White Hat Sports Headlines

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Boston Direction

What makes the Red Sox a unique organization in Major League Baseball? Is it the fact that they are a contending team that has cut payroll and might be better than they were last season. What sets them apart more than anything else though is their willingness to explore different types of players, before you say it, no this isn't the Moneyball argument (though I am going to use the Oakland A's as an example) this is bigger than that. The Red Sox have expanded on the theory of evaluating players differently and because of available money, they have been able to get more creative with the players that they go after.

In an piece by WEEI.com's Alex Speier, he discusses how Japanese pitchers differ mechanically from their American counterparts. I'll take it a step further, which team has the most Japanese pitchers on it's 40-man roster? The Red Sox have 4 on the 40-man and 3 of those are on their 25 man roster (Dice-K, Okajima and Mr. Saito). The Red Sox have gone beyond looking for statistical abnormalities that were described in Moneyball, they have now gone into different form. Where the Oakland A's faltered was that they saw market abnormalities in the MLB Draft and thought that each draft would support the same abnormalities. They haven't. Barry Zito was the greatest example of this, Kirk Saarloos was a guy that they got from Houston and though he would support their theory and give them another way to find this type of player. Saarloos never had an impact, Zito left Oakland and his impact has been so minimal that his contract is widely considered the worst in sports history. It's not Billy Beane or his scouting department's fault that the market or guy's like Zito or even Mark Mulder have dried up, it's that they haven't been able to spend the money to dip into the pool of International talent that the Red Sox have done successfully and the Yankees have unsuccessfully. (I had to take a jab at the Yankees at some point in this column......Kei Igawa!)

Perhaps this is an overstatement but the Red Sox are now dealing with deception, but in a good way and potentially a great way. I watched the Red Sox spring training game with Tampa today and for 8 innings I was excited to see each pitcher the Red Sox threw out there. (I'm sorry Hunter Jones, you did throw a scoreless inning though, that's something.) Masterson for 3 innings, Papelbon for 1, Bard for 1 (WOW), Tazawa for 2 (impressive) and Bowden for 1. How many franchises can do something like that? Right now there is only one team that can entertain for an entire spring training game in the beginning of March?

I'd be deceiving you if I said it wasn't the Boston Red Sox.

Sterling Pingree

1 comment:

MattCharettePhotography said...

Agreed fully, the direction that we are going right now is awesome, holds a lot of potential for the future as well. It seems like everyone who is playing for the Sox simply loves playing for them, and the helps tons. Great club chemistry ontop of it. I'm loving their chances for not only this season but next as well. I think this is the first time in years that I fully applaud the administration, I mean even in 04 I was kind of on the fence with the Nomar deal, you cant tell me you weren't, down 3-0 in the alcs I was sure that it had...

I look forward to seeing what the future for the Sox holds.