Re: A Realistic View at 2014: Part I
posted at 12/21/2013 1:42 PM EST
In response to RedsoxProspects' comment:
Amp and Moon, as I think you remember I advocated a deal like a Michael Morse platoon at 1st with Carp to go cheap at 1st and take the Napoli pick or trading someone like Nava for a Butler at 1st for an upgrade there in place of the Napoli option so we could save that pick. Compensation round picks are worth at least $7-8 mil in value. To me, it is a factor in who to sign and who not to sign, and by the way I think Kuroda is worth a pick even at 1-2 years since he would have projected to be our top 1-2 pitcher and we just came off a world series year so that is important plus it would devastate our biggest rival in the division so that is my reasoning there. Those picks are extremely important as I think I have shown at some length now with the revenue projection incentives I've noted regarding NESN and the lack of revenue sharing options for us by 2016 and lack of quality FA outfield options coming up.
Since we have Napoli now there would be no point in adding Butler now. If we are concerned about defense, and we should be of course, then trading Nava for Butler would save 11-12 runs according to their UZR numbers. Just saying. Butler's defense is clearly not a deal killer.
And if we did sign Beltran or Choo for LF ( in place of the Napoli sign ) we woul have upgraded the team offensively but with a little defense lost. I think both would have been a significant upgrade offensively though and in Choo's instance it gives us a stud OF player for a long time when there are very few such options out there.
Moon, I haven't looked up the data you are citing because I trust your numbers are accurate but if the diference between 29th and 15th is about 5 runs I'm not that worried about it. Butler is less than average defensively. Maybe even significantly less than average ( I'll grant that ) but it is still at about a 5 runs per lost per year pace. I've seen quite a few people say he's a DH only at this point in his career. I don't think the numbers bear that out. I think he's a heck of a lot better at 1st than Prince Fielder probably, or Jason Giambi ever was, or a whole lot of pretty bad 1st basemen I've seen over the years.
I get the point that even if Butler is almost the worst fielding 1Bman the last 6 years, the disparity between him and the median is not as great as other positions. If the number 15 defensive 1Bman is +1.3 and Butler is -7.0, then I see him as -8.3 from the middle guy. And by the way, Fielder's UZR/150 since 2008 is -4.3, so if you think Fielder is bad...
FYI: Napoli is +4.9 UZR/150, but could be much higher if last season represented a growth rather than an usupportable spike. That could be at least a 12 run differential over Butler. Very significant.
Boom, I get your point about saving the pick. I started a thread a while back about how we could keep all our picks and get the best non QO guys out there at key positions. I'm not against your idea in theory. I'd have been fine with Hart at 1B, and upgrades at other positions.
I have a gut feeling Napoli will not have a big year in 2014.
His BAPIP was 57 points above his career average last year, when he hit .259. Take 57 points off that what do you get? A .202 BA. I'm not projecting him to be that bad but the numbers do not indicate a renaisance any time soon. Or ever.
I know the numbers do not support that statement, that's why I said it was a "gut feeling". The only "data" I could cite is not scientific: Napoli is an up and down hitter: both within a season and from season to season. Every 3 years he has a huge up spike season from an otherwise consistent
On BAbip, while much of BAbip involves luck, I like to look deeper into the reasons for spikes and dips. I heard the same thing about Salty's 2013 "spike", but found that his higher BA was based on getting about 22 more hits. I also noticed he hit about 21 more line drives in 2013 than 2012. I'm sure luck was involved to some extent, but I think hitting more line drives is not luck and surely had something to do with his spike.
Napoli had a huge spike in LD% in 2013. His career average is 19.4%, but in 2013 he had a 24.4% LD rate. He'd never had a season above 19.7%. Is this sustainable? I am not sure. Maybe seeing the ball better in Fenway helped. Maybe the line-up around him helped.
As compared to 2012: (pro-rating 2012 to 498 ABs)
2012: Hits 114 line drives 62 BAbip .273
2013: Hits 129 line drives 76 BAbip .367
Again, if every extra LD hit was a hit, that is almost the exact difference between the BAbips. I know this is not a scientific study of the differentials, but I'm pretty sure Napoli's hitting the ball harder had something to do with the spike.
Moon, you and I are both numbers guys. We both love Napoli's defense. We both like the person also I'm sure. I think most people like the Napoli sign but all of us liked the Crawford sign also, even though we didn't like or even believe the cost. Look at what the Napoli deal cost us. Now we are real close to the luxury tax limit and we have not really improved as a team and we even lost a pick anyway in the process. I think a case could be made that Carp should be playing 1st primarily, rather than Napoli if it would have saved us a pick and $13 mil. We could have lived with Carp and used the money elsewhere.
I do not disagree, but I do think we needed a big bat behind Papi. I get the Butler strategy, since we keep the draft choice worth maybe $5-7M or more, but I would have not preferred a DH type with limited fielding skills at 1B- the one position that is easy to fill from year to year. I'f rather have kept Nava and signed Hart, Morse or Loney.
Why in the heck am I so concerned about this today? It is because we just came off a WS win and now is the time to put the pedal to the metal and win, baby win. In my opinion we could have done a better job of optimizing this team for another playoff win.
I had wished we picked up a big bat too, and losing Ellsbury is going to hurt, but I still have faith in this team going forward. We kept the prospects and have a lot of upsdie potential at several positions next year. yes, there are lots of "ifs", but there would have been a lot with Butler too.