Friday, June 29, 2018

Does "Hot" Exist?

One of the idiosyncrasies of baseball's long season is how much depends on when you play a team.  Are they banged up? On a roll? And what about your team? Hot or not?

Somebody with even more time on their hands than me should, someday, do a grand statistical analysis of how teams did when encountering "hot" or "not hot" teams, to see how that came out. They could come up with a gigantic algorithm to, well, predict baseball, previously thought to be impossible even by the greatest minds the game has produced.

The Red Sox right now are hot, which is one reason why they will sweep the Yanks handily in their own ballpark.

The Sox not only swept a pretty good Angels team, but took two of three from Seattle before that. Their pitching is perfectly aligned, and the only significant piece they're missing is the aging Dustin Pedroia, who has been out almost all season and much of last year anyway.

The Yanks' run production, by contrast, is in a month-long death spiral, and the team has significant injuries. Tanaka's hammies and Montgomery's likely career-ending TJ surgery are only the start of it.

It's hard to say exactly how banged up the team is, thanks to the Yanks' usual, paranoid secrecy that makes James Jesus Angleton seem like Jimmy Stewart by comparison. But Andujar, El Matador, is rumored to have a wrist injury, Gardy should definitely be on the DL already after not only hurting his leg but concussing himself against the wall in Philly, and while Judge has played well after jamming his thumb against the Mets, the big guy has hit only 3 homers since then and got another "rest" day in Philadelphia.

Bird's Limitless Potential has obviously not recovered from his last foot surgery, and while it may be addition-by-subtraction not to have to watch the sucking wound that is now Sanchez's game, the fact that Higgy will be behind the plate for a game this weekend gets us back to subtraction again.

Oh, and of course we will have to see Neil Walker get another start.

All that aside, though, hot or not, the fact remains that the Red Sox are simply a better ball club and a better organization.

First, it's a better balanced team.  The starting pitching is much, much deeper than the Yanks', which is critical now and will be especially critical in October.  I keep waiting for the bullpen, which I think is their big weak spot, to fall apart—but it doesn't.

All in all, the Sox score more runs than we do, 5.2-5.1; allow fewer runs, 3.67-3.76; commit fewer errors, 42-45; and steal more bases at a better rate, 60 in 73 attempts, as opposed to 33 in 45 attempts.

What's more, this is likely to be the case indefinitely.

Oh, I know that the Sox' minor-league cupboard is supposed to be bare, and Sports Illustrated, at least, thinks we have MLB's best combination of current roster and future prospects. But I believe that both those calculations are negated by Boston's superior front office, and superior coaching/management.

Dombrowski and the usual suspects up at Fenway have once again run rings around Coops, most of all by signing J.D. Martinez, a hitter light years better than Stanton. I have no idea if that's due to nature or juice, but on the field, Martinez is an all-around better bat, and when he wears out he will be gone, after his five-year contract ends.

We will still have Stanton for six more, insufferable years after that. I know, I know: I was all for the trade when it happened, and it's not like we gave up too much. But we could have developed or traded the kids, Devers and Guzman, and still dealt Castro for pitching. And...not been stuck with the  fifty-ton anchor contract of a highly streaky, one-dimensional player.

The Sox' ability to spin straw into gold also remains breathtaking. They outbid us for Moncada and then, when his development looked shaky at best, perceived that quickly enough to hand him off to the Pale Hose for the best pitcher in the league. Smart. And incidentally, anyone who thinks the Sox' farm system will not be far out ahead of ours again in about three years is sadly mistaken.

But Boston's superior front office is no revelation. What I find much more disheartening is our approach to instruction.

I don't know if it's our obeisance to the New Baseball—the idiotic, "Swing For the Fences But Don't Be Afraid to Take a Third Strike" approach we have adopted—or what. But the fact is that our players, especially our hitters, tend to quickly decline, while theirs get better.

The horrendous collapse of Gary Sanchez—and Jesus Montero before him—are only the most obvious examples. Didi is generally reverting to form, even Judge's numbers have slowly decreased, and Torres and Andujar are cooling off quicker than that cake with the green icing that Richard Harris left out in the MacArthur Park rain.

Contrast that to the progress made by Babe Benintendi and Mookie Betts. Even Jackie Bradley, Jr., has shown signs of life lately—just in time for us.

Fact is, our organization is sorely lacking in philosophy and instruction. We fill our players' heads with nonsense, and are utterly baffled when it comes to helping them adjust, once other teams have adjusted to them. What we're looking at is a great, lost chance for an incredible dynasty—sort of a general American theme these days.
 













28 comments:

Alphonso said...

If there is truth to the rumor that Andjuhar has a barking wrist, that concern invalidated further by the recent activation of Drury.

He is not here to play first base. He is here to play third.

And,as to the depth of our farm system; the depth is Frazier and McKinney now. Both outfielders. And we have little or no room for either one, until someone is seriously dinged up.

Some may give the name Sheffield, as a top prospect. Or Estevan Florial.

Okay, then, why is Sheffield still not here when we are pitching AA guys named Lasagne. Formal is hurt, so his "draw" has lessened somewhat. Not to mention that he is not near AAA. And, oh yes, he is an outfielder.

What we need ( first base, catcher, starting pitcher ), we do not have.

So I think it is more accurate to say we have a farm system that cannot help us ( except by trade), regardless of the talent evaluators. And if a farm system can't provide quality help where and when it is needed, I say it is a useless and lousy farm system.

And Cashman has never.....I say never...brought in a top flight, long-term starter, via trade.

This series against Boston will not go well unless Bird hits 4 HRs in three games.

What are the chances?

Alphonso said...

Andujar.

Alphonso said...

Is validated .

I need a proof reader.

Alphonso said...

I suc k today.

13bit said...

But a good burrito remains a thing of joy, either way, Hoss.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


To counter the suicide-inducing post by Hoss:

1. The RedSux began the season 17-2. We didn't. Yet we've drawn even with them. This has got to be depressing on their end.

2. Their big off-season acquisition, JDM, is playing great. Our biggie, GStanton, is just now hitting his stride. I'd like to have the guy who hasn't hit his stride yet -- considering both teams have pulled even.

3. NYYs have Sonny Gray, and yet are winning ballgames. This has got to be interpreted as a major positive sign.

4. The season began with Drury and Walker looking like infield starters, BUT Miggy and Gleyber got their separate chances anyway. THINK: It could be June 29th, and neither of those young guys could be (yet) with the team.....in an alternative universe. This is an unplanned positive, a discovered check!

5. The NYYs brought up a guy from AA to pitch, which seemed like giving up. He's pitching great. How good is that? Maybe something equally as positive has happened to the Sox, but it has got to put the Sox fans off their feed -- thinking that they ain't getting no damn lasagna!!!

I can come up with a bunch more, but -- this will do, won't it?

HoraceClarke66 said...

13bit: you are right as usual.

Joe FOB: yeah, El Matador and El Conquistador are the bright spots of the season, along with the kid pitchers over-performing. AND, the bullpen seems to be back in a groove, after all but coming apart for a time.

All good things—but looking at the horrendous meltdown of Sanchez, I wonder how well even our best kids will do after a time. They are already slumping. And I just find it bizarre how completely Sanchez has collapsed, and how everybody on the team pretends they're not worried about it—that it's not even going on, really.

As for Stanton, why is it that I have the feeling we are going to be writing here 10 years from now that we have hopes he is just hitting his stride? That, to quote the geniuses who created the song for "Friends," we still hope it will be his day or week or even his year?

It's not that Stanton is so awful. It's just that he's the reincarnation of Dave Kingman, a player of limited skills who goes up there, takes a big swing, and sometimes the ball goes out. Much more often, he goes out. Still, at least he seems much nicer than Kong ever did.

Or in other words, the Red Sox went out and replaced Big Papi. We went out and replaced Raul Mondesi.

Oh, and speaking of Sonny Gray, unfortunately he will be pitching this weekend. At home.

I think that, once he has finished his 2-3 inning outing, we should just designate three or four relievers and have them surrender a pint of blood apiece, then concede the game. It will be quicker that way.

Anonymous said...

Hey Hoss,

Nah! That's way, way, too bleak. Allow me to add to Joe's rebuttal and to do so I need to start with Alphonso.

"So I think it is more accurate to say we have a farm system that cannot help us ( except by trade), regardless of the talent evaluators. And if a farm system can't provide quality help where and when it is needed, I say it is a useless and lousy farm system."

OK so there's not a lot left right now but that's because our starting...

RF: ROY and MVP candidate
1B: Meh
2B: This Year's ROY
3B: Unless it goes to this guy.
C: Just missed ROY two years ago.
#1 SP: Ace and legit Cy Young candidate.
#1 Set up guy and 2 or 3 time All Star.
#2 Set up guy
#4 Starter
#5 Starter

All came from the farm. Next add our starting...

RF NL MVP
CF Better side of Meh
SS Didi!
#4 Starter

Who all came from trades for farm guys and I'd say the farm has done VERY well for us in recent years.

Now Hoss,

Are the Sox better?

"The Sox score more runs than we do, 5.2-5.1" A tenth of a run? Seems even.

"Allow fewer runs, 3.67-3.76" Not even a tenth of a run? OK, but seems even.

"commit fewer errors, 42-45" Three more errors in 81 games? OK, I cant say you're wrong but you wrote it as doom and gloom and, not trying to be an asshole but... it seems pretty much even.


They do steal more bases. I'll give you that for what it's worth (Apparently a tenth of a run a game.)

"The Sox not only swept a pretty good Angels team, but took two of three from Seattle before that." We didn't do that. We swept them both. and Seattle was hot when we did.

"All that aside, though, hot or not, the fact remains that the Red Sox are simply a better ball club and a better organization."

Last year they won the division. We ended up a game away from the Series. I'll bet they would have swapped.

As Joe said, this year they started 17-2. We caught them.

Bottom line they could sweep us. We could sweep them. (Except for the curse of McBroom) Most likely we split.

Last thing... hitting. Sanchez is not a lack of quality instruction. He is a head case who seems determined to play below his potential. Five years ago he could have taken Adderall for focus.

The kids. The league adjusts. Their hitting goes down. If they adjust back it goes up and the dance continues. Same thing happened with Bentenatendi or what ever that guy's name is.

We will be OK my friend. The season is long Boston is VERY good. So are we. So clearly Houston wins it all.

Doug K.





HoraceClarke66 said...

Doug K., good points all. And I am very hopeful that Houston's juiced pitchers will win it all. I think that's all that's standing between us and a fourth Sox ring in 15 seasons.

All of what you say is pretty accurate. But I fear that you're not looking at the trends.

Sure, we're only 1/10 of a run behind the Sox in production. But for the month of June, now nearly done, we'e scored just under 4 a game. Boston's a little off from its earlier pace—but still at just under 5 runs a game—a large and widening gap.

But it's the other trends that disturb me more.

Bird looked like a surefire all-star 3 years ago. Now he's officially chopped liver.

Sanchez is a ruin.

Didi continues to perform far below his fabulous May. Stanton shows us daily why he was MVP...of the Straight Fastball League. Even Judge's OPS is over 100 points below what it was last year, and it's fallen over 200 points since his fast start in April.

Basically, after his amazing first half in 2017, he had a great September, a terrific April 2018, a still very-good May...and now a meh June. I suspect this may be because he's injured again, but it's still not a good trend.

And, as I mentioned, even The Gold Dust Twins are moving backwards. The Gleyber is hitting just .217 over the last month. He is at .244 for the last 2 weeks, but with only 1 homer; .235 with no homers over the last week. Andujar—again, possibly ailing—is at only .152 for the past two weeks, and .105 for the last week.

Sure, there are ups and downs for rookies, and everyone else. But none of our hitters EVER seem to get better. Or, they come up, look better and better for a short time, then sink back to lower depths than ever seen before.

This leads me to think that, even in the inane universe of the New Baseball, our instruction is terrible. If there were ever a time for a Madness of Old King George moment of canning all the coaches, this would be it.

As for the farm system, well, Gary Denbo took over as VP of Player Development in 2014, and was snatched up by Derek Jeter to do the same for the Marlins. As they used to say about the "Chariots of the Gods," more than coincidence???

I would say that I've got to go prepare for a pineappling now, but a pineapple game is one that we have a chance to win. I suspect this weekend will be pineapple free. More like pie-in-the-face time.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Oh, one more prediction:

Though this series will be squandered—save for Sonny Gray's inevitable punk-out—due to lack of hitting, not pitching, Coops will seize on the resulting dismay to deal away one or two or three HITTERS—Frazier, maybe Drury, maybe Hicks—for Happ or Hapless.

He will be roundly applauded for this bold move.

Anonymous said...

Hoss,

You may be right. I may be crazy. But I just might be the lunatic...

Sorry, for the ear worm.

Yes, the loss of Denbo has given me much consternation in regards to the future. Thanks for bringing it up. It's important.

We are trending down but there was a point this season when we won like 17/18 games. You have to, as David Cone would say, kind of endlessly - revert to the mean.

At least our mean is a good one. Seriously aside from the Astros, Sox, and maybe the Indians is there anyone even close to as good?

But the issues are there as you point out.

Bird has a few weeks left to turn it around or we will find someone else. What sucks is what a black hole first base has been for us. It's supposed to be a position that is easy to fill and we just can't get it done. I mentioned an Abreu trade as a possibility a few days back. I can't imagine we rely on Bird much longer.

Stanton's looking better. Judge may be hurt or the league found a new way to mess him up. He's recovered before.

I'll tell you what I liked recently. Gleybar slapping a single the other way. I think he got homer happy. Like I said, it's all adjustments.

At this point in the year and going forward you have to like where we are and the personnel. If Walt Frazier worked for YES he would say, "We're tweaking. Not peaking."

And, if worse comes to worst, you and I can work on the Sonny Gray Pineapple Song. Oh crap, I know it... It's to the tune of the old C&H sugar commercials.

Sonny Gray
(Sonny Gray)
Starts on Sunday
(Starts on Sunday)
Goes three innings
(Goes three inning)
Gives up a ton of runs.
(gives up a ton of runs.)
Sonny Gray. Our Pineapple's just begun.

Doug K.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

I'm choosing to read this as the most sophisticated quadruple reverse bank shot JuJu post of the season, Well Played Sir, Well Played!

Crossing fingers, and hoping hoping hoping to hear salutations from The Mighty WinWarblist tonight, cut and paste!

TheWinWarblist said...

I have my pants on head. Inchoate to begin apace.

TheWinWarblist said...

GLEYBER !!!!!

TheWinWarblist said...

Andujar!! Andujar!! Andujar!! Andujar!!

BLP!! BLP!! BLP!! BLP!!



Of course we then had to listen to back-to-back and belly-to-belly. Which is so creepy that it gives me douche chills every time I hear The Master say it.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

WHOOOOOOOOO WHOOOOOOOO WHOOOOOOOOO

Anonymous said...

just read a great post on how called low strikes affect judge's performance.

http://bronx.locals.baseballprospectus.com/2018/06/26/how-much-is-aaron-judge-being-hurt-by-his-biased-strike-zone-spoiler-a-ton-and-its-an-outrage/

TheWinWarblist said...

ALL RISE YOU BASTITCHES!!! ALL RISE!!!

Ken of Brooklyn said...

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOO

TheWinWarblist said...

BYE BYE BIRDIE!?!?!?!?!? TWO HOMERS FOR BLP!!! TWO HOMERS FOR BLP!!! TWO HOMERS FOR BLP!!!


WHAT A WORLD!? WHAT A WORLD!?

TheWinWarblist said...

Wow. I love Romine, but he is regressing to the mean in a big hurry.

TheWinWarblist said...

Why? Just the fuck why? I hope everyone has latex barrier protection.

TheWinWarblist said...

As requested The Win Warblist CUTS AND PASTES AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-HaHaaHAHAHAHAA-
AAAA-AA-Ahh-AHHH-AAAHHHHH-AAaAaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHHaaaaAAHHHHHHHHHHHaaaa-ah-ah-ah-aaaaaaaaAaAaHaHaHaaaAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!!!!!!!

Ken of Brooklyn said...

Cue WinWArblistT >>>> Whoooo Hooooooo, GREAT YANKEEE WIN!!!!!!

Leinstery said...

Bird hit two homers and Shreve pitched a clean inning in the same game. The Red Sox should just trade everyone after that.

13bit said...

SOCKS SUCK SACKS, BIG HAIRY SACKS

HoraceClarke66 said...

Never been happier to be completely wrong!

Anonymous said...

Anon,

good article on judge. thanks.

Doug K,