Outskirts of Red Sox Nation

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Rushing to Conclusions

Finding myself a bit pressed for time today, it seems like a good opportunity to clear out my post-it notes with the links and blog ideas. These articles and discussions are worth your while:

-Tim Daloisio and company at Red Sox Times are working over this Joel Pineiro/closer situation as if it were the partitioning of Berlin, but the results are illuminating. The bottom line on all of this, I think, is that we don't yet know what to expect from Pineiro or any of the other guys in the bullpen (Hansen, Delcarmen, Donnelly, Okajima, etc.) We've got all of Spring Training and the early part of the season to figure out what they've got and how effective they can be. The upside, for me, is that we've got a closer there somewhere. The downside is that we don't, but then again, we've got a huge variety of potential trading pieces to get someone more effective.

-If you're looking for a more effective reliever, it might be a good idea to ask yourself what type of pitcher they are. I love it that a bunch of these stats-heavy websites have started purchasing data from Baseball Info Solutions and other services. They know what to do with this information, and can get it to the rest of us in an interesting way. Baseball Analysts recently posted an article about "categorizing pitchers" by type- looking most specifically at groundball vs. strikeout guys. This is incredibly illuminating to me. Look at some of the names on that grid. J.J. Putz and Joe Nathan on the strikeout axis, and Brandon League and Cla Merideth (doh!) on the groundball axis. Cla seems to have some of the sink to his pitches that made Derek Lowe an effective closer for a while. The big a-ha for me on this chart was Brad Lidge. Despite his alleged problems, he's still getting strikeouts with over 30% of the batters he faced PLUS inducing groundballs on over 40%. Guys aren't getting a ton of good swings on him. If the existing bullpen candidates aren't looking too great, I'd go harder after Lidge than I would after Gonzalez or Cordero.

-I know that most readers won't be able to see this, but I thought I'd point out that the self-appointed geniuses at Baseball Prospectus have put together their analysis of the Sox top-ten prospects. I don't think non-subscribers can get a full analysis, but the sneak-preview is below:

Excellent Prospects
1. Clay Buchholz, rhp
Very Good Prospects
2. Jacoby Ellsbury, cf
3. Michael Bowden, rhp
Good Prospects
4. Jason Place, cf
5. Daniel Bard, rhp
6. Bryce Cox, rhp
Average Prospects
7. Dustin Pedroia, 2b
8. Craig Hansen, rhp
9. Kris Johnson, lhp
10. Justin Masterson, rhp


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