Friday, April 02, 2010

Trendiness: The Defense Never Rests

Five Things.

1. The Red Sox didn't replace Jason Bay's offense in the off-season, but they did attempt to overhaul the team defensively. With all respect due John Dewan's Fielding Bible, reviews what the Red Sox attempted...a quantum leap in run prevention. Jeremy Lundblad breaks down the Sox attempt to scuttle the 2009 defensive breakdown.

2. Tim Kurkjian has his all-time Red Sox team.

C - Fisk
1B - Foxx
2B - Doerr (Pedroia has far too short a track record, impressive as it may be)
SS - Joe Cronin (Nomar not going to Cooperstown)
3B - Boggs
OF - Williams
OF - Speaker (16 finishes in the top ten in slugging and OPS)
OF - Yaz
P -  Cy Young, another era, but a three year span with 93 wins
P -  Clemens...warts and all
P -  Martinez...five year spell with incredible, unbelieveable adjusted ERA+ better than Koufax's five year spell

3. "Crime against humanity." I was picking up a few goodies at the grocery, when the manager stopped me and asked me how I felt about the baseball season. I replied, "don't underestimate the Rays." Another customer stopped and said, "Opening night was a 'crime against humanity', Easter and a night game. After all, you know that a Sox-Yankees game is a minimum 3:30 affair...

4. Terry Francona. Francona goes into his seventh season as Sox skipper, with a .581 winning percentage, a pair of pennants and World Series titles. Well, it's not .605 with 6 pennants and four World Series rings for Joe Torre, but it's not chopped liver either.

5. Catch up. How important is catching defense, throwing out runners and so forth? I'm not sure how to measure this, AND I do 'get it' that the Sox won a pair of WS titles with Varitek as the backstop. Lyford tried to get at this elusive data...and didn't come away with 'conclusive' information, but it wasn't boring. The Fielding Bible showed Jason Varitek's 2008 performance at handling pitchers to be in top ten and preventing stolen bases in the top twenty. A somewhat objective Posada versus Varitek analysis doesn't do Varitek any favors.
Maybe the simplest answer is that Jason Varitek has had a terrific career for the Red Sox, but has simply either worn down, or worn out. The three year trends for his Win Shares (from The Hardball Times) would read 15, 14, and 11 through 2007, pretty much spelling the end for JV. And if anybody knows anything about trends, it's John Henry, the commodity trader.

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