March 27, 2010

How About Insane And Widespread?

ESPN's Jayson Stark calls it an "insanely widespread theory":
To hear the way people have been talking about them this spring, you'd think the Red Sox had gone out this winter and burned all their bats in a giant bonfire. ...

Is anybody actually paying attention out there? ...

Baseball Prospectus' fabled PECOTA system projects that the Red Sox will score 846 runs this season. Is that fewer runs than they scored last year? OK, so it is. Precisely 26 fewer. A run a week.
Even 846 runs would have been 3rd best in MLB last year. And Boston was 3rd best, with 872 runs, only 12 runs away from 2nd best.

One scout told Stark this spring:
They're still going to score runs. I just don't see where they're going to have enough thump to break a game open with back-to-back homers.
Once again, we hear about a loss of thump or thunder. Yet that scout concedes: "What they've got is a bunch of guys who can keep an inning going, rather than the old kaboom."

What's wrong with a long inning? If the runs get scored just as often, is it really important how it gets done? (Yes, Boston, you outscored the Twins 7-5, but your long seven-run inning was less thumpy than Minnesota's back-to-back home runs in the fourth, so they get credit for the win.)
PECOTA Projection
STAT 2009 2010 CHANGE
Runs 872 846 - 26
BA .270 .277 + 7
OBP .352 .357 + 5
SLG .454 .449 - 5
HR 212 179 - 33
The 2010 Sox are projected to have the exact same OPS as the 2009 team (which was 2nd best in MLB). And Stark notes that according to the calculations of John Dewan/The Fielding Bible, the Red Sox project to allow as many as 87 fewer runs this year. Combining those two projections is at best totally crude, maybe just plain wrong, plus a projection is not a prediction, but what the hell:
         RS    RA   Pythag    Actual
2009 872 736 93-69 95-67
-26 -87
2010 846 649 102-60 ?
David Ortiz: "I don't pay attention to any of that crap people have been talking about."

Which presumably means the good stuff, too -- since the team has to actually go out on the field nearly every day for the next six months and stay healthy and score those runs and not allow those other runs and win a lot of games.

The people predicting a slight dip in offense, but a better run differential, have various statistical data to buttress their expectations. The gloom-and-doomers have offered .... what, exactly? ... a superficial glance at the roster and snark?


9casey said...

The talk of no offense would have seen more appropiate last year then this year...With Tek catching no Manny for a full year Lowell not a 100% Ellsburys first real season. Know it seems to be based all around Papi's decline and Bay leaving....the media needs something..

Section 36 said...

The current Sox offense is less comforting than others. It was easier to just hope one guy could somehow get on in front of Manny than hoping four guys could all get hits. This offense should really be fine. I know I forget just how good Youkilis and Martinez are. But, the first time the Sox lose 3-2 after leaving the bases loaded twice, it's going to get ugly.

tim said...

zomg the sky is falling!

we've scored 0 runs to date guys!


we're screwed!!!!!

laura k said...

But, the first time the Sox lose 3-2 after leaving the bases loaded twice, it's going to get ugly.

Yeah, because that never happens to other teams! Only the Red Sox ever leave the bases loaded and lose by one run! Oh woe is us!