Sunday, May 18, 2008

Value Line

One reason fans love baseball is our obsession with numbers...the 20 game winner, .300 average, 3000 hits, 714 (Ruth), 755 (Aaron), and even 762 (Bonds). Great players usually achieve statistical greatness.

The Red Sox have enjoyed their share of great players through the years. Entry into Cooperstown doesn't come easily, and surely the enshrinement of Williams, Yaz, Fisk, Eckersley, and someday Clemens merits note. But current management has achieved two championships in four years not only by acquiring and developing WINNERS.

As an example, I offer up last night's second game baserunning by Dustin Pedroia. Early in the game Pedroia had an inconsequential stolen base and scored on a Mike Lowell homer. But in the seventh, Pedroia literally stole second base via hustle after a Bill Hall throwing error trying to force out Jacoby Ellsbury at second. Pedroia then advanced to third on a grounder to shortstop, and scored on a 130 foot pop fly by Youkilis that landed behind a drawn in infield.

The Red Sox lineup has a series of overachievers that have made enough small plays to win. Let's look solely at statistical production over the past few seasons.
  • Posada over Varitek
  • Giambi over Youkilis
  • Cano over Pedroia
  • Jeter over Lugo
  • A-Rod over Lowell
  • Manny over Matsui
  • Ellsbury-Crisp over Cabrera
  • Abreu over Drew
  • Papi over whomever
From a strictly 'talent' level, the Bronx Bombers and their fans have to believe in their superiority. But they don't have the better team at least so far, because they haven't produced the intangibles (and their pitching hasn't been very good either).

Well, it's a marathon, not a sprint, and the season remains young, with much baseball to be played. I'll opine that the Sox haven't played their best baseball yet, and the pitching (globally) can be a lot better, and will have to be with some talented staffs (Cleveland, Oakland, and Toronto in particular) to worry about.

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