Season in Review: Boston Red Sox

Today will kick off a series of retrospectives now that the regular season is over and done with. These will concern themselves only with the regular season and how the teams fared. They will be presented, from first to last, in order of their run differential as given by the BaseRuns formula, which I feel is the best overall measurement of a team’s actual talent level for the season.

Number One: Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox occupied the top spot according to BaseRuns and by a fair margin to boot, 35 runs better than the second place team. The Red Sox were 2nd best on offense at a projected 884 runs scored and 7th at run prevention with 699 runs allowed.

Boston’s pitching was well balanced between the rotation and the bullpen. The rotation was anchored by Josh Beckett and Jon Lester and saw a solid, if curious and likely unsustainable, performance from Daisuke Matsuzaka as well. The bullpen was built on the backs of another outstanding season from Jonathan Papelbon and a breakout year for Manny Delcarmen.

On the hitting side there were many people to spread the credit around to. J.D. Drew rebounded from a vilified first season in Boston to post fantastic numbers both at the plate and in the field. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz provided much less value than before but were still helpful contributors. The breakouts though came from Dustin Pedroia (a fine, but nowhere near MVP performance) and Kevin Youkilis, who busted out a never before seen slugging power.

While the catcher and center field positions did what they could to drag down the offense, the rest of the lineup made up for it and with Boston’s immense financial resources they should be in prime position to patch what few holes they have and continue being a dominant force in 2009.




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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

15 Responses to “Season in Review: Boston Red Sox”

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  1. Mike says:

    I don’t see how you can say Pedroia’s performance is “nowhere near MVP.” Have you noticed that he has the highest VORP of any player on an AL contender? And overall he’s third behind A-Rod and Grady Sizmore. On top of that he plays an excellent second base. Is he the MVP? Maybe not, but to dismiss him completely (because he’s short?) is silly.

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  2. R M says:

    Pedroia’s performance was no where near MVP because of his production. Yes, he is a second baseman, but still. Mike Cameron hit more homeruns and stole the same number of bases. When Rollins was named MVP, he hit nearly twice as many homeruns and stole twice as many bases….

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  3. Mike says:

    Mike Cameron also had a dramatically lower OPS, I don’t really understand your point there at all.

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  4. Pat says:

    Pedroia has a higher WARP and VORP than Morneau and Mauer. I fail to see how that’s not productive. Stop looking at HR and RBI. You write for FanGraphs, you’re better than that.

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  5. If you could direct me to where I used HR and RBI to claim Morneau or Mauer were better than Pedroia, I would love to see it.

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  6. Pat says:

    Ok, let me repeat. Pedroia has a higher WARP and VORP than both of the M&M Twins. How exactly is that not productive enough?

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  7. So are you saying I never used HR and RBI to claim Morneau or Mauer were better than Pedroia? I’m still not clear on this.

    Dustin Pedroia ranks 8th in WPA and 18th in WPA/LI. Joe Mauer ranks ahead of him in both categories. Also in wOBA, also in bRAA. Those are all better measurements.

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  8. Pat says:

    I confused what R M said with what you said.

    Anyways, back to my MAIN point. WPA and BRAA are not better measurements. I don’t know who you think you’re fooling. WPA is outdated and still hasn’t adjusted to split credit between pitching and fielding nor has it adjusted H/A splits. I also don’t know the last time a guy was awarded an MVP for a high wOBA. It’s a good telling stat, but it doesn’t measure the players full contribution like VORP and WARP do.

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  9. Well, I disagree fully.

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  10. Pat says:

    I’m sorry to hear that. I thought I was talking to a knowledgeable baseball fan, not one who cherry-picks random stats to support his argument.

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  11. Mike says:

    So he’s 8th in WPA, and that’s nowhere near MVP? How many of the guys ahead of him are on non-contenders (if that matters to you)?

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  12. I say he’s nowhere close to the MVP because he isn’t. The proximity qualifier is meant to show how far away he is from legitimate MVP-worthiness and less to show with how many people are ahead of him. If you finish in second place by two minutes in a mile-long race, were you close to winning? Not in my book.

    If you judge MVP by being the most valuable player to a team then Joe Mauer blows Pedroia out of the water. He’s tops in WPA and plays the most scarce position on the field. (http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=al&qual=y&type=3&season=2008&month=0)

    If you judge MVP by being the best overall player, then Alex Rodriguez, Grady Sizemore, Carlos Quentin, Josh Hamilton, Joe Mauer and Curtis Granderson are all by far and away better choices. (http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=al&qual=y&type=3&season=2008&month=0)

    And no, being on a contending team doesn’t matter to me and it isn’t a prerequisite for the voters either. If you want to make a case that it does, fine, the Twins still count as a contending team.

    The only thing Pedroia leads in is media love and that’s because he’s in a huge market and there’s nothing the media loves to gush about more than short white people having success.

    Oh, and “clutch” but looks who’s in second in that category and the only reason Pedroia’s rating is that high is because he’s been that much worse than Mauer in non high leverage PAs.

    Pedroia has had a very good season, but there’s not a single rational argument to him being the MVP.

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  13. Mike says:

    “there’s nothing the media loves to gush about more than short white people having success.”

    Yeah, like Jimmy Rollins.

    It’s cool that you have a dogmatic devotion to your own site’s stats and everything, that’s cute, but to say that the player ranked third in the AL in VORP doesn’t belong in the MVP discussion just hints at the personal bias that some of the comments in your last post confirm.

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  14. R M says:

    I am going to clarify my post because I didn’t explain it very well, and Mike Cameron was a bad example. What I am saying is that no matter how you look at the MVP, Pedroia is not a good choice. If you look at the MVP as the guy who put up the gaudiest stats, it’s most certainly not Pedroia. If you look at the guy who put up the best stats relative to his position or who had the best WPA, it’s definitely not Pedroia. Every way you look at it, there are 5 or 6 guys ahead of him.

    Mike, Look at Jimmy Rollins’ stats from last year and make that comparison again. Not only were his numbers much more pleasing to the eye, he was just as valuable with his bat at a far tougher position, where he faired very well with the glove.

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  15. R M says:

    Also, you say that Pedroia is 3rd in VORP, so why aren’t you looking at the players who were ahead of him? They weren’t on contenders, but that is not a requirement for the award. Think of how much worse off the Yankees would have been without A-Rod and the Indians without Sizemore.

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