2013 Hawk Hitters Update 3/26/13

Hitters continuing to get a little hotter. Most incredible stat I came across was Josh Delph’s walk total. 23 BB to 4 K’s. His OBP is almost .500. A lot of Hawks actually have really good walk to strikeout numbers. It’ll be interesting to see if this carries over to the cape and the team works pitch counts.

Brian Anderson (Arkansas) INF-  GP/GS 24-24,

31 for 90, .344 avg, 21 R, 6 2B, 2 3B, 18 RBI, 4-4 SB, 16 BB, 8 SO

Tyler Spoon (Arkansas) OF- GP/GS 24-24

32 for 98, .327 avg, 16 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 32 RBI, 5-6 SB, 8 BB, 8 SO

Jay Baum (Clemson) INF GP/GS 23-23

20 for 82, .244 avg, 11 R, 4 2B, 8 RBI, 7-12 SB, 11 BB, 10 SO

Landon Curry (Indiana State) OF GP/GS 18-18

20 for 71, .282 avg, 14 R, 2 2B, 10 RBI, 11-15 SB, 9 BB, 9 SO

Austin Cousino (Kentucky) OF GP/GS 23-23

27 for 94, .287 avg, 23 R, 4 2B, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 8-8 SB, 7 BB, 18 SO

Josh Delph (Florida State) IF-OF GP/GS 24-24

21 for 73, .288 avg, 23 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 17 RBI, 4-7 SB, 23 BB, 4K

Skyler Ewing (Rice) 1B- C GP/GS 22-19

11 for 59, .186 avg, 6 R, 1 2b, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 0-0 SB, 8 BB, 15 SO

Dominic Jose (Stanford) OF GP/GS 14-13

12 for 47, .255 avg, 7 R, 1 2b, 4 RBI, 0-0 SB, 1 BB, 10 SO

Austin Slater (Stanford) SS GP/GS 17-15

20 for 63, .317 avg, 9 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 1-2 SB, 5 BB, 9 SO

Ryan Padilla (New Mexico) 1B- OF GP/GS 22-16,

16 for 66, .244 avg, 15 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 0-0 SB, 9 BB, 17 SO

Chase Griffin (Georgia Southern) C  GP/GS 23-23

30 for 94, .315 avg, 26 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 31 RBI, 0-0 SB, 12 BB, 11 SO

Drew Stankiewicz (Arizona State) INF GP/GS 20-20

23 for 76, .303 avg, 10 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 3-5 SB, 1 BB, 13 SO

Andrew Istler (Duke) OF GP/GS 12-12

7 for 46, .152 avg,  3 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 0-1 SB, 4 BB, 12 SO

Shane Zeile (UCLA) C GP/GS 19-16

13 for 57, .228 avg, 7 R, 4 2B, 4 RBI, 1-1 SB, 6 BB, 17 SO  

Greg Mahle (UCSB) INF-P GP  14

5 for 35, .143 avg, 1 R, 3 RBI, 0-1 SB, 3 BB, 4 SO

Jeff Schalk (UAB) OF GP/GS 23-20

12 for 70, .171, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1-1 SB, 8 BB, 15 SO 

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Harbor Hawk Update 2/18/13

 

 

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I write to you tonight from the small town of Ninilchick, Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula. It is known as one of the best salmon fisheries in the world. Anyway, not a lot of games to update you on. 

Andrew Thome (North Dakota) – Pitched a 7 inning no-hitter. Talk about a way to open up a season. You can read all about it here. Thome is an interesting player. He quickly became the University of North Dakota’s ace during his freshman year. Thome’s season was highlighted by three shutouts.  Thome also led the team in ERA (3.58), Innings Pitched (93), Shutouts (3), Complete Games (6), and Strikeouts (65). Thome then played his summer ball in the NECBL. He went 0-4 with a 6.23 ERA. It concerns me that his conference lacks the depth he will be facing on the Cape. He also may have just gotten tired, as the innings started piling up for the freshman.  

Austin Cousino (Kentucky) Cousin played in a make up game today. He went 2-6, with 2 runs, and a SB.

 

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Harbor Hawks Update 2/17/13

A really condensed update of today’s action. I spent the day traveling to Alaska and will be here for the next 9 days for work. Post’s may be erratic as I do not know where I will have internet. 

Brian Anderson (Arkansas) – 2-5 with 3 RBI. Off to a torrid start. A player to watch this season. 

Tyler Spoon (Arkansas) 3-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB. The HR king of the Alaskan Summer League gets his first of the 2013 NCAA season.

Sklyer Ewing (Rice)- 0-2 with a K

Dominic Jose (Stanford)- Did not play

Josh Delph (Florida State)- 0-2 w. BB

Jay Baum (Clemson)- 1-4 with a K

Jay Calhoun (Dallas Baptist) – Did not pitch

Cy Sneed (Dallas Baptist) – Did not pitch

Austin Cousino (Kentucky) – 1-4 1 run 4rbi 1 hr 1 sb Pulled due to blowout over Niagara

Jeff Schalk (UAB)- 1-3 with a HR. Schalk possesses all the tools to be a very successful hitter. Could have a massive year for UAB. 

Dylan Dickens (East Carolina)- DNP weather

Jordan Foley (Central Michigan)- Did not pitch

Kyle Freeland (Evansville)- Did not pitch

Chase Griffin (Georgia Southern)- 1-4 with an RBI and run.

Scott Simon (Washington State) – 4.1 4 h 1 er  0bb 0k relief. Simon looked very solid in his season debut.

Andrew Istler (Duke) – 1-4 with a run

Greg Mahle (UC Santa Barbara) – 0-5 w 1k

Taylor Martin (Kentucky) – Did not pitch

 Dylan Munger (UAB) – Did not pitch

Rocky Mccord (Auburn) – Did not pitch

Ryan Padilla (New Mexico)- Did not play

Drew Stankiewicz (Arizona State) – 2-4 with a run and RBI. Stankiewicz is definitely a player to keep an eye on. He is a freshman starting for a top program. Off to a hot start.  

Grant Watson (UCLA) – 6.0 ip/ 2H/ 0er /0 BB/ 8k Watson picked up where he left off. Looked very dominant and showed great control.

Shane Zeile (UCLA) – 0-5 with an RBI.

Andrew Thome (North Dakota) – Did not pitch.  

Landon Curry (Indiana State) – Box score unavailable. 

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Should the Red Sox Fire Bobby Valentine?

 

After dropping 3 out of 4 to one of the few AL teams decidedly out of the playoff picture in the Minnesota Twins, the Red Sox currently sit at 54-55 on the season. All year the home town nine have hovered around the .500 mark and still have not played as well as the roster would lead you to believe it could. And now with 53 games left in the season, and the Sox stuck 4.5 games out of the second wild card spot behind three other teams, the inevitable calling for the manager’s head has hit full speed.

Bobby Valentine was hired by the Red Sox a type of clubhouse enforcer who would hold players accountable and not let the inmates run the asylum as they did in the 2nd half last year. However, Valentine has not lived up to the hype, though it’s not particularly his fault. Beginning as early as Spring Training it was clear we were not getting the outspoken and opinionated manager many had heard on ESPN. Within the first couple of weeks Valentine backed off comments made on Sunday Night Baseball last year about Beckett’s pace of play and Crawford’s batting stance. Combine that with the most recent story of someone going behind his back to upper management about a comment aimed to pick up Will Middlebrooks after a tough inning in the field and we can all see that this was not the leadership Larry Lucchino was hoping for.

So should the Red Sox just go ahead and fire Bobby Valentine and begin to try and fix this team the way they should have after last season’s collapse? I will explore several points in favor of keeping Bobby V at the helm as well as why it’s best to just part ways right now.

Why they should fire Bobby V:

  • There is an outside chance that a change of manager could spark the team and maybe propel them closer to grabbing the second wild card spot. It is not an unprecedented event as Joe Morgan was appointed interim manager in a similar situation at the All-Star break in 1988. The team then won 12 straight and the AL East.
  • A lot of talk over the past ten months has revolved around the unity inside the Red Sox clubhouse and whether or not they are a team that actually fights for each other. There is a chance that Bobby is so disliked by the players that just removing him from the team could unite the players more than anything else.
  • As odd as it sounds, firing Valentine right now would actually gain favor towards the Red Sox ownership from the fans. All we have gotten from Henry, Lucchino, and Werner over the past few years are various sales pitches on stupid items like bricks, coffee table books and CDs. It would be a huge step forward for them to come out and admit to a mistake and finally put the focus back on winning baseball games.
  • If Tim Bogar (current bench coach) is someone the Red Sox are interested in seeing as a managerial candidate, this would be a great chance to see him in action. Letting Valentine go would allow Bogar to be appointed interim manager and give the team an extended interview for the open position come November. It is very unlikely that even if Bobby V makes it through the 2012 campaign that he would still be in charge come February, so why not see what you have in Bogar now and perhaps the team will take a shine to him.

 

Why they should keep Bobby V:

  • If the Red Sox do fire Valentine now, there would be the perception that the clubhouse wins and ultimately has more power than the manager. After last season had ended, Francona admitted himself that he has lost some players in the locker room and could not reach through to them for motivation. All season it has been clear that the players do not like Bobby and rarely (if ever) have come to his defense. Even upper management has stranded Valentine alone on an island at times. So by getting rid of Valentine, you give full power to the players to simply force out any manager they do not see fit going forward, which is a dangerous precedent to set.
  • Whenever a manager is fired in the second half of a season, it is can almost be seen as a waving of the white flag for that year. Although the Sox haven’t passed the “eye test” all season, the second wild card spot is not yet entirely out of reach. As I mentioned before, there are some cases where a managerial change could light a team for a stretch run, but that is a long shot and most of the time getting rid of the skipper signals the end of a team’s season.
  • Although Valentine has received a lot of the attention this season, he is still not the biggest problem this team has. Valentine should not get most of the blame for the performances of Lester and Beckett this year or Buccholz’s and Adrian Gonzalez’s first half. The team chemistry was already questionable coming into Spring Training with guys looking for the “snitches” about the fried chicken and beer story being leaked. Valentine is also not the reason for Carl Crawford’s and Andrew Bailey’s always ongoing injury sagas.

 

I personally believe it is best to just fire Valentine right now and see what you’ve got in Tim Bogar. Best case scenario is that the team surges a bit and makes a bid for the playoffs. Worst case they stay around .500 and begin the evaluation process in October. Either way, the Sox should clean house in the off-season and re-build the team’s coaching staff and try to find a way to part with Josh Beckett and maybe even John Lackey.

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First Half Recap

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The Red Sox will begin the second half of their season tonight in Tampa Bay. Their first half was disappointing to say the least. Here’s a brief recap of what we have seen so far in 2012:

  • Record: 43-43, 4th place in AL East
  • Pythagorean W-L: 47-39 (What their record should be based on their runs scored and given up)
  • Runs Scored Per Game: 5.02 (2nd in AL) [4.46 League Average]
  • Runs Given Up Per Game: 4.52 (9th in AL) [4.37 League Average]

So what do these numbers tell us? The Red Sox are hitting well but their pitching has underperformed immensely. With Beckett, Lester, and Bucholz having sub par seasons thus far, we can at least hold onto some hope that they will get better. The team has also fallen victim to a little bit of bad luck based on their Pythagorean W-L record being 4 games better than their actual record. With some good luck in the second half they should be able to close that gap and make a run at the playoffs.

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Jon Lester Is Their Ace

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With Jon Lester’s struggles this season I have heard people say that he is not going to become the “ace” pitcher they thought he could be. Jon Lester does not need to become an “ace”, he has been one for four years. I am not sure where the impression that he wasn’t an “ace” came from, but lets look at how he compared to the rest of the American League from 2008 through 2011.

Ranks among AL starting pitchers 2008-2011 (min. 648 IP):

  • ERA – 3.33 (5th)
  • Wins – 65 (3rd)
  • FIP – 3.43 (5th)
  • K/9 – 8.68 (2nd)
  • WAR – 20.9 (4th)

I split the list into two groups; the first is the more traditional stats used to evaluate pitchers and the second group is the more advanced and accurate metrics. Looking at either group puts Jon Lester at the top of the AL with the other aces like Verlander and Sabathia. But unfortunately, looking at these numbers also makes his first half performance even more disappointing.

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Who Is The Biggest Disappointment Of The First Half?

After dropping 3 of 4 to the Yankees in the most important series so far this year, the Sox limp into the All-Star break at an even 43-43. The Sox seemed to have turned a corner last week, going five games over .500 after trudging through the first few months of the 2012 season. But at 40-35, they split with the Mariners and got swept by the Athletics, scoring just 14 runs in 7 games out west. This was a horrible stretch of games, dropping five out of seven to two of the worst hitting teams in the MLB.

After a disastrous road trip, Boston returned home to get slugged around Fenway by the Yankees. The final first half series against the Bronx Bombers highlighted the biggest disappointed for the Red Sox since last year’s September collapse, the starting pitching. Despite all the injuries on the offensive side of the ball and Adrian Gonzalez’s continued power outage, the home town team still stands 2nd in the American League in both hits and runs scored.

Coming into this season the Sox rotation looked pretty formidable, featuring Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, Dubront, and Bard. Daniel Bard then went all Rick Ankiel on everybody and cannot find home plate with a gps anymore. Beckett is a coin toss for every start on whether he goes seven strong innings or is out after four and given up six runs. Buchholz was terrible in his first six starts (despite his record) allowing at least five runs in all six games. Just when Clay started pitching well and getting his act together, he goes down with a somewhat freak injury (esophagitis) and misses the final few weeks of the first half. Dubront has been decent, and would be considered a pleasant surprise to this rotation had the top three played anywhere close to their potential.

But the biggest disappointment in the 2012 season so far has got to be the man at the front of the rotation. People in Boston have been waiting for Jon Lester to finally have that one break out season where he was in the running for his first Cy Young and carried this team on his shoulders. Lester so far this season, is 5-6 with a 4.49 ERA. Since 2008, Lester has not won less than 15 games (including winning 19 in 2010) or lost more than 9. In those four seasons, his highest ERA was 3.47 (2011). Even more telling this season are his strikeout and walk numbers. Since 2010, Lester’s K/9 has dropped from 9.74 to 7.53 and his BB/9 has increased from 2.71 to 3.13. Just using the eye test with the “Ace” of the staff can tell you how much Lester has struggled this year, routinely throws 20+ pitches in the first inning and rarely in the game past the 7th inning (twice all season).

The Sox are currently 4th in the AL East, 9.5 games back from the Yankees. However, with the new second wild card added to baseball this season the Red Sox are still in the running for a playoff spot. They sit only 2.5 games back from the Orioles for the chance to play their way into a Divisional Playoff Series. If the Red Sox are going to contend in the second half, they are going to need the offense to tread water until healthy and for Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz to step up their performance and win games for their team.

But what do you think?

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