Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Red Sox Roster Review

OK, I admit I have no secret sabermetric formula or scientific basis for these picks. Heck, I cannot even say I got them from Friedman via a hobo in Baltimore or that Brigs gave them to me from a formula based on the number of protozoa in an individual Petri dish for Sox player, so I will give what the fantastic PECOTA projections courtesy of BaseballProspectus.com (as of 3/30/07) and then what my gut says:

Starting Rotation:

Curt Schilling:
PECOTA says: 14-8 3.84 ERA 158 Ks
The big beer gut says: 15-10 4.25 ERA 135 Ks
PECOTA seems pretty dead-on here. He certainly did nothing to show he is ready to jump back to a 20 game winner in spring training or opening day. The strikeouts will be down, that is the nature of a 40 year old pitcher. The Big Schill is a solid #2 or #3 guy at this stage of his career.

Daisuke Matsuzaka:
PECOTA says: 13-7 4.17 ERA 162 Ks
The big beer gut says: 19-5 3.25 ERA 190 Ks
PECOTA will sell the phenomenon short. Heck, everyone will. Like it or not Yankees fans, this guy is the real deal. This guy is Pedro back when Pedro was Pedro. I do not think I need to keep harping on about Daisuke, but this guy would be the odds-on favorite for Cy Young this year if not for…

Josh Beckett:
PECOTA says: 12-8 4.29 ERA 144 Ks
The big beer gut says: 21-7 3.25 ERA 175 Ks
This is the season everyone sees why the Sox valued the Big Lunk over A.J. Burnett, personal favorite of Owner John Henry. When Beckett was on last year, he was one of the top three pitchers in the game. The problem was when he was off, which was about 6 or 7 starts, and he could not get his off-speed stuff over the plate, he was hammered. This year, I expect Beckett to be more consistent and much more dominant. This is the year of the Beckett!

Tim Wakefield:
PECOTA says: 11-8 4.59 ERA 103 Ks
The big beer gut says: 9-12 5.00 ERA 100 Ks
Sorry, but I think the Shakey Wakey one has passed on his usefulness. Listen, I love the idea of a knuckleballer in the rotation, but Wakey is inconsistent. I think what the Sox really need is a knuckleball specialist on staff, or at least on call, who can work with Wakey and Charlie Zink in the minors. Someone like Phil Niekro who can go over mechanics and strategy with him, keep his grip and release in line, and pass on some pointers and support on a regular basis. Right now, I would rather see Kyle Snyder in the rotation over Wakefield.

Julian Tavarez:
PECOTA says: 6-7 5.60 ERA 63 Ks
The big beer gut says: SAME
Yeah, not a huge fan of Tavarez in the rotation. Bring on Lester, Gabbard and Snyder!

Jon Lester:
PECOTA says: 6-6 5.00 ERA 85 Ks
The big beer gut says: 9-3 4.00 ERA 85 Ks
Lester will be back earlier, and pitch better, than projections. This kid has cajones, and the comeback from cancer will just be the icing on the cake as he jumps in and saves the rotation.

Matt Clement:
PECOTA says: 6-6 5.04 ERA 76 Ks
The big beer gut says: SAME
I would like to see Clement come back and be the pre-beaning 2005 Clement, which I still think he will, but not until 2008.

Kyle Snyder:
PECOTA says: 6-6 4.95 ERA 68 Ks
The big beer gut says: 10-6 4.00 ERA 100 Ks
As you can discern from the above rambling, I am big on Snyder. Health and confidence will do a lot for a guy who has scrapped for a while to get healthy and is ready to step-up and let his stuff do the talking.

Kason Gabbard:
PECOTA say: 6-7 5.48 ERA 76 Ks
The big beer gut says: 2-0 1.50 ERA 10 Ks
With a little luck, Gabbard can pitch the entire season in AAA for Pawtucket and be ready to join the rotation in 2008.

Bullpen:

Jonathan Papelbon:
PECOTA says: 5-4 3.04 ERA 29 SVs
The big beer gut says: 5-4 2.50 ERA 40 SVs
I still am in the minority to say Papelbon belongs in the rotation and that anyone can be plugged into the closer role. That said, expect the usual domination from Big Country at the end of the bullpen.

Joel Pineiro:
PECOTA says: 4-3 4.09 ERA 3 SVs
The big beer gut says: SAME
Pineiro could close. I still believe. That said, once he gets out of April, he should be a grade A set-up man.

Mike Timlin:
PECOTA says: 2-2 4.00 ERA 2 SVs
The big beer gut says: Yeah, pretty close.
Hell, all these middle reliever should look about the same as Timlin here…forget the rest of this crap for the bullpen as far as Brendan Donnelly, J.C. Romero, Hideki Okajima, and Javier Lopez.

Infield:

David Ortiz, designated hitter:
PECOTA says: .289 41 133 .983 OBPS
The big beer gut says: Dead-on
Big Papi just keeps rolling. I still say they need to throw him out to 1B every once in a while to keep him motivated and happy.

Jason Varitek, catcher:
PECOTA says: .274 14 57 .810 OBPS
The big beer gut says: .240 10 50 .725 OBPS
I think Jason has lost the power, and has lost the bat speed. Sorry, but I do not believe that last year was an anomaly. Josh Bard sure looks good right now. Heck, can we get George Kottaras up this season?

Kevin Youkilis, first base:
PECOTA says: .284 18 78 .830 OBPS
The big beer gut says: .300 20 85 .850 OBPS
Youk kicks it into gear before he moves across the diamond to 3B in 2008.

Dustin Pedroia, second base:
PECOTA says: .294 9 62 .791 OBPS
The big beer gut says: .300 10 60 .800 OBPS
PECOTA loves Pedroia. His VORP (value-over-replacement-player) is third on the team at 22.2, which says as much about how many crappy 2B there are in the majors as much as how good Pedroia could be.

Julio Lugo, shortstop:
PECOTA says: .284 8 53 19 SBs .753 OBPS
The big beer gut says: .300 12 70 35 SBs .800 OBPS
I like Lugo. He can hit, and he will hit. He brings energy, enthusiasm, and range to the infield.

Mike Lowell, third base:
PECOTA says: .273 15 76 .774 OBPS
The big beer gut says: About right.
Lowell is Lowell. There is no mystery surrounding him. He should pick up his 40 doubles and good defense at 3B.
Outfielder:

Manny Ramirez:
PECOTA says: .297 33 107 .967 OBPS
The big beer gut says: .315 40 125 .975 OBPS
Everyday Manny comes closer and closer to being with the Sox until he retires after 2010. He is a hitting machine, and he those two option years look more and more like worth picking up for the front office.

Coco Crisp:
PECOTA says: .310 13 64 21 SBs .813 OBPS
The big beer gut says: .310 15 70 45 SBs .800 OBPS
PECOTA loves Coco and so do I. Coco should run like crazy at the bottom of the order as well. Coco is a very, very good centerfielder and spark plug in the line-up.

J.D. Drew:
PECOTA says: .285 15 63 .868 OBPS
The big beer gut says: .300 25 100 .925 OBPS
I do not know why PECOTA is going low on the power numbers for Drew, but I think this guy is the perfect fit for RF in Boston and in the number 5 spot in the order.

Wily Mo Pena:
PECOTA says: .276 20 68 .840 OBPS
The big beer gut says: dead-on
Wily Mo is the best fourth outfielder in baseball, slightly sliding ahead of Melky Cabrera in the rankings.

I do not care about bench projections. Sorry Mirabelli, Cora, and Hinske.

All-in-all, this team should win 90 to 100 games and go far in the playoffs this season.

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