Earlier this week I declared that Big Papi was the greatest DH of all time. I wasn’t exactly going out on a limb with that statement, but it got me curious. Just how good has he been? Ortiz is a DH, so his overall value as a player is diminished by the fact that he does not contribute in the field. However, at the plate over the last 10 seasons David Ortiz has been one of the best hitter in the game.
From 2003-2012 David Ortiz has hit 338 home runs, only Pujols (384), A-Rod (343), and Adam Dunn (343) have hit more. One of the prerequisites of being a good DH is hitting for power and Ortiz has done it better than all but 3 players in Major League Baseball for 10 seasons. Another must for a DH is getting on base and Ortiz has done that very well too. Since 2003 Ortiz has walked 806 times, good for 6th in baseball.
Now let’s take a look at his overall production has a hitter. OPS is a good and easy to understand metric for estimating a players’ production at the plate. Since 2003 David Ortiz has logged a .959 OPS, good for 5th in baseball. The names in front of him are impressive: Bonds, Pujols, Manny, and Joey Votto.
David Ortiz is greatest DH of all time and is one of the best players of his era. If I had a Hall of Fame vote I would put him in Cooperstown (along with another great DH, Edgar Martinez). The odds are against him and I don’t think he will get into the Hall, but that does not take away from the fact that we have had the pleasure of watching one of baseball’s all-time greats.
What is wrong with Adrian Gonzalez? As of today Adrian’s OPS checks in at .707, a whopping .170 below his .877 career average. In fact, he had not posted an OPS below .900 since 2008. His season is looking more and more Carl Crawford like every day (Crawford posted a .694 OPS last season).
Let’s look a little deeper at his season so far. His BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) is .299, below his .320 career average and not even close to his .380 last season. So he’s been the victim of some bad luck on balls he’s hit in play. He’s also not walking or hitting home runs. He’s posted a 7.3% walk rate (11% career) and is only hitting home runs on 6.2% of his fly balls (16.3% career). Interestingly though, he’s leading the league in doubles with. Without those double his season would be even worse.
So what should we expect going forward? Adrian is a great hitter, he should improve based on how he has hit for the majority of his career. He’s also been better in the second halves of seasons: .857 OPS in the first half vs. .903 in the second. The Red Sox have still managed to score the second most runs per game in the AL (5.19) without Adrian hitting. So his likely turnaround combined with the returns of Crawford and Ellsbury should bode very well for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox are still in the basement of the AL East but there are 5 reasons to be excited about this team as we enter the summer.
5) Bad Luck: The Red Sox have been the victims of some bad luck this season. Their record currently stands at 35-33 but based on their runs scored and runs given up they should be 38-30. So if they hit and pitch the same as the season goes on their record should better reflect their performance.
4) The Bullpen: The Red Sox bullpen was a disaster in April posting a 6.10 ERA. However, since then they have been great, posting a 2.37 ERA in May and a 1.59 in June. Alfredo Aceves has been particularly good. Since his implosion against the Yankees in mid-April he is 15 of 16 in save chances with a 2.84 ERA and is averaging more than a strikeout per inning.
3) Returns: The Red Sox are awaiting three returns: Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, and Jon Lester. Ellsbury and Crawford are returning from injuries and should be back mid-summer. We are waiting for the REAL Jon Lester to return. From 2008-2011 Lester posted a 3.33 ERA with 8.7 K/9. This season he has a 4.53 ERA with only 7.2 K/9. History tells us he is much better than he has been so far this season.
2) Young Players: Will Middlebrooks and Ryan Kalish are already here and we could eventually see Ryan Lavarnway. It’s always fun watching young players come into their own.
1) David Ortiz: Not only is Ortiz 3rd in the AL in OPS, he is 4 home runs away from 400. Only 48 players in history have more than 400 home runs. He has been on a mission this season and is making everyone (including myself) who thought he was washed up look foolish. He is already the greatest DH of all time and he’s now making his case for Cooperstown.
Red Sox first draft pick Deven Marrero
Unlike the NFL, and to some degree the NBA, the MLB First Year Player Draft does not come with much fanfare or hordes of writers breaking down every potential draft pick. This is mainly because many players drafted in the MLB Draft are still in high school. There are a lot of college kids drafted as well, but outside of scouts not many people have ever heard of any of these players. There are the rare times where you know of a Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper, but those players are few and far between.
When all was said and done Wednesday night, the Boston Red Sox had selected 42 players in the 2012 MLB Draft. There first round selection (24th overall) was Deven Marrero, a shortstop out of Arizona State. The reports on Marrero indicate that he is similar to Jose Iglesias. Marrero is solid in the field, but has room to improve at the plate.
I’m not going to analyze every pick because it would take forever, and I would just be copying and pasting from MLB.com or other scouting websites. So instead I just put together a quick break down of the players the Red Sox drafted this year.
Total Players Drafted: 42
RHP: 20 LHP: 3
1B: 2 2B: 2 SS: 4
3B: 1 C: 3 OF: 7
High School: 15
*Bucky has informed me that international players are not draft eligible. I was not sure if there was some sort of timing or age thing that put some international players into the draft pool. I guess that there is not.
To get a look at the entire MLB Draft board, or just to get a better look at the Sox picks, visit the MLB Draft Tracker
According to Peter Abraham (@PeteAbe) at the Boston Globe, Daniel Bard has been sent down to AAA Pawtucket. His transition to the starting rotation has not gone well and this move reflects that. Details are coming soon, but we don’t know the Red Sox reason for the demotion. As I see it, there are two possibilities: 1) They want him to work out his problems in the minors and hopefully come back to the rotation later in the season. 2) They want him to transition back into the bullpen. We should know shortly.
Magglio Ordonez announced his retirement today after a solid 15-year career with the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers. However, his career almost took a much different path.
After the 2003 season the Boston Red Sox made it their mission to trade for Alex Rodriguez. A deal was struck between the Sox and the Texas Rangers and it looked like the reigning MVP was coming to Fenway. With A-Rod in and Manny Ramirez being sent to Texas, the Red Sox had a hole to fill in the outfield and a surplus of All-Star shortstops. To fix this problem they called up the Chicago White Sox and started trade talks involving Nomar Garciaparra and Magglio Ordonez. The deal may also have included other players: Johnny Damon, Paul Konerko, and Billy Koch were names being thrown around.
In the end, the MLBPA voided the A-Rod to Boston trade over salary reduction and he was eventually traded to the New York Yankees. The trade talks with Chicago also dissipated and Nomar, Manny, and Damon remained in Boston for the 2004 season. We all know how that season ended up, but I’ve always wondered if a Sox lineup with A-Rod, Magglio, and Konerko could have still reversed the curse.