Sunday, March 28, 2010

One Week to Go

As the baseball season approaches, what critical questions must we ask?

  • Do the Red Sox sign Josh Beckett to an extension before the season starts?
  • If calling a game is so difficult, then why aren't there multimillion dollar pitching coaches getting paid to do it?
  • Can it really be true that Jason Varitek hit .134 in 28 games started after the acquisition of V-Mart? Or that the Captain threw out 13 percent of runners last season (MLB average 25 percent)? Or that Varitek had a three-year minus rating in "The Fielding Bible"?
  • How much power does Bill James have in the Sox organization? After all, he really IS part of the sabermetric brain trust.
  • Has Adrian Beltre converted to the true believers (in wearing a cup) after last season's injury? That's a sore subject...
  • Name the three players who won Rookie of the Year and the MVP the next season? Cal Ripken, Ryan Howard, and yup...Dustin Pedroia.
  • Does Scott Schoeneweis or Alan Embree really have the inside track ahead of Scott Atchison or Joe "Vulcan changeup" Nelson?
  • Will Terry Francona have any wardrobe malfunctions this season?
  • Do you know how many 'states' there are in baseball? Not locations, but conditions, for example, none out, none on base is one state, with an average run production of 0.521 for that state.
  • Did you know? Kevin Youkilis finished 21st, 4th, and 2nd in regular season OPS the last three years in the AL.
  • Did you know? A-Rod's falling three year OPS...1.067, .967, .933. Why would that be? The Boston Globe reports today that many Hall of Famers want a hard-line stance against users of PEDs.
  • What's the over-under on homers for Marco Scutaro? Ten?
  • Baseball Prospectus projects AB (Adrian Beltre) to hit sixteen homers this season. I'm inclined to think he breaks twenty. 
  • Why did Jacoby Ellsbury's defense decline from 2008 to 2009, with accusations of bad jumps, bad routes, and bad breaks on the ball? 
  • Can Mike Cameron have as good a year as James Cameron?
  • J.D. Drew still has two years left on his deal. Will Josh Reddick or Ryan Kalish be ready by then?
  • Can Jon Lester keep up the strikeout pace, with 5 double digit K games in his last 22? Are we watching the evolution into one of the elite pitchers in baseball?
  • Can Clay Buchholz turn potential into consistency?
  • Can Tim Wakefield stay healthy?
  • Do you need a player to watch outside of the Red Sox? Try Max Scherzer of the Snakes. 9.5 K per nine innings and a K/BB ratio of 2.8. He may be the next Zach Greinke.
The key players for the Red Sox this year? Might be Big Papi and AB. 

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