Tuesday 21 February 2012

2012 Previews: Boston Red Sox, Aka The Regression All-Stars

You could really take the Red Sox, Rays, Yankees and Rangers, and stick them in any order that you feel like here, and I could get behind it.  But it's my blog, and I hate the fucking Red Sox, so they can suck it.

The Majors
It's a great team on paper.  The lineup is going to score infinity runs, especially in the bandbox that is Fenway, and they should perform well defensively, but the real weak spot on this team is the starting rotation.  They could still go out and sign Roy Oswalt, or find an improvement via trade, otherwise, there's just not enough of a sure thing to consider this team a favorite over both the Yankees and the Rays.  Lester is fine, but Beckett is due for a pretty big regression (80% LOB, .245 babip last year), Daniel Bard has already failed as a starter, and Clay Buccholz and Dice-K are injury concerns, both having missed significant time last season.

I pretty much expect the Red Sox to be slightly worse than they were last year, save for the hilarious start to the season and hilarious end of the season, which means that they're a 91-94 win team, from a true-talent level.  Ellsbury and Crawford should regress back towards their respective means, the loss of Marco Scutaro (for nothing) should hurt by about a win, and fielding metrics showed the both Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez were about 10 runs above their career defensive values, so expect that to drop down a bit.  I'd also like to point out that they're not getting any younger, and that position player peak is in the 26-28 ages.  Older players!  Long contracts!

The Minors
It's thin, since the Adrian Gonzalez trade.  They draft and develop well, though, so they could have some good prospects coming up in the next few years.  It's not like they need prospects really bad anyway, since they have a bunch of money and a lot of guys that they'll just keep extending, if they haven't already.  There will be the odd hole over the next few years that they may need to have a prospect fill if he's a hotshot, but they like to play in the free agent market as well, so who knows?

The Verdict
I prefer the Rays and Yankees, but not by a wide enough margin to say that either is decidedly better.  I'm curious as to whether or not they're just going to keep basically the same team for another 2 years, or if they go and find another pitcher.  They were supposed to be the best fucking team in history last year, and they came third in their division.  Now they're worse and older, while the Jays and Rays improved, and the Yankees stayed about the same. For what it's worth, this will probably be the projection that I feel the least confident in.

Projection: 92-70, 3rd in the AL East

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