Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

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    Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card


    By the time we reach Game 81, as the Red Sox will tonight, the math is easy. Depending on a win or a loss, the Red Sox will be on pace for 92 or 94 wins. Jon Lester is on pace to win 20 games. Adrian Gonzalez is on pace to knock in more than 140 runs and Jacoby Ellsbury cruising toward 50 steals.

    What better time to give midterm grades than at the precise midpoint of the 2011 Red Sox season? Overall, the Red Sox have done fine, though the last 10 days have set them back some. Boston has lost three straight series entering this weekend’s three-game set with the Houston Astros, and a division that seemed in their control now belongs to the New York Yankees.

    As such, the aggregate grade for this club falls somewhere in the range of a B or B-minus, particularly after the Sox talked during spring training of winning 100 games. Flaws have been exposed, as is the case with every team, and the trading deadline beckons.

    Here is one sampling of midterm grades for the 2011 Red Sox, in alphabetical order.

    PITCHERS
    (Minimum: 10 appearances or five starts)
    Alfredo Aceves (B+) –
    Take away one positively rancid start against the Chicago White Sox and Aceves has checked in with a 2.82 ERA in 19 outings. Meanwhile, he has started (four games), closed (one save) and done just about everything in between. Human joint compound. Nice pickup.

    Matt Albers (B) – Know that expression, “You are what you are?” Well in the case of Albers, he’s a middle reliever who is most effective in the middle innings, Stray any later and you’re likely to have problems. Francona has used Albers perfectly this season and the results have been good. But he’s not a real option in the late innings.

    Daniel Bard (B+) – True fact: among all American League pitchers with at least 20 innings, Bard ranks second in WHIP to only Baltimore's Koji Uehara. So why the relatively low grade? Because he’s also absorbed four losses, tied for third-most among all AL relievers. Keep an eye on him in August and September. He hit a little bit of a wall last year.

    Josh Beckett (A) – Forget the won-lost record. Beckett ranks second in the league in ERA and has been very consistent, despite his last outing. In his three losses, the Red Sox have scored a total of one run. If he had the same run support Jon Lester has been getting, he’d have 10 wins, too.

    Clay Buchholz (B) – Buchholz has settled in quite nicely after a shaky start, going 5-0 with a 2.59 ERA in his last nine outings. Despite last season, 15 wins should still be the goal for someone like him, and Buchholz would be right on pace were it not for a back ailment that landed him on the disabled list. Durability always has been a question with him – and it remains so.

    Bobby Jenks (D-) – A complete failure? No. But it’s close. Jenks has shown flashes during his first season with the Red Sox, but he’s also walked 13 in 13.2 innings and posted a 7.24 ERA. Meanwhile, he’s gone to the disabled list twice, raising the question as to whether the Sox need bullpen help. Hmmm. Maybe the Red Sox should think about keeping Jonathan Papelbon after all.

    John Lackey (F) – Whether the performance is the result of an elbow injury or personal matters, certain truths are impossible to get past. Baseball is a results oriented business; if you’re out there, you’re expected to perform. Among the 62 AL pitchers with at least 60 innings, Lackey ranks 62nd in ERA. Let’s hope the last start was the beginning of something better.

    Jon Lester (A-) – Lester had to grind his way for a while there, but his performance yesterday put him on pace for 20 wins for the first time in his career. Meanwhile, he is now 71-29 in his career, ranking second all-time in winning percentage for all pitchers with at least 100 decisions. Truly one of the most competitive pitchers in the game. Love that.

    Daisuke Matsuzaka (C) – Prior to the season-ending elbow injury, Matsuzaka had some good starts and some bad ones, which pretty much categorizes his entire Sox career. In the end, for an assortment of reasons, he was unreliable. Meanwhile, nobody has really lamented his absence. Doesn’t that alone speak volumes?

    Jonathan Papelbon (A) – Toss the ERA out the window. When Papelbon has entered in a save situation this season, the Red Sox have gone a perfect 16-0. Pretty big difference from last year, eh? Beyond that, after suffering seven losses last season, he does not have a single defeat in 2011. Looks like someone geared up for a contract year.

    Tim Wakefield (B) – Here’s a scary question: were it not for Wakefield and Aceves, where would this team be? Since the Red Sox began giving him a regular turn, Wakefield has a 4.11 ERA in seven starts. In retrospect, Wakefield has been far more effective than Matsuzaka was, making him a nice contributor at the end of the rotation. The obvious question now: will age and durability be a factor in the second half?

    Dan Wheeler (F) – The Red Sox tried to give Wheeler some responsibility early in the year, but he failed miserably. As such, they now use him almost exclusively when they are behind. The Sox are 8-15 in Wheeler’s appearances, which speaks volumes, and now let there be no doubt: he’s strictly a matchup guy against righthanders, who are batting .237 against him. Lefties, meanwhile, have an OPS of 1.007.

    INCOMPLETE – Scott Atchison, Michael Bowden, Felix Doubront, Rich Hill, Tommy Hottovy, Andrew Miller, Franklin Morales, Hideki Okajima, Dennys Reyes.

    POSITIONAL PLAYERS
    (Minimum: 50 at-bats)
    Mike Cameron (F) –
    Whether it was the worst signing of Theo Epstein’s tenure as general manager is up to you – but it’s certainly in the conversation. Cameron was signed to be the starting center fielder, remember, and his stint here was a train wreck. Now that he has lost the ability to hit lefthanders, it might be time to hang 'em up – and he should have no shame in doing so.

    Carl Crawford (D) – Crawford bottomed out at the end of April, when he was batting .155, and he has since hit .295 with a .794 OPS. Still, among the 30 AL outfielders with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title, Crawford ranks 26th in OPS. That would be fine if he were Josh Reddick. But when you’re toting an annual $20 million price tag, that isn’t going to cut it.

    J.D. Drew (F) – Know what the scary thing is? He actually got off to a good start, going 8 for 26 to start the season. Since, he certainly has looked as if he has checked out and gone into retirement mode. Of Drew’s 44 hits this year, 35 are singles. He has more strikeouts (47) than hits. Nobody is more responsible for the fact that the Red Sox rank last in baseball in OPS from their right fielders.

    Jacoby Ellsbury (A) – Ellsbury’s steals have dipped some, but his overall productivity has gone up. Which would you rather have? The Red Sox rank second in the AL in OPS from their center fielders and third in on-base percentage from their leadoff hitters. All of that is a reflection on Ellsbury, who hasn’t missed a game. Nice comeback.

    Adrian Gonzalez (A+) – Deep breath here: .378 vs. righthanders, .300 vs. lefthanders, .380 at home, .325 on the road, .336 during the day, .359 at night, .338 on grass, .484 on turf, .314 in April, .341 in May, .404 in June, .310 with the bases empty, .390 with men on base, .380 with men in scoring position, .375 with the bases loaded. And no errors.

    Jed Lowrie (C+) – Remember that insane start, during which Lowrie posted a .431 average in his first 16 games? Well after that, he batted 214 with a .577 OPS in his next 39 games. Now he’s hurt again. Add in the fact that Lowrie is batting .206 against righthanders and we’re back to thinking he’s a utility player. In baseball, after all, the more you play, the tougher it gets.

    Darnell McDonald (F) – McDonald was one of the great stories on the Red Sox last season, but he’s given them virtually nothing this season. McDonald’s job is to hit lefties, against whom he’s batted .212. With men on base, he’s 2 for 28 (an .071 average) with nine strikeouts. Still, the Sox kept him over Cameron, which should tell you plenty about how they viewed Cameron.

    David Ortiz (A) – Given all the questions that have existed about him, Ortiz has been both consistent and productive, particularly against lefthanded pitching (a .341 average). If you’re looking to nitpick, he has batted just .203 with runners in scoring position, and just .167 with men in scoring position and two outs. Still, the Red Sox have the best DH in the league again – and by a wide margin.

    Dustin Pedroia (B-) – What’s really been missing, more than anything, are the doubles. Pedroia has a screw in his foot, as we all know, but the Lackey rule applies here, too: if you're out there, you’re expected to perform. The .240 average against righthanders suggests Pedroia has been a little more pull-happy than usual, but let’s not get too picky. We expect a lot from this guy because he’s good, competitive and accountable. And Pedroia at 80 percent is still better than the majority of the league.

    Jarrod Saltalamacchia (B) – Let’s tell you up front that Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek are getting the same grade for an obvious reason: they’re a tandem. After a horrific start, the Red Sox now rank third in the AL in OPS from their catchers – and that is no small achievement. The defense remains suspect, but Saltalamacchia has stabilized – and so has the position in general.

    Marco Scutaro (C) – Shortstop hasn’t turned out to be quite the problem area that, say, right field has become, but there is room for improvement here. Scutaro ranks in the middle of the pack among AL shortstops offensively, and the job is now his to lose. If the defense slips in the second half, one can’t help but wonder if Jose Iglesias will factor in. Until then, the Red Sox are getting by.

    Jason Varitek (B) – Among 21 AL catchers with at least 100 plate appearances, Saltalamacchia ranks fifth in OPS, just a whisker ahead of his mentor, Varitek, who ranks sixth. Varitek has kept up in runs scored (20-18, Salty), homers (five each), RBI (20-17, Salty), batting average (.253-.248, Salty), on-base percentage (.333-.320, Varitek) and slugging (.432-.419, Salty). Each has a .752 OPS. What symmetry.

    Kevin Youkilis (B-) – The production numbers ultimately look fine – Youkilis is on pace for 22 homers and 111 RBI – but it’s been a grind at times. For what it’s worth, he’s also hitting .173 on the road (as opposed to .370 at home). One of the other issues is that his defense has been disappointing, arguably among the worst at the position in the league. We weren’t expecting Brooks Robinson, but he should be better.

    INCOMPLETE – Jose Iglesias, Josh Reddick, Drew Sutton.

    MANAGEMENT
    Theo Epstein and Terry Francona (B) –
    The general manager and manager will earn their money in the coming months, when the fate of the 2011 Red Sox will decided. Until then, there are no major issues. The Sox seemed unprepared to start the season but recovered nicely, though management has seemed a little indecisive at times with regard to Carl Crawford’s place in the batting order, the catching situation and right field, including the decision to move Gonzalez from first base to right for a game.

    Nonetheless, this team is not far off its projected pace, and management’s primary job is to make sure that things keep moving at the proper speed.

    That said, the second half will determine the ultimate grades for Sox officials, particularly given the importance of the trading deadline. At the very least, this Red Sox team should absolutely, positively be playing for the AL championship in October. If that doesn’t happen, we will all have the right to wonder how and where the Sox failed.

     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card:
      YES, WITH AN A- FOR THEO AND A B+ FOR TITO !!!
    Posted by Bill-806



    well, i had my doubts, but based on this inane post, bill and theo are one in the same. only the arrogant theo would give himself an A.
    i, also, would give theo an A, if the A  stood for ASININE.
     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    I thought Wakefield was an F if you look all the inane posts from softleftist
     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    LOL Danny! To answer the question, yes I do agree with most of what he has written. He is spot on in terms of J.D. "Caught Looking" Drew....it is clear his head is around good fishing holes back home and Lackey....just awful.
     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    Grades that should be higher:

    Albers:  A- instead of B.  Mazz says he's not an option in the later innings.  Well, he wasn't brought here for that and has performed well for what his role is and has earned his spot.  If it weren't for the breakdown against the Cubs, he should get an A.

    Wheeler: D instead of F.  Has provided some reason for hope lately.

    Drew: D instead of F.  Yes, he's been terrible, but he's still solid in field.  And while he's bad, he's still not Mike Cameron or Darnell MacDonald bad.
     
    Grades that should be lower: 

    Lester: B instead of A-.  In spite of his great outing this week, he has rarely been dominant and hasn't pitched to his potential.

    Ellsbury: A- instead of A.  Can't complain about the hitting, but not overly impressive as a basestealer and still makes bad initial breaks on balls hit to him.

    Pedroia: C instead of B-.  Hasn't caught fire yet.  C or worse is the grade he would probably give himself given what he expects of himself.

    Matsusaka:  Should be an incomplete.

     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    Seems fair and honest but this is pretty funny regarding Ortiz (Grade A):

    "If you’re looking to nitpick, he has batted just .203 with runners in scoring position, and just .167 with men in scoring position and two outs.

    For a DH that's paid only to hit, that's like saying, "If you want to nitpick, our #1 starter has an 11.50 ERA."
     
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    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card:
    Grades that should be higher: Albers:  A- instead of B.  Mazz says he's not an option in the later innings.  Well, he wasn't brought here for that and has performed well for what his role is and has earned his spot.  If it weren't for the breakdown against the Cubs, he should get an A. Wheeler: D instead of F.  Has provided some reason for hope lately. Drew: D instead of F.  Yes, he's been terrible, but he's still solid in field.  And while he's bad, he's still not Mike Cameron or Darnell MacDonald bad.   Grades that should be lower:  Lester: B instead of A-.  In spite of his great outing this week, he has rarely been dominant and hasn't pitched to his potential. Ellsbury: A- instead of A.  Can't complain about the hitting, but not overly impressive as a basestealer and still makes bad initial breaks on balls hit to him. Pedroia: C instead of B-.  Hasn't caught fire yet.  C or worse is the grade he would probably give himself given what he expects of himself. Matsusaka:  Should be an incomplete.
    Posted by Sheriff-Rojas
    I'd like to know, really like to know, how many balls you've seen Ellsbury unable to catch after he didn't get a good jump on the ball.  

     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    Tony's report Card nailed it pretty good. The Right Field situation is not good, it hasn't been developed for 5 years since they signed Drew. Big contract, that's it , we don't need to develop a right fielder. So now , they got what they asked for they didn't develop a one , apologies to Reddick , he may be the man. maybe finally they will give the kid a chance.
    They never learn from their mistakes, they have locked up Left Field now for 7 years at a cost of $ 142 mil. So they will not be developing a Left Fielder for most of the decade, similar to the Drew situation. 

    What they see in Crawford is a mystery to me. The Angels allegedly were offering Crawford $18 mil for 5 years , so Theo offers $20 mil for 7 years, big difference. Like DICE K the posting fee $50 million, next highest offer $39 million.Theo either has too much money to play with, or he doesn't do his homework. Signing long term huge dollar contracts for players like Crawford, just clogs the development pipeline in the farm system, and paying average hitters like CC that kind of money is insane.  
     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    i agree that ortiz has been graded a little higher than i would have graded him.

    his stats with men on base is no where near as good as you (he?) expects. he has left lots of runners on, and  just hitting .250 in those settings would have already meant 3-4 more wins.

    i do really like that he has hit the lefties well again by going quite often to the opposite field like he did several years ago.

    i am also going to grade wheeler a little bit higher than mazz did.  he has been very good since coming back from the DL and can be counted on for more than just pitching when the team is behind.

    most of mazz's other grades were pretty much OK
     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card:
    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card : I'd like to know, really like to know, how many balls you've seen Ellsbury unable to catch after he didn't get a good jump on the ball.  
    Posted by expitch


    Certainly his speed makes up for his bad initial breaks on some balls.  You have a point and I can't cite a specific number or even a specific instance that I can recall at this moment, but I know I've seen him misplay some balls that I think he could have caught.  I realize this is poor evidence for my answer unless we look at defensive metric data which is always suspect as well. 

    Do you think he gets good reads on the balls hit his way and that his speed  covers him?  I would like to hear others opinions and evidence as well (softlaw notwithstanding) if they can validate or invalidate this opinion. 
     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card:
    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card : Certainly his speed makes up for his bad initial breaks on some balls.  You have a point and I can't cite a specific number or even a specific instance that I can recall at this moment, but I know I've seen him misplay some balls that I think he could have caught.  I realize this is poor evidence for my answer unless we look at defensive metric data which is always suspect as well.  Do you think he gets good reads on the balls hit his way and that his speed  covers him?  I would like to hear others opinions and evidence as well (softlaw notwithstanding) if they can validate or invalidate this opinion. 
    Posted by Sheriff-Rojas

    Jacoby Ellsbury's UZR metric is flattering so far this season:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=cf&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=y&type=1&season=2011&month=0&season1=2011&ind=0

    ... although the UZR metric has been widely discredited by many Ellsbury supporters.
     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card:
    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card : Jacoby Ellsbury's UZR metric is flattering so far this season: http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=cf&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=y&type=1&season=2011&month=0&season1=2011&ind=0 ... although the UZR metric has been widely discredited by many Ellsbury supporters.
    Posted by hill55


    Thanks for the info, but it doesn't mean a thing to me since I can't decipher it.  Could you (or someone) please provide a basic summary in layperson's terms of what those numbers might mean. 

    As the Skipper often anxiously said to the Professor, "Professor, can you cut out all this scientific mumbo-jumbo and get to the point!" 

     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card:
    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card : Certainly his speed makes up for his bad initial breaks on some balls.  You have a point and I can't cite a specific number or even a specific instance that I can recall at this moment, but I know I've seen him misplay some balls that I think he could have caught.  I realize this is poor evidence for my answer unless we look at defensive metric data which is always suspect as well.  Do you think he gets good reads on the balls hit his way and that his speed  covers him?  I would like to hear others opinions and evidence as well (softlaw notwithstanding) if they can validate or invalidate this opinion. 
    Posted by Sheriff-Rojas
    Thanks for your honest response.  
    Defensive metrics are unreliable simply because they do not, perhaps cannot, exercise rigorous control of all relevant variables.
    I posed the question not to poke you with a stick but to provoke a more specific discussion of the issue.  The impression being floated is that Ellsbury is at best an average defender, probably below average.  I'd like to hear more evidence one way or the other before that impression is written in stone. I'm not persuaded one way or the other by metrics rankings, and won't be as long as the methodology is questionable -- in my mind, anyway.
    If you watch enough baseball -- or have played it enough -- you will see almost every outfielder at one time or another not get the best jump on the ball. Some have enough speed to run it down, some don't.  The question here is whether Ellsbury gets a bad read and doesn't make the play with enough frequency to call into question his value as a centerfielder, against the times he clearly makes a great play on a ball.   
    You've made a judgment -- and are honest enough to call it just that -- that he hasn't made catches that he should have made, or that a better defender would have made. Fair enough. To be honest myself, I think he might have caught a couple of balls that dropped in front of him.  But it's also true that the failure to make that play can be the result of poor communication amongst the outfielder and the two infielders. 
    In short, I'm looking for more evidence on which to make a balanced assessment. In fairness to the man.  

     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card:
    Seems fair and honest but this is pretty funny regarding Ortiz (Grade A): "If you’re looking to nitpick, he has batted just .203 with runners in scoring position, and just .167 with men in scoring position and two outs. For a DH that's paid only to hit, that's like saying, "If you want to nitpick, our #1 starter has an 11.50 ERA."
    Posted by mfymfy

    Bad analogy for a guy who's batting .305 with a .956 OPS. He's paid to hit, and he is hitting - he just needs to do better in certain situations.
     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card:
    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card : Thanks for your honest response.   Defensive metrics are unreliable simply because they do not, perhaps cannot, exercise rigorous control of all relevant variables. I posed the question not to poke you with a stick but to provoke a more specific discussion of the issue.  The impression being floated is that Ellsbury is at best an average defender, probably below average.  I'd like to hear more evidence one way or the other before that impression  is written in stone. I'm not persuaded one way or the other by metrics rankings, and won't be as long as the methodology is questionable -- in my mind, anyway. If you watch enough baseball -- or have played it enough -- you will see almost every outfielder at one time or another not get the best jump on the ball. Some have enough speed to run it down, some don't.  The question here is whether Ellsbury gets a bad read and doesn't make the play with enough frequency to call into question his value as a centerfielder, against the times he clearly makes a great play on a ball.    You've made a judgment -- and are honest enough to call it just that -- that he hasn't made catches that he should have made, or that a better defender would have made. Fair enough. To be honest myself, I think he might have caught a couple of balls that dropped in front of him.  But it's also true that the failure to make that play can be the result of poor communication amongst the outfielder and the two infielders.  In short, I'm looking for more evidence on which to make a balanced assessment. In fairness to the man.  
    Posted by expitch


    Fair enough.  Other than an unsubstantiated opinion, the only consequence is half a letter grade on a frivolous report card.  The A- still holds for his mediocre basestealing (25 for 35 - 71%) though.  
     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card:
    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card : Bad analogy for a guy who's batting .305 with a .956 OPS. He's paid to hit, and he is hitting - he just needs to do better in certain situations.
    Posted by Flapjack07

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    I'm a Papi fan, but you have to do it when it means something.
     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    Papi's BA with 2 outs RISP is misleading. It is 50 PAs with 12 RBI and his OBP is .300. The spread between BA and OBP tells me that he is being worked around.

    Here's a different look at Ortiz. 27 of his RBI have come with RISP. He has 48 total so 21 of those RBI have been manufactured without the benefit of RISP.
    Another positive stat, in late and close situations his OPS is .930. And against our number one rival his OPS is 1.080 after 9 games.

    But most of all the grades seem to me to be relative to expectations for the players, how else does Tek with a .248/.333/.419 score so high?
     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    I don't think this is too far off.

    Except that Papelbon's record is 15-1, not 16-0.
     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card:
    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card : Thanks for the info, but it doesn't mean a thing to me since I can't decipher it.  Could you (or someone) please provide a basic summary in layperson's terms of what those numbers might mean.  As the Skipper often anxiously said to the Professor, "Professor, can you cut out all this scientific mumbo-jumbo and get to the point!" 
    Posted by Sheriff-Rojas

    Here you go:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-fangraphs-uzr-primer/
     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    One more tweak.  Papelbon gets an A-.  He's been fine in save situations, but the ERA is sometimes relevant as it was in that debacle against the As where he almost gave a win away.
     
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    Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card

    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card:
    In Response to Re: Do you agree with Massarotti's Red Sox midseason report card : Fair enough.  Other than an unsubstantiated opinion, the only consequence is half a letter grade on a frivolous report card.  The A- still holds for his mediocre basestealing (25 for 35 - 71%) though.  
    Posted by Sheriff-Rojas
    Frivolous is right.

     
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