Author Archive

Analyzing Joc Pederson’s Free Agency

Joc Pederson is selling pearls, but is anyone buying? After earning his second World Series ring, your favorite bedazzled outfielder is on the market and could be coming to a city near you.

This past year, Pederson slashed .238/.310/.732 OPS between his stints with the Cubs and Braves, finishing the season with 18 home runs, 61 RBIs, two stolen bases, and an OPS+ of 93. If we dive a bit deeper we can see that despite modest traditional numbers, Baseball Savant has him ranked in the 80th percentile for average exit velocity and the 90th percentile for max exit velocity. His ability to hit the ball hard is nearing an elite level, and though a subpar batting average is certainly not helping his case, his skill at driving the ball may entice a team in need of some lefty power.

Although many fans consider Pederson a clutch postseason hitter, primarily because of his self-proclaimed “Joctober,” his stats looked grim as this postseason winded down. Pederson went 5-for-22 with one bomb in the NLCS, which is not especially great for a postseason power hitter of his caliber. He was worse in the World Series, going 1-for-15 with no homers. Despite having won a pair of championships, “Joctober” seems to have been a classic case of small sample size. His recent performance, or lack thereof, will weigh heavy on the mind of executives and undoubtedly bring down his value. Read the rest of this entry »

Previewing the CBA Deadline

MLB’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is set to expire on December 1st. Unfortunately with all of the disagreements over issues including rule changes, profit sharing, and minor league living conditions, it’s possible that we could see a work stoppage similar to the one we saw in 1994.

The MLBPA’s website says the purpose of the CBA “is to set forth their agreement on certain terms and conditions of employment of all Major League Baseball Players for the duration of this Agreement.” This is vital to the league and many other major U.S. sports because it sets fair and ethical rules for players and teams to abide by. However, owners have historically dominated negotiations and kept the lion’s share of profits. In recent years, players have been much more open to speaking out, and there has been significant pushback in the media. If there aren’t substantial changes made by December, it would not be surprising to see another lockout or strike.

If there is no new CBA by December 1st, MLB rules say major league play will stop until it is renewed and there will be no moves allowed by any club. This will play a significant role this offseason regardless of whether the CBA gets renewed or not, as the potential scare of a delayed CBA may force teams to rush moves or wait longer on them. Read the rest of this entry »

Should Boston Prepare To Move Past Christian Vázquez?

As the Red Sox move on to the American League Championship Series, the team may not have the talent to contend with teams like the Astros. Some could say the same thing about the Rays, but the Red Sox were fortunate Tampa Bay’s staff was shot after injuries plagued them throughout the season. The Red Sox have All-Stars talents like Rafael Devers, Xander Bogarts, and J.D. Martinez, but they need better role players who provide depth in October if they are truly going to contend each year. Successful teams don’t often undergo a complete rebuild, instead choosing to go through mini-rebuilds and focus on positions of need. This avoids 70-win seasons, ​​something Boston sports fans have not been accustomed to in the last two decades. It is no mystery that they need pitching help, but a more overlooked position of need is at catcher, which could help improve the staff as well.

Boston’s primary catcher and recent hero, Christian Vázquez, has had many memorable moments, none more important than his walk-off home run on Sunday. Despite this, it may be time for the Red Sox to part ways with their veteran. At age 31, Vázquez has shown signs of aging this season, and the Red Sox know this too. In the Wild Card game against the Yankees, the biggest game of the year, the Red Sox turned to backup Kevin Plawecki to get the job done behind the dish. Similarly on Sunday, Plawecki got the start while Vazquez came in to pinch-hit. The Red Sox need to start planning for their long-term future, which means seriously considering their better and younger options at catcher. Read the rest of this entry »

Solving Adam Ottavino

There are many contributing factors to the lackluster performance of Boston Red Sox reliever Adam Ottavino, who made headlines in 2018 after saying he “would strike Babe Ruth out every time.” Currently, Ottavino has a 3.68 ERA, a FIP of 3.27, and 58.2 innings pitched at time of writing, placing him 119th out of 283 qualifying pitchers. Some big reasons for his mediocre stat line includes his inability to get left-handed batters out, command struggle, and pitch selection.

Red Sox Manager Alex Cora has done well to put Ottavino in situations to succeed, and without Cora at the helm, Ottavino’s stat line would look much worse. The bottom line is that the right-hander has been an abomination against lefties in 2021. In 19.2 innings pitched, he has allowed 10 earned runs, 22 hits, and 10 walks. Ottavino’s comments to the Boston Herald earlier in the season did not age well:

“I have no idea what they’re looking for these days in terms of roles and stuff like that, but I do think it would benefit me to get a full season in facing as many lefties as possible so I can put that kind of narrative to bed.”

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