February 15, 2017

Annual Playing Pepper Preview

Jim Rice standing next to a good looking guy,
and his personalized licence plate

Every year, C70 at the Bat which is an excellent baseball blog, hosted within Cards Conclave, mainly about the  St.Louis Cardinals, gets a feel for other teams around baseball by asking bloggers of those teams a few questions about their squad. Once again, I get to be one of the writers with the privilege of sharing my thoughts on the Red Sox on their blog.

You can look here to see what I said going into the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 seasons. Maybe the sixth time is a charm, and I'll actually provide an accurate forecast.

This year I have been asked to answer the following questions:

  1. Was it a good offseason for the team?  Did they do what they needed to do?  Is there any move you wished they had made that they didn’t?
  2. 2017 starts the post-David Ortiz era. How different will that be for you and for the team?
  3. What’s the thinking on Craig Kimbrel? A bit of an off year or the beginning of a decline?
  4. Is there an unheralded player that people should keep an eye on this season?
  5. What’s your projection of the team’s record and/or where will they finish in the division?
  6. Who is your all-time favorite Red Sox and why?

If you've ever read anything I've said, you can guess the answer to the last question (look at the picture above!) but you'll need to wait until February 23rd to see the rest of my answers on C70.

February 14, 2017

25 Man Roster Predictions

(Courtesy of Doug Eisenhart / Boston.com)
Click on picture for Guide to 2017 Spring Traiing
Now that spring is officially here (I measure seasons based on baseball, not some random tilt of the Earth's rotational axis), I wanted to post my way too premature prediction on what the Red Sox Opening Day roster will look like.

There are many obvious positions, but as always, there will be some interesting choices to be made for the last couple of spots.

Let's start with the pitchers:

David Price, Chris Sale and Rick Porcello are guaranteed the top three spots in the rotation (in no particular order) barring any kind of disastrous injury.  The last two spots are more interesting.  The highest ceiling candidate for them is Eduardo Rodriguez.  But if he takes spot #4, who gets left out of the rotation?  Last year's AL all-star Steven Wright?  Or the lone representative from the hometown Padres in the NL all-star game, Drew Pomeranz?

January 17, 2017

Hall of Fame Ballot - FINAL

In my previous posts I have covered all the new players on this year's ballot with a link to the Red Sox as well as those of interest to my Canadian readers.  (And provided links to previous year's write-ups for returning candidates).

See links below for those articles:
Red Sox players
Canadian / Expos / Blue Jays

To summarize, I would vote for the following Red Sox players:

  • Jeff Bagwell 
  • Roger Clemens 
  • Curt Schilling 
  • Lee Smith 
  • Billy Wagner 
  • Manny Ramirez

And the following Canadians/Blue Jays/Expos:

  • Vladimir Guerrero
  • Tim Raines 
  • Edgar Martinez 
  • Fred McGriff 
  • Larry Walker 

Additionally, the following candidates would get a check mark from me:

  • Barry Bonds
  • Trevor Hoffman
  • Mike Mussina
  • Ivan Rodriguez

That’s a total of 15.  I need to remove 5.  Lee Smith (regrettably in his last year), Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner are easy choices.  As in previous years, I’ll need to erase the checkmark next to Fred McGriff’s name.  My last cut is Mike Mussina.  He deserves it, but will need to wait for a future year. 
My final ballot:

Hall of Fame Ballot - Canadians (and stuff)

There are only two new players of interest to Canadians in this year’s Hall of Fame ballot.  Matt Stairs (from New Brunswick) and Vlad Guerrero (long time Expos player).

The returning candidates are:
Tim Raines (10th year, 70% last year)
Roger Clemens (5, 45%)
Edgar Martinez (8, 43%)
Fred McGriff (8, 21%)
Jeff Kent (4, 21%)
Larry Walker (7, 16%)

I’ve previously made cases for all these guys (and explained why they should be on the list of players of interest to Canadians) except Jeff Kent.  And I think every year I end up with no room for McGriff and he gets dropped off my ballot.  But Raines, Clemens, Edgar and Walker are no brainers.

Now for the new guys on the list:

Matt Stairs – already covered him in my Red Sox post. Love the guy, but no.

Vladimir Guerrero – The raw back of baseball card numbers: .318 batting average, 449 home runs, 181 steals. We've evolved to where we determine the worthiness of a player on more than just these numbers, but it is worth mentioning that NOBODY in the history of baseball has him beat on all three.  Quick: What do no doubt Hall of Famers, Reggie Jackson, Yaz, George Brett, and Ken Griffey have in common?  They all have a career OPS (and OPS+ adjusted for the eras they played in) lower than Guerrero's. He had a stretch of 10 years where he AVERAGED an OPS+ of 151.   There were three guys who bested that in the NL last year.  It's not a question of whether he should get in or not. It's a question of whether or not it will be an insult to not have him in as a first ballot Hall of Famer!

January 16, 2017

Hall of Fame Ballot - Red Sox players

There are a ton of former Red Sox on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot;

The returning candidates are:
Jeff Bagwell (7th year, 72% last year)
Roger Clemens (5th, 45%)
Curt Schilling (5th, 52%)
Lee Smith (15th, 34%)
Billy Wagner (2nd, 11%)
They all have a legitimate case for the Hall, and although I won’t vote for all of them, you can read the cases I’ve made for each in the previous years’ posts.

There are also nine first timers. Unfortunately, eight of these will likely be one timers.  The new members on the ballot, who I will share my thoughts about below, are:

Orlando Cabrera
Mike Cameron
JD Drew
Manny Ramirez
Edgar Renteria
Freddy Sanchez
Matt Stairs
Jason Varitek
Tim Wakefield