Monday, June 26, 2006

The 2006 Red Sox, a Team Built on Pitching and Defense?

Quoting myself from this blog on March 1st, 2006 “If you take the aggregate 2005 numbers for the Red Sox and then assume no decrease from the returning players and add the 2005 numbers of players we have acquired and assume no drop in production, we should be about the same team offensively in 2006 as 2005.”

How they’re doing so far:


















A slight improvement in the core offensive stats but a slight decrease in the offensive “efficiency” or the amount of runs produced from those stats. It’s been pretty much what I would have expected, a pretty similar offensive team to last year despite the huge lineup turnover. That comes with a caveat though: individually I so far would have greatly over-estimated Varitek’s numbers and somewhat under-estimated Lowell and Youkilis’ production. Thankfully those things have evened out though and made me look relatively smart compared to some other prediction tools. One example is that I think so far I’ve beaten Diamond Mind, the highly advanced predicting tool found here. And also the writers at Baseball Prospectus, who stated in their 2006 issue that “Even with Manny and Ortiz still in the fold, the 2006 team is likely to decline on offense, so improvements in pitching and defense represent the club’s most likely path to the playoffs”.

As anticipated though we’re still filling the bases with runners and sometimes even scoring them despite productive outs! That’s not to say that they haven’t improved greatly on defense and somewhat on pitching so far as well to become a more well-rounded team. Pure and simple what has (and will continue to) contributed to the Red Sox not from running away with a playoff spot is that there’s so many more talented teams to match up against in the AL now. (This is especially apparently when looking at the disparity in talent compared to the NL). With the Yankees, Blue Jays, White Sox, Tigers, and A’s all doing well so far, it’s not going to be easy to play in October. And that’s not even including the Twins (who would easily make the playoffs in the NL), the Indians, who despite greatly underperforming to expectations so far still have an incredible lineup, and the Rangers, who have also played quite well.

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