A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Joebreidey. Show Joebreidey's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    As you can see, every position has the potenetiasl for gains over 2012, some could be wide gains. I will hope for the best, and as always, it will come down to how our rotation improves. 

    (Sidenote: I'll do a study on that soon. I think we may not be done with "upgrading" our staff.)

     

    I did the same thing, but used Bill James' projections.  We should finisih in the top-3 in OPS.

     On the rotation side, Lackey, Dempster should finish at league average ERA, maybe slightly better.  Lester and Buchholz should be well above average.  There was  a good article on this that I'll dig up.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from craze4sox. Show craze4sox's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    In response to moonslav59's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to Schumpeters-Ghost's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Last year's team lost 93 games.  Of course there is potential for improvement - I'm not sure it requires a ton of statistical analysis.

     

    [/QUOTE]

    I still think that without a major addition to our rotation, we will need a miraculous confluence of chance to occur to help us win over 86-88 games (the minimum expected to have a chance at a wildcard playoff slot).

    This is about our offense.

    The 2012 numbers were also greatly effected by the big trade and injuries to Ellsbury, CC, Middlebrooks, and AGon playing in RF. On paper, I think our offense looked better last winter than this one, so you are right: statistical analysis is not "required" to know we should get better than a team that had Loney, Lava and others dragging down the 2012 numbers. 

    [/QUOTE]

    Its what we have been saying for quite some time moon.  Next years team should have a much more positive clubhouse atmosphere along with depth at certain offensive positions. 

    My posts generally use the term "team OBP" for reason and with the added depth and better health we have a chance to maintain a higher percentage as a team with the proper match ups.  What we still lack in my opinion is that go to guy every five days on the mound before things inprove enough to make the PS. 

    I would be shocked but happy for our club and fans if Lackey or Dempster can make a difference.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from Joebreidey. Show Joebreidey's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    I didn't have a link to the original, and it is a little long.  The writer calculated, conservatively, our rotation is about 5% better than league average.

     

    Looking For Improvement In The Red Sox Rotation

    By Marc Normandin on Dec 19, 10:01a +

    Christopher Pasatieri

    Signing Ryan Dempster is a start, but where else can Boston's starting five improve?
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    The Red Sox had awful starting pitching in 2012. If succinct isn't your thing, then there is plenty of information to corroborate this statement. Nine different starters took the mound for Boston in 2012, and those nine combined for a 5.19 ERA and 928 innings. Those innings were below the league-average rate for starters, and the ERA was a full run, or about 20 percent, worse than the league-average ERA. They struck out nearly a full batter fewer per nine than your league-average starter, handed out more free passes than this hypothetical pitcher, and allowed more homers per nine than average.

    In short once more, Boston's starters were awful in 2012. But there's reason to believe much of it was temporary, and the parts that were not are now dismissed. It's not a given that the 2013 rotation is going to be a strength, but it's not crazy to think it's going to be far less of a problem than it's been in the last couple of seasons.

    Three of last season's regular starting pitchers are back: Jon Lester, Felix Doubront, and Clay Buchholz. The primary replacement starter for 2013, Franklin Morales, was part of last year's club as well. This group was the least of 2012's issues, so we'll leave them for later. Josh Beckett, Aaron Cook, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Daniel Bard, and Zach Stewart, on the other hand, are all either departed, or in Bard's case, no longer starting. This quintet was the main issue with the 2012 rotation, as the group combined for 62 starts and a 6.08 ERA, allowed 1.4 homers per nine, struck out under five batters per nine innings, and managed just a 1.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio because of it. That's not to say the other four are off the hook, but there's a huge difference between how far away Lester and Co. were from a league-average ERA (4.70 against the league's 4.19) than these five managed.

    Those 62 starts represent what is expected out of the back-end of the 2013 rotation. Let's do a very rough projection of what that might mean for Boston. To keep things organized, let's make those starts the property of newly-acquired Ryan Dempster, as well as the returning John Lackey. Let's say Dempster is able to replicate his three-year rates for ERA and starts, putting him at around 4.04 and 32, and 197 innings. That leaves 30 starts for Lackey, a figure that might not be out of reach, given his Tommy John surgery occurred in November of 2011 -- he'll be nearly a year-and-a-half removed from the procedure by the time Opening Day comes around. We'll assume 6-1/3 innings per start for him, as that's less than what he accomplished in 2010, but more than what he pulled off while dealing with his elbow injury in 2011. That would put Lackey at 189 innings over 30 starts.

    We'll also be conservative about what Lackey will produce now that he's healthy. Let's not go crazy, and put any kind of pre-Boston numbers in for him. Instead, let's roughly split the difference between his 2010 ERA and Fielding-Independent Pitching figures of 4.40 and 3.85, and put him at at around 4.20. That might be hard to believe if you've still got the taste of 2011 in your mouth, but remember: Lackey's elbow has been surgically repaired. In 2011, he was pitching with an injury that led to said surgery. It's not even the same ligament, never mind the same pitcher.

    Just by adding these two in (and assuming a similar version of Morales once again picks up the missing handful of starts), Boston has hypothetically reduced their team ERA from 5.19 to 4.47 for 2013. That's without accounting for any kind of regression or improvement in Lester, Buchholz, and Doubront. Let's tweak further.

    Once again, we'll be conservative, and not pencil Lester in as an ace. Let's assume, instead, that he produces at the kind of level he did post-disaster start against the Blue Jays. That was the point the mechanical issues were not only addressed, but began to see some improvement. Lester's strikeouts were down in this stretch, but his command was the best it had been all year, and he was inducing ground balls to get outs to make up for some of the difference. It's a believable stretch, and about the only positive from Lester's entire campaign. With that in mind, let's pop Lester's last third of the 2012 season in, prorated for a full season's worth of starts and innings. That would be a 3.92 ERA, rather than 2012's overall 4.82 figure. Doing this drops Boston's five plus Morales down to a 4.28 collective ERA, starting to creep up on last season's league-average.

    Then there's Clay Buchholz, who posted a 4.56 ERA for the year, but outside of the early season, was far superior to that. He was just so horrific in his first half-dozen or so starts, largely because his change-up, his best pitch, wasn't doing what it was supposed to do. Once he got it working, and could throw it for strikes and as a consistent swing-and-miss offering like it's supposed to be, though, Buchholz was Boston's best pitcher, and not even in the depressing relative sense you might think that entails. In Buchholz's last 150 innings and 22 starts, he posted a 3.59 ERA and struck out 2.6 times as many batters as he walked. His home run rates had stabilized to their norms, and Buchholz also reduced batting average on balls in play, as he tends to do.

    Let's fairly assume that, given he didn't miss months and months of pitching due to a stress fracture in his spine, that he'll begin the 2013 season without the rust of 2012, and therefore be able to pitch like that all year long. If that -- meaning an ERA around 3.60 for the year -- were the case, then Boston's team ERA slips all the way down to 4.09, a tenth-of-a-run better than the 2012 average for starters.

    That leaves Doubront, who will be in his second year of starting full-time in the majors. Doubront showed flashes of being more than just a fifth starter throughout the year. Efficiency has been an issue, though, with Doubront throwing a full season's worth of pitches in far fewer innings than that. He ended the season on a few high notes, after a rough couple of starts to begin the season's final month. In his last four starts, Doubront posted a 3.08 ERA while striking out 31 batters in 26 innings. Now, we're not about to go overboard and pop a 3.08 ERA in for Doubront for 2013. But, it is fair to believe that Doubront should improve from his 2012, as young pitchers tend to do with more experience. Let's give Doubront a season closer to his 2012 FIP than his ERA, putting him around the 4.40 mark.

    That would drop the club's ERA as a unit down to an even four, putting them about five percent better-than-average without adjusting for park or league difficulty. While that might not seem huge, contextually, it's about 25 percentage points better than the previous season. And, even if there are injuries and the like, Boston's depth is in the best place it's been in years, and can likely handle the load better than previous iterations. Plus, we're already assuming that Morales gets involved to a degree in this rough sketch of what 2013 could look like.

    Things could certainly go wrong here. Lester might not rebound completely, even to the conservative point above. Lackey might take two months to shake off the rust, like Buchholz did last season. Dempster could struggle in his conversion to full-time AL pitcher. Doubront might not show any growth at all, and remain a fifth starter at best. Then again, maybe Lester gets back to normal under the dual tutelage of former pitching-coach-turned-manager John Farrell and brand new pitching coach Juan Nieves. Maybe Clay Buchholz continues to improve his command, and propels himself closer to the top of the rotation. Maybe Lackey surprises everyone and repeats his 2009 instead of his 2010, because his elbow was just in that much trouble before. Many things could go many ways, but chances are good that Boston's 2013 rotation is going to be markedly better than last season's, even if not everything breaks their way. And that's going to be important if the Red Sox are to compete next year.

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    In response to craze4sox's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to moonslav59's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to Schumpeters-Ghost's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Last year's team lost 93 games.  Of course there is potential for improvement - I'm not sure it requires a ton of statistical analysis.

     

    [/QUOTE]

    I still think that without a major addition to our rotation, we will need a miraculous confluence of chance to occur to help us win over 86-88 games (the minimum expected to have a chance at a wildcard playoff slot).

    This is about our offense.

    The 2012 numbers were also greatly effected by the big trade and injuries to Ellsbury, CC, Middlebrooks, and AGon playing in RF. On paper, I think our offense looked better last winter than this one, so you are right: statistical analysis is not "required" to know we should get better than a team that had Loney, Lava and others dragging down the 2012 numbers. 

    [/QUOTE]

    Its what we have been saying for quite some time moon.  Next years team should have a much more positive clubhouse atmosphere along with depth at certain offensive positions. 

    My posts generally use the term "team OBP" for reason and with the added depth and better health we have a chance to maintain a higher percentage as a team which could be huge.  What we still lack in my opinion is that go to guy every five days on the mound before things inprove enough to make the PS. 

    I would be shocked but happy for our club and fans if Lackey or Dempster can make a difference.

    [/QUOTE]


    I think we will be lucky if just one of Lester or Buch stay healthy all year and pitch great.

    I think we will be lucky if one of Dempster or Doubront do well in 2013.

    Lackey is a wildcard.

    Overall, if 3 do well I'd think that was on the good side of the odds, and I suppose that might be enough if we have very few injuries or declines on offense, but it's just too much for me to consider serious.

    Alas, this is supposed to be a positive thread, so I'll end with this: "Hope springs eternal".

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from craze4sox. Show craze4sox's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    In response to moonslav59's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to craze4sox's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to moonslav59's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to Schumpeters-Ghost's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Last year's team lost 93 games.  Of course there is potential for improvement - I'm not sure it requires a ton of statistical analysis.

     

    [/QUOTE]

    I still think that without a major addition to our rotation, we will need a miraculous confluence of chance to occur to help us win over 86-88 games (the minimum expected to have a chance at a wildcard playoff slot).

    This is about our offense.

    The 2012 numbers were also greatly effected by the big trade and injuries to Ellsbury, CC, Middlebrooks, and AGon playing in RF. On paper, I think our offense looked better last winter than this one, so you are right: statistical analysis is not "required" to know we should get better than a team that had Loney, Lava and others dragging down the 2012 numbers. 

    [/QUOTE]

    Its what we have been saying for quite some time moon.  Next years team should have a much more positive clubhouse atmosphere along with depth at certain offensive positions. 

    My posts generally use the term "team OBP" for reason and with the added depth and better health we have a chance to maintain a higher percentage as a team which could be huge.  What we still lack in my opinion is that go to guy every five days on the mound before things inprove enough to make the PS. 

    I would be shocked but happy for our club and fans if Lackey or Dempster can make a difference.

    [/QUOTE]


    I think we will be lucky if just one of Lester or Buch stay healthy all year and pitch great.

    I think we will be lucky if one of Dempster or Doubront do well in 2013.

    Lackey is a wildcard.

    Overall, if 3 do well I'd think that was on the good side of the odds, and I suppose that might be enough if we have very few injuries or declines on offense, but it's just too much for me to consider serious.

    Alas, this is supposed to be a positive thread, so I'll end with this: "Hope springs eternal".

    [/QUOTE]

    After the tragedy we just lived through here in CT from the mass shooting, what happens to the Sox this season seems meaningless.  My daughter lives a mile away in Sandy Hook and although many of the victims families to us anyway were friends of friends its not something you ever get over like a rough baseball season. 

     

     

     

     

     
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  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from Joebreidey. Show Joebreidey's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    I still think that without a major addition to our rotation, we will need a miraculous confluence of chance to occur to help us win over 86-88 games (the minimum expected to have a chance at a wildcard playoff slot).

    This is about our offense.

    The 2012 numbers were also greatly effected by the big trade and injuries to Ellsbury, CC, Middlebrooks, and AGon playing in RF. On paper, I think our offense looked better last winter than this one, so you are right: statistical analysis is not "required" to know we should get better than a team that had Loney, Lava and others dragging down the 2012 numbers. 

    A lot of people don't realize that, even with the worst manager in BB, maybe in a long, long time, no #4 or #5, the slow start by Buch, the lost season by Lester, CC down for a long time, and everything else, we were still 55-55 after 110.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    In response to Joebreidey's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I still think that without a major addition to our rotation, we will need a miraculous confluence of chance to occur to help us win over 86-88 games (the minimum expected to have a chance at a wildcard playoff slot).

    This is about our offense.

    The 2012 numbers were also greatly effected by the big trade and injuries to Ellsbury, CC, Middlebrooks, and AGon playing in RF. On paper, I think our offense looked better last winter than this one, so you are right: statistical analysis is not "required" to know we should get better than a team that had Loney, Lava and others dragging down the 2012 numbers. 

    A lot of people don't realize that, even with the worst manager in BB, maybe in a long, long time, no #4 or #5, the slow start by Buch, the lost season by Lester, CC down for a long time, and everything else, we were still 55-55 after 110.

    [/QUOTE]

    I realize that, but now AGon, CC, Beckett, and maybe Ross are gone.

    I do think we can be 55-55 next year too.

     
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  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from S5. Show S5's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    In response to craze4sox's comment:

    [/QUOTE]

    After the tragedy we just lived through here in CT from the mass shooting, what happens to the Sox this season seems meaningless.  My daughter lives a mile away in Sandy Hook and although many of the victims families to us anyway were friends of friends its not something you ever get over like a rough baseball season. 

     

    Excellent point,  Craze.  Perspective is everything.  This is only baseball. 

     

     

     

    [/QUOTE]


     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    I still find myself getting all choked up thinking and hearing about those kids, their families, and all those who had to respond to the call of duty. 

     
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  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from EnchiladaT. Show EnchiladaT's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    Wasn't Anderson Cooper invading peoples privacy and mourning by essentially knocking upon the doors of the greaving parents at all hours? The media likley was half giddy when this tragedy occurred.

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from raider3524. Show raider3524's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    In response to moonslav59's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I still find myself getting all choked up thinking and hearing about those kids, their families, and all those who had to respond to the call of duty. 

    [/QUOTE]


    i feel the same way...it's just so sad....

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from raider3524. Show raider3524's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    In response to moonslav59's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Here's a preliminary comparitive look at 2013 as compared to 2012 (offense only):

    2012 by position: (PAs)

    C   .215/.279/.429/.708  ( Salty 388, Shopp 155, Lava 99)

    1B .289/.337/.459/.795  (AGon 455, Loney 104, Gomez 58, Youk 44, Papi 30)

    2B .281/.337/.431/.768  (Pedey 615, Ciriaco 47, Punto 42)

    3B .257/.303/.400/.703  (Midd 279, Ciriaco 136, Youk 120, Punto 67, DV 28)

    SS .241/.278/.365/.642   (Aviles 517, Iggy 76, Ciriaco 40, Punto 20)

    LF .267/.332/.411/.744  (Nava 288, Pods 116, CC 124, Ross 73, DMac 65)

    CF .264/.299/.354/.654  (Ells 318, Byrd 101, Pods 74, Kalish 65, Sween 61)

    RF .261/.319/.431/.751  (Ross 374, Sween 152, AGon 65, Kalish 30)

    DH .278/.360/.473/.833  (Papi 351, Lava 65, Ross 53, Salty 47, Ciriaco 37)

     

    A quick look at 2013 (I will do a complete analysis this spring):

    Stats are OPS from 2011-2012 combined, unless otherwise noted.

     

    Catcher (.708 in 2012):

    Salty vs RHPs .782

    Ross vs LHPs .674   (vs RHPs .826) - could see Salty traded and Lava vs LHPs.

    * Much potenetial for gains here, but Ross will not likely macth Shopp's O.

     

    1B (.795 in 2012):

    Napoli vs RHPs .955/vs LHPs .879

    * Much potenetial for gains here, but can he get 650 PAs?

     

    2B (.768 in '12):

    Pedey vs RHPs .789/vs LHPs .934

    * Much potenetial for gains here.

     

    3B (.703 in '12):

    Middlebrooks vs RHPs .798/vs LHPs .906

    * Much potenetial for gains here, but much is unknown.

     

    SS (.642 in '12)

    S Drew .714 /vs LHPs.617

    * Much potenetial for gains here, but...

     

    LF (.744 in '12):

    Nava vs RHPs  .797

    Gomes vs LHPs .935

    * Much potenetial for gains here.

     

    CF (.654 in '12):

    Ells vs RHPs .886 / vs LHPs .774

    * Much potenetial for gains here.

     

    RF (.751 in '12):

    Victorino vs RHPs .705 /vs LHPs .960

    * Some potenetial for gains here.

     

    DH (.833 in '12):

    Papi vs RHPs .977 /vs LHPs .988

    * Much potenetial for gains here if Papi can stay healthy.

     

    As you can see, every position has the potenetiasl for gains over 2012, some could be wide gains. I will hope for the best, and as always, it will come down to how our rotation improves. 

    (Sidenote: I'll do a study on that soon. I think we may not be done with "upgrading" our staff.)

    [/QUOTE]


    this is the moon i like to read...and for me. i love this team.

     
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  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from EnchiladaT. Show EnchiladaT's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    I heard Hollywood has had enough

     
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  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from Beantowne. Show Beantowne's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    In response to tomnev's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    As usual good analysis Moon.....I choose to be optimistic......Offensively, we can definitely improve dramatically, if only through Healthy years from Papi, Pedey, Ells and Middlebrooks......that takes some good fortune, by why jinx it by being pessimistic. I think the Bullpen, with Uehara, the emergence of Tazawa, presumably Morales back in the pen and possibly Farrell getting the old Bard back could be significantly better 1 thru 7, with depth in the Minors.....the rotation is the rub....I was deeply against the Dempster signing, but he is now on the team and I will give him the benefit of the doubt....as will I with Lackey coming off the injury....his past performance with us is history until he begins repeating it.....Lester, Buch, Lackey, Dempster, Doubront, sounds like it could be weak, but all have shown the ability to win at one time or another....would 18, 15, 14, 13 and 10 wins be improbable, probably, but all of them have won better than that number before, so I wouldnt say that would be a miraculous confluence......thats 70 wins from the Top 5 starters.....you need health....you need some good managing....you need the improved offense you mentioned and you need a team attitude which thinks they are winners again and not losers.....we need them to be the optimists.....would I want a dominant #1 or #2 type pitcher.....yes, who wouldnt....but I rooted for them and watched them not win a WS for 37 years....I think I can be patient and optimistic until we see what the product starts doing on the fiels in April/May. 

    [/QUOTE]

    My take on the 2013 season is that the single most important factor is that they come together and play as one. Leave it on the field and begin the process of remaking the identity of the team. In terms of talant this is clearly not the best team on paper we've fielded in a coupe of decades. However there's enough talant that if each of the players shows up to camp with purpose and they bond together. They could be a team that makes a little noise...End of the day Jon Lester is the key, his return to form will go a long ways in helping to keep the Sox in the mix. What the 2010 through 2012 teams lacked was not talant, rather on field leadership, comraderie and disipline.

    I for one am looking forward to the coming year. My hope is the drama and dysfuction that has been the Boston Red Sox Baseball Club of the American League for the last 5 years begins to fade to black and that this years club is cited as the genesis for establishing a new culture in the locker room. Moving forward Cherington is charged with the responsibility of aquisition of players that fit needs and have the character befitting the uniform. In the end what made the Henry group successful after purchasing the team in 2002 was that everyone in the organization had defined roles and more importanly he surrounded himself with competent professionals that went about the buisness of remaking and retooling an entire organization...thus it's incumbent that the ownership group remains mindful of not just the back of the players baseball cards, but how the pieces come together and play as one. They already have the blueprints of how to's to get the job done.

    2013 "a new season is on the horizon, hope springs enternal". From the ashes rises the phoenix.

     
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    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    Mediocre offense? There is atleast  some pretty good upside. Since 2010, here are the lineups best OPS's......

     

    Ellsbury-----928
    Pedroia------861
    Ortiz--------1026
    Napoli-------1045
    Middlebrooks-835
    Gomes--------868
    Victorino----846
    Ross---------871
    Drew---------810

     

    Not likely to be repeated, but nice to look at and have some hope.

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from Beantowne. Show Beantowne's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    In response to Joebreidey's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I didn't have a link to the original, and it is a little long.  The writer calculated, conservatively, our rotation is about 5% better than league average.

     

    Looking For Improvement In The Red Sox Rotation

    By Marc Normandin on Dec 19, 10:01a +

    Christopher Pasatieri

    Signing Ryan Dempster is a start, but where else can Boston's starting five improve?
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    The Red Sox had awful starting pitching in 2012. If succinct isn't your thing, then there is plenty of information to corroborate this statement. Nine different starters took the mound for Boston in 2012, and those nine combined for a 5.19 ERA and 928 innings. Those innings were below the league-average rate for starters, and the ERA was a full run, or about 20 percent, worse than the league-average ERA. They struck out nearly a full batter fewer per nine than your league-average starter, handed out more free passes than this hypothetical pitcher, and allowed more homers per nine than average.

    In short once more, Boston's starters were awful in 2012. But there's reason to believe much of it was temporary, and the parts that were not are now dismissed. It's not a given that the 2013 rotation is going to be a strength, but it's not crazy to think it's going to be far less of a problem than it's been in the last couple of seasons.

    Three of last season's regular starting pitchers are back: Jon Lester, Felix Doubront, and Clay Buchholz. The primary replacement starter for 2013, Franklin Morales, was part of last year's club as well. This group was the least of 2012's issues, so we'll leave them for later. Josh Beckett, Aaron Cook, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Daniel Bard, and Zach Stewart, on the other hand, are all either departed, or in Bard's case, no longer starting. This quintet was the main issue with the 2012 rotation, as the group combined for 62 starts and a 6.08 ERA, allowed 1.4 homers per nine, struck out under five batters per nine innings, and managed just a 1.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio because of it. That's not to say the other four are off the hook, but there's a huge difference between how far away Lester and Co. were from a league-average ERA (4.70 against the league's 4.19) than these five managed.

    Those 62 starts represent what is expected out of the back-end of the 2013 rotation. Let's do a very rough projection of what that might mean for Boston. To keep things organized, let's make those starts the property of newly-acquired Ryan Dempster, as well as the returning John Lackey. Let's say Dempster is able to replicate his three-year rates for ERA and starts, putting him at around 4.04 and 32, and 197 innings. That leaves 30 starts for Lackey, a figure that might not be out of reach, given his Tommy John surgery occurred in November of 2011 -- he'll be nearly a year-and-a-half removed from the procedure by the time Opening Day comes around. We'll assume 6-1/3 innings per start for him, as that's less than what he accomplished in 2010, but more than what he pulled off while dealing with his elbow injury in 2011. That would put Lackey at 189 innings over 30 starts.

    We'll also be conservative about what Lackey will produce now that he's healthy. Let's not go crazy, and put any kind of pre-Boston numbers in for him. Instead, let's roughly split the difference between his 2010 ERA and Fielding-Independent Pitching figures of 4.40 and 3.85, and put him at at around 4.20. That might be hard to believe if you've still got the taste of 2011 in your mouth, but remember: Lackey's elbow has been surgically repaired. In 2011, he was pitching with an injury that led to said surgery. It's not even the same ligament, never mind the same pitcher.

    Just by adding these two in (and assuming a similar version of Morales once again picks up the missing handful of starts), Boston has hypothetically reduced their team ERA from 5.19 to 4.47 for 2013. That's without accounting for any kind of regression or improvement in Lester, Buchholz, and Doubront. Let's tweak further.

    Once again, we'll be conservative, and not pencil Lester in as an ace. Let's assume, instead, that he produces at the kind of level he did post-disaster start against the Blue Jays. That was the point the mechanical issues were not only addressed, but began to see some improvement. Lester's strikeouts were down in this stretch, but his command was the best it had been all year, and he was inducing ground balls to get outs to make up for some of the difference. It's a believable stretch, and about the only positive from Lester's entire campaign. With that in mind, let's pop Lester's last third of the 2012 season in, prorated for a full season's worth of starts and innings. That would be a 3.92 ERA, rather than 2012's overall 4.82 figure. Doing this drops Boston's five plus Morales down to a 4.28 collective ERA, starting to creep up on last season's league-average.

    Then there's Clay Buchholz, who posted a 4.56 ERA for the year, but outside of the early season, was far superior to that. He was just so horrific in his first half-dozen or so starts, largely because his change-up, his best pitch, wasn't doing what it was supposed to do. Once he got it working, and could throw it for strikes and as a consistent swing-and-miss offering like it's supposed to be, though, Buchholz was Boston's best pitcher, and not even in the depressing relative sense you might think that entails. In Buchholz's last 150 innings and 22 starts, he posted a 3.59 ERA and struck out 2.6 times as many batters as he walked. His home run rates had stabilized to their norms, and Buchholz also reduced batting average on balls in play, as he tends to do.

    Let's fairly assume that, given he didn't miss months and months of pitching due to a stress fracture in his spine, that he'll begin the 2013 season without the rust of 2012, and therefore be able to pitch like that all year long. If that -- meaning an ERA around 3.60 for the year -- were the case, then Boston's team ERA slips all the way down to 4.09, a tenth-of-a-run better than the 2012 average for starters.

    That leaves Doubront, who will be in his second year of starting full-time in the majors. Doubront showed flashes of being more than just a fifth starter throughout the year. Efficiency has been an issue, though, with Doubront throwing a full season's worth of pitches in far fewer innings than that. He ended the season on a few high notes, after a rough couple of starts to begin the season's final month. In his last four starts, Doubront posted a 3.08 ERA while striking out 31 batters in 26 innings. Now, we're not about to go overboard and pop a 3.08 ERA in for Doubront for 2013. But, it is fair to believe that Doubront should improve from his 2012, as young pitchers tend to do with more experience. Let's give Doubront a season closer to his 2012 FIP than his ERA, putting him around the 4.40 mark.

    That would drop the club's ERA as a unit down to an even four, putting them about five percent better-than-average without adjusting for park or league difficulty. While that might not seem huge, contextually, it's about 25 percentage points better than the previous season. And, even if there are injuries and the like, Boston's depth is in the best place it's been in years, and can likely handle the load better than previous iterations. Plus, we're already assuming that Morales gets involved to a degree in this rough sketch of what 2013 could look like.

    Things could certainly go wrong here. Lester might not rebound completely, even to the conservative point above. Lackey might take two months to shake off the rust, like Buchholz did last season. Dempster could struggle in his conversion to full-time AL pitcher. Doubront might not show any growth at all, and remain a fifth starter at best. Then again, maybe Lester gets back to normal under the dual tutelage of former pitching-coach-turned-manager John Farrell and brand new pitching coach Juan Nieves. Maybe Clay Buchholz continues to improve his command, and propels himself closer to the top of the rotation. Maybe Lackey surprises everyone and repeats his 2009 instead of his 2010, because his elbow was just in that much trouble before. Many things could go many ways, but chances are good that Boston's 2013 rotation is going to be markedly better than last season's, even if not everything breaks their way. And that's going to be important if the Red Sox are to compete next year.

    [/QUOTE]

    Hey Joe,

    Nice post...I concur with the authors take on the upside potential of the group and each as individuals.

    I think many are underestimating the impact that Farrel can and will have on the entire pitching staffs performance in 2012 and in particular Lester. As for Lackey, if healthy there's no reason not to think that he can't return to form. For him it's all about his ability to throw his off speed stuff and if he can snap off his once formitable slider-curve combo and use it in combination with his change and two seamer. I'll take my chances with him on the mound "for sure". If we assume that Buccholz, Doubront & Dempter as a colective give us 90 starts and pitch to a 4.50 ERA (which if they average 6 innings  per outing would be 3 earned and qualify as a QS. The fortunes of Lester and Lackey IMHO will be the difference between us being a team that's capable of making a little noise or us being sub .500 club. Personally I can't wait for the season to begin...something about how this teams coming together has piqued my interest...

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    In response to BMav's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Mediocre offense? There is atleast  some pretty good upside. Since 2010, here are the lineups best OPS's......

     

    Ellsbury-----928
    Pedroia------861
    Ortiz--------1026
    Napoli-------1045
    Middlebrooks-835
    Gomes--------868
    Victorino----846
    Ross---------871
    Drew---------810

     

    Not likely to be repeated, but nice to look at and have some hope.

    [/QUOTE]

    There is certainly a lot of upside to this offense, and I won't post these guys worst OPS over the last 2-3 years, but our starting rotation is so hard to be positive about.

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from snakeoil123. Show snakeoil123's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    In response to tom-uk's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Vegas 2013


    Toronto Blue Jays -- 15/2 

    Los Angeles Angels -- 17/2 
    Los Angeles Dodgers -- 17/2 
    Washington Nationals -- 9/1 
    Detroit Tigers -- 10/1 
    Cincinnati Reds -- 12/1 
    Texas Rangers -- 12/1 
    New York Yankees -- 14/1 
    Atlanta Braves -- 16/1 
    Philadelphia Phillies -- 16/1 
    San Francisco Giants -- 16/1 
    Tampa Bay Rays -- 22/1 

    Red Sox 25 to 1

    Odds to win the AL East 
    Blue Jays -- 3/2 
    Yankees -- 19/10 
    Rays -- 5/1 
    Red Sox -- 11/2 
    Orioles -- 10/1

    [/QUOTE]
    you act like 11/2 odds are bad. They aren't. What this is saying is Vegas gives the Red Sox a good shot to win the division.

     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from mattb5fon. Show mattb5fon's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    i do feel this will be a much easier year to watch. The results may not be what we expect, but looking back we have clouded judgement from our 2003-2011 run. I mean this is a much better team than we used to see, filled with wil corderos and donnie sadlers. I think we may expect too much, and its ultimately a cycle. Sustained greatness for 10 years may be a little far of a reach

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: A Positive View from a Recently Turned Pessimist

    In response to snakeoil123's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to tom-uk's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Vegas 2013


    Toronto Blue Jays -- 15/2 

    Los Angeles Angels -- 17/2 
    Los Angeles Dodgers -- 17/2 
    Washington Nationals -- 9/1 
    Detroit Tigers -- 10/1 
    Cincinnati Reds -- 12/1 
    Texas Rangers -- 12/1 
    New York Yankees -- 14/1 
    Atlanta Braves -- 16/1 
    Philadelphia Phillies -- 16/1 
    San Francisco Giants -- 16/1 
    Tampa Bay Rays -- 22/1 

    Red Sox 25 to 1

    Odds to win the AL East 
    Blue Jays -- 3/2 
    Yankees -- 19/10 
    Rays -- 5/1 
    Red Sox -- 11/2 
    Orioles -- 10/1

    [/QUOTE]
    you act like 11/2 odds are bad. They aren't. What this is saying is Vegas gives the Red Sox a good shot to win the division.

    [/QUOTE]

    We are a long way away from the odds of the 3rd place team.

    No, 11:2 does not sound real bad, but 25:1 does for a team spending this much this winter.  (Odds to win the WS.)

     
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