A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    I agree to let Lavarnway continue to develop but as a September call up I'm just looking at him to be a pinch hitter, a RH hitter off the bench after the AAA season ends probably. He is not going to replace Tek or Salty this year. I don't think he replaces either of them next year either but he might replace Ortiz, and back up the catchers if he does well enough this fall.

    Consider his Minor League Stats as compared to Fisk from A level through AAA:

    Fisk:

    1968 - Ave = .338 HR = 12 OPS = N/A
    1969 - Ave = .243 HR = 10 OPS = .746
    1970 - Ave = .229 HR = 12 OPS = .763
    1971 - Ave = .263 HR = 10 OPS = .763

    Lavarnway:

    2009 - Ave = .285 HR = 21 OPS = .907
    2010 - Ave = .288 HR = 22 OPS = .882
    2011 - Ave = .308 HR = 22 OPS = .942  ( *** Not through yet )

    Salty's minor league numbers are more in line with Fisk's. When looked at just by the numbers, Lavarnway projects to be a much better hitter than Fisk, and he is trending up. Both Fisk and Lavarnway were about the same age, same size, same speed when they put up these numbers. Fisk was considered better defensively. When you look at Lavarnway run and swing, both players look similar. This may be the first time both players are compared but the similarities are remarkable.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

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    farmboy isn't completely off base.  The title of this thread is "a realistic look at 2011, part III," but does that only occasionally  The rest of the time it's about summer vacations, what games to see in person, personal bickering, etc.  Right now the Sox are in a good place, but also vulnerable because of the starting pitching.  Forget last night, that can happen anytime.  The real concern has to be not only Buccholz and Lester on the DL, but Beckett, who was shut down because of a knee problem but now says everything is fine.  Plus Wake, Miller, and Lackey have all had their problems this year.  Even the hitting, which has been terrific, has issues.  Crawford's coming back, but will he be the April disaster or the May explosion?  And who will play right field and who will DH for Ortiz, only the best DH in the American League?  But enough of those silly questions.  Moonslav, please tell us more about your summer vacation, and then harness can tell us about his. 
    Posted by maxbialystock


    What would you suggest, Max? Should Moon and Boom and I start projections for the next road trip? If you look into the history of this thread, it covers phenomenon before it comes an issue - often before other threads cover the same subject matter.

    Farmhand is a Tek hater. Bashed him relentlessly for months. Now that Tek has made him look bad, I'm this nutcase's favorite target.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    bettersoftthanlaw the only problem is that dismissing your captain in the middle of a pennant run is unnecessary and will cause a disruption in the team chemistry, I know you know this.  

    Best to wait to off-season before insisting its time to break from Tek.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

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    I agree to let Lavarnway continue to develop but as a September call up I'm just looking at him to be a pinch hitter, a RH hitter off the bench after the AAA season ends probably. He is not going to replace Tek or Salty this year. I don't think he replaces either of them next year either but he might replace Ortiz, and back up the catchers if he does well enough this fall. Consider his Minor League Stats as compared to Fisk from A level through AAA: Fisk: 1968 - Ave = .338 HR = 12 OPS = N/A 1969 - Ave = .243 HR = 10 OPS = .746 1970 - Ave = .229 HR = 12 OPS = .763 1971 - Ave = .263 HR = 10 OPS = .763 Lavarnway: 2009 - Ave = .285 HR = 21 OPS = .907 2010 - Ave = .288 HR = 22 OPS = .882 2011 - Ave = .308 HR = 22 OPS = .942  ( *** Not through yet ) Salty's minor league numbers are more in line with Fisk's. When looked at just by the numbers, Lavarnway projects to be a much better hitter than Fisk, and he is trending up. Both Fisk and Lavarnway were about the same age, same size, same speed when they put up these numbers. Fisk was considered better defensively. When you look at Lavarnway run and swing, both players look similar. This may be the first time both players are compared but the similarities are remarkable.
    Posted by Boomerangsdotcom


    Not sure that's a credible analogy, Boom.
    Lynn once said he found it easier to hit M.L. pitching because the pitchers were around the plate more often.
    Chris Carter is a AAA stud.

    But I must admit, I haven't seen a RedSox AAA hitter dominate like this since Nomar.

    Jake is now slugging over .500.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

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    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III : Not sure that's a credible analogy, Boom. Lynn once said he found it easier to hit M.L. pitching because the pitchers were around the plate more often. Chris Carter is a AAA stud. But I must admit, I haven't seen a RedSox AAA hitter dominate like this since Nomar. Jake is now slugging over .500.
    Posted by harness


    He wasn't bad on the Mets last yr; he had some big PHs; but yes, he'a a 4A guy.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    What's everyone's thoughts on Lackey's antics on the mound today? He was showing up his teammates and manager like I haven't seen in ages.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    On another note: who'd have thought after this April that the Sox catcher's OPS would be at .761 by mid July?

    (Sidenote: VMart's OPS is .822 overall now and just .593 as a catcher)
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

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    What's everyone's thoughts on Lackey's antics on the mound today? He was showing up his teammates and manager like I haven't seen in ages.
    Posted by moonslav59


    Well, we knew this was his MO before he was signed.
    I think the game situation (Scutaro brutalizing the position), having elbow issues, his wife battling cancer, and the wrath of the Boston fans came to a head.
    It's a rather helpless feeling out on that mound sometimes.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    This team has played good defense behind him all year. Imagine if after each HR Lackey let up earlier this year, all the fielders threw their arms in the air and swore.

    Wake may just pass Lackey on Tito's love list (from 25 to 24).
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

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    This team has played good defense behind him all year. Imagine if after each HR Lackey let up earlier this year, all the fielders threw their arms in the air and swore. Wake may just pass Lackey on Tito's love list (from 25 to 24).
    Posted by moonslav59



    This might be just what he needs.

    I sure would like to see Navarro get a shot at SS.
    If Boston makes the PO's, I don't want to see Scutaro out there.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    We might still make a deal for a SS before the playoffs begin but not a lot is available. It's unlikely we are going to see much improvement there. Hopefully Lowrie comes back soon. Neither solution is optimal but I wouldn't bet on Navarro.

    Lavarnway probably doesn't have a career as good as Fisk, of course, but so far his minor league numbers blow Fisk away. Who knows, maybe he's better than Fisk? Maybe he is a very special player we are just now discovering. Maybe he's a very bright guy who could always hit but now has taken it to another level as he has figured it all out. I wouldn't bet on that happening but you know, it is possible. 

    Moon, you and I both appear to have studied philosophy in college. To me, that type of mind is very analytical. The type of person would potentially strive for excellence at another level than the average guy. Of course it's tough to make this sort of generalization but think back to setting around the table with your fellow existentialism students. There is something different about a person who willingly takes such a course. A course like metaphysics. A guy who wants to read Leibnitz and Soren Kierkegaard. Such a person is striving to understand the meaning of it all to the best of their ability. I've read interviews with Lavarnway and he is a true seeker. He became a philosophy major by choice. This is a very unusual young man. He absolutely is a person striving for excellence, fully aware of his fleeting existence on this planet.

    I'm betting that Lavarnway goes beyond what others expect of him given his God given physical tools. It appears to be a wild guess but I've had this perspective with him for well over a year now, and if anything, he has surpassed even my expectations. I had a major argument on the soxprospects forum about this last year. Many said that his "makeup" as a proven academic achiever had no bearing, or very little bearing. That he would never make it defensively. That he was not a top prospect as a result. The general consensus was that him going to Yale had little relevance to his potential for success going forward. Of course they might well be right but I sensed that he was a very unusual matrix of abilities and that he would continue to improve at a fast rate. And that as a catcher, he had time to develop further. 

    If Lavarnway didn't make it in mlb level by the time he was 26, it would not be that unusual. Now he is topping Jesus Montero's offensive numbers in AAA ball. I know Montero is much younger but it may be that Lavarnway even eclipses Montero at some point. He is trending up, while Montero is trending down. Lavarnway may still be getting better while Montero may have plateaued in large part.  

    To me, if a guy has X level of achievement at a certain level, for example in A ball, then things like his track record of success outside of baseball are relevant if all other things are equal. The guy who has succeeded only in baseball who performs at X level in A ball, should not be compared to the guy who performs at an X baseball level in A ball, but has also excelled in other areas.  Both players are going to improve generally in minor league baseball over time but one is generally going to improve at a significantly faster rate. Intelligence is not an all encompassing, dominant factor in baseball but it is a factor nonetheless. Hitting is patience, intelligence, insight, control of ones emotions, the ability to overcome obstacles, etc... as well as physical aptitude. Makeup is an undervalued attribute.

    If a relief pitcher has a 90 mph fastball there is probably only so far they can go but the guy who went to Yale is going to be much more likely to succeed with that 90 mph fastball than the guy who achieved little else with his life beyond baseball. I've projected Lavarnway as a top prospect for almost 2 years now and he just keeps getting better and better.

     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    Interesting post Boom. Lavarnway must have some intriguing conversations with Lars Anderson. A sound reason for Softy to hate em both.

    It beckons the question: If Lavarnway's hitting is attributed to his intellect, beyond his God-given gifts, why hasn't it translated to his game defensively?
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    Interesting post Boom . Lavarnway must have some intriguing conversations with Lars Anderson. A sound reason for Softy to hate em both. It beckons the question: If Lavarnway's hitting is attributed to his intellect, beyond his God-given gifts, why hasn't it translated to his game defensively ?
    Posted by harness

    By all accounts his defense has improved a lot. Virtually no one thought he would ever make it defensively 2-3 years ago. He hasn't been a catcher long and he is obviously not blessed with much quickness or flexibility behind the plate. He wasn't even playing at catcher much 2 years ago, even within the Redsox system, as he was so bad defensively. They felt that he would be better off using what energy he had in catching workouts outside of the games. He may still never be an acceptable catcher defensively but God knows we have seen lots of other guys look slow and awkward behind the plate who went on to very successful careers as catchers. Lots of other guys haven't become acceptable catchers at the mlb level until they were 26-27 years old.

    Even if he is just a DH, he has consistently put up outstanding power numbers. I'm clearly not saying he is a can't mss guy but who do we have who is? Who is a better hitter for us in the minors? Maybe a Brentz? Maybe a really toolsy guy like Brandon Jacobs who is only now starting to get some attention? Maybe a Miles Head. All those guys are putting up great numbers this year but what did they do beforeand they are all down in A ball? Lavarnway has been extraordinarily consistent, every year, even at the higher levels. That is a very good indicator of future success. 

    Lars is also an academic guy but no one is guaranteeing that Lavarnway's intelligence will definitely put him over the top. Lars has gotten to AAA with an inconsistent record. For quite a while now. Just because Lars is an intellectual, or at least he reads a lot, does not insure success. He didn't go to Yale either though did he. He hasn't had a consistent record of success, particularly at the higher levels as Lavarnway has. His swing still pounds ground balls into the dirt with little indication of much change going forward. Change is needed but is he giving any indication of making that adjustment. Of hitting the weight room? Will he even be protected in the rule  5 draft going forward? 
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    I just do not see any indication that Navarro is our SS guy moving forward. Albeit in very small sample sizes he still was a -53.3 UZR/150 last year at SS for Boston and is a -50.9 at SS this year. He hit .143 in 46 mlb AB last year and only .211 so far this year in mlb. His minor league numbers are not much out of the ordinary. He physically doesn't look like a range guy for SS. He doesn't have enough present power or BA for 3rd. I don't get it. He looks like a stop gap utility guy from all indications to me.

    But Soxprospects has him as a higher rated prospect than Lavarnway still? I truly do not see the appeal. Lavarnway is a guy with way more power and a much better track record of success in the minors. Even if he ends  up completely as a DH he projects as a more valuable mlb player than Navarro. In 2010, Navarro hit a glorious .271 in 378 AB in A ball. He hit .185 in 152 AB in AA ball the year before. Sometimes all of us, including guys who have tremendous reputations on soxpropects or even professional scouts like Keith Law, completely get it wrong and then stick with "their guy" long after it is warranted. Look at Softy. Completely unable to adjust his perspective to reflect new data as it comes in.

    I think that is what has happened with Navarro. Some people projected him as an outstanding prospect early on ( not you Harness but quite a few guys on soxprospects ) and he just hasn't lived up to the hype but he's still sloted #6 on soxprospects. And if you talk to those guys even today, most of them will insist that he is still a future stud. None of us are perfect and often with forum dynamics, one person's respected opinion becomes that of the masses. to me, that is what is happening on soxprospects and in the Boston press regarding Navarro.

    We all need to adjust from time to time. For example, as you know, I was not projecting Salty or Tek as reaching anywhere near their current offensive levels earlier this year. There was a lot of data indicating that, from several years back. I started noticing that Salty started looking better especially with his RH swing mechanics. I started adjusting my evaluation and now he is an average offensive catcher maybe ( roughly ). I'm now projecting Tek as coming back next year even, as long as he is cost effective, even with Lavarnway waiting in the wings. We all need to adjust our projections given new data.  
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    Good recent article on Lavarnway:

     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    Lavarnway finished off today 4 for 4 with a walk, a HR and a double. He's now hitting .378 in AAA ball, with a .444 OBP, 1.155 OPS, 9 HR and 10 doubles in 111 AAA at bats. He's slugging .712.


     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

     (Scutaro brutalizing the position), having elbow issues, his wife battling cancer, and the wrath of the Boston fans came to a head. It's a rather helpless feeling out on that mound sometimes.
    Posted by harness[/QUOTE]

    I am guilty of using UZR in posts even though it is far from perfect, it is of course better to use BBRef too.  BBRef has Scutaro as below average defensively in 2011 but UZR had him as plus 18 UZR/150 going into last night.

    I watch the defense closely and I can only think of two or three plays all year that he displayed range and had the arm strength to get an out.  Of course last night he blew three plays but a fourth was the most telling.  It is well documented that his shoulder injury is telling.  He couldn't even turn a double play without an arc on his throw from the bag, he had time but he often acts as if he has time when he doesn't..

    It is not his fault of course that his arm is shot.  In this case I think the UZR is way off and BBRef matches what I have seen. I doubt he is a Red Sox next year.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    I just do not see any indication that Navarro is our SS guy moving forward. Albeit in very small sample sizes he still was a -53.3 UZR/150 last year at SS for Boston and is a -50.9 at SS this year. He hit .143 in 46 mlb AB last year and only .211 so far this year in mlb. His minor league numbers are not much out of the ordinary. He physically doesn't look like a range guy for SS. He doesn't have enough present power or BA for 3rd. I don't get it. He looks like a stop gap utility guy from all indications to me. But Soxprospects has him as a higher rated prospect than Lavarnway still? I truly do not see the appeal. Lavarnway is a guy with way more power and a much better track record of success in the minors. Even if he ends  up completely as a DH he projects as a more valuable mlb player than Navarro. In 2010, Navarro hit a glorious .271 in 378 AB in A ball. He hit .185 in 152 AB in AA ball the year before. Sometimes all of us, including guys who have tremendous reputations on soxpropects or even professional scouts like Keith Law, completely get it wrong and then stick with "their guy" long after it is warranted. Look at Softy. Completely unable to adjust his perspective to reflect new data as it comes in. I think that is what has happened with Navarro. Some people projected him as an outstanding prospect early on ( not you Harness but quite a few guys on soxprospects ) and he just hasn't lived up to the hype but he's still sloted #6 on soxprospects. And if you talk to those guys even today, most of them will insist that he is still a future stud. None of us are perfect and often with forum dynamics, one person's respected opinion becomes that of the masses. to me, that is what is happening on soxprospects and in the Boston press regarding Navarro. We all need to adjust from time to time. For example, as you know, I was not projecting Salty or Tek as reaching anywhere near their current offensive levels earlier this year. There was a lot of data indicating that, from several years back. I started noticing that Salty started looking better especially with his RH swing mechanics. I started adjusting my evaluation and now he is an average offensive catcher maybe ( roughly ). I'm now projecting Tek as coming back next year even, as long as he is cost effective, even with Lavarnway waiting in the wings. We all need to adjust our projections given new data.  
    Posted by Boomerangsdotcom


    Adjusting evaluation to new data is an excellent point. Even if the data isn't new, it may be to those who've turned a blind eye to it in the past.

    I don't get into player evaluation at the minor league levels. It's a learning process. Growth varies with each individual - in each area. I can see why you get excited watching these kids mature. I enjoy seeing the raw product once it makes the big time. Your enthusiasm is contagious.

    Regarding SS, I'd like to see Navarro get a shot. I think he's served his time in the minors and has hit enough at all levels to warrant the chance.  Is he the answer at SS? Who knows. He may be a better alternative to what we have, or at least a platoon of some kind when Lowrie returns. Like others who lack ML experience, Navarro needs time. Just as Salty did. The hope is IGGY will be the long-term resolution, but he needs seasoning at the plate. Navarro is closer.
    I do think it's in the team's best interest to give him adequate PT at SS - to draw an accurate determination by the trade deadline. 

    On Lavarnway, my question regarding how his intellect affects his defensive game goes further than his position as catcher. What was he before he became a catcher?
    Why didn't he progress as quickly in that position defensively? My point is, while intellect and ability are related, are a player's def. skills predicated on natural ability and instinct? Or is intellect the determining factor?
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

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     ( Scutaro brutalizing the position), having elbow issues, his wife battling cancer, and the wrath of the Boston fans came to a head. It's a rather helpless feeling out on that mound sometimes. Posted by harness
    I am guilty of using UZR in posts even though it is far from perfect, it is of course better to use BBRef too.  BBRef has Scutaro as below average defensively in 2011 but UZR had him as plus 18 UZR/150 going into last night. I watch the defense closely and I can only think of two or three plays all year that he displayed range and had the arm strength to get an out.  Of course last night he blew three plays but a fourth was the most telling.  It is well documented that his shoulder injury is telling.  He couldn't even turn a double play without an arc on his throw from the bag, he had time but he often acts as if he has time when he doesn't.. It is not his fault of course that his arm is shot.  In this case I think the UZR is way off and BBRef matches what I have seen. I doubt he is a Red Sox next year.
    Posted by tom-uk


    To be blunt, Tom, I hope he isn't on the active roster this Sept.!
    SS is not a position to screw around with come the dog days, unless we have starting pitching cranking on all 8 cylinders. The team can't afford this type of inconsistency when every game could turn the season around. Once Lowrie returns, I think Scut should go on the DL, and serve as insurance. If his shoulder is shot, that's where he needs to be.

    As for UZR, I saw that metric on another thread, and it just added to how I put damn little credibility into many defensive rating systems.
 
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    Great posts boom. Yes, I minored in Philosophy, and had many late night existential discussions with fellow "Domers". Yes, Lavarnway is killing the ball this year. I can't wait to see him in the bigs.

    harness, yes, all defensive metrics are problematic and flawed, but the traditional alternative is even more flawed: Flg%, RF/9, and Gold Glove awards being voted on by people who watch just a fraction of the games. I trust a 3 year UZR/150 rating over any other single fielding stat around. I trust The Fielding Bible over Gold Glove votes and awards. I trust using several metrics and stats over any single stat.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    Boom, great points on intellect and success in other endeavors. I spent my professional life in sales and I was always looking to recruit people who had successful track records in sports, theater, education, anything, whether sales related or otherwise. It's a simple cliche, but it's true, winners win. Regardless of your chosen field, people are either motivated towards excellence or they are not, and people don't change.
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

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    What's everyone's thoughts on Lackey's antics on the mound today? He was showing up his teammates and manager like I haven't seen in ages.
    Posted by moonslav59

    Moon, I posted this last night on another thread,,,

    On the one hand, I like Lackey's competitiveness. But if I were playing behind him I might have a harsh word or two for him in the clubhouse, behind closed doors. He has not pitched well enough to show up anyone, yet that has been his MO for years. I disagree with whoever said he didn't do this in Aneheim, because I've seen him do it. As for showing up Tito, I think Tito would simply say that he was just being competitive and everything is fine. In this regard, Lackey could not be playing for a better manager. Tito might also have something to say behind closed doors, but we will never hear about it which is why Tito is the best.

    One of the things I preach to my kids is to always pick up your teammates. If someone makes an error, my pitchers are taught to work doubly hard to not make the error costly. One of the most remarkable, and unheralded, baseball statistics I can remember is that Curt Schilling pitched in over sixty consecutive starts without allowing an unearned run. That's over sixty consecutive starts of always picking up your teammates. Lackey could learn a thing or two from Schilling.

     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III:
    In Response to Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III : Moon, I posted this last night on another thread,,, On the one hand, I like Lackey's competitiveness. But if I were playing behind him I might have a harsh word or two for him in the clubhouse, behind closed doors. He has not pitched well enough to show up anyone, yet that has been his MO for years. I disagree with whoever said he didn't do this in Aneheim, because I've seen him do it. As for showing up Tito, I think Tito would simply say that he was just being competitive and everything is fine. In this regard, Lackey could not be playing for a better manager. Tito might also have something to say behind closed doors, but we will never hear about it which is why Tito is the best. One of the things I preach to my kids is to always pick up your teammates. If someone makes an error, my pitchers are taught to work doubly hard to not make the error costly. One of the most remarkable, and unheralded, baseball statistics I can remember is that Curt Schilling pitched in over sixty consecutive starts without allowing an unearned run. That's over sixty consecutive starts of always picking up your teammates. Lackey could learn a thing or two from Schilling.
    Posted by jidgef


    Jid, you raised your kids well.

    Perhaps, we don't know the whole story. Lackey may have told his teammates (behind closed doors) that he is more angry at himself and not them. If the accept it, then I'm OK with it, but to me, it seems like he is "showing them up". This Sox defense will "pick him up" more than others, so he has no right to make them look bad by pouting and throwing temper tantrums on the mound after they make a mistake. It puts undo pressure on the fileders and gets them distracted for the following plays. Nobody plays better when they are being yelled at or if they feel someone is judging them harshly on every play.

    As for swearing at Tito: it is disrespectful. I don't care what his motives are. I can only imagine what would have happened if Williams let up an HR.

    Lackey has been horrible this year. Yes, he has had distractions. Yes, we knew what we were getting: he did this in LA too. Yes, we need him to keep up his recent pace. But, no, we don't have to put up with this crahp.

     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III

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    Lavarnway finished off today 4 for 4 with a walk, a HR and a double. He's now hitting .378 in AAA ball, with a .444 OBP, 1.155 OPS, 9 HR and 10 doubles in 111 AAA at bats. He's slugging .712.
    Posted by Boomerangsdotcom


    Boom, the guy sounds great but don't you think it's unfair to his career to pigeon-hole him into a DH role?  But, I agree that it WOULD be nice to have his bat in the lineup. 

    Besides, I'm hoping that someday before I die that the AL will negate the DH role and let the league go back to playing baseball way it was intended.  IMHO, the DH role eliminates most of the strategy in the game. 
     
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    Re: A Realistic Look at 2011: Part III



    Jid, I got tired of looking at my picture.  I'll post a new one when I can get my wife to size one up that fits.  Yeah, I know I should know how to do it myself, but the whole process kind of turns me off...LOL

    I admire the intellect observation by everyone.  But, NOT ONE player can match Craig Breslow's...  I respect philosophy, but it's light-years away from molecular biophysics.
     
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