Sunday, April 11, 2010

Not Again

David Ortiz needs to be gone. I said that last year, then he posted somewhat respectable numbers from June-September. Even if he does that again this year, it's not enough. JD Drew, for all his failings, at least gives you some fielding, smart baserunning, and walks. Yeah, I'd like to see him move along also, but Ortiz is simply a higher priority.


Ben Wyman said...

I think you missed how strong Ortiz was from June through September. He hit .264 with 27 homers and 81 RBI. That makes him the strongest DH in the league.

During the same stretch, A-Rod, an MVP candidate who everyone talked about how he looked so relaxed and focused, hit .290 with 23 homers and 83 RBI. Not to discount batting average, but that's just not that different.

JD Drew is a stat guy, but he fights so hard to get walks that he'll end dozens of innings every year with men on base watching the third strike go into the glove. When Papi's on, the other team's scared to watch him walk to the plate. Doesn't happen with Drew.

We have a team built around pitching and defense - statistically speaking, the best defensive team ever assembled - and we need at least one or two power bats in the lineup or we're toast.

We're six games in to a 162 game season, and I am not panicking over Papi's numbers yet. Wake me up at the end of May and we'll talk about it.

GraniteDad said...

No one's scared of Ortiz this year, that's the problem.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I wonder if Ben is just taking the other side in order to draw me out...

The Red Sox lost 12 games by 1 or 2 runs in April and May last year. (Quick calc) Ortiz played in 10 of them. He went 3 - 42 in those games with a very few walks. Included in that ten were two extra-inning games in which he went 0-5 and 0-7. Had he hit even .240 with even a few doubles in those games, I figure that would be a swing of 3-5 victories. Call it 3. The Sox then have home field advantage against the Angels. More on that later.

There are three statistical illusions which create the impression that Ortiz's lack of early hitting didn't cost much. When a team is playing well, poor performances get overlooked. Playing .600 ball looks "good enough," and the fact that they could be playing .700 looks greedy and unrealistic.

We know that games early in the season, like runs early in a game, count just as much as good performances later. But we always feel like September victories, like 9th inning RBI, are worth more. They aren't. It's a trick of the emotions.

Lastly, we tend to count only the missed hits of a player with an 0-fer has having any value. But even a single brings another player to the plate that inning, which is another player to the plate at the end of a game. Going 2-4 brings two more batters up to bat. In those extra innings games in particular, those can be huge. The starter leaves earlier, because 100 pitches is farther from the end of the game; relievers have to go longer, which has an impact on the next few games. In fact, hitting poorly even in games won has that effect. It is hard to measure and often doesn't affect overall wins. Yet it might have chased a starter an inning earlier, stressing the bullpen. Avoiding extra innings can protect your own bullpen.

In the Sox' 2009 season the ultimate result may not have changed. LA beat them 3 games to none. Ortiz went 1-12 in that series, BTW. Homefield advantage and 2-3 more hits (one game was close) might have mattered. We remember bullpen meltdown as the determining factor. But with extra runs, meltdowns matter less.

And yeah, I know I had to eat my words at the end of the season last year. I'll take that risk.