Boston’s Offense

You know what the Boston media doesn’t want you to forget? That Theo Epstein focused on run prevention this off-season. As such, columnists hold a sense of animosity towards the Red Sox’s lineup. Boston scored 872 runs last season, third most in the American League, and hit 212 homers, also good for third most in the American League. Oh, and they did this with Nick Green or Alex Gonzalez in the lineup most days.

Let’s focus on this season though. For whatever reason, Adrian Beltre and Mike Cameron are being looked upon as defensive collateral, allowed to bat only so they are allowed to field. For whatever reason, the common thought is that Boston’s offense will struggle to score runs. That assumption is based in something, but that something is not reality.

Using Baseball Musings’ lineup analysis tool, I ran the 2009 Red Sox through (with Victor Martinez and Nick Green included) and found that their optimal lineup netted 5.86 runs per game (in reality they averaged 5.38). I then ran the CHONE projections for their prospective starters* through the same analysis and found that their optimal lineup expects to produce 5.33 runs per game. Odds are the Red Sox won’t score exactly 5.33 runs per game, but if they do, the difference in optimal lineups – which, let’s be honest, few teams actually run out what the lineup analysis tool would consider optimal – is a half run per game. In reality, the difference would be 0.05 runs per game; or about eight runs over a full season.

Yes, Beltre and Cameron are going to swing and miss quite a bit. And yes, they’ll chase some pitches they shouldn’t have. And yes, the sixteenth time Dan Wheeler enters to face the pair is going to be as tedious as the dozen before, but at the end of the day, Boston’s offense is going to be fine. And odds are, the Red Sox as a whole will benefit from these changes more than expected.

*It’s worth noting that Mike Cameron’s CHONE projection is awfully unkind: .235/.318/.393 unkind. Cameron hasn’t posted an on-base percentage that low since 2004 and the last time his slugging percentage fell below .400 was 1998 as a member of the White Sox. He will be 37-years-old and he will be playing in the American League East with a reputation as a swing and miss hitter, but he’ll also be playing in Fenway Park as a righty. I don’t know for sure, but I’d bet the over if we set the line on Cameron’s OPS at .711.



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Jimbo
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Jimbo

I’ll also take the over on Beltre’s .746 CHONE projection. In 2007 and 2008 his road OPS was over .850.

kampfer
Member
kampfer

and seriously Beltre is going to call Green Monster his best buddy.
How in the world is he going to has an OPS that low (logically

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