Fine. I was wrong. I’ll admit it. (Sweet, sweet, yummy crow.)

September 8th, 2006 → 9:38 am @ // No Comments

Pitcher 1: 7-0, 2.82 ERA, 1 save, 8.91 K/9, and a batting average against hovering around .200 in 8 starts and 14 relief appearances over 63.2 innings.

Pitcher 2: 7-2, 2.89 ERA, 5.48 K/9, and a .208 batting average against in 14 starts over 87.1 innings.

Those two pitchers don’t sound hugely different, right? Pitcher 1 has some relief appearances mixed in, significantly more strikeouts per IP, and averages about a third of an inning more per start, but besides that the stats are more or less identical.

If you haven’t guessed by now, pitcher 1 is an amalgam of Josh Beckett (4-0, 2.83, .165 BAA), Jon Lester (3-0, 2.45 ERA, .241 BAA), Craig Hansen (1-0, 4.50 ERA, .250 BAA in 6 appearances), and Manny Delcarmen (1 save, 2.57 ERA, .231 BAA in 8 appearances) versus the National League. Pitcher 2 is Anibal Sanchez. (Sanchez, in his two AL starts, was 1-0 with a 6.30 ERA and a .326 BAA.)

Why am I pointing this out? Because yesterday, I wrote about the departure of some behind-the-scenes front office talent and wondered whether that had anything to do with the fact that the Sox have seemingly given up a lot of young players who have succeeded elsewhere, while the players they’ve held on to have struggled. (To be fair — to myself — I included this caveat, known as a “cover your ass” in the industry: “That doesn’t mean they won’t, and the success of the young NL phenoms who cut their teeth in Pawtucket and Portland doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have struggled in the AL, or struggled in Boston’s fishbowl atmosphere (San Diego, South Florida, and Pittsburgh ain’t exactly known for their rabid fanbases).”) Scratch the surface a bit and it doesn’t look like the Sox’s young guns have struggled quite so much, at least against comperable talent. (Add in Papelbon to pitcher 1’s stats and you get this: 8-0, 6 saves, 2.55 ERA, 8.76 K/9 in 8 starts and 22 relief appearances over 74 innings.) If only he hadn’t been traded, Gammons might have been right when he said Beckett would win the Cy Young. Unfortunately, he’s playing in the AL.

A little more digging turned up another, um, flaw in my arguement. Are Chadd, Garcia, Eljaua, and Moore the departures that have hurt the Boston Red Sox in 2006? The short answer is no: none of them were ever involved in major league decisions. (Eljaua was involved in Japanese pro scouting…and the Sox’s influx of Japanese players has been about the same before and after he left, i.e., nonexistent.) And regardless of how good Chadd, Garcia and Moore were (and are), there’s a difference between scouting and signing guys and helping to decide who to trade, who to keep, and how to construct a major league roster. Scouts are involved in the former, not the latter.

These scouts might be missed in the future; there also might be scouts just as good already in the Sox’s system. We won’t know that for another couple of years. That’s often the case in baseball: the full impact of decisions made today can’t be truly (and honestly) evaluated until a couple of years down the line. I should — and do — know this; it’s why, for months, I’ve argued that we won’t be able to talk about the non-signing of Pedro and Damon until their contracts are completed. I fell prey to the same thinking I often criticize: wanting to find the answer to a question prematurely.

Oh well. I’ve always said mistakes are inevitable in life; the important thing is to acknowledge them. So I’m acknowledging. Live and learn.

Post Categories: Red Sox front office & Scouts & sweet & Sweet crow

4 Comments → “Fine. I was wrong. I’ll admit it. (Sweet, sweet, yummy crow.)”

  1. Retire_Number_14

    17 years ago

    I think it’s fair to say that the two leagues are not “in the same league.” AL teams routed the NL this year, and teams like Boston and Minnesota absolutely feasted on the senior circuit. There is a clear disparity, just look at the Wild Card chase, where the AL leaders are about 20 games over .500 and NL leaders are barely above the mendoza line. Nobody expects the eventual NL pennant winner to win the World Series, whoever it may be.

    When players like Beckett switch leagues, you almost have to expect them to struggle, as Renteria did last year. Also, when young, recently traded prospects hit the majors and fail or succeed, one must carefully look at the level of competition they are facing. The NL is weaker not only because the pitcher has to hit. Most of the mashers in baseball swing bats in AL parks, plain and simple.

    The Red Sox’s moves and non-moves are magnified now in the face of a season in which the team misses the playoffs. Justified? Yes and no. It’s always easy to rip a trade apart (i.e. the Mirabelli deal) months after the fact, but was anybody really upset at the time we let Iron Hands Bard and Cla Meredith go? Tell the truth, no you weren’t. When we dealt Hanley et al for Beckett? You had to admit, it sounded like a good move and even Lowell paid off. Just about everyone liked the Coco deal too, when it happened. Give these moves more time. In fact, give all the moves more time. Injuries and a devastating two weeks of baseball in mid-August are why this team will be setting up tee times in four weeks and not playing on FOX. It’s not because of defections in the front office.



    17 years ago

    Interesting comparison provided by Seth. There’s no denying the fact that all the impressive numbers being posted by ex-Sox are being posted in the NL (of course that’s where most of them are). And no denying the fact that the NL got killed in interleague play this year. But to me the level of disparity is getting a little baffling. Has the NL really fallen this far this fast? They did win the World Series in 2001 and 2003. Then again the teams that won were dismantled, weren’t they?

    I agree that not many people expect the NL to win the Series this year and for good reason. Though there could be a surprise here. If it ended up with the Mets against the Yankees I think the Mets would have a shot. They went 3 and 3 against the Yankees this year and in one of the losses they blew a 4-run lead in the ninth. I saw some of those games and it seemed like the Mets matched up fairly well.


  3. soxaholic

    17 years ago

    Have to comment on the post above. I, for one, was outraged when Meredith and Bard were shipped to San Diego for Mirabelli.

    We gave up a young pitcher and a good young backup catcher who could hit for an over-the-hill designated catcher. As it turned out, the designated catcher didn’t do any better with the knuckler than the promising young player who you deride as “Iron Hands.”

    This was a panic move, pure and simple. And it’s the kind of move that Theo tries to convince us that he doesn’t make … except when he makes them. And when Tek went down this year, the Sox were stuck.


  4. Ogie Oglethorpe

    17 years ago

    Good to see people looking at this situation from all angles. I said before and still believe that if Lester and Hansen were traded for Beckett they could be a 15 game winner and a closer respectively. There is a saying that goes, “Figures lie and liars figure”. This situation is a perfect example until you dig deeper and represent the numbers accurately. The thing that frustrates me is that the local “experts” are aware of this situation but choose to misrepresent the facts and figures in order to stir the pot.


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