looks like Plympton and Drek score a 3rd round TKO over Ras.
 
Please excuse me as I roll my eyes a bit. This isn't a competition, it is a conversation.
 

doctorogres

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ESPN article was interesting:
 
Farrell said the plan is to continue with the same kind of progression that was prescribed for Sizemore this spring, where his playing time was gradually increased. Sizemore just played three games in a row, which is probably the same workload with which he'll begin the season, Farrell said.
 
 
That's a lot of Nava in RF.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Drek717 said:
Not surprising at all and lets be honest, Bradley's as good a bet as any other OF in the organization for most starts in 2014 given the health issues of Sizemore and Victorino.
 
A secondary reason why I'm a fan of this is that if Sizemore stays health and with the Red Sox for a few more years it would free up Jackie Bradley to take over RF from Victorino.  The organization clearly values range in Fenway's unique RF, and finding guys who have a center fielder's range and a right fielder's arm isn't easy.  Bradley has both.  In turn that could free up CF for Mookie Betts to slide into if he continues to hit, removing the block in front of Kieth Law's  "most blocked" prospect in baseball.
 
Wait, seriously? You're proposing that with Betts and JBJ available, Betts would be the one to play CF? What did Jackie Bradley do to you, anyway?
 

Drek717

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Savin Hillbilly said:
 
Wait, seriously? You're proposing that with Betts and JBJ available, Betts would be the one to play CF? What did Jackie Bradley do to you, anyway?
Impress me with his arm every time I've seen him.
 
Here's the thought process.  A fully matured JBJ will be a good enough hitter to be above league average in a corner OF spot (.800-.840 OPS is my view once he's fully matured).  Mookie Betts is a rising star who could put up similar numbers himself.  Betts is blocked by what we hope to be a half decade or better MI battery of Pedroia and Bogaerts.  Betts also likely lacks the arm for 3B and even if he did have it there's WMB and Cecchini already battling for who locks up that position long term, with the loser having a pretty good chance of taking over 1B from Napoli.
 
So if we assume that 1. Betts is a legit talent (which is hard to argue with right now) and 2. that he's got the positional versatility to move into CF like many prospect watchers have mentioned, JBJ in RF and Betts in CF is the best way to maximize farm to Fenway production.
 
But then I also don't see RF as the low position so many treat it as, especially for the Red Sox.  Fenway's RF is spacious with some unique curves and some very difficult throws if runners are to be held at 2B consistently.  The Sox organization obviously sees this and that is why they've targeted RFs with CF range and strong arms in Drew and Victorino recently.  Bradley is the ideal candidate for that job.  A job the Red Sox have been paying $13-$15M per year to fill up to this point, FYI.
 
My hopes are built around the idea of maximizing farm to Fenway production.  As a result I'm envisioning a three year OF plan of the following:
2014: Nava/Gomes, Sizemore, Victorino L>R
2015: Nava/Brentz, Sizemore, Bradley/Victorino
2016: Brentz, Betts, Bradley
 
I'm rather dubious about Victorino continuing to hit RHP through the next two years and neither Nava or Sizemore have a ton of years left before they go into age related decline themselves.  2014 is the year we let the World Champs + Grady try to defend, but by 2015 those guys turn into the bridge the next crop uses to get to full maturity.  It's a great fit too.  Brentz would make an ideal platoon partner for Nava while Bradley could spell both Vic and Sizemore regularly.  Then in 2016 the club has a left fielder capable of playing right, a right fielder capable of playing center, and a young guy who projects as a solid or better center fielder if and when he moves to the OF.  At that point the 4th and 5th OF spots would be primarily focused on depth, not needed to duct tape together platoons or work defensive substitutions of any kind.
 
Of course that all hinges very much on what Betts and Brentz do this year.  2014 is a very important year for the farm system.
 

Plympton91

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The only problem I see with your plan is that it is unlikely that they can sign Sizemore for one year after this season. If he's good enough to want him back, he'll probably be good enough to get a more-desperate team to give him multiple years.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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I think it's far more likely that Sizemore ends up in Stephen Drew territory. He's very unlikely to be so good that even after a QO other teams are willing to throw him a big contract. If he works out for the Sox this year, I'm picturing a guy worth a QO to the Sox, but in that grey area between worth giving a pick for and not for other teams.
 

Drek717

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Snodgrass'Muff said:
I think it's far more likely that Sizemore ends up in Stephen Drew territory. He's very unlikely to be so good that even after a QO other teams are willing to throw him a big contract. If he works out for the Sox this year, I'm picturing a guy worth a QO to the Sox, but in that grey area between worth giving a pick for and not for other teams.
This is what I'm envisioning as well.  Short of Sizemore having an MVP worthy season the Sox will be able to control his market with a QO.  Much like Drew his age + injury history will make everyone else walk away.  Unlike Drew he and his agent will likely realize this and accept the QO.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Drek717 said:
Impress me with his arm every time I've seen him.
 
You don't take a consensus potential Gold Glove CF and stick him in right because your 2B prospect is blocked and needs a position. You put your CF in CF, you deploy your blocked 2B prospect in whichever corner slot he's best suited for, and you find somebody for the other corner slot. If Brentz is good enough to start, you put him in right, where every report I've read says he has an above-average arm and adequate range for the position (though his routes are a work in progress).
 

Al Zarilla

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Savin Hillbilly said:
 
You don't take a consensus potential Gold Glove CF and stick him in right because your 2B prospect is blocked and needs a position. You put your CF in CF, you deploy your blocked 2B prospect in whichever corner slot he's best suited for, and you find somebody for the other corner slot. If Brentz is good enough to start, you put him in right, where every report I've read says he has an above-average arm and adequate range for the position (though his routes are a work in progress).
But the way it goes with winning gold gloves is you have to hit first (Jeter  :rolleyes:) and there's the rub. 
 
What I see wrong, or difficult about Bradley's swing is that it is long and looping. I don't know if the Sox hitting instructors at Pawtucket or Boston try to change him to get it more under control or not. A comp I thought of with a long swing is Brandon Belt of the Giants who had to be sent down a couple of times after they decided he is their first baseman of the present and future. He "got it" in his 25 year old season last year. JBJ will be 24 next month.
 

Adrian's Dome

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Al Zarilla said:
But the way it goes with winning gold gloves is you have to hit first (Jeter  :rolleyes:) and there's the rub. 
 
What I see wrong, or difficult about Bradley's swing is that it is long and looping. I don't know if the Sox hitting instructors at Pawtucket or Boston try to change him to get it more under control or not. A comp I thought of with a long swing is Brandon Belt of the Giants who had to be sent down a couple of times after they decided he is their first baseman of the present and future. He "got it" in his 25 year old season last year. JBJ will be 24 next month.
 
Know who else has a big 'ol awkward swing?
 
That Pedroia guy.
 

nvalvo

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Al Zarilla said:
But the way it goes with winning gold gloves is you have to hit first (Jeter  :rolleyes:) and there's the rub. 
 
What I see wrong, or difficult about Bradley's swing is that it is long and looping. I don't know if the Sox hitting instructors at Pawtucket or Boston try to change him to get it more under control or not. A comp I thought of with a long swing is Brandon Belt of the Giants who had to be sent down a couple of times after they decided he is their first baseman of the present and future. He "got it" in his 25 year old season last year. JBJ will be 24 next month.
 
Really? I don't see the loopiness. Looks to me like there's a timing bat waggle, but once his hands are loaded, he's direct to the ball. 
 

 
It could be that this an artifact of watching highlights of him lining a double over Ichiro, and he's less mechanically sound at other times. 
 

Al Zarilla

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Adrian's Dome said:
 
Know who else has a big 'ol awkward swing?
 
That Pedroia guy.
Good point but Pedroia's swing is long but more straight, in other words, not looping. 
 
Also, Pedroia has practically generational hand - eye coordination for a middle infielder. 
 

Rice4HOF

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Adrian's Dome said:
 
Know who else has a big 'ol awkward swing?
 
That Pedroia guy.
 
 
Al Zarilla said:
Good point but Pedroia's swing is long but more straight, in other words, not looping. 
 
It doesn't matter either way. We all know Pedey is way too small to cut it as an everyday big league player.
 

Drek717

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Savin Hillbilly said:
 
You don't take a consensus potential Gold Glove CF and stick him in right because your 2B prospect is blocked and needs a position. You put your CF in CF, you deploy your blocked 2B prospect in whichever corner slot he's best suited for, and you find somebody for the other corner slot. If Brentz is good enough to start, you put him in right, where every report I've read says he has an above-average arm and adequate range for the position (though his routes are a work in progress).
Why don't you when he's even more likely to be a gold glove RF, it makes full use of all his defensive tools (whereas his plus arm would be minimized in CF) and that 2B prospect has the wheels to project into CF quite well, but almost definitely lacks the arm to hold up in RF, therefore relegating him to LF.
 
As for Brentz, sure, he's supposed to have the arm and range to stick in RF, but he'd likely be a very good LF.  Plus a strong throwing arm in Fenway's LF has the potential to result in a lot of thrown out sac fly attempts.
 
I'd rather maximize the defense across the OF and since no other Red Sox prospect offers the combination of range and throwing arm the team has favored in RF over the last decade I don't see how Bradley isn't a perfect fit there.  CF sees the most opportunities, that doesn't mean it's necessarily the most skill intensive position out of the three OF jobs, depending on home park.
 

Al Zarilla

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Drek717 said:
Why don't you when he's even more likely to be a gold glove RF, it makes full use of all his defensive tools (whereas his plus arm would be minimized in CF) and that 2B prospect has the wheels to project into CF quite well, but almost definitely lacks the arm to hold up in RF, therefore relegating him to LF.
 
As for Brentz, sure, he's supposed to have the arm and range to stick in RF, but he'd likely be a very good LF.  Plus a strong throwing arm in Fenway's LF has the potential to result in a lot of thrown out sac fly attempts.
 
I'd rather maximize the defense across the OF and since no other Red Sox prospect offers the combination of range and throwing arm the team has favored in RF over the last decade I don't see how Bradley isn't a perfect fit there.  CF sees the most opportunities, that doesn't mean it's necessarily the most skill intensive position out of the three OF jobs, depending on home park.
Captain obvious here, but what if he doesn't hit? Corner outfielders are supposed to be able to hit. I really hope he comes around hitting-wise at the major league level because that's job one for  him or any other outfielder. 
 

Drek717

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Al Zarilla said:
Captain obvious here, but what if he doesn't hit? Corner outfielders are supposed to be able to hit. I really hope he comes around hitting-wise at the major league level because that's job one for  him or any other outfielder. 
Sure.  That's the caveat for all these guys.  If Bogaerts doesn't hit and Betts continues to progress it's entirely possible he's the future SS.  If WMB and Cecchini both flop then maybe Bogaerts moves and Betts takes over SS.  Or maybe Betts flops, Coyle succeeds, and we're wondering where he moves to.
 
Bradley's peak ML projection at this point however is pretty close to what the Sox have been paying a ton of money to get out of RF over nearly the last decade though, so if he looks like he's going to reach that peak and Betts looks like a fast riser himself at the end of 2014 what I've mentioned above is a path to get them both on the field delivering high value.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Drek717 said:
I'd rather maximize the defense across the OF and since no other Red Sox prospect offers the combination of range and throwing arm the team has favored in RF over the last decade I don't see how Bradley isn't a perfect fit there.  CF sees the most opportunities, that doesn't mean it's necessarily the most skill intensive position out of the three OF jobs, depending on home park.
 
And you're going to do that by putting your best outfielder in right, a guy with adequate-or-better RF skills in left, and a converted infielder in center? To say this makes no sense is an insult to things that make no sense. You're obsessing on Bradley's arm to the point where you're losing the forest for the trees. A good arm has plenty of value in CF. Haven't we been bitching about the arms of our CFs for the past decade or more, and daydreaming about a CF with the range of a Jacoby or a Coco and the arm of a Drew? Now we have one, and you don't want to take advantage of it.
 
Sure, Fenway's RF is demanding, especially in terms of range, but the team plays only half its games there, and it's not like Fenway's CF is a piece of cake. There's a reason why it's generally acknowledged that the same level of offense has more value in center than in right. Fenway makes this less true for the Sox than for most teams, but "less true" /= "untrue".
 

Plympton91

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Drek717 said:
This is what I'm envisioning as well.  Short of Sizemore having an MVP worthy season the Sox will be able to control his market with a QO.  Much like Drew his age + injury history will make everyone else walk away.  Unlike Drew he and his agent will likely realize this and accept the QO.
I see a big area where Sizemore ends up being quite useful but not worth a qualifying offer. Call it the Saltalamaccia range. He's always going to be injury prone, so a smart team will take that into account. Say he goes 266 / 330 / 430 in 110 games with 0 defensive runs metrics. That will be great for the Sox 2014 investment, but not worth $14 million a season guaranteed, if only because of the GP limitation.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I think we saw an example last night of why Bradley will ultimately stick in CF (though likely not this year). In the second inning, Wieters hit a liner to the gap in RCF that Bradley made a routine looking running catch on.  But he was playing Wieters shaded towards LCF and the play looked "routine" only because Bradley got a tremendous jump on the ball.  Otherwise it is probably a gap double. 
 
If Sizemore sticks beyond 2014, I think he'll eventually wind up in LF (or maybe RF if he has the arm for that).
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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So when Vic is ready to move up do the Sox really send the better player in Bradley back down to AAA to keep his "bat fresh" or do the Sox figure out a way to get something out of Carp?
 

Drek717

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Trotsky said:
So when Vic is ready to move up do the Sox really send the better player in Bradley back down to AAA to keep his "bat fresh" or do the Sox figure out a way to get something out of Carp?
Why do you assume Bradley is a better player than Carp?  They have very different skill sets.  I don't think Bradley is a good bet to hit 20 home runs for example.
 
When Victorino is up he'll take over RF, Sizemore will take over CF, and the Nava/Gomes platoon will be much more consistently utilized in LF.  At that point do you really want a 23 year old Jackie Bradley playing 5th OF once a week caddie to Vic and Grady or getting daily PAs in AAA?
 
Also, I'll reiterate that looking at Carp as a part of the OF mix to me misses the point of him being here.  He's here because it's basically impossible to find a cheap bat of his quality mid-season and if Nava, Napoli, or Ortiz gets hurt this lineup could look a lot thinner without Mike Carp.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Eddie Jurak said:
I think we saw an example last night of why Bradley will ultimately stick in CF (though likely not this year). In the second inning, Wieters hit a liner to the gap in RCF that Bradley made a routine looking running catch on.  But he was playing Wieters shaded towards LCF and the play looked "routine" only because Bradley got a tremendous jump on the ball.  Otherwise it is probably a gap double.
 
And we also saw the value of a good arm in CF on that play where he almost nabbed Davis heading into second on a throw from the warning track. The throw was a little off line, but if it had been on target the play would have been very close. None of our recent starting CFs, from Damon on, would have been able to make anything resembling a play out of that situation.
 

KillerBs

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Eddie Jurak said:
I think we saw an example last night of why Bradley will ultimately stick in CF (though likely not this year). In the second inning, Wieters hit a liner to the gap in RCF that Bradley made a routine looking running catch on.  But he was playing Wieters shaded towards LCF and the play looked "routine" only because Bradley got a tremendous jump on the ball.  Otherwise it is probably a gap double. 
 
 
 
True, it was not so much that he made the catch, but the way he did. IMO, if Bradley is the A/A+ defensive CF he appears to be, he has to be the future (if not present) in CF.
 
Interesting to see that Bradley was given the start vs the LHPer, and nice to see he responded with a couple knocks, tho granted one was a bleeder.
 
I am anxious to see Sizemore's range tested in CF, which I do not think has happened yet in the reg. season. Paraphrasing, the Speier piece noted in passing that Sizemore still had average, to perhaps above average, speed which I suppose gives him a chance to still be an average to perhaps  above average defensive CF, but that remains to be seen.
 

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KillerBs said:
 
 
Interesting to see that Bradley was given the start vs the LHPer, and nice to see he responded with a couple knocks, tho granted one was a bleeder.
 
 
 
It's worth noting that Bradley's big scary platoon split only really showed up in a fairly small MLB sample (33 PA) last year, which isn't really enough to draw any conclusions from. After all, right now he has a reverse split to the tune of 1.000 points of OPS in his 5 PA.  :c070:
 
The longer term picture suggests a small split. In 2011 he only had a dozen PA against lefties, but he sucked. In 2012, he only lost 15 points of OPS against lefties, notching a .900 OPS in 156 PA. 2013 (AAA) he showed a more meaningful split in 150 PA (.839 OPS against RHP, only .682 against LHP). He still had a .349 OBP against lefties in AAA; basically the whole difference was SLG. 
 
I don't think we should be surprised if he shows a more normal platoon split going forward. 
 

KillerBs

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Another good/great day at the plate for Grady but color me unimpressed with his defensive work on the Aramis Ramirez fly ball that dropped in front of him in the 9th.