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Friendly Fenway



My thoughts on what's going on in the game of baseball, centered in on my team, the Red Sox. Trade talks and rumors, stats, gave thoughts, player news...it's all fair game



Updated: 2012-04-16T00:16:57.970-04:00

 



Progress

2007-01-14T09:45:03.426-05:00

How's the top 100 Red Sox list coming along? Pretty good so far. We have the top 18 ranked and there are plenty of people involved in the project. It's going to be a few weeks before we're ready to start posting things, however. There's bound to be plenty of "There's no way Joe Wood should be that low!" or "How did Ellis Burks get snubbed?!". I don't want to give too much away here.....but I'll give you a little teaser. Ted Williams is ranked pretty high.



Out of retirement

2007-01-07T13:26:22.776-05:00

I'm a guy who can't sit still. I don't dwell on one project for long and I'm the type who often doesn't finish what he starts. So it was no surprise to me that this blog didn't even last a year. At work I've gone from 30 hours a week to 50 hours a week so my free time has dwindled down to nearly nothing. So a full blown comeback is very likely out of the question. But, for the moment, I'm coming out of retirement to work on a project.

THE 100 GREATEST RED SOX OF ALL TIME

That's right.

There are many ambitious bloggers out there who take a look at their favorite team and undertake the process of putting up their 100 greatest players of all time on their blog, but I'm aiming higher. I don't want the 100 greatest Red Sox on my blog. I want the same list of the 100 greatest Red Sox on every single Red Sox blog on the internet from one as small as this one to the biggest one out there. I've already contacted many of my fellow bloggers and there are several who are willing to contribute. Who's on board?

Over the Monster
The Phoenix
Sox Prospects
Sox1Fan
Starting Aces
Firebrand of the AL
Joy of Sox
Peter's Red Sox Forever
LJ's official Red Sox community

If anyone at all in the vast world of the internet also wants on board with this then drop me a line at 100greatestsox @ gmail.com. There will be more details in upcoming days.



The four stories of the off-season

2006-03-27T10:04:24.800-05:00

The off-season is rarely a good time. I mean, unless Theo Epstein is having Thanksgiving dinner with Curt Schilling or Josh Beckett is searching the classifieds for a place to stay in Boston, there's not a whole lot to like about it. There's no baseball on TV, the weather outside sucks, and the littlest issue becomes a front page story. This October-March the headlines were littered with stories about Theo Epstein, Manny Ramirez, David Wells, and Johnny Damon. I avoided most of those stories because I, quite honestly, don't care. For the most part they were, and still are, non-issues. But they were a part of the offseason and I did say that I was going to give a little review of the offseason, so here we go. I'll give you four paragraphs about the offseason's four big stories. Nobody actually thought that Theo Epstein was going to leave the team. We all figured that it was a sure thing that he'd be back. The deadline was approaching and the papers were reporting that a deal was close. So we were all pretty surprised when Theo said that he wouldn't be back. Why? We never did get any clear reasons. We all blamed Larry Luchino and the curly-haired boyfriend, but we were never given any actual reasons as to why Theo and the Sox parted ways. Theo Epstein was the only GM in the last 86 years to bring our team a World Series win so it was only natural that most Sox fans were getting a little nervous. Personally I saw no real reason to worry. Epstein has done a great job with the Sox, sure, but he's not the only guy in the front office. He has the final say, but he has surrounded himself by so many intelligent baseball people that his departure was not the end of the world. The only time I was even a little nervous about our situation was when the Jim Bowden rumors were floating around. When the Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington were promoted I was pretty happy. They were part of the team that advised Theo. They're both smart guys who know what they're doing. They know the system, they know the Red Sox philosophy, and they weren't about to turn the bus around and go in the opposite direction. They would've done just fine. Then Theo came back. Whatever. As far as I'm concerned, everything is back to normal and all the stories and all the whining done on WEEI was for nothing. The two GMs made several moves while Theo was away and they were all good ones. The question came up, "How would things have been if Theo had never left? Would he have made those moves?". The answer to those questions is easy and obvious. Things would've went the same as they did go. And Theo would've acted just as the dual headed GM monster did. What about Manny? Personally I don't like the guy. The whole "Manny being Manny" thing makes me sick. His lack of hustle, constant mood changes, kid-like tantrums, and even his hair are a disgrace. He does have one saving grace, however. His swing. I'm glad he wasn't traded. I never actually thought that he was going to be traded. He only has a few more years left on his contract and the money he's still owed isn't a huge deal to the team like the Red Sox. But there are few teams out there who would be willing to take it on. Any deal that involved moving Manny would've left the Red Sox getting less than face value in return and I really don't think that the Sox were willing to do something like that. He's one of the game's best hitters and he can single handedly turn an average line up into a good one. When the line up is already good as the Red Sox line up is he makes it a great one. Boston took a few hits to their offense during the offseason, but they're still one of the top run scoring teams in the game and a large part of that is thanks to the return of Manny Ramirez. As for him not showing up to spring training with the rest of the team...well, you have to be a real jackass to actually care that he showed up on time, a few days after the rest of the team. Johnny Damon sold out. Anyone surprised? I'm not. Have you ever read the guy's book? I do not recommend it. [...]



Off-season overview

2006-03-26T19:33:17.476-05:00

We all knew going into this winter that it was going to be a big one. There hasn't been a quiet off-season since Theo came into town and we were prepared for a lot of stuff to go down. Even being ready for it, there were a lot of moves that caught us off guard and there was even more turnover than we thought there was going to be. The team lost Kevin Millar, Mike Myers, Bill Mueller, and Johnny Damon to free agency. They also made four pretty bid trades to shake things up a bit and fill in the holes. I'd like to make up for lost time and get into those moves before the season starts, but first here's a quick recap of how the off-season went down.

10/15/05 - Released Adam Hyzdu. Sent Chad Harville, Mike Stanton, and Jeremi Gonzalez outright to Pawtucket. All three refused the assignments and became free agents.

11/02/05 - resigned Mike Timlin to a one year deal

11/18/05 - released Gabe Kapler

11/24/05 - Traded Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado, and Harvey Garcia to the Florida Marlins for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota in return

12/01/05 - Traded a player to be named later to the Chicago Cubs for Jermaine Van Buren

12/07/05 - Traded Doug Mirabelli to the San Diego Padres for Mark Loretta

12/08/05 - Selected Jamie Vermilyea in the Rule 5 Draft. Traded Edgar Renteria and cash to the Atlanta Braves for Andy Marte

12/14/05 - The Los Angelos Dodgers signed Bill Mueller to a two year deal

12/15/05 - The New York Yankees signed Mike Myers to a two year deal

12/20/05 - Signed Rudy Seanez to a one year deal. Tony Graffanino accepted arbitration. Non tendered Wade Miller and Chad Bradford making them free agents

12/23/05 - Signed John Flaherty to a one year deal

12/23/05 - The New York Yankees signed Johnny Damon to a four year deal

01/06/06 - signed JT Snow to a one year deal

01/12/06 - The Baltimore Orioles signed Kevin Millar to a one year deal

01/12/06 - signed Julian Tavarez to a two year deal

01/19/06 - signed Bronson Arroyo to a three year deal. Signed Willie Harris to a minor league contract t

01/27/06 - Traded Andy Marte, Kelly Shoppach, Guillermo Mota, and a player to be named to the Cleveland Indians for Coco Crisp, David Riske, and Josh Bard

02/06/06 - Designated Roberto Petagine for assignment and lost him to the Seattle Mariners

03/20/06 - Traded Bronson Arroyo and cash to the Cincinati Reds for Wily Mo Pena

03/24/06 - claimed Hee-Seop Choi off waivers

And who could forget the big stories of the '05-'06 off-season....

- The Theo Epstein/front office dance.

- The Manny Ramirez trade demand/I hate Boston tantrum/permission to arrive on time to spring training.

- David Wells being a big, fat ass.

- Johnny Damon taking a shot at the Red Sox every time someone puts a mic in front of him...But really, he's moved on. He swears.



Arroyo for Pena

2006-03-21T00:14:17.696-05:00

Sometimes I wish I had the drive to update this every day and keep up with it. But I do get bored easily and I'm the type to move from project to project, never having finished the last project that I was working on. After a little while posting here I felt I had to post every day. It became to feel more like a job than a fun hobby. So I gave it up. Times like these, however, make me want to come out of retirement.

It has been one hell of an offseason for the Sox. We've all heard how it's been a very turbulent one and that there is too much turnover. Some of you have probably even thought that yourselves. There's even that laughable little theory going around out there where people are saying that the Blue Jays are better than the Sox. To me this has been one of the best offseasons for the Sox in a very long time. They have made trade after trade, improving the team and getting the better end of the deal every single time. They've signed some low risk players who have the potential to help the team while allowing Damon to walk. They've improved their defense, added depth to their pitching, and became a younger team. Their offense may not be a record setting machine anymore, but they are still top five in the league. They are going to score some runs. They're a better team than last year. There's no logical way that anyone can dispute that.

Today the Sox made another step to improve the team. From out of nowhere it was announced that the Red Sox dealt Bronson Arroyo to the Reds for Wily Mo Pena. Pena isn't my first choice in Reds outfielders (the thought of Adam Dunn in a Sox uniform makes me giddy), but for Bronson Arroyo? I will certainly take that deal. Is Pena a star? No. He's a one dimensional player who doesn't take a walk, isn't very good on the bases, and doesn't play very good defense. But he sure can hit the ball hard. His best asset? His ability to crush lefties. He's the perfect platoon partner for Trot Nixon. All the Sox had to give up in return was Bronson Arroyo, Boston's most overrated "star".

Today is a good day for Sox fans. So long, Bronson! Take a few pink hat wearing fan girls with you on your way out, please. And hello, Wily! You'll love it here.



Josh Beckett's 4.08 ERA

2005-11-30T10:25:22.270-05:00

What can we expect from Josh Beckett? Some say he's an injury prone youngster who is never going to reach his potential. Some say there are a lot of factors working against him in the move to Boston. Some say he's an ace and that he's going to lead the team to a damn good season in 2006. What do I think? As a Sox fan I'm a bit biased and more inclined to think that he's going to have a hell of a year (and possibly a hell of a career) for the Sox, but there really are some things working against the guy. The way I see it, there are two big things that are working against Beckett next year. One, he's moving to the AL and two, he's leaving a pitcher's park. You'd think that going from Florida's defense to Boston's defense would also negatively affect him, but based on the number of balls in play turned into outs last year, Boston's defense was only very slightly worse than Florida's. The change shouldn't be significant enough to affect Beckett all that much. Let's take a look at a few numbers to see how Josh Beckett would've done if he had pitched for the Red Sox in 2005. First, let's see some real numbers. In 2005 he had a 3.38 ERA, a 3.08 ERC, a 3.42 dERA, and a 3.45 RCERA. ERA is the normal measure of earned runs given up over 9 innings pitched that we all know and love. ERC is a statistic that measures what a pitcher's ERA is expected to be based on the hits and walks he gives up. dERA is based on the work done by Voros McCracken and measures a pitcher's ERA based entirely on the statistics that a pitcher controls and the defense does not (K's, BB's, HR's, and HBP's). RCERA is a pitcher's ERA based on the Runs Created by the batters facing the pitcher. All four are relatively close to each other and it should be possible to tailor the last three stats to see how he would've performed in the AL in a hitter's park. I started off by park adjusting the number of doubles, triples, home runs, and hits that Beckett allowed at home. I used the park indices in the Bill James Handbook to calculate the number of those four stats that he would've allowed had he pitched half his games in Fenway instead of in Dolphins Stadium. Then I plugged those new numbers into the formulas for ERC, dERA, and RCERA. His numbers for those three went up to an ERC of 3.25, a dERA of 3.46, and a RCERA of 3.68; an increase of 0.17, 0.04, and 0.23 respectively. Judging by those three numbers we could probably expect Beckett's ERA to increase anywhere between 0.04 and 0.23 points giving him an ERA anywhere between 3.42 and 3.61 had he pitched in Fenway park. But what about the effects of the DH? In 2005 Beckett held number 9 hitters to a .121/.188/.172, very similar to the line NL pitchers combined for in 2005, .150/.180/.190. My methods are far from perfect, but just for fun let's replace the 63 pitcher plate appearances against Josh Beckett with 80 DH appearances, assuming that the DH would be batting higher in the order, therefore getting more plate appearances. The average DH in the AL put up a .260/.335/.444 line in 2005. As a little side note, Baltimore DH's, lead mostly by Jay Gibbons, Sammy Sosa, Javy Lopez, and Raphael Palmeiro, had a .210/.277/.362 line. That was, by far, the worst in the AL despite the fact that they outslugged Oakland DH's by .010. But anyways, let's figure out ERC, dERA, and RCERA while keeping his stats park adjusted for Fenway, but adding in the effects of a DH. Doing that changes his numbers more than I expected. His ERC jumped to 3.87, his dERA to 3.82, and his RCERA to 4.36; a change over his original numbers by 0.79, 0.40, and 0.91 respectively.The average change in the three stats I looked at and adjusted was 0.70 after adjusting for Fenway and replacing 63 pitcher plate appearances with 80 DH ones. What do all these numbers mean? Well, going by my math (which, I'll admit is a little bit shaky, but it might be a good estimation), Josh Beckett would've had a 4.08 ERA had he been with [...]



Is Fenway really a hitter's park?

2005-11-27T23:56:57.286-05:00

One of the concerns that some Sox fans have about Josh Beckett is the fact that he's going from a pitcher's park to a hitter's park. Sure enough, in 2005 Beckett posted a 2.47 ERA in Florida while putting up a 4.31 ERA on the road. Over the course of the last 3 years he's had a 2.87 ERA at home with a 4.10 ERA on the road. So we can probably expect an increase in his ERA because he is going from a pitcher's park to a hitter's park.

I figured I'd check to see how much of a pitcher's park they have down there in Miami compared to Fenway. According to the Bill James Handbook, over the last three years the park index for runs scored in Dolphins Stadium is 90. A 90 means that 10% fewer runs are scored in Marlins games at home compared to Marlins games on the road. A 100 would mean that the park is neutral in terms of offense. Fenway has a 10% swing the other way with a 110 park index for runs over the last 3 years. Something is a little off when you look at Fenway splits, however. Red Sox opponents scored 1059 runs against them in 216 Fenway games. In 216 Red Sox away games their opponents scored 1060 runs. In Fenway, Sox opponents combined for a .264/.317/.422 line compared to a .267/.324/.424 line against the Sox away from Fenway. So Sox opponents were actually very slightly better on the road then they were in Fenway. So why is Fenway considered to be such a hitter's park? Well, over the last 3 years the Red Sox have scored 1343 runs in Fenway while scoring only 1122 on the road. They have a very impressive .297/.372/.492 line in Fenway over the last 3 years compared to a .265/.335/.440 line. In other words, the 10% increase in run production at Fenway park is entirely because of the Red Sox and Fenway is actually a neutral park for opposing line ups.

The fact that Fenway isn't a hitter's park for the away team's line up will make things a bit easier for Josh Beckett, but it does raise a few questions as to why Fenway only seems to help Boston. Does the crowd pump them up that much? Are they so used to everyone expecting them to do better at home that they step up their game that much? There are a lot of people who say that a hitter is built for Fenway or has the perfect swing for Fenway. Guys like Bill Mueller and Nomar Garciaparra are said to be Fenway type hitters. Are the Sox able to spot the type of hitter that will do well at Fenway and do they stack their line up with these guys? I know Kevin Millar loves to put the ball in foul ground. Maybe the fact that there is no foul ground at Fenway helps the guy out. I really don't know if there's any one factor that boosts Boston's offense so much when they're in Fenway.



Some common myths

2005-10-18T10:01:03.686-04:00

Here's just a few quick hits to dispell some myths going around Red Sox Nation.

- Manny Ramirez isn't going to be traded.
- Theo Epstein is not an essential piece to the Red Sox puzzle.
- Jon Papelbon is not the second coming of Roger Clemens.
- The Sox aren't going to sign Hideki Matsui, AJ Burnett, -and- Paul Konerko. They likely won't sign any of the three.

I'll go into detail about those points as the week progresses, except for that last point. That last one is just common sense.



Long time, no talk, eh?

2005-07-17T23:04:48.276-04:00

I thought I was going to still update this while I posted at Over the Monster, but apparently I lied. I've been having a lot of fun over there with the format and with more feedback that comes from the increased hits. What I'm not having fun with is the Red Sox themselves. This team isn't even treading water like the pre-August 2004 version was. This team is sinking. It sucks to watch them get beat by the Yankees in 3 out of 4. Even a 17-1 win didn't make that series any more fun.

Well, I'm back to Over the Monster. Just figured I'd check in.



A new place to post

2005-06-20T23:14:09.790-04:00

As the season has gone on I've been more and more sporadic with my posting. I've even been watching less and less baseball. I do love baseball, but I have the attention span of a five year old and a baseball season is a long time. The only posts I've actually been able to muster the energy for have been minor league posts. That's why I was pretty excited when Randy Booth, from Over the Monster asked me to start writing minor league updates for his site. So now I'll be doing my minor league reports, as well as other minor league related news and notes over there at Over the Monster. I hope to start using this site more for its original purpose. When I first started I wanted Friendly Fenway to mostly be about me and my experiences, thoughts, and opinions on baseball, but it quickly shifted over to mostly a reporting type site. So my posting here will likely get more sporadic and more oriented on me. The bulk of my baseball writing is now going to be at Over the Monster. I already made my first post there today, talking about the Paw Sox.

Nothing's over, I just need something to drink. Errr...I mean, nothing's over. I'm just moving most of my thoughts over to there. The benefits to this is that I get to get more in depth with minor league ball, don't have to post here if I don't want to, and I'll be posting to an audience that's about 5 times bigger than the one I get here. Plus, Randy promised me riches beyond my wildest of dreams! But I don't think he'll come through on that.

I'm going to be taking down the standings, MVP watch, and last 5 games. I haven't really been updating any of them on a regular basis and I think that with this moves, those would become even less up to date.



They could've had yesterday if it wasn't for that meddling bullpen

2005-06-19T10:51:02.870-04:00

I think last night showed one thing. John Halama and Alan Embree don't deserve a job. It had been nearly a week since either of them had pitched. In that week the Sox were on fire. They were brought in last night and things fell apart. They were both lucky to have allowed only one run. Embree wasn't horrible because he wasn't left in long enough to screw things up. Halama, on the other hand, came very close to blowing the game wide open. He managed to work himself out of the 1 out, bases loaded jam that he created and escaped the inning with only one loss. The offense, scoring zero runs, was obviously a problem too, but they are not a consistant problem. Embree and Halama, on the other hand, are. The rotation is settling in, for now, the closer is coming around, and the offense never had a problem. The bullpen needs some serious work, however. I think that in all the blind faith we've placed in Theo Epstein, few people have realized that the guy can't build a bullpen. The cast of charactors that he's brought in to pitch out of the bullpen has been pretty bad.

Wanna know what the worst thing about Tivo is? It doesn't record an entire baseball game. I missed out on the bottom of the 9th last night. Luckily nothing happened. I'm going to have to start recording the post-game show just in case the game runs over from now on.



Meet the catchers

2005-06-17T11:24:59.166-04:00

The Sox did exactly what they were supposed to in the last few days and that's beat up on the Reds starters and win the games. What came as a little surprise was the dominance of the Red Sox starters. The team has almost made it through a full turn in the rotation with each pitcher throwing a gem. Wade Miller hopes to make it a complete turn through the rotation against the Pirates tonight. This is another series that the Sox should be able to take.Earlier in the week I posted a list of the top ten catching prospects in baseball. Since this is a Red Sox site I figured I'd have a list, in no particular order, of the catchers in the Red Sox system. They have a solid catching core at the top consisting of Varitek, Mirabelli, and Shoppach, but below that they really don't have much of anything. But I listed them all anyways. Here is a list of all the organization's catchers from the majors to low-A Greenville. Jason Varitek - Over the last couple of seasons Varitek has catapulted himself towards the top of the list of best catchers in baseball. Very few in the game are more respected than the man that the Red Sox have behind the plate. While I am a little worried that he's getting to be overrated, it's hard not to like the guy. I just don't want him to turn into a Red Sox version of Captain Intangibles. Either way, the guy is good and is entrenched behind the plate for quite a while making life a little bit grim for a catcher in the Red Sox system. Doug Mirabelli - Not only do the Red Sox have the best starting catcher in the league, but they also have one of the best back ups. No one has ever seen how Mirabelli would handle a full workload behind the plate, but many believe that he could be a starting catcher on half the teams out there. His numbers are way down this year compared to last year and not just because of the few weeks that he lost to injury. I think he just hasn't had the playing time to start coming around yet. Kelly Shoppach - The trend doesn't stop with two of the best at the major league level. Kelly Shoppach is a name listed near the tops of most people's top catching prospects list. Shoppach is known mostly for his defense and for the power in his bat. He strikes out a lot and, like most catchers, can't run, but he produces some pretty solid numbers. He struggled at the plate last year, but after having a little while to adjust, he's doing just fine this year. He does have a low batting average at .264, but walks enough for a .374 OBP and his 11 homers and 8 doubles in 148 AB's give him a very respectable .541 SLG. He could be trade bait or he could be injury insurance. He could be a very valueable piece to the organization. Shawn Wooten - Wooten was a non roster invitee to spring training this year, signed to add a little bit of depth and major league experience to the club. When he's not backing up Shoppach behind the plate, he's in the line up in Pawtucket at either first or DH. So far the signing has not been a good one as his .232/.291/.394 line in 203 AB's shows how much he's struggling. He was the 501st selection of the 93 amature draft by Detroit. He's also been part of the Angels and Phillies organization. He's had some good years at the minor league level, but so far at the age of 33, he's never put it together in the bigs despite getting a few shots. Alberto Concepcion - Concepcion is known more for his defensive skills than for his light bat. He's hitting .269/.321/.366 as Portland's primary catcher and hits at the bottom of the line up. He hit the ball well in his senior year at USC going .363/.466/.637, but so far at the age of 24 he hasn't hit the ball all that well. He was a second round pick by the Padres coming out of highschool, but decided to attend college instead and fell to the 21st roun[...]



Ready to trust Wells? Not yet.

2005-06-15T13:36:12.806-04:00

All over Red Sox Nation people are actually looking forward to the next start from David Wells. After last night's 7 inning, 1 hit performance, I can't say I blame them, but I'm not sold yet. He's had a couple of great starts this year, but then he's reverted right back to getting hammered the next start. This is the first time he's put together such a long streak of good starts, but I need a little bit more to get me to look forward to him. Maybe it's a case of numbers though. As Soxaholix pointed out, since Wells switched numbers with Edgar Renteria he has won 3 out of the 4 games he's started. His ERA is down to 4.54 from 6.81, his command has been perfect, and he's going deep into games. But I still have my doubts.

So far so good in this series. The Sox are doing what they're supposed to do and that's beating Cininati's bad pitchers. Tonight will be a little more challenging when they send out their surprise ace, Aaron Harang. I can feel a sweep though. I think the Sox will get it done.



Top 10 catchers

2005-06-13T12:22:27.493-04:00

Since I started doing the Red Sox minor league updates here every week I started to learn some other names and I started gaining more interest in minor league baseball in general. With the help of some of the posters at John Sickle's Minor League Ball I started compiling lists of the top posistion playing prospects out there. If you're just here for Red Sox news today, might as well skip this one. Here's my list of the top ten catching prospects and the numbers that they have up until last Friday. If I knew how to make a nifty little HTML table, I would, but for now you're going to have to settle with some pretty bad formatting. I didn't add any commentary because most comments that I have for the guys would either be taken directly from Baseball America's Prospect Handbook or they would be based on the stats that you can see for yourself.

Name - age/club - AVG/OBP/SLG/R/RBI/2B/3B/HR/SO/BB/SB/CS

1. Brian McCann - 21/ATL - .265/.359/.476/27/26/13/2/6/26/25/2/3 in 166 AB's/48 games in AA. He was recently called up to the big league club.

2. George Kottaras - 22/SD - .299/.385/.433/24/25/13/0/4/34/25/1/1 in 187 AB's/50 games in high-A

3. Kelly Shoppach - 25/BOS - .279/.392/.471/30/28/8/0/11/43/21/0/0 in 140 AB's/40 games in AAA. Just finished up a short stint in Boston.

4. Ryan Doumit - 24/PIT - .345/.415/.630/41/35/11/0/12/36/16/1/3 in 165 AB's/50 games in AAA. Currently in Pittsburg

5. Russ Martin - 22/LAD - .308/.442/.418/35/34/8/0/4/23/37/7/3 in 182 AB's/57 games in AA

6. Kurt Suzuki - 21/OAK - .275/.403/.455/41/23/13/3/5/31/34/3/2 in 189 AB's/51 games in high A

7. Jeff Mathis - 22/LAA - .263/.330/.500/32/27/12/1/8/34/16/2/1 in 160 AB's/43 games in AAA

8. Ryan Garko - 24/CLE - .263/.343/.488/40/31/12/2/10/35/20/0/1 in 205 AB's/56 games in AAA

9. Josh Willingham - 26/FLA - .343/.474/.759/48/47/11/2/18/37/37/4/1 in 166 AB's/50 games in AAA

10. Dioner Navarro - 21/LAD - .300/.414/.429/19/16/6/0/4/13/26/1/2 in 140 AB's/44 games in AAA

The Red Sox representative on this list is, of course, Kelly Shoppach. With his performance this year Shoppach is moving up on a lot of people's lists. He wasn't too impressive in his short big league stint, but his numbers in Pawtucket are very impressive. His defense is another plus that many people seem to like. The only problem is that this year is likely Shoppach's last year on this list. Once he hits the ripe old age of 26 it's going to be harder to consider the guy a prospect. He's wasting away his career in AAA, but as a Sox fan I don't really mind. I don't want to see him moved unless the Red Sox can get a really good deal. It's good for them to have him waiting in case Mirabelli or Tek goes down. Depth is something that the Sox have had a lot of in the last few years and it's something that a rich baseball team really should have.



The Cubs

2005-06-13T01:23:20.473-04:00

I don't like the Cubs. I don't like how they are compared to the Sox. I don't like how their fans always claimed to have suffered more than Sox fans. I never liked Sammy Sosa, but I guess that point is moot now. I hate Dusty Baker. I don't think they will EVER get 30 starts a piece in the same season from Wood and Prior. Really, I just all around don't like that team and I really wish that people would stop referring to them and their fans as cousins to Red Sox Nation. Both teams have been around awhile, they both have old stadiums, and until last year they had both gone a while without a World Series victory. That's about all they have in common. The Red Sox have typically always been a good team. They won the games, they just never went all the way. The Cubs have always just sucked. The Red Sox have an intelligent front office running their team. The Cubs don't. Boston fans are die-hard, faithful fans who stick with the team through thick and thin. Cubs fans flock to the stadium because, really, what the hell else is there to do in Illinois? I think I've grown bitter over the last few days watching the Red Sox suck it up and reading some Cub fans' comments that pissed me off. So maybe that's affecting my judgement. But I really don't like the Cubs. And they are in no way "cousins" to the Sox.

Soxaholix agrees.

The Sox are starting to develope a little pattern it seems. They start off a series with two embarrassing wins before a strong pitching performance allows them to keep a little bit of dignity. On paper tomorrow should break that trend. Matt Clement takes on Eric Milton and the Reds. That is the definition of an easy win. So chances are good that the Sox will blow it.

In roster movement news, Doug Mirabelli is back and as expected, Kelly Shoppach's stay with the team is over.



Interleague play has not been kind

2005-06-12T09:01:36.546-04:00

I had to leave when the Sox were up 4-0. Carlos Zambrano couldn't find the plate and he was getting hit hard. Trot Nixon and Bill Mueller both went deep and things were looking good. I set the Tivo to record the game and left with a good feeling. Because I had the game recording I didn't want to know what happened. So I avoided the radio. We got back home around 6. The game was still going on past 6 so the Tivo was just about to quit. So I checked out the score....it was 7-4. I sat down just in time to watch the Red Sox attempt a little come back, just to fall short. I don't even want to go back to see how the Sox managed to blow this one. I have no idea how bad Wade Miller pitched and the offense managed to go the entire game up until the 9th without scoring on a struggling starter and a weak bullpen. I'll be happy later in the week when interleague play is over and the Sox are back at home. At the moment it's not all that much fun to watch them play.



A long overdue minor league update

2005-06-10T01:11:54.126-04:00

It's been a couple of weeks since I've done a minor league update thanks to my lack of an internet connection last week so I'll try and throw in a few more details this week to make up for it. It'll be easy to do that because Pawtucket and Portland are absolutely on fire lately. I'm not going to go back to the last game I posted about because I'd be here forever, so I'll pick a point to begin from. Let's say May 30th. That's pretty much when both teams started their hot streak and that was the date of the Paw Sox game that I went to. The last two day's worth of games aren't included here because I wrote most of this two days ago.Pawtucket Red Sox (PAW 12/NOR 2, PAW 4/NOR 1, PAW 4/NOR 3, PAW 6/NOR 2, RIC 9/PAW 4, PAW 8/RIC 5, PAW 11/RIC 3, PAW 3/RIC 0)Pawtucket has outscored their oponents 60-25 in their last 9 games, winning 8 of them. That's an average of 6.7 runs scored and 2.8 runs allowed. Everything is coming together for the team. The starters have been very solid, although for the most part, not spectacular, the bullpen has done its job, and the offense is pounding the ball. The only thing the team isn't doing as good as they were before is running the bases, but that's a minor point to nitpick about. They are now 5 games over .500, in 2nd place, and are only 4 games behind the 1st place Buffalo Bisons.The biggest blow to the Sox organization when Doug Mirabelli went down with an injury wasn't in Boston itself, it was in Pawtucket. It would be downright scary to see how many runs the Paw Sox would've scored last week had they had their biggest offensive weapon, Kelly Shoppach. Shoppach is in the bigs, taking in the scenery and backing up Jason Varitek for the time being which leaves a very large hole behind the plate in Pawtucket. Jim Buckley, a 25 year old who has shown zero skills in his professional career, was riding the bench in Portland before the Sox called him up. So far in 34 AAA at bats he's putting up a .176/.317/.206 line. Sadly, that's better than he was doing in Portland. Shawn Wooten, recently back down from the big league club, went right back to his low production ways last week. He went 5-22 with 3 2b's and 4 k's while scoring twice and knocking in 0. Wooten also got in a couple of games at first when Buckley was behind the plate. Boston will survive without Mirabelli, but Pawtucket would love to get Shoppach and his .279/.392/.571 line back.Despite Shoppach not being around, the Paw Sox's production has only increased thanks, in large part, to Roberto Petaine. Petagine has been tearing the cover off of the ball putting up a .330/.430/.725 line with 9 HR and 24 RBI in only 91 AB's. He went 13-31 last week with 4 2B's and 3 HR's. Petagine's production is making the John Olerud signing look like a bad one. With his track record and current performance it's quite possible that Petagine could be outperforming both Olerud and Kevin Millar. I hope that the Sox are able to find a spot on the big league roster for Petagine sometime this year. The one time I saw him play was probably his only unimpressive game so far as he struck out twice in 4 at bats so I'd like to see what he can really do. Adam Stern is hurt again. I don't know if he's hurt or if he's "hurt", but he's currently sitting out thanks to a hamstring injury. The Red Sox are going to have to get very creative if they want to keep this Rule V pick around for the entire year, but so far have done a good job. I don't really hear about it with other teams, but with Lenny Dinardo last year and Stern this year, the Sox seem to have a tendancy of bending the rules when it comes to this kind of thing. Stern, so far, is p[...]



Drafts

2005-06-09T09:24:17.526-04:00

Jeff over at The House that Dewey Built did a little pre-draft where are they now for the 2004 draftees. If you're wondering how the Sox did with last year's draft, take a look here. Like he said, it's not an in depth analysis, but just a little blurb about each pick and where they're playing at the moment.

As for the 2005 draft, from what I hear the Sox did pretty well. To see a list of who the Sox took, Baseball America has the complete listing for every team. The most in depth analysis of the Red Sox picks that I've seen came from a livejournal user and can be found here.

There's a minor league update that was supposed to be posted yesterday that's still on its way. I guess I just got a little bit lazy with that.

As for the big league club.....even after a win I don't even feel like talking about them. They shouldn't be scuffling this bad. They won't go on a 24-2 run again like they did last year. That doesn't happen for any team every year. That's hard to do. They need to start winning games on a consistant basis and they need to start doing it now.



A lack of posts

2005-06-08T01:24:18.490-04:00

After being without the internet for a week you'd think I'd be dying to get back into posting, but it ain't happening. I know I don't want to talk about the way the Sox have been playing lately, do you? I could mention the draft, but I really don't know much about the players who were drafted. I could mentioned the Sox on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, but after seeing it for the first time tonight, I have to say that it is a really stupid show and not worth talking about. So until something good comes along, I think I'll just keep quiet. There will be a minor league update coming tomorrow though.



Gotta love the Damon heroics

2005-06-04T11:13:43.426-04:00

David Wells looked good yesterday except for one inning. There have been a few times this year where he's had a really good game going, but he had that one bad inning that made his whole night look bad. I'm not trying to defend the guy or say that he's been a huge help to the team, but I think he's going to get better and I think he's going to be able to keep the Sox in a few games this year.

Once again Keith Foulke's boxscore looked worse than his actual performance. He did let up a few singles to load the bases, but they were all just ground balls that found holes. He's coming around. I don't know if he'll be the dominant force that he was in last year's playoffs, but I'll just settle on reliable.

Edgar Renteria was finally started to get some support. After a great month of May the fans were starting to warm up to the guy. He's actually even received a few cheers this week. Of course after an 0 for 4 night with 3 k's and one of the worst errors I've ever seen a major leaguer make I think the boo birds might be back. I mean, come on, it was a pop up right to the guy. A pop up that I could've caught. And it dropped right out of his glove. His bat is coming around, but I'm still waiting for that gold glove defense that we've all heard so much about.

How bout them Yanks, eh? Six losses in a row...It's good to see them with a nice losing streak to help cancel out the hot streak they went on.



I'm back!

2005-06-03T10:33:55.253-04:00

You never realize how much you rely on your cable company until they are taken away. It nearly killed me to go almost a week without watching any of a game on tv or reading the news online. The closest I got to seeing a game was earlier in the week when I picked up a package at a Ruby Tuesdays while at work and they had the game on. I actually had to buy newspapers to follow what was going on and find out the scores. I felt like I was in the 1920's or something! But I am back with cable tv in three different rooms and with my computer in the office and the girlfriend's laptop, I can have internet access in any room I want!For now, just a couple things. The only baseball I really got a chance to see was the Pawtucket/Norfolk game that I went to on Monday. The Paw Sox are on fire, especially against the International League South division leaders, the Norfolk Tides. The Sox are riding a five game winning streak and they just plain pounded the Tides on Monday winning 12-2. It was my first look at Adam Stern who went 2-5 in the game with 3 RBI's. My friend and I joked that now that he's making his rehab from the DL, he's going to have to have an "injury" again if the Sox want to keep him around. Sure enough, the next day I hear reports that Stern tweaked his hamstring. I don't know if it's an actual injury or some Rule 5 rule bending, but it's going to take a lot of creativity if the Sox want to keep him around all year, especially since there's really no room for the guy on the big league club. The biggest news of the night was the manager/third base coach for Pawtucket. It was very un-Sveum like when Ron Johnson actually held runners up at third and didn't run the team out of rallies. As my friend Kellen screamed out, that guy needs to be promoted to Boston.Yesterday's game was a great game to see as my first game back in the cable world. What else can you say except for the fact that David Ortiz is frickin' amazing. Out of all the moves that Theo Epstein has ever made from the trading for Byung-Hyun Kim to the Thanksgiving dinner with Curt Schilling, the Ortiz signing was, in my opinion, his best move. The game was almost lost by Keith Foulke, but it was another example where the boxscore looked worse than the actual game. His command was a little lacking, but the only mistake he made was one walk. The hit to lead off the inning was a soft rolling ball that Kevin Youkilis made a really good play on, but David Newhan beat it out by half a step. A steal and a bunt later and Newhan stood on third. Miguel Tejada was walked intentionally so now Foulke looks like he has allowed a walk and a hit when in fact the walk was intentional and the hit was pretty weak. Foulke then made his only mistake by walking Sammy Sosa to load the bases. Rafael Palmeiro was next up and hit what could have been an inning ending double play ball, but he just beat out the throw at first allowing Newhan to score on a fielder's choice. Small ball nearly won the game for the Orioles before Ortiz showed them that the Sox don't need no stink' small ball to win games although Edgar Renteria did lay down a perfect bunt for a base hit. So Foulke's boxscore line looked bad and he continued his struggles, but last night was mostly just a case of bad luck and good baseball strategy.[...]



Bleck

2005-05-26T22:31:54.966-04:00

Apparently Toronto is the new Baltimore.

How bout those 4th place Boston Red Sox?

Tonight is my last night at the old apartment and I'll be without cable (internet and tv) until Thursday. With the way things are going I'm almost glad that I won't be able to see the Sox for a few days.



Minor League Update

2005-05-25T23:58:45.360-04:00

I'm in the process of packing and moving so it's been tougher to find time to post. I'll likely be without the internet for nearly a week starting on Friday so it will be a little tough for me to keep up with any of this at all. But, until then, here's a quick minor league update. I really like doing the minor league updates because it helps me to keep up with what's going on down on the farm and it's information that many fans in Red Sox Nation don't really know. Everyone watches the major league games and there are a dozen Sox blogs out there that analyze every game. Most of them do a better job than me. But only a few blogs out there talk about the minor leagues. Pawtucket Red Sox (PAW 13/IND 2, IND 3/PAW 1, PAW 9/IND 3, IND 8/PAW 6, PAw 14/NOR 4, PAW 9/NOR 5, NOR 9/PAW 4, PAW 3/NOR 2)The Paw Sox started off their season with a 4 game series against the Indianapolis Indians and they were swept by the Pirates' AAA team. The Paw Sox started the week off with another 4 game series against the very same team, now the top team in the International League. This time the results were a little different as the Sox managed to split the four game set. They were beat by Zach Duke and Ian Snell, the two top pitchers in the Pirates organization. So at least things are looking better for the Sox than they were at the begining of the year. After holding their own against the Indians the Sox went on to take 3 out of 4 from another top International League team, the Norfolk Tides. The Sox are now only one game below .500 and are climbing out of the cellar with a 22-23 record. Neither Roberto Petaine or John Olerud are prospects by any stretch of the imagination, but both are in AAA hoping for a shot at the major league level. Petagine has played in 10 games and has put up a .244/.367/.707 line with 5 homers in 41 AB. He's walking at a good rate and hitting the ball hard. His average is a little low, but if a couple of balls had bounced the other way his line would be great. Olerud was crushing the ball in extended spring training and in his first start against real competition he hit a home run, went 1 for 4, and made a good play in the field at first. Olerud has been told that he'll be in Pawtucket for 7-10 days before being called up so it looks like Petagine won't get a fair shot. Unless, of course the Sox do something about Kevin Millar. But if the Sox won't sit Millar for the hotter hitting Kevin Youkilis, then there really is no way they'd do something with him to make room for Petagine. It's good to have depth though, at least. Justin Sherrod was the offensive star of the week for the Sox going 9-20 with five doubles and 5 RBI. Kelly Shoppach hit another home run, doubled 3 times and knocked in 6 runners, but his week had a lot of bad news. Shoppach went a solid 7 for 27, but struck out 12 times to bring his yearly total to 40 K's in 133 AB. He trails only Sherrod (43) and George Lombard (54) on the team with K's. Cla Meredith logged a couple of outings over the week including a perfect 2 inning performance to get his first win. He was shaky in his first appearance after his major league poundings, letting up a few hits, but he seems to be back on track. Portland Sea Dogs (POR 5/ERI 3, POR 1/ERI 0, BOW 4/POR 1, BOW 2/POR 1, BOW 4/POR 0)Chris Smith had an impressive first start coming off the DL last week and followed it up this week with an even better start. He earned his first win of the year against Erie going 7 scoreless innings, whil[...]



A few things about the weekend

2005-05-24T11:13:10.980-04:00

Did you know that Jason Varitek has homered on five straight May 20ths? His homer on Friday was his ninth of the year and the fifth consecutive year that he has hit at least one home run on May 20th. Now that's just weird. It was a good season for the Sox. Typically they struggle in interleague play and, for some reason, they've always had trouble against the Braves. Over the weekend thanks to two very solid outings by Matt Clement and Wade Miller the Sox took two out of three. Time Wakefield has regressed a bit this season after a fantastic start and is now putting up numbers more along the lines of his career norm. I don't want to sound down on the guy because he has been very solid for a very long time for the Red Sox, but I don't think anyone really expected him to keep his ERA below 3.00 and pitch like a staff ace for the entire year. He's dependable. He's solid. But he's not an ace. Clement and Miller, on the other hand, both have the potential to be very good starters and both showed that potential over the weekend. I already mentioned Miller, but I'm even more impressed with Clement. Clement has been good all season, but in nearly every one of his starts he walked a few guys and got deep in a lot of counts. It seems like his pitch count hit 100 every time the fifth inning rolled around. On Sunday he didn't walk a batter and he was mowing down the Atlanta offense with ruthless efficiency. He gave the Red Sox their first complete game of the season and so far the man has not lost a start now that he's up to a 5-0 record. Red Sox Nation still has mixed feelings about the guy, but as I've mentioned several times before, I think he'll do great this year. His outing on Sunday was just him getting the ball rolling. Is Manny Ramirez breaking out of his slump? It's hard to tell after one game, but Manny was hitting the ball hard to the opposite field all day on Sunday and that resulted in a 3-5 day with his 11th homer of the year. Apparently he has been having problems with outside pitches lately and he has been working on driving those pitches to the opposite field. He was able to do just that and 4 out of the 5 balls he put into play were sent to right field. I'm not a batting coach and I don't know how to analyze a swing, but I think Manny is about to go on a tear. He has been too quiet for too long and I think he's going to break out this week. What is it about the Red Sox and rookie starters? I don't have the statistical evidence to back it up, but it seems like every time the Red Sox face an inexperience starter, they get shut down. Kyle Davies is another example of this. On Saturday Davies shut out the Red Sox for five innings, striking them out 6 times. The Red Sox still managed to score five runs, but they did allthe damage after Davies was taken out of the game. It seems like the Red Sox approach of waiting for the right pitch and then hammering it would work well against an inexperienced pitcher, but it never seems to. Tonight David Wells takes on the Toronto Blue Jays. The last time he did that he allowed back to back to back home runs. I'm not exactly confident that the Red Sox will get the win tonight, how about you?[...]



yesterday's news and notes

2005-05-21T10:01:11.376-04:00

Now that is the Wade Miller that Sox fans were all hoping for. He earned his first win of the year with his best start of the year. With the top two starters in the Sox rotation down, one with injuries and one with a severe case of suck, the Wade Miller signing is looking better and better. I don't mention Mike Timlin nearly enough here and I think that's the case with Sox coverage everywhere. The guy hardly ever gets any attention despite the amazing season he's having. He's on pace to have the best year of his very long career and helped that along last night with 1.2 innings of perfect baseball. The last time he allowed a run was on April 16th. He's giving the Sox that brilliant set up man that several of the really good clubs have. That's something that the Sox have been lacking for a while. They've had decent bullpens, but never the automatic scoreless innings pitched that Timlin has been giving them every time he touches the ball. If only we could say as much about Keith Foulke. The optimistic Red Sox fans are saying that they're not worried about the guy. They're saying that he'll come around. He's too good not to come around. Well, he's not coming around. He made last night's game far too close for comfort. There was a little blurb in this week's Sports Weekly saying that several of Keith Foulke's friends believe his struggles this year are related to his pending divorce. If that's the case, just shoot the bitch and let's move on. The Red Sox have too much riding on Keith Foulke to let off field issues get in the way. Whatever the reason behind his pitching is, the fact remains that the guy has sucked this year. The only good thing one can say about the 3 hits and 2 runs he let up in last night's game is that at least, this time, he didn't let up a home run. Johnny Damon and Jason Varitek remain on fire, which is good because Manny Ramirez went 0 for the night once again, bringing his average down to .230. I don't think I'm too worried about Manny yet. I'm not sure why Foulke has me cringing every time he is on the field, but I still have faith in Manny, but that's the way it is for me. I'm positive that Manny will break out of it. He's still hitting the ball for power, he's just not getting the base hits. He's striking out 25.9% of the time, which is high, but he's had those kind of strike out numbers before in his career. His strike out percentage fluctuates a lot from year to year so it's hard to tell if he'll start making better contact, but I'm confident enough to say that even if he remains at this strikeout level he'll be able to raise his average at least to the .280-.300 range. Manny, for the most part, is getting the job done. He's still knocking in the runners and a .353 OBP isn't very Manny like, but it's still passable. He'll come around, but until he does Damon, Varitek, and Trot Nixon seem to have no problem carrying the team. One thing I liked about last night's line up is that Kevin Millar is slowly falling in it. He was batting seventh last night, but that's still not good enough. With Roberto Petaine crushing the ball in Pawtucket (he's only hitting .233, but already has 4 homers in 7 games), Kevin Youkilis already putting up good numbers at the major league level, and John Olerud making rehab starts, that gives 3 guys in the organization that are likely better options at first than the struggling sack of potatoes. I hope to see the guy benched in the[...]