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Wednesday, February 06, 2008


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What's the rationale for projecting Big Papi's batting average a full 50 points lower than last year?

That's a bit extreme.

Speaking of extreme, I wonder what the lineup might produce if Papi dropped to fourth, Manny to fifth, and Ellsbury was added to either the leadoff or #2 slot (i.e., Jacoby, Dustin AND Youks batting in front of Ortiz and Manny)?

"In fact, the Red Sox last year scored 867 runs, or 5.35 per game -- a loss of about seven wins. That's what giving Wily Mo Pena, Eric Hinske and Alex Cora a season's worth of at-bats will do for you."

The 500-odd AB given to those three still doesn't seem to account for the Sox missing their Pythagorean projections by so much. Even throwing in Cash, Clayton, Kielty, Bailey, and other bad performances, I'd still expect more total run production. Most teams have terrible backups / bench players.

My guess is that the problem was offensive inefficiency. Anecdotally, the Sox would put lots of men on base, but they would fail to capitalize in scoring opportunities.

"Based on their run differential in 2007, the Red Sox should have finished 101-61."

You can probably chalk those 5 "missing" wins up to the Gagne Effect...

Here's to hoping this is a massive over estimate, 90 W sounds better to me!

Nice post Paul...

"What's the rationale for projecting Big Papi's batting average a full 50 points lower than last year?"

Local rumors suggest that Papi won't be juicing this season out of fear of being hit with a 50 day suspension since he's already been busted twice.

I assume that's just an awful joke, since it's not even accurate. You get the 50-gamer for your second bust.

I agree with Hud that there seems to be little reason for Ortiz to go from .330 to .280, even if you accept that he's unlikely to re-create the .330. I guess they're figuring he's always been within .290-.300, and then adjusting downward for age.

That Drew projection is really scary though. The best part is that even if you only do PECOTA's lineup and don't average it with others, the Sox still come out to 96-66 -- and I would consider that lineup to be a wprst-case scenario.

What's the rationale for projecting Big Papi's batting average a full 50 points lower than last year?

Ortiz hit forty-five points lower in 2006 and 2007 was his first season over .301 -- fifty points might be slightly extreme, but so was his '07 average.

If I'm remembering correctly, PECOTA was pretty pessimistic about Drew going into 2007, especially his power numbers, which was a bit surprising because he was moving to Fenway.

Anyway, great work again, Paul.

This is a great read. Thanks for the awesome work, Paul.

On the bus to the Super Bowl now. Its raining and cold here. Anticipate a closed roof. Hope all is well in YF/SF nation.

The Gagne effect and the Sox's OBP approach (lots of walks, less slugging) both seem like rationale explanations to me.

But hey, what about my crazy lineup suggestion?

> what about my crazy lineup suggestion?

It's crazy.

I dont think Youk is good enough to be a 3 hitter yet. He's an excellent hitter dont get me wrong, but he isnt the best hitter on the team. Call me a traditionalist but I do believe this one...

I agree Sam. I love me some crazy-bearded Youk, but I like him better at #2. He sees a lot of pitches and wears down pitchers, which is invaluable in front of Ortiz and Manny.

Here's Ortiz BABIP and BA for the last 3 seasons:

2005 .300 BA, .309 BABIP
2006 .274 BA, .287 BABIP
2007 .332 BA, .358 BABIP

His K% was also down last year, and his LD% slightly up. I'm not sure what Ortiz's career BABIP average is, but considering the league average is right around .300, I would say that he was a bit unlucky in 2006, and very lucky in 2007. Mix in a little bit of age and regressing back to that .300 might be why you are seeing his BA go way down. He's still got the strong OBP and SLG, though.

Excellent (and encouraging) analysis.

Now when do we see this done for the Yanks?

I guess my thought process with that lineup idea was:

(a) If people believe that Ortiz and Ramirez are sure to regress, and

(b) Considering how on fire Ellsbury, Pedroia/ and ouks were at the end of the season, then

(c) Might it not make sense to put the three youngsters in front of the aging sluggers?

I have a lot of faith in MannyOrtez still. But I also know that trio is a basestealing/OBP machine which might rarely go down 1-2-3 in the first.

More likely, I suspect, is for either Ellsbury or Peroia to start out as far down as #9, which could give a similar effect the second time through the order.

One could stack the Sox lineup practically any way, I suspect, and get pretty good results -- if Lowell and Drew can produce. If they fall way off and Tek/Lugo don't hold their end up, things could get ugly.


This is kind of funny.

Saw that photo over at Deadspin. Pretty hilarious, but I don't remember Topps ever editorializing (or doing anything at all similar really) like that when I was collecting cards in the 80s-90s. Are they under new management?

Looks like this projection may need to change and that Clay is gonna be in the rotation full time....

thanks, Sam. I put up a thread.

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