Friday, March 16, 2007

2007 Team Predictions - Boston Red Sox

Should exceed their projection

1. J.D. Drew - should take particular advantage of the Green Monster, at least when he's healthy. An analysis of his hit chart showed that he hits a fair number of balls that are outs in other parks, but would be doubles in Fenway (that's true for most hitters, but particularly true for Drew).

2. Curt Schilling - his 2005 was not just cut short by injury, it was terrible when he did pitch. The injury risk is still very real, but I think that he will be effective when healthy, unlike two years ago.

3. Tim Wakefield - I assume projections don't know he's a knuckleballer, so he should age a bit more gracefully than projected.

Should hit their projection

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka - I have to admit this is one case where I have seen projections, so I know they're pretty good. On the plus side, he has great stuff, and I wonder if the translations that convert Japanese to MLB stats is based mostly on higher ratio of finesse pitchers you see in Japan. But if I've learned nothing else from reading books like "You Gotta Have Wa" (excellent book, by the way) it's that the transition from Japan to the U.S. is very tough, and the differences in the style of baseball are the least of it. The culture shock is light years beyond what Latin players go through, and they have it tough. It wouldn't surprise me to see Dice-K go through the Hideki Matsui path - a decent, but disappointing first season, followed by an improvement. Still, I'm weighing that against his stuff (not just a good fastball, but many quality pitches), so I'm going to put him here. But I think he's defensible in all three categories.

2. Josh Beckett - I think he'll be better than last year, but I don't have any reason to think it was a complete fluke, either.

3. Jonathan Papelbon - I could see putting him in the above category, because he's not your typical reliever-to-starter case, since he wasn't a reliever very long. But I won't.

4. All the other hitters - I can't think of good reasons to adjust any of the other position players.

Won't hit their projection


Again, the Red Sox come out well in this kind of analysis, as I don't see any players that look like good bets to disappoint compared to their projections.

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