Monday, August 07, 2006

Relative Strength

With an off day to refuel the Sox, let's take a look at the offensive production of the team, comparing not TEAM versus TEAM statistics, but position versus position production.

DH - There are five DHs who qualify, with the top 2 in OPS being, Travis Hafner 1.060 and Jim Thome 1.050. Wait. David Ortiz leads in runs created (100) versus 97 for Hafner and 91 for Thome. Obviously, not a problem area.

C - Among 9 qualifiers (plate appearances) Jason Varitek ranks eighth with an OPS of .743. Joe Mauer (.970) and Jorge Posada (.875) dominate.

1B - Kevin Youkilis is 4th in runs created (77) and 6th in OPS (.842) but leads AL first basemen in runs scored (76). Better as a leadoff hitter than in the five hole.

2B - Mark Loretta is seventh in OPS (.743) but leads in runs created (62). Okay, so he's not Joe Morgan, but Joe Morgan isn't playing anywhere else in the AL either.

SS - Alex Gonzalez came billed as good field, no hit. Alex is 6th among AL shortstops in OPS (.762) and tenth in runs created. Hitting tenth doesn't help. He's not the problem either.

3B - Mike Lowell is fourth in OPS (.822) and fifth in runs created. Of course the problem is that Lowell did a lot of his damage early and he is either wearing down, injured, or reverting to 'expected' levels.

LF - Manny Ramirez has a 0.200 lead on the rest of AL leftfielders and also a wide lead in runs created (97). Ortiz and Manny and the rest can sit on their fanny?

CF - Coco Crisp doesn't have enough appearances to qualify for OPS ranking and is tenth among AL CFs in runs created. Coco gets an incomplete, but would probably rate a C if we were handing out report cards. Coming back in midseason from injury is tougher than it looks.

RF - Trot Nixon, who gets platooned and is on the DL, is fourth in OPS (.822) after a massive slump, and eighth in runs created at 54. For a corner outfielder, Trot hasn't been putting up big numbers and his production amidst age and injury has suffered.

So the numbers support your observations, Ortiz and Ramirez are carrying the load, and the rest of the team has scuffled, although Loretta and Gonzalez have done at least as well as the Sox could have expected.

You expect the stars to be, well, the stars, but the relative underproduction of the surrounding cast, admittedly affected by injuries has put the Sox in the postion of being close in the standings, but fading coming down the stretch.Did the Sox err in not trading the prospects for a bat or a Lidle? NO. The Sox may well rally going down the stretch, but as currently constituted, they aren't that CLOSE to sacrifice the future for what I'd view as a 15-1 shot based on the team, warts (injuries) and all as of August 7th.

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