Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston has a good column up about what the Red Sox should do this winter and into next season. I take issue with the headline — “Sounds crazy, but the Red Sox can be saved” — because, dude, they still won 90 frickin’ games and are insanely talented. It’s not like they require super human efforts here. It’d be way crazier to suggest that some beer, fried chicken and a late-season skid suddenly turned these guys into the Chicago Cubs.
But there are a lot of intriguing ideas in the mix. One of them: make Daniel Bard a starter. Which, sure, is something he did when he first came into the Sox organization. Except he was horrendous in that role, walking guys like he was paid to do it and striking guys out at a rate less than half of what he’d go on to do as a reliever. I suppose stranger things have happened, but I could never see the Sox making Bard a starter now.
But yeah, some of the other stuff — such as giving Carl Crawford a set place in the lineup and leaving him alone — is good. Most important of all, however, is resisting the urge to panic and make dumb decisions based on a couple of unfortunate weeks.
We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.
StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.
Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.
That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.
All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.
Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.