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  1. The knowledge that the Yankees are first are as good as any birthday present I’m getting today.

    Comment by 23553 — April 6, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

  2. (especially because I already got all of them)

    Comment by 23553 — April 6, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  3. Boston #3 in baseball operations? Riiiiiiight.

    Comment by elijah — April 6, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

  4. Then Theo Epstein came along (after the team went 93-69)…

    Will Epstein get as much blame when Chicago sucks in 2013 as he got credit in his second year in Boston?

    A lot of people “came along” in Boston to make them a powerhouse, not just Epstein.

    Comment by TK — April 6, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

  5. I’m assuming at the end of all this we can get a chart of all the rankings like in the Cubs article?

    Comment by VJO — April 6, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

  6. If it’s unclear “whether they reach the postseason in 2012 or not,” why are they 4th in the 2012 rankings?

    Comment by Kramer — April 6, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

  7. This is a moderately retarded ranking. One you clearly double counted financial resources. If financial resources is its own category you can’t also use it in 2013+ outlook.

    Also you are ranking a front office that has only traded Scutaro for nothing and traded for an injured closer as its two moves. How does that rank top 3?

    Comment by Matt — April 6, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

  8. Too bad they’re only the 4th best team in their division

    Comment by wont let me post without a name — April 6, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

  9. I’ve always felt that Theo and Terry get too much credit and Dan Duquette doesn’t get enough for the Sox success

    Comment by j6takish — April 6, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

  10. In every single category except maybe Finances this team is ranked too high here.

    Comment by nik — April 6, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

  11. It still bugs me that everyone always mentions all the the things that went wrong for the sox last year, without ever mentionig how many things went right.

    Namely, the fact that nearly every one of their best players had career or near career years last year – ellsbury, pedroia, gonzalez, ortiz, lester, beckett, papelbon, bard all had the or one of the best years of their careers lsst year. not to mention that so did many key support pieces like aceves, salty, reddick, scutaro.

    people love to paint last year ss everything going wrong for the sox but that’s not even close to the truth. they also love to pretend that the ‘collapse’ was the exception (and april too, of course) while assuming that their ridiculous run in june/july when every bit player on the team looked like an allstar was the ‘real’ red sox.

    This team has won 89 and 90 wins the last two seasons and for the most part has deserved it. they’ve had as many things go right as go wrong for them over that time, and moreover many if not most of the things that have gone wrong for them were easily forseeable as bad contracts to overrated or injury prone players.

    Right now they literally only have 8 or 9 enviable assets – ellsbury, pedroia, gonzo, ortiz, youk, beckett, lester, bard – although even some of those guys are looking less attractive due to age/injury/price.

    i’d wager this year’s sox team is weaker than either of the last two, and that once again they’ll struggle to crack 90 wins.

    at which point we’ll be looking at an aging, injured team with 3 consecutive borderline playoff calibre years, with a fairly weak farm system, no payroll flexibility, and unproven management.

    imo, you’re giving the #2 ranking to the sox based on only two reasons – 1) they have lots of money and 2) that 8/9 man core is really good.

    i agree with #1, but i think #2 is a bit overrated. just imo, of course.

    Comment by everdiso — April 6, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

  12. Last season, Carl Crawford … missed time

    and this was bad?

    Comment by Steve — April 6, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

  13. It’s kindof funny that the entire write-up about their Financial Resources (a justified #2 ranking) is about all of the sh*tty contracts they’ve handed out in the last few years, and then that is directly followed by a #3 ranking in baseball operations….

    Comment by Steve — April 6, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

  14. Besides the fact that it’s always unsure that any team will make the playoffs (Would the Tigers if Verlander and Fielder ended up missing 50+ games each?)

    The reason is
    Tampa Bay’s 2012 Outlook: 63
    Toronto’s 2012 Outlook: 52
    Yankees’ 2012 Outlook: Probably 69 or 70
    Detroit’s 2012 Outlook: 63
    Anaheim’s 2012 Outlook: 65
    Texas’ 2012 Outlook: 68

    In other words, some team with 60+ talent is going to miss the playoffs in the AL. And according to these rankings, it’s more likely to be Boston or Tampa Bay than Texas or Anaheim. And that was before Bailey went down.

    Comment by Reuben — April 6, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

  15. A top 3 major league roster and a top 10 farm system. Yeah, they stink.

    Comment by aquanarc — April 6, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

  16. Only quibble – when Bard was a starter in the minors the Red Sox messed around with his mechanics and that was the cause of most of his results. Once they returned him to the bullpen they allowed him to return to his previous pitching motion and that’s when he shot up the ladder. Assuming the Sox haven’t changed anything this time around, which I haven’t heard that they have, Bard’s failures in the low minors really have no correlation towards how he could do this year.

    Comment by James — April 6, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  17. Matt took the words out of my mouth. Double counting, check. And the Scutaro trade, check, plus paying tons for Crawford whose defensive value in Tampa would obviously dry up in Boston and whose speed should have been seen by any stat-savvy GM as overrating his actual offensive value, Lackey, etc. So many poor overpays in recent years.

    And the turnaround just so happened to come at the same time their payroll exploded. Hmmmm. And as another pointed out, 90% of fangraph’s esteemed panel don’t see them in the playoffs this year, and yet a 4th ranking? And mentioning that with a healthy Youk, they’ll do even better… meaning that someone should expect such a thing to happen.

    Sorry, most of these rankings had very good arguments on what are clearly tough calls, but this one is easily way off when you add up issues with all of the component parts.

    Comment by Will H. — April 6, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  18. So the second best organization in baseball has missed the playoffs two years in a row, and likely heading for a third. This in spite of financial resources unrivaled by anyone except the Yankees.

    Comment by David — April 6, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  19. If something positive is said about the Red Sox, you can be sure everdiso will be there wit his jealous Blue Jay fan spin.

    I really enjoyed that very scientific bit about “enviable assets.”, very convincing…

    Comment by Andrew — April 6, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  20. What exactly is their 2013+ ranking based on besides money? They have no good high level prospects, One of their 4 good position players will be 37, ellsbury will be a FA which leaves their 2013+ outlook to be based entirely on Gonzalez, pedroia, Lester and cc. No offense but that should be closer to the bottom ten than top 5.

    Comment by Matt — April 6, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

  21. They still signed guys like Lester, Buchholz, and Pedroia young and to cheap deals, traded for and signed long-term A-Gonz, and locked up guys like Youk and Beckett to long-term and below average money deals.

    Maybe some of those are too far back for your liking (Youk and Pedroia were in ’09) but when opportunities arise to get players or resign young guys they act.

    Comment by James — April 6, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

  22. can someone explain to me how a Ben Cherington-led Baseball Ops Department is ahead of TEX or TOR?? Cherington might be a shrewd GM someday, but AA and Jon Daniels have earned the right to be placed ahead of him. Unless you really think that Theo’s magic will dust off on Cherington then their ranking is unfair. By the way, if Theo is so great of a teacher that you vault his pupil this high in the rankings for Baseball Ops- then why isn’t a Theo-led Cubs Baseball Ops department #1? I realize that their are other parts to a Baseball Ops department but you need to be consistent.

    Comment by Chris Zolli — April 6, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  23. It seems like you made Kramer’s point. If they are not likely to make the playoffs, it seems strange to rank them as an average playoff team for 2012 outlook.

    Comment by Cliff — April 6, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

  24. Dear Reader,

    There rankings do not actually impact your favorite team’s present or future. No need to overreact.

    Comment by Reason — April 6, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

  25. The A-Gonz trade is slowly turning out to be a steal too.

    Comment by Frank — April 6, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  26. I am not a fan of any of the teams mentioned in my comment; I just find it inconsistent. If Theo can leave and the team is still #2 in Baseball Ops, then that either means that Theo did not mean that much, which means that the Cubs should be much lower than #6, or that Theo is such a good teacher that his pupils can be elite even after he leaves, which would warrant his new team a more lofty ranking

    Comment by Chris Zolli — April 6, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  27. You lost me by including Lester and Bard among the guys who played near their peak. Lester’s WAR dipped a full two wins from 2010 to 3.7 in 2011. As for Bard, while losses are not necessarily indicative of performance, they are indicative of losses. And Daniel Bard had 9 losses. A lot of which were down the stretch. The Sox make the playoffs if he does not blow even 1 or 2 of those games.

    Comment by Seth — April 6, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

  28. I’m having a hard time reading this article with Daryl staring right at me.

    Comment by jonrhines — April 6, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  29. Bill Mueller, David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, Keith Foulke, Kevin Millar, Mark Bellhorn and Mike Timlin all significantly contributed to the Red Sox winning in ’04, and all were acquired after Epstein became GM in November of ’02. Combine that with the enormous gamble he took trading Nomar mid season – which provided a much needed upgrade defensively at SS and 1B and helped tremendously to the team becoming a juggernaut to end the year – and I don’t agree that he gets too much credit.

    Comment by George — April 6, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  30. “If there is one area where the Red Sox stand at the head of the class.”

    What is it? I’M SO CURIOUS

    Comment by Sam — April 6, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

  31. AC/DC got it right. Money Talks.

    Comment by TheGrandSlamwich — April 6, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

  32. its all guesswork… perceived saber teams will score high, the others wont

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — April 6, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

  33. they just lost their gm…

    Comment by Daniel — April 6, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

  34. your bday presents must really suck

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — April 6, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

  35. exactly. agreed. just that fatal flaw with the double counting. in no way is the sox’ future outlook fifth. the rangers are better in every category but finance, and they still excel. better current team, young team, better farm system, and the front office is still debatale… cuz they have a new GM! how can they be so high.

    Comment by Daniel — April 6, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

  36. At least they’re not hiding the Red Sox bias anymore. Might as well make it official that this is a Red Sox fansite.

    Comment by Keith Allen — April 6, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

  37. Just wondering why you would say the the Red Sox financial resources are “unrivaled by anyone except the Yankees” when over the last 5 seasons (2008-2012) their payroll rank has been 4th, 4th, 2nd, 3rd & 3rd. I’m not a Sox fan and I don’t have access to all the financial details but it seems the league hasn’t existed as so many think since the Sox and Yanks were 1 & 2 from 2004-07.

    Comment by Nbusa — April 6, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

  38. IMO, this ranking is a bit too high.

    1. The book on Cherington is wide open. I would recommend a more mid-pack ranking until he demonstrates his capabilities. I guess the retort is-the ownership acts as a stablizing element here. To which I point to the offseason mess of character assassinations and manager searches…and suggest there is a waft of dysfunction coming from Fenway that we haven’t seen in a while. Whether there is smoke where there is fire remains to be seen.

    2. The finances are a bit more questionable looking forward. Boston has been able to explode their payroll over the past decade. They certainly shouldn’t be criticized for that, but rather it should be noted that this policy seems to be expiring. A contending team with a “hole” at SS doesn’t dump marco scutaro for nothing in the offseason. You can argue and say that they can approximate that value by Aviles et al–and that’s debatable–but that ignores the salary dump aspect of this. If they aren’t willing to exceed the luxury tax, it’s going to be difficult for them to flex their financial muscle as they did under Theo.

    Idk. I wonder if a 4-7 ranking wouldn’t be more appropriate.

    Comment by ccoop — April 6, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

  39. Ive love these rankings until here. How on earth do the sox come ahead of the rangers when the rangers have clearly superior current talent, a younger team, and a better farm system. Not only that, the only thing that the sox are better at is Finance, something the rangers are very high in too. And how on EARTH are they even top 10 in baseball ops? So many terrible contracts, they just lost their GM, and stupid trades like the scutaro trade? also, in the future talent thing, you used finance as a reasoning. that is just wrong, because that is a category of its own.

    Comment by Daniel — April 6, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

  40. The Red Sox having a slew of injuries the last few years are what contributed to them not making the playoffs. 2010 everyone and their mother was injured, and they still managed to win 89 games in the AL East. Ellsbury, Pedroia, Youk and Beckett all missed significant time due to injuries. Those guys carry the team, without them they aren’t winning. Last year it was Buchholz, Dice-K and Lackey. Lester and Beckett didn’t hold up either toward the end. No starter threw more than 200 IP. If Buchholz had stayed healthy, and either Lackey and Dice-K had been at least 2-3 WAR pitchers, they win 95 games and make the playoffs, easily.

    Now, maybe the fact the they have continuously gotten injured the last couple years is the fault of the organization, not doing a good job of keeping them in shape/identifying problems. But saying that 89 and 90 wins are their true talent level is just wrong. Where would the Rays have been if neither Price nor Shields threw more than 200 IP? Or the Yankees if CC didn’t throw 200+ IP in either of the last couple years? Guaranteed they’re record isn’t the same.

    Comment by George — April 6, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

  41. It’s not a ranking of their likelhood to make the playoffs; it’s a ranking of the strength of their roster in 2012.

    So if I made Kramer’s point, then he misunderstood the point of the ranking.

    There’s no question that the Red Sox would be close to a lock for the playoffs in any NL division, but they’ll be competing directly with about the only 5 comparably good rosters. Three that rate as noticeably better (Yankees, Angels, and Rangers), and two that seem roughly equivalent (Tigers and Rays)… Which would equal tied for 4th… If you wanted to bump them down in talent compared to the Tigers and Rays, I wouldn’t throw a fit, but we’re only talking 6th at that point, and it would be an even smaller difference in the 20 – 80 numerology.

    Comment by Reuben — April 6, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

  42. …as long as your team is not #6

    Comment by MK — April 6, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  43. cliff – i think its a case of the red sox being better than most teams projected to make the playoffs in the NL.

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — April 6, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  44. keith – if anything i thought the rays. that team walks on water around here

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — April 6, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  45. I can almost agree that 2011 wasn’t a total Murphy’s Law year (although I think more went wrong than went right with regard to expectations). But 2010 was a wholly different story – did anything really go right in 2010? Pretty much every significant player missed significant time.

    Ellsbury, Beckett, Pedroia, Youkilis, VMart, Cameron, Varitek, half the bullpen, etc. Do you think there is another team that could lose 5 of, say, it’s 7 best players for significant time and still win 89 games?

    Comment by whonichol — April 6, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

  46. yup, because the last couple of years of my questioning the accepted wisdom that the Sox were some unstoppable elite juggernaut (much to the scorn of the likes of you) has really backfired on me so badly.

    and no, I’m not trying to “convince” you of anything.If you don’t like the term “enviable asset”, then maybe you’d prefer “anything other than an utterly replaceable asset”. but I don’t expect you to be convinced of anything other than that the Sox are super-duper awesome, like you’re convinced every year.

    Comment by everdiso — April 6, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

  47. Ellsbury’s not a FA until after the 2013 season.

    Comment by whonichol — April 6, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  48. “And as another pointed out, 90% of fangraph’s esteemed panel don’t see them in the playoffs this year”

    That’s incorrect. Only 90% don’t see them winning the AL East, but some see them winning the wild card. Overall, 2 (out of 20) predicted a division win, and another 6 predicted a wild card. So 60% don’t see them in the playoffs.

    Comment by vivalajeter — April 6, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

  49. Read the methodology article. Baseball ops is the easiest part of an organization to change, far easier than current talent (which the Sox are top 5 in, hands down), and financial resources (they’re top 2)

    It doesn’t take a lot for an owner to fire a bad GM.

    And, Cherington hasn’t done anything colossally terrible.

    Comment by BX — April 6, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  50. Agreed with the comments re: Daniels and Anthopolous, and will repeat my tired refrain that if Dombrowski was available when Epstein left, then Cherington still has his old job. It’s a joke that Dombrowski is ranked 14th among GMs. It’s also a joke that the Red Sox are ranked ahead of the Rangers on this scale…it’s really not close. Red Sox might be top-5, but that team looks old, broken and poorly-constructed…how do you spend that much money and end up relying heavily on always-injured Bailey to solidify an otherwise-bad bullpen? They’ll be lucky to finish 3rd, and could easily finish 4th…this is not the 2nd best organization in baseball.

    Comment by Ian — April 6, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  51. I’m not sure the Rangers have “clearly superior talent” as you say.

    Comment by Rob — April 6, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  52. When looking forward though is there any reason to think guys like Beckett, Bucholz, Youkillis, Dice-K, and Lackey will be healthy? Is there any reason to think that Elsbury will continue to play way over his head?

    The Sox are a good team, but I don’t see them as the 4th best team this year.

    Comment by JayT — April 6, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

  53. ++++++++++ to infinity

    Comment by Richie — April 6, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  54. In the Cubs’ writeup it says that they are #2 in financial might, but they have a 66 compared to the Red Sox 69, who also are ranked #2. Is that a typo on the Cubs’ article, or are they supposed to be tied for #2?

    Comment by JayT — April 6, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

  55. Theo is a great GM. I don’t think TK was disputing that. I think though the smaller people in the organization don’t get enough credit. Like the Jed Hoyers and Jason McLeods. This seems pretty evident when you look at the how the team has performed and drafted the past 5 years once those smaller people left for better positions.

    Comment by drabidea — April 6, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

  56. Actually, “heat up with a quickness” is the only offensive part of the article. Why treat a poor ranking akin to an attack on your person??

    Comment by Richie — April 6, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

  57. i normally dont complain about ads, but holy hell this one is annoying.

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — April 6, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  58. (yes, I’m trying to collect -’s this first part of the season)

    Comment by Richie — April 6, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  59. I think you guys overstate the injury situation in both years.

    I think if you take a close look around other teams in the league, you’ll find many teams with similar injury situations every year. I know my jays went through years of ridiculous injury massacres without anyone ever using it as an excuse for poor l’il J.P. Ricciardi.

    Comment by everdiso — April 6, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  60. frank – it was a steal the day it was made.

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — April 6, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

  61. not to mention, of course, that so many of these Red Sox injuries were predictable and expected, and even if those that weren’t, certainly are now going forward.

    Comment by everdiso — April 6, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

  62. Yes. Thank you. Lots of tears being shed here.

    Comment by Mike — April 6, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

  63. I second viva’s points. Also, I wouldn’t take the FanGraphs writers picks too seriously. Everybody likes to throw in underdogs in this kind of “poll”.

    Comment by Baltar — April 6, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

  64. To be fair, I was going to make the same point in the Rangers thread, but the last paragraph did say it was essentially a tie for 2nd….

    Comment by Steve — April 6, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  65. I’m not sure any team has ” *clearly* superior current talent” than the Red Sox – although you could certainly argue that teams might have a much more even spread of talent amongst the various positions.

    Comment by Mike — April 6, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  66. You can look at the list of players who missed time in 2010 and say that the effect was small, or that another team suffered similar injuries to its key players…AND managed to win 89 games? I’d like to see your work…

    Comment by whonichol — April 6, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  67. A year ago, the FanGraphs writers all tried to outdo each other in their praise of the Red Sox. Their concensus was that Boston was clearly the most talented team and a lock to make the playoffs.
    When they flopped, the writers had to look for excuses, and they still are.
    Since they’re not so enthusastic about the Sox this season, they will probably find all kinds of excuses for not having picked Boston if they do win it all this season.

    Comment by Baltar — April 6, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  68. I’m sure FG folks will post a real chart soon, but in the meantime I made a google doc that has the rankings (apologies if I mis-entered data). You can do a range sort to rank by category. Not sure if we are allowed to post links, but of you are interested you can find it here:

    http://bit.ly/HnKmUX

    Comment by Matthew Harris — April 6, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  69. Thank you, Reason.
    The team I follow is the Giants (though I don’t like to call myself a fan while they’re under the current management).
    I didn’t really care where they were ranked, but I was very curious. Their #12 struck me as too high, but I also realized that the rankings are very close.
    Almost every team could have ended up a few notches higher or lower on one writer’s whim.
    To be thrilled to death that your team ranked #1 or incensed that your team “only” ranked #3 is definitely against Reason.

    Comment by Baltar — April 6, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

  70. Man, there are a lot of people getting wound up for no reason. The Red Sox clearly have an elite team (unbalanced but elite), have a strong national following which brings in a shit to of revenue, a solid minor league system that is weak in MLB ready talent but stocked with potential in the low minors, have a strong history of developing talent, consistently draft well, and has a solid baseball ops (Theo was part of a talented ops team, not just some boy genius).

    It should not matter that their odds of making the post-season is less than it would be if they did not play in the same division as 2 other great teams. Nor should it matter that the last 2 seasons have been derailed by injuries.

    And to an earlier contention that the Sox got lucky last season because of their stars over-performing, I just don’t see it. Sure Ellsburry had a season he will likely never repeat, but he is at the age where you expect bp power to start showing up in actual games. Whereas everyone else was every one else played either around their expected peaks (Pedrioa’s UZR wont be repeated and was likely a sss aberation, but I don’t think a slight downtick in his WAR will have any impact to how many games the sox win) or performed below their standards (Lester and Crawford).

    Comment by SDiaz — April 6, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

  71. Thanks, this is great.

    Comment by Reuben — April 6, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  72. “When looking forward though is there any reason to think guys like Beckett, Bucholz, Youkillis, Dice-K, and Lackey will be healthy?”

    Two of those five players may not be with the team next year. Of the other three, Buchholz doesn’t have a specific lingering injury, just some isolated unrelated incidents, which can’t be held against him long term.

    As for Beckett and Lackey, well, Beckett’s had his bumps, but only had a lost season once (2010) and Lackey, well, he’s been awful anyway, so nobody really cares if he gets healthy at this point.

    “Is there any reason to think that Elsbury will continue to play way over his head?”

    I think the word you’re looking for is SLUG way over his head. Everything else was well within the career trend. The only thing that was way overboard for him was his home runs and even if he drops ten (20ish was where he was projected), he’s still an extremely valuable asset. And to retort, is there any reason to think Carl Crawford suddenly forgot how to play baseball forever? Ellsbury regressing to his career trend and Crawford regressing to his career trend is better than Ellsbury “playing over his head” and Crawford doing his best Julio Lugo impression.

    Comment by Jonathan — April 6, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

  73. “they just lost their gm…”

    Did they neglect to get a new one? How did I miss that?!

    Comment by Jonathan — April 6, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  74. “But 2010 was a wholly different story – did anything really go right in 2010? ”

    Both Buchholz and Beltre exceeded expectations, but that’s really about it.

    Comment by Jonathan — April 6, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

  75. well, let me do a quick try just from that year without doing much research…… the Twins won 94 gms in 2010. Here’s games played numbers for each team’s starters in 2010:

    3B Cuddyer 157gms —- 3B Beltre 154gms
    LF Young 153gms ——- SS Scutaro 150gms
    CF Span 153gms ——- DH Ortiz 145gms
    RF Kubel 143gms —— RF Drew 139gms,
    C Mauer 137gms ——- C Martinez 127gms
    2B Hudson 126gms —– LF McDonald? 117gms
    DH Thome 108gms —– 1B Youkilis 102gms
    SS Hardy 101gms —— 2B Pedroia 75gms
    1B Morneau 81gms —– CF Ellsbury 18gms

    SP Pavano 32gs ——– SP Lackey 33gs
    SP Liriano 31gs ——— SP Lester 32gs
    SP Baker 29gs ——— SP Buchholz 28gs
    SP Slowey 28gs ——— SP DiceK 26gs
    SP Blacknurn 26gs —— SP Beckett 21gs
    SP Duensing 13gs ——- SP Wakefield 19gs
    SP Manship 1gs ——— SP Doubront 3gs
    SP Perkins 1gs ———- SP Atchison 1gs
    SP Fox 1gs ————-

    So maybe the Sox had one more major injury than the twins did in 2010 (Ellsbury), and the twins still managed 94 wins.

    This is just my first quick example. I’m sure we could find more and better ones.

    Comment by everdiso — April 6, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

  76. So I’m assuming you predicted Lackey’s ridiculous ERA, Crawford vastly under performing, Buccholz and Youk missing significant time. Okay, maybe the last one but no one can say the saw the first two coming.

    Comment by John — April 6, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

  77. The red sox have finished with the 9th and 10th best record in baseball the past two years. That stretches the definition of “elite”, IMO.

    And by most measures, this year’s roster is weaker than either of the last two.

    Comment by everdiso — April 6, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  78. The 2010 Red Sox lost major time from Beckett, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Cameron, Youkilis and Matsuzaka and missed relatively significant time from Buchholz, Martinez and Drew.

    No team could survive that. The only team that comes close is the Twins in 2010 and they played in a division that didn’t have the Yankees and Rays.

    2011 wasn’t NEARLY as bad, but they had problems in pretty much their entire pitching staff from three onward. If either Buccholz or Lackey isn’t hurt, the Sox make the playoffs. One could fault the Sox for not having enough pitching depth last year, but for all the complaints about them for THIS year, they have a much deeper selection of warm bodies capable of going out there and not getting lit up than last year.

    Comment by Jonathan — April 6, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  79. I was mucho ripped around here for daring to say that last year’s offseason acquisitions of Vernon Wells and Carl Crawford were similarly risky investments, at least.

    And I’m sure you didn’t predict Ellsbury’s breakout MVP year, or Ortiz and Papelbon’s huge bounceback years.

    Comment by everdiso — April 6, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

  80. LOL, Yep LF in Boston kinda makes speed pretty un-important cause of the Green Monster

    Comment by Aggie E — April 6, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  81. “not to mention, of course, that so many of these Red Sox injuries were predictable and expected”

    So Pedroia breaking his foot, Youkilis getting hit on the thumb and Ellsbury being steamrolled by Adrian Beltre fall under your definitions for “predictable and expected?” Are you Wile E. Coyote by chance?

    “So maybe the Sox had one more major injury than the twins did in 2010 (Ellsbury), and the twins still managed 94 wins.”

    Playing in a SIGNIFICANTLY weaker division.

    Comment by Jonathan — April 6, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

  82. I’m not sure how Cherington gets a SABER rep everything I’ve heard about him has been that he’s very much a classic GM type.

    Comment by colin — April 6, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

  83. Actually, a lot of people called all three. Ellsbury always had the talent level to excel and both Ortiz and Papelbon were playing for a contract. Going into the year, I actually bet money on the fact Papelbon would switch back to his old arm slot to improve his prospects in free agency.

    Comment by Jonathan — April 6, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

  84. What are your sources, Colin? Cherington’s always been considered as cut from the same cloth as Epstein.

    Comment by Jonathan — April 6, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

  85. @Sleight of Hand,

    Kelly and Rizzo were both highly regarded prospects at the time of the trade (Both top 100) and Gonzalez was coming off of shoulder surgery. It wasn’t as much as many expected the Padres to get, but it wasn’t really a steal.

    The extension was an absolute steal, though. Gonzalez is probably the best bang for your buck in terms of elite 1B now that Votto signed that massive contract.

    Comment by Jonathan — April 6, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

  86. Ok, let me try another example. The 2008 Jays won 86 games. Here’s how they compare to the 2010 Sox:

    1B Overbay 158gms —- 3B Beltre 154gms
    RF Rios 155gms ——- SS Scutaro 150gms
    SS Scutaro 145gms ——- DH Ortiz 145gms
    3B Rolen 115gms —— RF Drew 139gms,
    CF Wells 108gms ——- C Martinez 127gms
    DH Stairs 105gms —– 1B Youkilis 102gms
    C Barajas 104gms —– 2B Pedroia 75gms
    LF Stewart 52gms —— LF Cameron 48gms
    2B Hill 55gms —– CF Ellsbury 18gms

    SP Burnett 34gs ——– SP Lackey 33gs
    SP Halladay 33gs ——— SP Lester 32gs
    SP Litsch 28gs ——— SP Buchholz 28gs
    SP Marcum 25gs ——— SP DiceK 26gs
    SP McGowan 19gs —— SP Beckett 21gs
    SP Purcey 12gs ——- SP Wakefield 19gs
    SP Parrish 6gs ——— SP Doubront 3gs
    SP Richmond 5gs ———- SP Atchison 1gs

    I’d say those two squads were similary destroyed by injuries, and both finished similarly in the AL East standings.

    Comment by everdiso — April 6, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

  87. and a lot of people predicted that Crawford and Lackey would flop, and that the older sox were significant injury risks.

    Comment by everdiso — April 6, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  88. actually I screwed that up. Stairs was not the DH that year. Frank Thomas was the DH that year and only played 16gms for the Jays, 71 games in total.

    Comment by everdiso — April 6, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

  89. What roster are you looking at? The one that will give 1500+ PAs to Nick Punto, Mike Aviles, Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ross?

    Comment by Sean O — April 6, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  90. I agree with everyone about future talent and front office talent. Epstein was obviously a top 5 GM for me, but we don’t know anything about this new guy, so I don’t see how he is already ranked the third best GM.

    Also, their future talent isn’t great. Their future win projects are good because of their financial resources (and their perceived front office ability), but you are already counting those things.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — April 6, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  91. 1500 at bats to Punto/Aviles and Ross/Sweeney? Well yeah, if Crawford, Iglesias, and Youkilis all get eaten by dinosaurs that could happen.

    Call me crazy, but I think pointing to that part of the roster is a bit crazy considering they are an absolute slam dunk to be a top 3 offense. Ross/Sweeney should provide for at league average production in RF, they are a good platoon. Aviles should be able to meet the low bar that is average SS production, and Salty met that level last year. So basically, the Red Sox have 5 elite bats, 3 league average bats, and a complete wild card in Crawford. Punto is a decent utility guy, I don’t get the hate for him at all.

    Comment by RealTalk — April 6, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  92. They aren’t ranking Cherington the 3rd best GM, why aren’t people getting this? It’s about your entire baseball operations, I’m getting the impression that half the readers of fangraphs have no idea how baseball operations are run…you guys seriously overrate the GM.

    Wasn’t everyone trying to argue Theo wasn’t worth a decent prospect? Yet now that he leaves (and literally only him), the Red Sox baseball Ops drops from clear top 5 to complete uncertainty? Which one is it?

    Future talent: Bogaerts, Lavarnway, Brentz, Middlebrooks, Iglesias, Jacobs, Swihart, Bradley, Barnes, Ranaudo, and Owens all have reasonable chances of being top 100 prospects (or already are) by the end of the season. They won’t of course, but this farm system is very deep.

    Comment by RealTalk — April 6, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

  93. Comparing records is a fools errand. The Red Sox play in the AL East, so perhaps their level of competition is a bit higher than, say, the NL Central or West?

    Also, look up that 2010 team and their injuries. That team was loaded, it just had historically bad luck.

    Comment by RealTalk — April 6, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

  94. Dinosaurs never existed — did you learn nothing from Carl Everett?

    Comment by Sam Samson — April 6, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

  95. The GM is the one who makes all of the decisions (except when the owner swoops). A front office could have good stats and scouting department and everything, but they are only as good as their GM.

    Some people may have been arguing that, but not me. Theo was a huge reason the Red Sox we’re so good. Not the fact that they hired Bill James. I’m not arguing that they should drop down to 15th or something, but they should certainty take a hit losing Theo, at least until we know more about Cherington. I’d rank the front office just inside the top 10 for now.

    Yeah, the farm system is good, but slightly better than middle of the pack. So I’m not sure what the point of naming their top prospects is. There are other teams with much better farm systems and equal young major league talent who are ranked below the Sox in terms of future talent.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — April 6, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

  96. AdBlock Plus, my friend.

    Comment by Sam Samson — April 6, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

  97. I don’t know if they are being consistent with this, but in other rankings they downgraded teams because they were in difficult divisions. I took that to mean that “2012 Outlook” is not a ranking of the team’s strength in 2012, but rather, it’s prospects as far as making the playoffs, going to the World Series, etc.

    Comment by Cliff — April 6, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

  98. A lot of people seem to be misinterpreting the methodology of these posts. The numerical score is an average of the ratings given by a large number of writers; the write-up/explanations are done by a single writer. While it did seem a bit odd to mention the financials in the 2013+ outlook section (though it honestly does make some sense to include money and investments in scouting/development as part of future outlook), that doesn’t mean that it was ‘double-counted’ in the rating, unless a majority of the voters consciously or subconsciously made that connection. Disagree with the 2013+ rating if you want, but the double-counting argument is faulty.

    Comment by MH — April 6, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

  99. “yup, because the last couple of years of my questioning the accepted wisdom that the Sox were some unstoppable elite juggernaut (much to the scorn of the likes of you) has really backfired on me so badly.”

    They were an unstoppable elite juggernaut, then they got injured and had some bad luck. Their actual performance last year was more of a 95 win team. So yes, you’re still just a sad Blue Jays fan (thank god for that second WC btw huh? you might actually see a playoff game within the next decade)

    Comment by Andrew — April 6, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

  100. “What roster are you looking at? The one that will give 1500+ PAs to Nick Punto, Mike Aviles, Ryan Sweeney and Cody Ross?”

    I love when people say things like this. Find me a team that isn’t going to give 1500+ plate appearances to a combination of 4 guys who aren’t very good (not that those last three are even bad). The Yankees are going to give 1500+ PAs to Chavez, Ibanez, Jones and Nunez. I guess they’re not a top 3 roster either!

    It’s like people have this notion that there’s some team out there with literally an All-Star lineup where 1-9 is all studs.

    The Red Sox LED THE LEAGUE in runs last year, and they have at worst kept it status quo for 2012. They’re about as good as it gets offensively right now. Any criticisms you have of their lineup is just illogical nitpicking.

    Comment by Dick — April 6, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

  101. “Ok, let me try another example. The 2008 Jays won 86 games. Here’s how they compare to the 2010 Sox:

    1B Overbay 158gms —- 3B Beltre 154gms
    RF Rios 155gms ——- SS Scutaro 150gms
    SS Scutaro 145gms ——- DH Ortiz 145gms
    3B Rolen 115gms —— RF Drew 139gms,
    CF Wells 108gms ——- C Martinez 127gms
    DH Stairs 105gms —– 1B Youkilis 102gms
    C Barajas 104gms —– 2B Pedroia 75gms
    LF Stewart 52gms —— LF Cameron 48gms
    2B Hill 55gms —– CF Ellsbury 18gms

    SP Burnett 34gs ——– SP Lackey 33gs
    SP Halladay 33gs ——— SP Lester 32gs
    SP Litsch 28gs ——— SP Buchholz 28gs
    SP Marcum 25gs ——— SP DiceK 26gs
    SP McGowan 19gs —— SP Beckett 21gs
    SP Purcey 12gs ——- SP Wakefield 19gs
    SP Parrish 6gs ——— SP Doubront 3gs
    SP Richmond 5gs ———- SP Atchison 1gs”

    aahahaha.

    Yeah, missing a combined entire season for Youkilis and Pedroia is definitely the same as missing Vernon Wells and Matt Stairs for 2/3 of a season. You are priceless.

    Comment by Andrew — April 6, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

  102. Here’s a hint everdiso, you’re familiar with the term “replacement level”, yes? Well, when 90% of your team is barely above it, all the injuries in the world don’t really matter that much.

    Comment by Andrew — April 6, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

  103. I think that’s pretty weak evidence. They have a top 10 farm system despite multiple, significant trades and the collapse of top prospect Iglesias.

    Comment by NS — April 6, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

  104. Compelling argument.

    Comment by NS — April 6, 2012 @ 7:31 pm

  105. I wonder if the Red Sox would have been able to win 94 that year in the AL Central.

    Nah, probably not. Good work overall.

    Comment by NS — April 6, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

  106. Plenty of people predicted a flop. But John Lackey’s first-year flop was a 4 WAR season. 2011 was a complete disaster for those two. You didn’t predict 0 WAR for Crawford. (And if you did, it was a foolish thing to do and deserved ripping.)

    Comment by NS — April 6, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

  107. That’s definitely the most sophisticated way to evaluate a team and not just an ESPN-caliber appeal to mass misconception.

    Comment by NS — April 6, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

  108. “How can you reach this conclusion while accepting the truth of my assumptions? Surely you do accept that they are true, given all of the evidence I am providing right now instead of just shrill, conclusory rhetoric!”

    Comment by NS — April 6, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

  109. The problem with Crawford was not that he missed time, it was that he did not miss enough time. Reddick played well in his absence, much better than Crawford did.

    The Red Sox, knowing they had issues at the corner OF positions with JD and Crawford (wrist), did nothing.

    The Red Sox, knowing they had problems at SP with Daisuke and Buchholz on the DL, and Lackey pitching with a sore elbow, did almost nothing (acquiring oft injured Bedard).

    Theos hands were likely tied with the owners refusing to use their financial leverage to fill holes at the deadline. The price was paid in September.

    This year looks more of the same, the bullpen looks weak, the rotation is made up of a bunch of guys that won’t make 30 starts (except Lester, and maybe Beckett), Aviles at SS and Sweeney in RF, and a rapidly aging Youk at 3B.

    The high levels of the minor league system are almost devoid of pitching that could help this year, although Middlebrooks, Iglesias, Lavarnway and kalish could help out at other positions.

    Comment by pft — April 6, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

  110. the Phillies did it in 2011…er sorry, they won 102 games. :)

    Comment by ausmax — April 6, 2012 @ 9:08 pm

  111. Iglesias is not a top 100 prospect. He’s got to be Ozzie smith defensively to be a 3 win player

    Comment by Matt — April 6, 2012 @ 11:11 pm

  112. Lester’s ERA in 2010 was 3.25. In 2011 it was 3.47.

    If you are going to talk about Bard’s performance and use losses, perhaps you should be consistent with Lester and not switch to advanced stats. (Letser had the same # of losses in 2010 and 2011 if you consider that stat actually significant)

    Whether it was through luck, defense, variation, Lester’s performance in 2011 was nearly as good as 2010 in terms of # of runs allowed…

    Either that or you should mention how Bard’s fWAR **IMPROVED** in 2011 (of course that wouldn’t fit the narrative).

    Comment by Tom — April 7, 2012 @ 1:24 am

  113. I’m convinced that fangraphs’ writers simply type up an article and go back through it to change some things to be minor grammatical mistakes before posting, for the sake of annoying readers. I almost always only read articles once and even then come across absurdly obvious mistakes in 95% of articles. I know most of you guys were probably stat/economic majors in your respective universities but for me it takes away from the legitimacy of the site. This is coming from a self acknowledged “nazi-grammar hater”. I have mild OCD though and it kills me every time.

    *tries to play up the nonchalance of how much I don’t care*

    Thanks for the series, it was thoroughly enjoyed by myself and I can only assume, many others.

    Comment by wilt — April 7, 2012 @ 2:24 am

  114. Yes, Epstein is an effing great gm and he did a great job in Boston. I just don’t like the idea of giving so much credit to a gm. A baseball team has so many parts. Why not say “then David Ortiz came along…”

    It just seems to me that too much emphasis is put on Epstein, where in reality he is a smart dude, and a fantastic (maybe the best, definitely top 5) GM who by his skill but also circumstance (and a certain amount of luck that always goes into baseball) broke the curse. I don’t blame people for getting carried away, especially on a website like this.

    With the Braves they talk about the starting pitching, with the Yanks they talk about the core 4, in Boston they should reference the best 3/4 in the game for 6 years, Ortiz and Manny, not the GM, no matter how great he is.

    Comment by TK — April 7, 2012 @ 10:20 am

  115. heh. did you really just try to “here’s a hint” me?

    andy, andy, adorable l’il andy…….”here’s a hint”……condescension only works when you’re actually right about something, not when you’re wrong about your favorite team being super-duper awesome (but so unlucky!) every year.

    try being right first, THEN condescend. works much better.

    Comment by everdiso — April 7, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

  116. League context matters. ERAs were down all over, while his went up.

    His peripherals were also significantly worse across the board, except for his walk rate, which was fractionally better (essentially equal). All, again, while everyone else’s peripherals improved.

    What’s more, he pitched fewer innings.

    So yeah, Lester was significantly worse last year. Still a very good pitcher, but he did not pitch like an ace.

    Comment by Ari Collins — April 7, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

  117. #2org is the new #6org

    Comment by Dr. Rockso — April 7, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

  118. More like “bidet presents,” amirite?

    Comment by Tepps — April 7, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

  119. Old and getting older. Lacking much impact talent coming from the farm any time soon. Some bad contracts on the books. Beat by a team on a shoestring the last two years and 3 of the last 4. Consistent injury issues due as much to age and roster composition as to bad luck. Off-season additions this year that aren’t impressive even if you’re Pittsburgh or KC.

    4th in 2012 outlook? In the AL East, possibly. In the AL, quite unlikely. MLB-wide, very very slim chance they live up to a ranking of 4th-best this year. Ditto 5th-best next year.

    Comment by themiddle54 — April 7, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

  120. The problem is there is no way to justify that rating without it being almost entirely based on money.

    Comment by Matt — April 8, 2012 @ 7:21 am

  121. This is an interesting projection/discussion because it challenges some of our assumptions.

    The Red Sox may score as many runs as they did last year. But, the concern is their pitching staff. Injuries combined with under-performance may be aspects that linger.

    But, when looking at their “4th” projection for 2012, I’m trying to think the teams that would be above them. Possibly NYY, TEX, LAA, DET, and TBR. So, 4th is likely a good estimation. If they experience the under-performance and injuries of last year then they may be 6th or 7th, but that’s like a worst case scenario at this point.

    When a team gets a new GM, my preference is to “regress to the mean” (so to speak) until we have more data to make a better estimation. So, rather than assume that BOS will just keep on trucking with their GM gone, I’d rather project them to be closer to league average until we know more … so maybe rate them around 10th.

    So, if it breaks down like this …

    2012 = 4th
    2013+= 5th
    Finance = 2nd
    Operations = 10th
    Overall = ?

    Does it simply change their overall to 3rd or 4th?

    Regardless, it doesn’t destroy the accuracy of the rankings, as well as understand that a move up or down for every team is a real possibility.

    In the end, the Red Sox are still a top tier organization. Whether they’re 2nd, 3rd, or 4th doesn’t matter as much as they’re continuing to be a very good org.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — April 8, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

  122. Can I just drop in to say #6org?

    That is all.

    Comment by oltarzewskt1 — September 16, 2012 @ 2:20 am

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