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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Do Not Sell The Farm

So far, the Sox outperformed my expectations.  Buchhloz, when healthy, has been as productive as Pedro.  Lackey is pitching like a true ace.  The pen has been solid.  The meat of the order has performed well despite their lingering health issues.  But it is not time to deviate from the long-term plan: to build the next great Red Sox team.

The Red Sox lead the A.L. or are second in the three conventional offensive metrics – average, on base percentage, slugging percentage - that correlate well to future production.  Without assistance, we should anticipate drop off going forward.  Salty and Nava have exceeded expectations before the Break.  The duo could perform just as well in the second half, but it is unlikely.  Also, it is highly probable that Iglesias and Carp are going to come back down to earth, if and when they get more attempts.  These declines could be offset by better production from the Opening Day starters on the left side of the infield, Drew and Middlebrooks, or a sneak preview by Bogarets.  Unfortunately, the probability of the Sox offensive upside is lower than their downside.  Hence, the fantastic lineup from the first half is likely to tail off heading into the Fall.

On the other side of the ledger, runs allowed, the Sox have not been as successful.  They are second in strikeout rate per nine innings, but are towards the bottom in walks per nine.  The worst offenders of issuing free passes are Doubront and Dempster.  A significant improvement may not come to fruition but the glove work should get better.

Another less discussed, although very important, metric is defensive efficiency.  DE is the percentage of outs on ball put into play.  It is the opposite of a hitter batting average on balls in play.  DE is a good measure of a team’s glove work.  The Sox are tenth in the A.L.  On paper, the weak defensive players man the least important positions – left field and first base – so it is surprising that the club is among the bottom third in the A.L.  It seems like the Sox need to play better or get luckier.  Perhaps, the Olde Towne Team’s opponents have been hitting ‘em where they aint.

Overall, we should expect run prevention to get better and the lineup to take a step back.  The Sox look strong heading into the second half.  There is no need to trade the future for the present.


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