Tagged: Dustin Pedroia

The All Currently-On-The-DL Boston Red Sox & an Introduction to WAR


(Photo Cred: boston.com)

As the Red Sox take the field against the Orioles tonight, they do so with their 69th unique lineup in their 80th game of the season.  Without further ado, I bring you the July 2nd, 2010 edition of the All Currently-On-The-DL Boston Red Sox.  As a side note, I will explain what WAR means after the roster.  Also, I will dip into the minor leagues when necessary to fill the gaps (there aren’t many).

Jason Varitek; 23.4 Career WAR, 0.8 2010 WAR, DL since 7/2/10
We start off with the captain and the newest member of the All-DL team, Jason Varitek.  With a broken left foot, he is expected to miss up to 6 weeks.  He has exceeded the expectations of most this year and has performed more than admirably in the role he has been assigned.  
First Base
Mike Lowell; 29.3 Career WAR, 0.1 2010 WAR, DL since 6/23/10
Lowell has been the odd man out on the team from the get go, and even with all these injuries there really is no place for him.  Lowell’s injury is listed as a strained right hip, but you better believe that if the Sox needed him he would be playing through it.  The sad truth is, we need the roster spot more.  You may think it is a bit of a stretch to put him at first base, but he has actually played 6/10 games there this year (not including when he was the DH).
Second Base
Dustin Pedroia; 17.6 Career WAR, 3.6 2010 WAR, DL since 6/26/10
Pedroia has been the best player on this team this season by most metrics.  For this reason his injury is probably the most widely known.  He was recently joined by Jason Varitek on the All-Broken-Left-Foot team, but we’ll list those guys another time.  This list is starting to look like an All-Decade team…
Third Base
Jed Lowrie; 1.5 Career WAR, has not played in 2010, DL since 3/26/10
Remember him?  Lowrie is one of the longer-tenured members of this team, and has been forgotten by most fans.  He is out with mononucleosis right now, but has been ailed by several aches and pains over his short career.  The once highly regarded prospect sure is missed by the Sox right about now.
Jose Iglesias; hasn’t played in ML- WAR unavailable for minor leagues, DL since 5/29/10
I had to reach a little for this one, down to AA, but Iglesias is one of the team’s top prospects.  He has a broken right index finger.  Although he would almost certainly not have been called up to the Sox to help out at this point anyway, the injury is not helping his development into our first consistent shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra.  Not that we have high expectations for him, no pressure Jose.
Left Field
Jeremy Hermida; 3.5 Career WAR, 0.0 2010 WAR, DL since 6/10/10
Hermida makes the list by virtue of his broken ribs.  He, like Varitek, played better than a lot of people were expecting and was a great role player.  Speaking of outfielders with broken ribs…
Center Field
Jacoby Ellsbury; 6.5 Career WAR, -0.2 2010 WAR, DL since 5/25/10
The date here is a little deceiving as that is just the start of Ellsbury’s latest stint on the DL.  In reality, he has collected just 45 plate appearances this season.  It’s pretty amazing when you take one of the best players and the spark plug out of this team and they are still one of the best teams in baseball.
Right Field
Zach Daeges; hasn’t played in ML, DL since 2009
Another bit of a reach, Daeges is probably one of the lesser known Sox prospects.  This is because he has not played yet this season and missed most of 2009 as well with a severe ankle injury.  When he has played though, he has shown some signs of promise, so here’s hoping he can overcome the injury bug and return as soon as possible.
Designated Hitter
Victor Martinez; 23.4 Career WAR, 1.2 2010 WAR, DL since 6/28/10
Martinez gets the nod at DH, since sadly he is not the best defensive catcher on this list.  He was just heating up before he broke his left thumb.  Hopefully he will back sooner rather than later to spare us Sox fans from the offensive efforts of a Kevin Cash/ Gustavo Molina platoon.
Starting Pitcher
Josh Beckett; 22.8 Career WAR, -0.9 2010 WAR, DL since 5/19/10
Beckett is out with a lower back strain.  He obviously was expected to be at least an above average pitcher this season, and it just hasn’t happened.  Remarkably, the rotation has been a strong point for the Red Sox, even with their ace on the mend.  
Manny Delcarmen; 3.5 Career WAR, 0.2 2010 WAR, D
L since 7/1/10
Delcarmen is a new member of the team as well, having just gone down with a strained right forearm.  Bullpen depth is always crucial, but Manny hasn’t provided an irreplaceable service thus far.  A triple-A replacement will do just fine.
This list will mean a lot more if you understand what WAR means, so I’ll try to explain it here for those who are unfamiliar with it.  It is one of my favorite statistics and I plan on using it frequently on this blog in the future.  WAR, which stands for Wins Above Replacement and was created by Sean Smith of baseballprojection.com, is defined on Baseball-Reference as “A single number that presents the number of wins the player added to the team above what a replacement player would add.”  Pretty powerful concept, right?  All these other stats we have mean nothing if your team doesn’t win games, so why not put a player’s performance in those terms?  A replacement player is defined as someone on the cusp of the Major Leagues, a “AAAA” player if you will (between AAA and the majors).  Essentially, the replacement level player will have a WAR of 0.0 and neither hurt nor help the team.  It is important to note that these are not the worst players, many players have accumulated negative WAR totals with poor play.
I love this stat for a few reasons.  Not only does it put everything in terms of wins, which just makes sense to me, but it also incorporates EVERY part of the game.  Offense, defense, baserunning, pitching, even an adjustment for high leverage situations.  I’m not going to post all the actual calculations because there are a couple different methods, I don’t fully understand them, and I don’t think you need to in order to appreciate and understand the stat.  The other reason I love WAR is because it is used for both hitters and pitchers.  There really has never been a way to compare Ted Williams to Roger Clemens before, but we now can see that by this method at least, Roger Clemens contributed just a hair more (128.4 to 125.3 Career WAR).  All of the WAR numbers in this post and for all players can be found on www.baseball-reference.com.  
Finally, to put the single season numbers into perspective a little (keep in mind that the 2010 numbers are for a partial season, through 7/1/10), Baseball-Reference provides this handy dandy scale.  A 0-2 WAR season is typical of a reserve/bench player, 2+ is a starter, 5+ is an all-star, and 8+ is an MVP.  There’s a lot I could say about WAR, but I’ll leave it at this for now and talk about it more in future posts as it becomes relevant.

Make This Trade For David DeJesus

Dear Theo Epstein,

As I’m sure you know, the Red Sox outfield is in a sorry state of affairs right now.  With Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeremy Hermida, and J.D. Drew all out with injuries and Mike Cameron hobbled to the point where he cannot play in back to back games, we have been forced to throw out replacements such as Darnell McDonald, Daniel Nava, Josh Reddick, and Bill Hall.  They have performed admirably for the most part, but we all know that this is not a long-term solution.  With Dustin Pedroia breaking his foot, Bill Hall won’t even be available to help out in the outfield every day as he will be playing second base.  Amazingly, your team has chosen this injury-riddled stretch to begin winning games- and they find themselves just two games behind the Yankees for the AL East and the best record in baseball.  This trade will help them make that playoff push.  Here’s how it will break down: 
BOS receives: 
(Photo Cred: operationsports.com)
KC receives:
(Photo Cred: zimbio.com)
(Photo Cred: mlb.com)
The case for Boston:
DeJesus is making $4.7M this year and has a club option for next year at $6M ($0.5M buyout).  At 30 years old, he is well on his way to his best season, currently hitting .326 with an OPS of .872.  He is yet to make an error in the outfield and has recorded 4 assists.  DeJesus could provide the spark that pushes this team to the top of the standings.  You gain outfield depth and some great hitting and you lose a couple of prospects, one of whom (Anderson) has been disappointing thus far.  Gibson is good, but you get to keep your real gem- Jose Iglesias.  
Mike Cameron and J.D. Drew are both signed through 2011 and Ellsbury is arbitration eligible through 2013.  Cameron and Drew are both pretty high risk in terms of injury and Ellsbury has hardly played at all this year, so having a guy like DeJesus around next year would be great security.  If there is one thing I’ve learned about baseball over the years it is that you can never have too much talent.  Everything always works itself out and everyone gets enough playing time.  Except Mike Lowell.
The case for Kansas City:
You are 10.5 games behind the worst division leader in baseball, the Minnesota Twins.  So I hope I’m not the first one to break it to you, because that would just be awkward, but you’re not going to make the playoffs this year.  Initiate selling mode.  You lose an outfielder for the remainder of the year (and maybe next) and you get two prospects.  Lars Ander
is one who is close to Major League ready.  Entering 2009 he was rated as the 17th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America before turning in a stinker of a year for AA Portland.  He has shown some signs of improvement this year, but if he ever returns to his .934 OPS of 2008, then this is a steal for you, Kansas City.
Because of the uncertainty there, you also get prospect Derrik Gibson.  He is a few years removed from being big league ready, but he has great raw talent.  Scouts admire his speed and his fielding ability, and I admire his numbers with A-level Lowell last season: .290 average with 28 steals in 67 games.  I know, I know, you love Jose Iglesias, but so do we.  Consider Gibson a consolation prize, and a pretty good one at that.  
We already know we will be buyers at the trade deadline- so why not make this deal now and secure an extra month of DeJesus’s services?  It’s not like the Royals are waiting to see if they can contend this year.  Don’t be shy.  Make this trade.
The 26th Man

That’s What He Said- Dustin Pedroia

In my last post, I looked at a quote from Carlos Silva, in which he attributed some of his success to the abnormally high run support he had been receiving.  I thought that was pretty cool, so I’ve decided to do this more often.  I’ll take a quote from a player, reporter, coach, or whoever and try to prove them right or wrong using statistics.  I hereby dub this group of posts “That’s What He Said” (sorry ladies, I promise there will be a “That’s What She Said” when Eri Yoshida makes it).  

And so, I bring you Dustin Pedroia.  If you follow the Red Sox closely then you’ve probably heard this before, but I think enough time has passed since he said it to evaluate appropriately: 

“David’s fine.  He’s one of our teammates.  It could have been me who hit into a double play.  It happens to everybody.  He’s had 60 at-bats.  A couple of years ago I had 60 at-bats and I was hitting .170 and everybody was ready to kill me too.  What happened?  Laser show.” 

This fantastic quote was uttered following this game on May 4th of this year.  The double play that Pedroia is referring to is the one that David Ortiz hit into in the 8th inning.  The Red Sox rallied for 4 runs that inning to win the game in spite of Ortiz, whose double play appeared to cost Boston the game at the time.  As a side note, if you are new to navigating Baseball-Reference’s box scores, if you follow the link above and scroll to the bottom you will find the play-by-play for the entire game.  
As most fans will recall, Ortiz was not the most popular member of the team just 26 days ago.  Pedroia guessed 60 at-bats, which was pretty close.  Here are Ortiz’s 2010 numbers through May 4th (scroll down to the box after the highlighted games).  Ortiz in fact had 67 at-bats, with just 10 hits, 3 home runs, 6 RBI, and a .149 batting average.  As far as Pedroia goes, a couple of years ago would have to mean 2008, right?  But in 2008, Pedroia sported a .311 batting average through 15 games and 61 at-bats en route to winning the AL MVP Award.  Maybe he meant 2009?  Not likely either, as he was hitting .286 through 15 games and 63 at-bats last year.  
Ah, so he must mean 2007, his rookie season.  Now this begins to make sense.  Through 61 at-bats and 22 games in 2007, Pedroia was hitting just .180 with 11 hits and 3 RBI.  What happened???  Pedroia finished the season hitting .317 and went on to become AL Rookie of the Year.  Also, courtesy of tauntr.com, there is significant photographic evidence that Pedroia did actually provide a laser show by the end of the year.


I’m actually pretty surprised at how accurate Pedroia was with his own numbers here.  Sure, he said “a couple years” instead of “a few” but he was just .010 off of his actual batting average at the start of his rookie season.  But the comparison to 2010 Big Papi?  Not sure if I buy it.  I think it’s a different kind of worrying when your rookie phenom has a rough first month and when your $12.5 mil veteran DH has an even worse first month for the second consecutive season.  There is one area where Pedroia hit the nail on the head though and that is the one that most people care the most about: 2010 David Ortiz has arrived.  Ortiz enters tonight’s action with a .267 average, 10 home runs, and 28 RBI.  Since Pedroia’s quote, that’s .382 with 7 home runs and 22 RBI.  Sounds like a laser show to me.
To recap, Pedroia nailed the rebirth of Ortiz and was remarkably close on the numbers he cited as well, although I’m not sure if I buy the comparison between his 2007 season and Ortiz’s 2010.  But I’m not going to complain while Ortiz continues to hit the ball like he used to in the good old days.  
I’ve taken a few different angles now on this blog, whether it be looking at a current event’s historical significance, looking at some historical events, or this new quote idea.  Some of the other ideas I’ve had for posts are some introduction to newer statistics (such as WAR, GameScore, or UZR), some more BU baseball history, or some game previews or recaps.  Of course I don’t have time to write all of this at once, so if you feel strongly about any of these or there’s anything else you’d like me to write about then by all means let me know and I would be thrilled to do that first.  

AL April All-Stars

For what it’s worth (it’s not worth as much as most fans think it is), here are my American League All-Stars for the month of April.  

C – Joe Mauer (MIN)
Pretty easy choice when you’ve got a once-in-a-generation talent like this guy.  Led the way with a .345 average and a .906 OPS, not numbers that are put up by catchers very often.
Honorable mention: Matt Wieters (BAL), Jorge Posada (NYY)
1B – Miguel Cabrera (DET)
Another familiar face.  Cabrera mashed the opposition, posting a .372/.450/.655 slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) which is good for a monstrous 1.105 OPS.  Sure, Paul Konerko had 5 more home runs, but I can’t ignore the fact that he hit exactly 100 points less.  
Honorable Mention: Paul Konerko (CWS), Justin Morneau (MIN)
2B – Robinson Cano (NYY)
Cano has a significant edge over the others here, with a .362 average and a .695 slugging percentage.  I wouldn’t call him a regular in terms of all-star discussions, but I can’t say I’m too surprised either given the growth he showed last year.
Honorable Mention: Dustin Pedroia (BOS), Ty Wigginton (BAL)
3B – Evan Longoria (TB)
I would’ve loved nothing more than to give this one to Adrian Beltre, but Longoria’s .624 slugging mark compared to Beltre’s .467 was too convincing.  Longoria closed out the month with a .349 average and 7 home runs.
Honorable Mention: Adrian Beltre (BOS), Miguel Tejada (BAL), Alberto Callaspo (KC)
SS – Derek Jeter (NYY)
He somehow finds a way to do it year in and year out.  Jeter finishes April with a .310 average and 4 homers.  Asdrubal Cabrera doesn’t make the honorable mention here despite his .311 average because I can’t ignore his paltry 1 home run and 4 RBI.  Maybe its because he’s on the Indians, or maybe its because he’s lacking with runners on base.  He hit just .214 with runners in scoring position.
Honorable Mention: Marco Scutaro (BOS), Elvis Andrus (TEX)
OF – Austin Jackson (DET), Vernon Wells (TOR), Nelson Cruz (TEX)
Lots of good options here.  These fast starts, especially those of Jackson and Wells, have been well documented.  Jackson because he’s a rookie who hit .369 in April and Wells because of his notoriously bloated contract, which looks slightly better after his .325/.391/.640 April.  
Honorable Mention: Carl Crawford (TB), Scott Podsednik (CWS), Franklin Gutierrez (SEA)
Check out the balance of power early on in the American League this season.  Of course these are only my choices, but of the eight starters I’ve selected, the division breakdown is as follows: 
East- 4
Central- 3
West- 1
Including the starters and the honorable mentions, the breakdown is:
East- 12
Central- 7
West- 3
The West only has 4 teams compared to 5 in the other two divisions, so if you multiply their representatives by 5/4 the field is leveled, and they still trail 4 – 3 – 1.2 and 12 – 7 – 3.75.  These results are supported by the standings, which show the Yankees challenging the Rays for the East and the best record in baseball, while all four AL West teams struggle in the early going.  Here are the cumulative winning percentages by team through April:
East- .522
Central- .487
West- .489
The West is able to edge the Central here because while they are pretty pathetic, they have no truly terrible teams.  The four clubs finished April with remarkably similar records- 12-12, 12-12, 11-12, and 11-12.