Saturday, April 19, 2008

Inside the Numbers

Baseball more than any other sport allows us the opportunity to review, sort, and interpret the numbers. So let's get at it.


The Red Sox are 13th (4.84) in the AL in ERA, one of the most important 'run prevention' numbers. But why? The Sox are second in batting average against (.242) and last in walks allowed at 84. Although they are ninth in K/BB ratio, it is with a very poor 1.56 ratio, far below the league-leading Twins at 2.59. This is a very disturbing trend.

The bullpen has a collective ERA of 5.43, also among the worst in the AL.


Even with a struggling David Ortiz and injured Mike Lowell, the Sox lead the league in runs scored (93), admittedly having played more games than second place Chicago. The Sox also lead the league in OPS (.806) and OBP (.363), the latter one point ahead of another 'Moneyball' team, Toronto.

Individual achievement?

All of us would like to see a more mature pitcher in Jon Lester. But he has won a World Series game, and has a .750 career winning percentage with a very small sample size. His WHIP ratio of 1.57 is a lot higher than the Sox want to see, and his 60/43 strikeout to walk ratio clearly needs improvement.
But he is 24 years old, did miss a substantial amount of time with serious illness, and above all, he is left-handed.
.G   AB    R    H   2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG *OPS+

13 40 4 13 2 0 0 3 2 0 2 7 .325 .349 .375 93

16 35 12 8 0 1 1 6 4 0 11 4 .229 .429 .371 115

The two lines above show production for two current Sox players. One-ninth of the way through the season, Player B is on track to score 100 runs in 'platoon' duty. You've probably guessed that the first line belongs to Coco Crisp and the latter to Jacoby Ellsbury, whom I dub 'The Pest', because he is a major distraction for Sox opponents.

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