Sunday, August 29, 2004
My buddy, Steve about a month ago at the Sox-O's double header said something like don't worry the Sox will go on a tear in August; check the schedule. Steve was right. The Sox beat the crap out of inferior clubs. Now with Anaheim and Texas coming to Fenway then three in Oaktown, the Sox have an opportunity to put some distance between themselves and their three competitors for the Wild Card. A 6-3 record or better would make it difficult for the Wild Card to come out of the West, since the threesome are scheduled to beat up on one another the later half the September.And the Sox are positioned nicely to do just that - win each series.
The starters have been going deep into games and combined with large leads late has allowed the Pen Principals (Foulke, Embree, Timlin) to receive needed time off. Before this stretch, all three have felt the affects of being used often. The trio should be strong and used liberally over the next nine games.
The walking wounded appear to be getting healthy at the right time. Even though Nixon may be the only DL member to start regularly, Youkilis, Pokey, Kim and others can be very effective when used in the right situations. Everything seems to be heading in the right direction (knock on wood) giving the Sox a good shot at putting some distance between themselves and the West Wild Card contenders.
MONEYBALL ORGANIZATION? PLEASE.
"Perhaps the most phenomenal fact of life in baseball today is that major league teams continue to use first-round picks for high school pitchers. It has been obvious for twenty years that this is a stupid, stupid gamble ... yet every year, four to seven first-round picks are invested in these turkeys."
--Bill James, "The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract"
Last week, the Sox signed 12th-round pick Mike Rozier, a southpaw from Henry County (Ga.) High, for $1.575 million bonus.
"We're excited about this," Boston scouting director David Chadd said. "We didn't have a first-round pick, but we value this guy as a first-round arm."
The Sox signed a first round arm for first round money and according to Bill James took a “stupid, stupid gamble.” It may just be "stupid" and not “stupid, stupid” since he was selected in the 12th-round and is less of a financial risk.
“Because Rozier is a two-sport athlete, draft rules allow the Red Sox to spread his bonus over a five-year period.”
Regardless, it is a risky, yet conventional transaction and surely not of the Moneyball philosophy: to exploit any inefficiencies in a finite market.
In the two months since Henry offered his forecast, the Sox are averaging nearly a run more a game than they did in the first three months of the season (6.23 to 5.38). But even more striking is how prescient he was about the drop in unearned runs. From 60 unearned runs in the team's first 76 games, the Sox have allowed just 20 in their last 53 games, including just six in 27 games this month.
Gordon Edes throws this one out in today’s globe and reason for my post during lunch. The use of “more striking” indicates that the decrease in unearned runs is the primary reason for Sox improvement over their last 53 games. The notion is complete crap because both earned and unearned runs get posted on the scoreboard.
In the Sox first 76 games, the club gave up an average of 4.7 runs per game and in the last 53, the club has yielded 4.6 per outing. As you can see, the change in run prevention is not significant. With the data presented by Edes, one can only conclude that the increase in runs scored has had a bigger impact on the Sox record in the last 53 games than the decrease in unearned runs.