Re: How did the Sox do it?
posted at 3/18/2014 10:54 PM EDT
In response to TheExaminer's comment:
All those things going right, and all those guys doing better than expected last year is exactly what has me worried for this year. The chances of getting all that again are not good. The way I see it, it will only happen if the SP's stay healthy and we get breakout years from Middlebrooks and Bogaerts.
I don't disagree, but I think there are a number of other things that could happen to offset the loss of Ellsbury or an increase in health issues over 2012.
I remember last spring, I thought we had absolutely no chance of even making the playoffs, unless Lester and Buchholz stayed healthy all year and pitched well. That didn't happen, yet we still won it all.
Here are some other possible significant upticks that could "make the difference":
1) Pedey: he had an OPS over .860 in 2010 and 2011. He's only 30. I could see an 80 or 90 point bump from his last year OPS of .787.
2) Napoli: he settled in nicely last year and has a career trend of spiking every 3 years. Guess what? This year is year 3. 2008- .960 OPS, 2011- 1.046 OPS, 2014- ???
3) LF: many look at Nava's 2013 season as a breakout or outlier type season, but I look at last year's overall LF numbers as below what they could have been had both Gomes and Nava not been forced into playing RF and 1B so much last year. Also, Gomes saw a huge drop-off in OPS vs LHPs. he had previously been one of the leagues best split hitters vs lefties. Nava has been a top split hitter vs righties for the past year or two. Nava nd Gomes totalled just 518 out of 680PAs in LF. Our overall LF OPS was .790 last year thanks in part to Carp's .904 OPS in 121 PAs in LF. Hard to repeat that? Probably, but these splits point to an opportunity to greatly improve on the .790 number:
Nava vs RHPs:
.894 in 2013 (20th best in MLB out of 244 hitters with 250+ PAs)
.860 2012-2013 (31st best in MLB out of 297 hitters with 350+ PAs)
Is it out of the question to expect an OPS vs RHPs of about .875 in 2014 and .840 overall, if his PAs vs LHPs are limited more than in 2013?
Gomes vs LHPs:
.904 OPS from 2010-2012 (33rd best out of 246 hitters with 250+ PAs)
He had almost the same PAs vs righties (176) as lefties (190) unlike 2012's 137-196 difference. He had an overall OPS of .868 in 2012 but dipped to .771 last year. Is it out of the question to expect an .875 OPS vs LHPs in 2014, and an .840 overall OPS, if his PAs vs RHPs are limited more than in 2013?
If this happens, we could see a 50 point OPS gain in LF.
I won't get into pitching upticks, but there are a few- headed by Buchholz.