Guys I’m Watching

With the major league club performing like an execrable shitshow, it’s time to turn to the minors.

There is the potential, at least, to turn over a sizeable chunk of the major league roster this off season if the right guys in AAA do well.  We have a DH and third baseman who are aging, a shortstop and catcher who are meh, a platoon in right field, and potential solutions at AAA.

Will Middlebrooks is considered by most to be the Sox best prospect. He’s off to a torrid start at Pawtucket and if he has an excellent year he could step into a big role on the 2013 team. I don’t think most people would consider his bat a difference maker so it’s not like he’s going to take us over the top to a championship but if things work out he should be good enough that we aren’t screaming for a replacement.

Ryan Lavarnway has a chance to be an excellent offensive force but really only if he sticks at catcher. If he’s anything else he likely won’t be enough of a hitter to be anything special.

The talk of Jose Iglesias making the 2012 roster out of spring training was just ludicrous. He’d be an automatic out in the majors at this point considering he was almost an automatic out in AAA. In fourteen games at AAA so far this season he’s got an OPS of .593 which is terribad but if  you knock off the first four games it’s a .729 OPS, and one that is OBP heavy. He’s got 7 walks in those fourteen games compared to 21 in a hundred games last year. If he can keep the OBP up then he can be a tremendous asset.

Ryan Kalish is on the DL and will be for a while so his only job is to get healthy. He’s pretty much at the age and stage of development where if he doesn’t make the big club in 2013 it’s probably not going to happen.

I haven’t said anything remarkable here. I don’t pretend to be an intense follower of the minors and I’m certainly not collecting scouting reports and projecting talent but these are the guys I’m keeping my eye on in the relative short term.

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Rays Recap, Rangers Preview

Despite the loss in Game 4 there is no way to look at this series and not be pleased. The Sox beat the snot out of the Rays twice and split two close games. It doesn’t get much better.

And now we have the Rangers, another potential Wild Card rival. Lester pitches against Colby Lewis and Beckett pitches against Derek Holland. The Sox should be favorites in both games. Win them both and the Sox are at .500 after twelve games. I don’t have to tell you that’s four games ahead of 2011.

It’s Time For an Automated Strike Zone

While this post is prompted by Cody Ross’ five ball strikeout, it’s an opinion I have held for some time.

I don’t want a human element from my umpires. I want the human element from the players and, to a lesser extent, the manager.

An automated strike zone wouldn’t be perfect, we shouldn’t kid ourselves about that but it would be consistent and consistency is more important than accuracy.

The state of the umpires really frustrates me sometimes. They should be graded and held accountable and if they are, it’s not apparent. We have bad umpires doing important games and that’s just not the way it should be.

Detroit Recap/Jays Preview

I am tempted to go blathering on extensively about the Tigers series but really it’s all completely irrelevant.

If Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz don’t pitch better, the suck of the bullpen will be a footnote.

One thing sticks out to me, though. On Opening Day when going to the ninth in  a tie game, Valentine went with Melancon rather than Aceves. The only advantage Aceves has over other pitchers is his ability to pitch multiple innings. It seems to me then that a tie game in the late innings is the perfect time to bring him in. He can pitch the 9th and the tenth and maybe the 11th if necessary.

I missed the last half of the third game because I came back from being away for the weekend and accidentally saw the result online as I was halfway through. I decided the better part of valor was to skip that game.

As for Toronto, I find myself excited by the starts from Doubront and Bard.  If we get what we expect from Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz, the lineup should score a ton of runs and that leaves the bullpen and the back of the rotation to determine whether this team wins anything.

I Hate Losing on Opening Day

The Sox lost to Justin Verlander and the Tigers 3-2. It’s not generally that big a deal, Verlander is probably the best pitcher in the game right now so losing to him isn’t all that unlikely or unpalatable.

But it’s Opening Day so it sucks. There’s no game tomorrow which means we haven’t won a game since oh, I dunno, fucking forever.

I hate losing on Opening Day.

Sox set roster; 9 on DL ($59.27m) – Boston Red Sox Blog – ESPN Boston

Sox set roster; 9 on DL ($59.27m) – Boston Red Sox Blog – ESPN Boston.

It’s almost comedic. The Red Sox are starting the season with more dollars in talent on the DL than the Rays had on the roster that went to the post season last year.

That, ultimately, is the difference between the haves and have nots. The haves can waste a bunch of money on bad decisions while the have nots can’t.

As for the roster itself, I mostly have three comments.

Aceves as closer is a mistake. You get the most out of him when you use him multiple innings and multiple days. With Bard and Doubront both likely to be making a lot of starts of less than six innings, Aceves is the perfect bridge from them to the 8th.

Justin Thomas is on the roster to get lefties out. I’m not convinced he can do it any better than Junichi Tazawa who can, of course, also get righties out with some degree of competence.

And finally, Michael Bowden. Really? I would love to be surprised but I don’t see how Michael Bowden belongs on a major league roster.

I’d dump Bowden and Thomas for Tazawa and Ciriaco.