Red Sox Have Too Many Outfielders

The Boston Red Sox will soon face some tough roster decisions. With Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury currently on rehab assignments, things are about to get crowded in Boston’s outfield. Considering the team’s terrible luck with injuries, it’s crazy to think that one of the Red Sox’s weakest spots has now become a strength. And though Daniel Nava is playing out of his mind and Cody Ross is exceeding expectations, the outfield alignment could change dramatically in the next couple of weeks.

The Red Sox have dealt with a number of injuries in the outfield this year. Because of that, the team has been relying on Ryan Kalish, Daniel Nava and Cody Ross as everyday starters. But things are going to change very soon. Scott Podsednik has already made a couple of rehab starts, and Ryan Sweeney looked great while taking batting practice a few days ago. Both players are expected to return in early July. At the same time, Ellsbury and Crawford are on rehab assignments and are expected back some time after the all-star break.

Provided they are healthy, both Ellsbury and Crawford should immediately reclaim their starting roles. Ellsbury is coming off an MVP-caliber season in which he hit .321/.376/.552 and played great defense in center field. While Crawford’s performance was unimpressive last season, he’ll get a to show the Boston fans that he was worth his seven-year, $142 million deal.

So that leaves one starting spot for five players.

Player PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA WAR
Ryan Kalish 42 0.250 0.286 0.300 0.266 -0.4
Daniel Nava 176 0.294 0.411 0.462 0.385 1.9
Scott Podsednik 70 0.387 0.409 0.484 0.402 0.7
Cody Ross 205 0.287 0.358 0.575 0.390 1.9
Ryan Sweeney 183 0.292 0.330 0.404 0.319 1.0

Kalish is an easy bet to be sent down. He’s young — and he’s part of the team’s future — but his performance doesn’t justify keeping him on the roster this season. Podsednik is probably the next player to eliminate. He’s been great in 70 plate appearances, but he’s playing way over his head. He was acquired to be a stopgap while Crawford and Ellsbury recovered. Now that they are almost ready, Podsednik is expendable.

Sweeney’s performance has been admirable this season, but he hasn’t produced at the same level as Ross or Nava. Sweeney could stick around as the team’s fifth outfielder, but that depends on how the team plans to use Brent Lillibridge. Lillibridge can play multiple positions, and his versatility could make him a more useful option than Sweeney. At the same time, Lillibridge has hit just .157/.211/.171 this season.

That leaves Nava and Ross for the final startingspot. Both players have performed well this season, and neither deserves to be benched. The Red Sox do have an option, though. Nava has shown a rather large platoon split this season. He mashes righties to the tune of .340/.455/.530, but has been awful against lefties, hitting just .186/.308/.302. Ross, on the other hand, has been great against lefties this season and has hit .316/.403/.737. That could make for a pretty decent platoon.

In this scenario, though, Ross would get slightly penalized. While he’s been great against lefties, he’s also hit righties at a .274/.336/.500 clip. That’s good enough for a 121 wRC+. It also should be noted that Crawford isn’t a great hitter against lefties. Over his career, Crawford’s wRC+ is just 82 against left-handed pitchers.

There’s no reason easy solution here. Nava and Ross would make for an effective platoon, but at the expense of much less playing time for Ross. While that’s not entirely fair for Ross — who doesn’t have an extreme platoon split — that would be an easy way to maximize value at the position. If Crawford struggles in his return, or Nava begins to regress, the team can turn to Ross more often against right-handers. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s an enviable one. For the first time this season, the Red Sox outfield is in good shape.




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Chris is a blogger for CBSSports.com. He has also contributed to Sports on Earth, the 2013 Hard Ball Times Baseball Annual, ESPN, FanGraphs and RotoGraphs. He tries to be funny on twitter @Chris_Cwik.


70 Responses to “Red Sox Have Too Many Outfielders”

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  1. Simon says:

    Given that Nava isn’t really a .340/.455/.530 hitter against righties, would they not be better just to keep Ross, and use Sweeney as a 4th OF who can play all the OF positions in a pinch?

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    • Derek R-C says:

      This is such a bad argument. He HAS been hitting .293/.408/.463 in the past 180 PA.

      The point you are trying to make is that he will regress to a lower level because of his .345 BABIP. All I see though is a 13.3% BB and 16.7% K rates that are inline with his career minor numbers. He is hitting a 23.5% LD rate as well.

      What stat out there says that he is not a good hitter?

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        I don’t know how much you know about Nava, but most folks in baseball don’t think he’s a good hitter. He went undrafted, played indy ball, and didn’t sign with the Sox until he was 25 years old. Scouts have never been impressed. And he was DFA’d and cleared waivers this spring. This is not a guy who’s supposed to have a major league career.

        Let’s look at the stats in context. His career minor league stats are massively inflated by him playing at age-inappropriate levels. And as a pseudo-rookie at the big league level, he’s not getting many strikes thrown at him. When pitchers realize that a) he can’t hit for power, and 2) he won’t swing at bad pitches, they’ll start throwing more strikes and his walk rate is going to plummet.

        Having said all that, I still think Nava is a worthwhile major leaguer, just not nearly as good as he’s been playing this year.

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      • RC says:

        “he can’t hit for power,”

        You can say a lot of things about Nava, but this is absurd.

        He’s got a .170 iso in the majors this year, had a .150 ISO in AAA, .204 in AA, and .174 in A+.

        This is what he is. He’s got enough pop to be dangerous.

        He’s walked at a 13% rate at every level. He’s got 370 MLB PA at basically that level. This is who he is.

        His rate stats have all improved as hes gotten more PA too (his 180 PA this year, vs last time, BB% up, K% down, ISO up, etc).

        There’s very little reason to believe that Nava can’t hit MLB pitching.

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      • Bob Zaffrann says:

        Whoa. Put down the Kool Aid and walk away. While the Sox no doubt appreciate the tremendous production Nava has given while their OF has been decimated, they are well aware that he is not a MLB corner outfielder. He has plate discipline, but has below average power and defense. He also has no future upside. At age 28 in 2011, repeating AAA, he went .268/.372/.406.

        Great results, with a .346 BABIP, over 46 games at age 29 is a meaninglessly small and luck-driven sample and doesn’t change anything.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      Nava isn’t really a .340/.455/.530 hitter vs righties, but Cody Ross isn’t really a .274/.336/.500 hitter vs righties either.

      There’s a couple of problems not mentioned in the article. One is that 5-of-7 of these guys can’t hit lefties at all. The exceptions are Ellsbury (a lefty with pretty even lifetime splits) and Ross (a righty with extreme splits).

      Another problem is that while Nava’s done well in LF (he seems to have learned the quirks of the wall), he shouldn’t really be in Fenway’s large RF. He’s got no range and his arm is only average. Of course, Valentine has played Adrian Gonzalez in RF. But Nava will lose a lot of value if moved from LF to RF.

      During the offseason, the arrangement on paper was Crawford, Ellsbury, and a Sweeney/Ross platoon in right. That still makes the most sense to me. And Nava’s a perfect sell high trade candidate anyway.

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      • Derek R-C says:

        Except other teams don’t want to trade for him

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      • RC says:

        The thing about Nava, is that despite never really being a prospect (hes too old, with his route through the independant leagues), hes hit like this at every level.

        IE, he may not end up a .950 OPS hitter, but I’d be really surprised if hes below .850.Kid can hit.

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      • whatever says:

        I agree with the Nava comment; He will not continue hitting like that against righties. I do think that perhaps Ross can at least continue hitting close to his current tripple slash considering he is playing half his games in Fenway as an extreme pull hitter. Right handed pitchers have to respect him more in Fenway then they did in the Marlins old stadium or San Francisco.

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  2. lester bangs says:

    Cody Ross has a career slash of. 254/.315/.419 against righties. He absolutely should be platooned when all hands are on deck.

    Carl Crawford can’t be as bad as he looked in 2011, but I’d be shocked if he ever justified that contract.

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    • Tom says:

      He never was going to justify it… a large chunk of his defensive value was tied to the Trop where on a /150 base he was 15 runs better defensively at the Trop than on the road over 6 years. (that 0.75 WAR/yr)

      While folks expected Fenway to take away some of his defensive value, I don’t think people understood his defensive value was going to take a huge hit moving to ANY park.(and his plus armR in the Trop should have been a red flag on the defensive splits)

      Seems like Ross/Sweeney in RF is the way to go and just deal with Crawford’s splits against lefties (maybe pinch hit late)

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    • everdiso says:

      hey Tom I can’t find those home/away defensive splits anymore. where did you get them?

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      • Tom says:

        They used to be here on the player page (splits, and then career splits – it would not show year to year UZR splits), but for some reason it got taken down ( I think this year)

        Crawford with the Rays had a career 22.5 UZR/150 at home and a ~7.5 on the road…. while some have try to tell me this is “comfort level” and players play better at home knowing the park, a split this massive is more than that. His arm was 5 runs better at home (I assume this was the turf helping his 10 hoppers to the plate or to 3rd) and his range was ~10 runs better.

        Jeter also has massive splits…. he is a nearly 0 UZR/150 (or maybe -1?) on the road and a -11 URR/150 at home (and a lot of this is range). Now while the Yankees could be just playing with a bigger infield, I suspect their are biases on the input data (and/or park adjustments for OF’rs) that can lead to some anomalies where UZR is not completing reflecting skill level.

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      • everdiso says:

        ah, I thought I was going nuts – couldn’t find them anywhere on here and I knew I found them here before.

        and I agree that consistently large anomalies in park-specific splits likely indicate some input biases in UZR, which is far from a perfect science at this point.

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  3. lester bangs says:

    And although it will never happen, I’d like to see Crawford benched against lefties or at least dropped in the order against them.

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    • Alex says:

      I’m not expecting him to come in very high in the order anyway, unless he hits the cover off the ball in his higher-level rehab assignments (which he has not done in the GCL league). Last season he spent most of his time in the bottom third of the order. There isn’t very far to go down from there.

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      • lester bangs says:

        It took a considerable amount of time before Tito put Crawford low in the order last year. To some degree the contract drives that, and you don’t want to crush Crawford’s confidence, I guess. Given what I know of Valentine, I’m thinking he does the stupid thing and equates “speed” with a high order slot.

        I know batting order construction has been proven to be less important than most think, but I still want to see it be done right – or at least in a logical manner. I have little faith in Valentine to do this properly. Look how long Aviles batted leadoff, or Nava stayed buried.

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      • BX says:

        Eh, Valentine’s not the only manager who automatically equates speed with top of the order.

        Signed,

        A fan of a team who’s manager likes putting the sub-.320 OBP speedsters at 1-2 in the lineup and batting a very high OBP guy 5th.

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  4. Reformediam says:

    What the Red Sox have is one too many pitchers named Beckett. All other problems pale into insignificance when compared with this useless piece of garbage who is the number one team spoiler in all of baseball. The Red Sox must send Beckett to the national league and find a natural team leader to replace Varitek before they can ever be a contender again. This is essential; far more important than who plays outfield.

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    • Jose Reyes says:

      Using that logic, given Jacoby’s affinity for freak injuries, he should only play away from Fenway where he can bat once and steal second. Then Bobby V immediately pulls him from the game to keep him healthy. So as to avoid playing defense and breaking up double plays.

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    • Nilsilly says:

      Are the stats for “Natural Team Leader” in the Glossary? I can’t find them.

      I think above all this shows that Lars Anderson should be dealt. He’s now blocked at 2 OF positions, DH and 1B.

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  5. Reformediam says:

    Stats are highly overrated when compared to a selfish team spoiler like Beckett. A team leader, and Varitek was one for many years, arises from the ranks, like a Phoenix, and takes on trouble makers like Beckett. Every day, Beckett’s attitude and selfishness are eating away at the soul of the Red Sox, never to be recovered as long as this SOB is in the clubhouse.

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    • RC says:

      It became pretty clear over the last 2 years that Varitek was one of the problems in the clubhouse, and not a leader at all.

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    • rickeycanstillplay says:

      I’m thinking this is an argument for the Red Sox team message board, where they like to value the intangible not Fangraphs that only deals with the tangible.

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  6. Derek R-C says:

    I was hoping Ellsbury would come back before Crawford. If it were me. I would trade Sweeney or Podsednik (who ever you can get better value for)

    I would then play Nava LF, Ells CF, and Ross/Sweeney RF. Once Ells is healthy and hitting again. Trade him for the farm from some team. He is not going to be resigning with the Sox so we might as well get trade value for him.

    Then move Crawford to CF (If he says no, remind him what is batting average is and tell him to suck it up). Play Nava LF, Crawford, CF and Ross/Sweeney RF for the season.

    Next season take a look at Kalish and see if he is ready for RF next year. I would also look into resigning Ross if the money is right because the Sox need a RH outfielder.

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    • Michael Scarn says:

      That would be a really convulted way to screw up the entire roster.

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      • Derek R-C says:

        How is that? You get alot of trade pieces in and you still have 4 quality OF (minus Crawford if he stays in last years form) plus one waiting in AAA.

        I mean the roster is convulted as is, atleast this gets you stuff to help your future while still fielding a competitive team.

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    • Michael Scarn says:

      A trade of Ellsbury is unrealistic for a number of reasons. The Red Sox are heavily in contention this season and Ellsbury was a 9+ win player last year, it makes no sense to trade him for prospects. Obviously they’re not getting Trout, Harper, Profar, or any other extremely young guy who’s ready to contribute now for him, and they’re sure as hell not going to deal him out for some A/AA prospects and just lose 2-3 wins off the rest of their season.

      The only possible trades of Ellsbury would be for similar impact players who could *possibly* be traded like King Felx, Hamels, etc. (not saying that will happen)

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      • Derek R-C says:

        The biggest assumption is that Ellsbury continues to be a 9 WAR player. I don’t see him keeping that .200 ISO. I love the guy but he won’t be able to sustain that. HIs trade value is an all-time high if he can prove he is healthy and playing well again.

        I am saying what you are saying though. Trade him for impact pitcher and prospects. Like you said how many 9 WAR OF are on the market?

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    • lester bangs says:

      Crawford has no interest in changing outfield positions. Good luck with that one. That’s one reason why he was such a stupid signing – defense is a big part of his value, but Fenway LF is not difficult to play (small area; master the wall and you’re golden). Even guys like Rice and Manny were passable in Fenway’s left field.

      Right field, of course, is a nightmare to play. That’s where you’d *love* an athlete like Crawford. But it’s never gonna happen. For a crummy $142 million, Crawford has an awful lot of things he doesn’t want to do.

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  7. RC says:

    “Kalish is an easy bet to be sent down. He’s young — and he’s part of the team’s future — but his performance doesn’t justify keeping him on the roster this season”

    Why do people keep insisting this? He’s an OK defensively, ok offensively RF’er who can’t stay healthy at all. Each year he gets hurt/doesn’t improve/gets sent back down makes it less and less likely that hes actually part of the team’s future.

    There are a whole bunch of outfielders in boston’s system that look just like Kalish.

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    • BigNachos says:

      Because he’s a Boston prospect, and thus overhyped?

      He’s a classic tweener (not quite good enough defense for center, not enough bat for the corners), but he’s young enough to still be a bit more than that. Most likely, he’ll be a 4th outfielder.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      He was pretty much Boston’s top prospect in 2010. He was pencilled in as a starting outfielder for 2011, until they signed Carl Crawford. He went on the DL in April 2011 with a shoulder injury. He tried to rehab it through rest, and sat out most of the season, but when he tried to come back in August, he started experiencing neck problems. The issue was that his body was overcompensating for the shoulder injury. So he ultimately needed both neck and shoulder surgeries in the offseason. I think the only reason he got called up to Boston so quickly this year (he only played 9 games in AAA after missing a year!) was because they were so desperate for outfield bodies. Between 2011/2012, he’s played in only 53 games across 5 different levels, most of them on rehab assignment.

      I don’t see how you can conclude that “Each year he gets hurt/doesn’t improve/gets sent back down” when he’s had one injury and hasn’t played enough since then to make any conclusions.

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      • RC says:

        “He was pretty much Boston’s top prospect in 2010. He was pencilled in as a starting outfielder for 2011, until they signed Carl Crawford.”

        Do you read what you write. The fact that they signed crawford pretty much proves that he wasn’t penciled in.

        It doesn’t matter whether his injuries were fluky, or what. They’re all lost development time.

        Right now, Ryan Kalish is a 24 year old RF, whos is putting up a .570 OPS, striking out in almost 30% of his at bats, and walking in less than 5% of them. He is, IMO, atleast another year or two away from being a major league player, and IMO, his most probable outcome is a 4th outfielder. My guess is that the RF of the future for the Red Sox is Jackie Bradley.

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    • Mr Punch says:

      People keep saying this because the guy who actually did look a lot like Kalish, but not quite as promising, was Josh Reddick.

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      • RC says:

        Kalish and Reddick looked nothing alike.

        Kalish has always been a little bit more patient, but Reddick has always had significantly more power than Kalish. Reddick has a drastically better arm, is faster, and plays better defense.

        The knock on Reddick was that he was going to strike out a lot at the MLB level, and probably not get enough hits for his power to be useful.

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  8. everdiso says:

    Kind of an easy call here, no? there’s 3 good outfielders to keep, 2 questionable ones to maybe keep, and 3 bad ones to let go.

    Definitely keep:

    J.Ellsbury (28): 2275pa, .299/.354/.450/.804, .361woba, 117wRC+, +9.4uzr/150
    C.Crawford (30): 5934pa, .293/.333/.441/.774, .343woba, 110wRC+, +13.2uzr/150
    C.Ross (31): 2891pa, .263/.326/.464/.790, .341woba, 108wRC+, -0.2uzr/150

    Keep at least one, though probably keep both because they’re both amongst the best bench options:

    D.Nava (29): 368pa, .266/.379/.409/.788, .352woba, 116wRC+, -2.2uzr/150
    R.Sweeney (27): 1864pa, .284/.341/.381/.722, .318woba, 95wRC+, +9.4uzr/150

    Definitely don’t keep:

    S.Podsednik (36): 4200pa, .281/.341/.383/.724, .326woba, 94wRC+, -2.1uzr/150
    R.Kalish (24): 225pa, .251/.300/.382/.682, .311woba, 86wRC+, -12.6uzr/150
    B.Lillibridge (28): 592pa, .211/.279/.353/.632, .281woba, 68wRC+, 0.7uzr/150

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    • BigNachos says:

      Well, Lillibridge can also play infield so he could be kept in favor of someone like Punto. But yeah, seems pretty obvious to me too.

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    • everdiso says:

      come to think of it, does not having space for Scott Podsednik, Ryan Kalish, or Brent Lillibridge even qualify as having “too many outfielders”?

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      • Michael Scarn says:

        One’s a decent prosect (Kalish), who’s been around the end of top-100 lists a couple years, the other one is hitting extremely well (Podsednik) and has been a league average hitter in 2010/2009, and could probably be traded for a C+ level prospect or some young RP doing well in AAA. The other, Lillibridge, is worthless.

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      • everdiso says:

        the two vets seem like typical waiver wire material, no? meanwhile kalish is a good but not great prospect. Wouldn’t most teams have comparable “extra” outfielders, really?

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      • everdiso says:

        I’ll get crap for this, because i’m bringing up my crappy jays yet again, but I don’t view this as having “too many outfielders”, either:

        J.Bautista (31): 3728pa, .253/.362/.488/.850, .366woba, 125wRC+
        C.Rasmus (25): 1907pa, .252/.322/.442/.764, .329woba, 105wRC+
        B.Francisco (30): 1561pa, .259/.330/.427/.757, .331woba, 101wRC+
        E.Thames (25): 554pa, .257/.306/.429/.735, .318woba, 98wRC+
        R.Davis (31): 1969pa, .272/.319/.380/.699, .319woba, 95wRC+
        T.Snider (24): 877pa, .248/.307/.423/.730, .318woba, 93wRC+

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      • RC says:

        Everdiso, you do realize that the Jay’s second best OF, Rasmus, is about the same value as the Sox 7th (Posednick), Right?

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      • everdiso says:

        let’s be real, the only red sox OF that anyone would take over Rasmus at the moment is Ellsbury. and that';s before even considering any of their salaries.

        as for your Pods-Colby comparison, that doesn’t even work as a joke.

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      • Michael Scarn says:

        If we’re not considering salaries, then teams would definitely take Crawford ahead of Rasmus. I’m not a fan of either team (Dodgers fan), and I would sure as hell rather have Carl Crawford on the Dodgers than Rasmus if we’re not including salaries. Not even close really.

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      • everdiso says:

        huh. well, er, I have to disagree on that one.

        1) Offense

        2012

        C.Rasmus (25): 331pa, 7.6bb%, 19.3k%, .259/.321/.492/.813, .344woba, 116wRC+
        C.Crawford (30): —

        2011

        C.Rasmus (24): 526pa, 9.5bb%, 22.1k%, .225/.298/.391/.689, .302woba. 90wRC+
        C.Crawford (29): 539pa, 4.3bb%, 19.3k%, .255/.289/.405/.694, .304woba, 83wRC+

        2010

        C.Rasmus (23): 534pa, 11.8bb%. 27.7k%, .276/.361/.498/.859, .366woba. 129wRC+
        C.Crawford (28): 663pa, 6.9bb%. 15.7k%, .307/.356/.495/.851, .378woba, 140wRC+

        Since 2010:

        C.Rasmus (25): 1391pa, 9.9bb%, 23.6k%, .252/.328/.456/.784, .336woba, 111wRC+
        C.Crawford (30): 1202pa, 5.7bb%, 17.3k%, .283/.326/.454/.780, .344woba, 115wRC+

        Career:

        C.Rasmus (25): 1911pa, 9.1bb%. 22.1k%. .252/.322/.442/.764, .329woba, 105wRC+
        C.Crawford (30): 5934pa, 5.3bb%, 14.7k%, .293/.333/.441/.774, .343woba, 110wRC+

        Offensively, we see 2 very similar players overall, with the major difference being that Colby has proven that he can bounce back from his off year last year to post an .800+ops this year, while Crawford has yet to do that.

        2) Defense

        Defensive metrics are inconsistent on Colby, but overall they call him n average defensive CF +6 career by DRS, -2.0 by uzr/150. The eye test likely places him higher than that, but average defensive CF is fair enough.

        In Carl Crawford, we have a guy who pretty much broke the UZR system. Despite his obvious defensive limitations – i.e. his popgun arm – that limit him to being strictly a LF, and never a CF or RF, he still somehow managed to post super elite defensive ratings for many years in TBay. Thing is, these outlier numbers were heavily weighted to his home park – his defensive ratings in tropicana were otherworldy, while his away splits were just good, not great. This was a warning sign that maybe UZR was having trouble in Tropicana, and this warning sign seemed to be justified after Crawford moved away from Tampa, and put up very average defensive numbers (and probably below average according to the eye test) in Boston’s LF.

        The question remains whether Crawford is truly super-elite defensively in LF, or if he’s just “good”. Meanwhile, Colby seems to be at least an average defensive CF – which while it might be inferior to a truly super-elite LF, it would definitely be worth more than just a good defensive LF.

        3) Aging Curve

        Rasmus is only 25, barely entering his prime years. Crawford is 30 years old, likely entering his decline years.

        4) Health

        Rasmus is young and perfectly healthy, Crawford is middle aged and has been injury plagued for the last couple of years. Not only does he have wrist and elbow injuries that could easily be chronic, but he’s also suffered groin/hammy type injuries which are a major scare for a player whose offensive and defensive value is entirely tied to his speed.

        So we’ve got two comparable offensive players, one who is a healthy young defensively average CF, the other who is an injured, aging LFer who has only looked great defensively in one ballpark. The young CF is currently in the midst of what looks like a 5.0war season, while the older LF has yet to play this year, and managed a 0.2war last year.

        I would humbly suggest that your preference for Carl Crawford (“and it’s not even close”), is….misguided.

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      • Michael Scarn says:

        2009-2012 WAR ranking:
        Crawford: 34th
        Rasmus: 72nd

        Crawford wOBA: .352
        Rasmus wOBA: .329

        Crawford UZR: 33.5
        Rasmus UZR: -4.1

        Rasmus doesn’t touch Crawford offensively or defensively. He also has a reputation as being difficult to coach/work with whereas Crawford is regarded as one of the hardest working players around. Combine that with Crawford’s tremendous physical shape, NFL body of 6-2/215, and the fact that he was heavily recruited to play college basketball and football, and I’ll take Crawford’s body and aging profile.

        Saying Colby Rasmus is as good as Carl Crawford showcases how delusional you are.

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      • everdiso says:

        As I’ve clearly shown, his WAR advantage is tied up entirely in his off the charts UZR defensive rating.

        Given his home and away defensive splits as a Ray, and given his unimpressive defensive performance all around in Boston last year, not to mention the obvious defensive weakness of his popgun arm, I’d suggest that only a massive boston homer would still persist in the belief that that UZR rating was anywhere near accurate.

        No sane person would prefer to have Carl Crawford over Colby Rasmus at this point, even if their contracts were equal.

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      • Guest says:

        So you’re saying that Crawford somehow unfairly had UZR benefits that show up in his home/road UZR from the Trop? Care to explain why Crawford, specifically, receives a boost from playing LF in the Trop, other than it has a large OF and he is extremely fast? How exactly do the contours of LF in the Tampa inaccurately push Crawford’s UZR up?

        This argument has to constitute one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read. Crawford is obviously better than Colby Rasmus. If we were including contracts, then obviously you’d take Rasmus, but in a straight up comparison, it’s painfully obvious that Crawford is the better player.

        You also didn’t even mention stolen bases, which are becoming even more important in this depressed run environment. Rasmus’ career high is 12, which is 6 less than Crawford’s worst in a full season. He put up 47 and 60 in the two years before signing in Bos.

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      • whatever says:

        Blue Jays homer or not (and I’m a RED SOX homer) everdiso is right. You really gotta be numb to take Crawford over Rasmus going forward.

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      • everdiso says:

        Guest – UZR is based on park-specific measurements. They are far from perfect. For whatever reason, the only park crawford has ever looked like an elite fielder in according to UZR is tropicana field. His road UZR was always much lower, and his first season in Fenway was further proof of that.

        As for speed and stolen bases, those are factored into wOBA and wRC+ above.

        and from this Jays homer to a Sox homer, thank you Whatever for some sanity.

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      • Michael Scarn says:

        Why did you only bring up DRS in regards to Rasmus? Yes, Rasmus has a +5 DRS mark for his career, slightly better than his UZR. Yet you conveniently left out that Crawford’s DRS is 70, which again is ridiculously awesome, and confirms his amazing fielding value.

        Since he entered the league, Crawford’s UZR AND DRS are 3rd among all OFs, from 2002-present, with only Andruw Jones being better by both metrics. Fans scouting report has him 2nd during that time period, behind only Ichiro, and TZR, a less sophisticated version of UZR/DRS has him 4th.

        So he’s top 4 since entering the league in all 4 of the major defensive measurement systems, but I see, since you say he’s not actually that good, we should just go ahead and ignore those statistics for him.

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      • Michael Scarn says:

        http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=1201,9893

        Obviously, the guy represented by the red line is the better player.

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      • everdiso says:

        I thought I did mention UZR….yup, I did. Here’s what I said:

        “Defensive metrics are inconsistent on Colby, but overall they call him n average defensive CF +6 career by DRS, -2.0 by uzr/150.”

        As for Crawford’s defensive ratings, again, they were only ever elite in one ballpark. I’m sure you watched plenty of Crawford in LF last year, and I doubt you’d say you say anything remotely close to an elite defensive player.

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      • Michael Scarn says:

        Where are you finding DRS and UZR splits for home/road? Not calling you out for making up data, since the info might be readily available and I’m missing it, but I can’t find it on fangraphs.

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      • everdiso says:

        it seems like fangraphs has removed the home/road defense splits, but it had it last year at the time of the crawford signing (I swear!).

        If you look at Tom’s comments nearer the top of the comments section he has the actual numbers…..I can’t say I remembered them offhand.

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      • Michael Scarn says:

        Tom has no source data either. The question remains, why would Crawford have inflated defensive statistics, in each of UZR. DRS. and TZL, that would push him from good to nearly the best? Where is your proof that not only this occurred, but that there was something about the Trop that specifically helped Crawford.

        The way I, and the data, see it, is that the Trop has a huge OF and Crawford has exceptional range, allowing him to get to a huge amount of would-be hits. That’s a skill that translates anywhere. You could say that Fenway deflates his UZR by taking away his potential range, but that’s Fenway artificially lowering his number from his true talent level.

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  9. Sean O says:

    Solution: Time machine to unsign useless waste of space Carl Crawford.

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  10. BX says:

    Considering what happened last night, this article has such perfect timing.

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  11. Brian says:

    The Red Sox plan is ingenious. Collect 6 LF’ers, each with a 1 WAR, add them together and you’ve got a 6 WAR. That’s All-Star quality right there.

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    • kevin says:

      What are you talking about? Ellsbury is a CF, Ross and Sweeney were brought in to play right. Most of they’re other moves have been out of necessity because they had 7 outfielders on the DL at the same time and they were just trying to bring in someone who wouldn’t embarrass themselves out there.

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  12. Pete Incaviglia says:

    Crawford in left. Ellsbury in center. Sweeney and Ross platoon in right. Very simple. What Ross has done against righties this season is mostly meaningless unless the organization themselves tweaked with his swing (unlikely). Nava is your 4th OF if he he continues to hit.

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    • Tom says:

      +1

      The career wRC+ of 94 should clue folks in to what Posednik is… couple that with him starting to fall on the negative side of the UZR equation and you have a below average hitter with at best average defense Kalish is not performing and no matter what folks think his ceiling MIGHT be, he should be sent down.

      Then it becomes basically a decision between Nava vs Lillibridge for the last bench spot

      With Ortiz as a DH they can only carry 2OF/1IF or 1 OF/2IF on the bench – .I assume Punto is there and the Ross/Sweeney platoon eats up one other spot and then it becomes a question of do you roll with the light hitting Lillibridge as he can cover both the infield and OF or do you go with only Punto as the only backup infield for some more offense with Nava as a 5th OF

      I suspect the Red Sox will go with Lillibridge for the flexibility

      (of course all this assumes no injuries)

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    • RC says:

      “What Ross has done against righties this season is mostly meaningless unless the organization themselves tweaked with his swing (unlikely). ”

      Ross is a right handed pull flyball hitter playing in Fenway. The numbers are real (in Fenway). There’s no reason to believe he won’t continue to hit this way (in fenway).

      Huge increases in SLG are not something to be surprised about with RH pull hitters in fenway.

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      • Pete Incaviglia says:

        Weren’t they set with the platoon of Sweeney and Ross until injuries set in? Why wouldn’t the Red Sox have just said Ross is our everyday RF if this were so obvious?

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  13. iallm says:

    I don’t know if they have too many, but I think they’re paying way too much for what they got.

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    • kevin says:

      Aside from Crawford who exactly are they paying too much for? Ellsbury is still under team control, Ross is only making $3 mil, Sweeney $1.75 mil, lillebridge and Kalish about $0.5 mil, Nava and podsednik are making peanuts. There’s only one outfielder playing too much could apply to and it’s a little early to be writing off crawford based on one bad season. Starting pitching on the other hand…

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  14. kevin says:

    I thought even at the time they signed him crawford was overpaid, but its still a little early to judge based on his one healthy season. You’re also dismissing the underpaid guys they have pretty easily too. If we assume $5 mil per war (which I believe someone from fangraphs/BP stated as the approx. value) is standard that would mean Ross should conservatively be worth $10 mil, nava should be worth 15 times what he’s making, Sweeney should easily be worth his pay. Like I said before they’re definately overpaying for starting pitching, outfield not so much.

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