The Boston Herald: All Things Red Sox

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by Bradkaz96, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. Bradkaz96

    Bradkaz96 Sim-Nation LSU Tigers

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    2011 Boston Red Sox Season Preview

    Rotation

    The Sox have two horses who couldn’t be more different. There’s stoic ace Jon Lester, a mountain of a man who goes to the mound with little more than his stuff and his stare. Then there’s loosey-goosey Clay Buchholz, a floppy-haired string bean who spends the hours before a start playing videogames on his iPad. The two returning All-Stars are the sure things in a rotation that otherwise has a number of question marks. Chief among them is what the Sox will get from Josh Beckett. The big Texan was a postseason hero in 2007, but he looked awful before, during, and after getting hurt in May and posted the worst numbers of his career. He seems bound and determined to exorcise the horror of 2010, but we won’t know until we see him. Fellow Texan John Lackey was a disappointment after signing a five-year, $82.5 million deal, and the Red Sox need him to do a better job of maintaining slim leads. As for fifth starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, in the words of manager Terry Francona, “If I sat here and told you I could figure him out, I’d be lying.”

    Bullpen

    The team’s downfall in 2010, the bullpen could be a huge part of its salvation in 2011. GM Theo Epstein made rebuilding the relief corps his biggest priority of the offseason (after Gonzalez and Crawford, anyway), and he made a splash by inking former White Sox closer Bobby Jenks and trusted Rays setup man Dan Wheeler. Jenks was non-tendered despite recording 167 saves since 2006; he and Wheeler give the pen two more power arms alongside righthander Daniel Bard. They’ll be the primary setup men for closer Jonathan Papelbon, who’s coming off the worst season of his career but is also entering a contract year. Considering how determined Papelbon is to set the market, he’ll do everything he can to produce an All-Star season. Hideki Okajima returns to be the primary lefthander. Former Yankee Alfredo Aceves looked strong coming into spring training and could add depth to an already deep staff.

    Middle Infield

    If there’s a more spirited player in the big leagues than Dustin Pedroia, he probably bleeds Red Bull. Pedroia is a breed unto himself, whether it’s challenging chiseled NFL quarterback Brady Quinn to a game of ping pong at their workout facility and guaranteeing that, “I’ll drill this ball off your throat,” or telling opponents to wear their sunglasses during BP, “for the laser show.” Pedroia is recovering from a broken foot and expects to be ready for the start of the season, though the healing process was slow. If healthy, he could bat anywhere from second to fifth. Shortstop is a bit of a tossup, with incumbent Marco Scutaro returning from a painful shoulder injury that left him barely able to throw across the diamond. He’ll be pushed by Jed Lowrie, who pummeled the ball in the second half from both sides and is developing surprising power.

    Corners

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    Here’s where the fun starts. Kevin Youkilis had a shot at his first 30-100 season until tearing a thumb ligament in a freak August injury that cost him the final two months of the season. Now fully healed, he’s ready to pick up where he left off as an MVP candidate and one of the toughest outs in the game. He’ll be sliding across the diamond to make room for the aptly nicknamed A-Gone, who should feel like a sailor on shore leave after escaping Petco Park. Gonzalez has what the Red Sox consider the ideal left-handed swing for Fenway Park, and his career highs of 40 homers and 119 RBIs could fall by the end of August. Sound like hyperbole? Just watch what Gonzalez does in a hitter’s park with a real supporting cast.

    Outfield

    The pairing of Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury could be the most exciting in the game. The two cover an insane amount of ground, and Crawford has already declared that balls in the left-center gap, “I’ll catch.” The two are equally disruptive at the plate, and it will be interesting to see which one hits leadoff, since some in the organization believe the team’s best lineup is with Ellsbury ninth and Crawford first, even though the latter has never made a secret about his distaste for the top of the order. In right, J.D. Drew is contemplating retirement following the season, but first he wants to prove 2010 was a fluke. Drew admits he let a wider strike zone and inconsistent umpiring get in his head. He hopes to hit with a clear mind and return to his customary .900 OPS.

    Catching

    If there’s a question mark anywhere, it’s behind the plate. Epstein has long lusted after catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and last July he finally got his man in a deadline deal with the Rangers. The switch-hitter they call “Salty” has yet to approach the potential expected of him since he was acquired by the Rangers as part of the Mark Teixeira trade in 2007. The Sox have steadfastly backed Saltalamacchia as a full-time starter, even though he’s caught more than 55 games in a season only once. Privately, they admit the big expenditures of the offseason required them to take a low-cost risk somewhere. If Saltalamacchia falters, the team at least boasts an experienced backup in Jason Varitek, who was actually off to a whale of a start last year before breaking his foot. This is one position worth monitoring, however, as the Sox may be forced to look outside the organization for a solution if Saltalamacchia doesn’t pan out.

    DH/Bench

    David Ortiz really wanted a long-term extension. The Red Sox instead exercised his $12.5 million option. As Ortiz enters what could be his final season in a Red Sox uniform, the DH appears poised for another strong season. The key will be avoiding the brutal Aprils that have plagued him the last two seasons. With a deep lineup around him, Ortiz should see plenty of pitches to hit. The Sox may rest him against tougher lefties, since he hit southpaws at only a .222 clip last year, but he’ll get his RBI opportunities. With the Sox potentially carrying 12 pitchers, the bench will be relatively thin. Lowrie can play anywhere in the infield, while the right-handed Mike Cameron will play some outfield and maybe even spell Ortiz at DH. Varitek and possibly someone like outfielder Darnell McDonald round out the reserves. The fact that Varitek and Lowrie switch hit lessens the need for a lefty here.

    Final Analysis

    The Red Sox received a mulligan after getting buried in a hailstorm of injuries last year, but this year it’s World Series or bust. On paper, the Red Sox have the best lineup, the best rotation, and maybe even the best bullpen in the American League. Between the insanely athletic Ellsbury and Crawford in the outfield and on the bases, the notoriously clutch Youkilis and Pedroia in the lineup, and the prodigiously powerful Gonzalez and Ortiz, the Red Sox should be a pleasure to watch. They’ll be expected not just to play with style, though, but also to win with it.
     
  2. G_T_G

    G_T_G BEAR DOWN

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    Thought you were the Rays.
     
  3. Bradkaz96

    Bradkaz96 Sim-Nation LSU Tigers

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    Sicko and Pepper gave me the Sox, now Im not sure. I set up a time to play pepper tonight
     
  4. klaximilian

    klaximilian Walk On

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    Team is yours Brad. Congrats and welcome to TBL.

    Watch out for the Yanks.
     
  5. PepperNY

    PepperNY Fear the Spear

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    Brad is the Red Sox now since he just joined yesterday and was the 1st to respond. sorry for the confusuion
     
  6. Bradkaz96

    Bradkaz96 Sim-Nation LSU Tigers

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    Projected Lineup vs RHP:

    1. LF - Carl Crawford​
    2. 2B - Dustin Pedroia​
    3. 1B - Adrian Gonzalez​
    4. 3B - Kevin Youkilis​
    5. DH - David Ortiz​
    6. CF - Jacoby Ellsbury​
    7. RF - J.D Drew​
    8. C - Jerrod Saltalmacchia*​
    9. SS - Jed Lowrie**​

    Projected Lineup vs LHP:

    1. LF - Carl Crawford​
    2. 2B - Dustin Pedroia​
    3. 1B - Adrian Gonzalez​
    4. 3B - Kevin Youkilis​
    5. DH - Jacoby Ellsbury​
    6. CF - Mike Cameron​
    7. RF - J.D. Drew​
    8. C - Jerrod Saltalmacchia*​
    9. SS - Jed Lowrie**​

    * - expected to split time with Jason Varitek​
    ** - Expected to split time with Marco Scutaro​

    Projected Rotation:

    1. L - Jon Lester​
    2. R - Clay Buchholz​
    3. R - Josh Beckett​
    4. R- John Lackey​
    5. R - Diasuke Matsuzaka​

    Projected Bullpen:

    LRP - R - Tim Wakefield​
    MRP - R - Dan Wheeler​
    MRP - R - Bobby Jenks​
    MRP - L - Hideki Okajima​
    SU - R - Daniel Bard​
    CP - R - Johnathan Papelbon​
     
  7. klaximilian

    klaximilian Walk On

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    Oh yea, good stuff Brad.
     
  8. Bradkaz96

    Bradkaz96 Sim-Nation LSU Tigers

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    Player Preview: SS - Jed Lowrie

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    As the Red Sox 2010 season was winding down to a disappointing conclusion, the return and resurgence of Jed Lowrie was one of the bright spots.

    The biggest issue with Lowrie going forward will be staying healthy, which has been quite a battle over the last two seasons. His wrist injury seemed completely healed in 2010 as he hit nine home runs in only 171 at-bats. That power output can be seen in a positive light, but it also was brought on by a fly ball rate of just over 54 percent, which over more at-bats would likely lead to a low AVG. More than likely, Lowrie’s fly ball rate would fall to under 50 percent over a full season, so don’t expect his 2010 home run pace or his .240 ISO — Ryan Howard had a .229 ISO in 2010 – to hold steady in the future.

    Lowrie’s 14.6 percent strikeout rate in 2010 is another category likely to regress. By no means is Lowrie a high strikeout candidate, but at no point in his career has he held a strikeout rate as low as he did in 2010. Also, consider the small sample size of 171 at-bats. Does this mean that Lowrie can’t hit .290-.300? No, but based on his track record, a high AVG would seem unlikely.

    On the positive side, Lowrie did a good job of being patient and drawing walks (12.7 percent walk rate). His OBP should be good, but not great given the likely rise in strikeout rate and slight regression in AVG.

    Along with staying healthy, Lowrie will need to find his playing time. Marco Scutaro had an OK 2010 season, but given his age and yearly nagging injuries, he may need more time off in 2011. Lowrie can fill in there, but his arm strength doesn’t play great at shortstop. Third base is open as of today — Adrian Beltre has officially decided to try and cash in on his big 2010 season — and Lowrie has experience and the glove to play there. However, given the type of player he his, Lowrie wouldn’t meet the classification of a prototypical third baseman. The position Lowrie fits best in second, but that is kind of sort of taken at the moment.

    Utility infielder? In many ways Lowrie would be very valuable in this role. However, that doesn’t exactly guarantee him a ton of playing time. Even if there were to be a scenario where Scutaro is no longer the everyday shortstop or the Sox can’t find a third baseman to replace Beltre, could Lowrie be counted on as an every day player? The answer at this point would have to be no. Given health issues and inconsistencies in his minor and major league numbers, it would be a huge leap of faith to think Lowrie can be a consistent everyday player over 150-plus games.

    Make no mistake about it; Jed Lowrie is going to be a nice piece to the 2011 Red Sox puzzle, but he is no savior and he may just have more question marks than answers at this point in his career. A utility role would maximize his value, even in a possible split with Scutaro at short. Take his 2010 numbers with a grain of salt — and an understanding of small sample size — and look at Lowrie as a role player, not the next big thing.
     
  9. Bradkaz96

    Bradkaz96 Sim-Nation LSU Tigers

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    Red Sox fall in first Spring Training game to the Tigers 5-4...

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  10. Bradkaz96

    Bradkaz96 Sim-Nation LSU Tigers

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    Red Sox Rebound and Beat Twins 7-1 and mash for 15 hits in the game...
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  11. Bradkaz96

    Bradkaz96 Sim-Nation LSU Tigers

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    Scutaro pushing hard for starting Shortstop

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    It appears that Marco Scutaro really wants to be the starting shortstop for the Boston Red Sox this season. He has done nothing but impress the coaching staff in spot duty this far. Scutaro hass only seen 2 starts in the spring but has wowed in both. Batting a whopping .714 (5 for 7) with a Triple a homerun and 2 RBI's.

    Jed Lowrie, who was penciled in at starter for the spring is batting a .250 (3 for 12) with no homeruns or RBI's in his 3 starts. It seems as if the opening day starter might be veteran Marco Scutaro. Lowrie is going to have to be spectacular in spot duty to get back into the lineup.
     
  12. Bradkaz96

    Bradkaz96 Sim-Nation LSU Tigers

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    Lester and Saltalamacchia out, Posey and Zito in!

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    Just when you thought the Boston Red Sox lineup couldn't get any better, BOOM!

    National League Rookie of the year and stud catcher Buster Posey is on his way to Boston in a move that is sure to shock some people in the TBL universe. After Saltalamacchia struggled in the spring getting on base and almost lost his job to Jason Varitek he is packing his bags for the Bay area.

    The Redsox lose a stud pitcher in Jon Lester but still have the arms of Beckett, Buchholz, Lackey and Dice-K to fall back on and did pick up seasoned veteran Barry Zito to round out the rotation. Its no secret that Zito is lacking the speed he once had but does have outstanding contol and should be fine in Boston with the Green Monster protecting him in left field.
     

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