Post by ericmvan on Sept 2, 2019 12:32:24 GMT -5
(There's already talk about this in random other threads, of course. That's inefficient!)
A discussion of the 2020 roster has to begin with an accurate sense of how good the current roster is.
The quality of a roster is not measured by its win/loss record.
We can explain 87% of a win/loss record by the stats that show up in a slash line. The other 13% is double plays, errors, stolen bases and caught stealing, wild pitches and passed balls, baserunning, and most crucially, the timeliness of everything. That's far and away the biggest factor.
You can call the leftover 13% the Win Efficiency. It's not predictive. (The SB/CS and baserunning components probably are, and ditto for E, GDP, and WP/PB to a small degree. I used to adjust for most of that, but each of them has a large luck or strategic favor and it's simply not worth the effort to factor them out.)
Here's the Sox over the last four seasons (2019 is of course the season pace). The numbers are Slash Line wins and Win Efficiency, with MLB ranks in parentheses.
2016: 100.3 (2), -7.3 (29)
2017: 86.6 (t-9), +6.4 (1)
2018: 99.1 (3), +9.0 (1)
2019: 93.1 (6), -5.6 (26)
(Incidentally, the Sox and Yankees have the two biggest year-to-year variances in WE. The Phillies are 4th and the Dodgers 5th. Passionate fan bases and/or huge payrolls.)
But wait, there's more.
The Sox tried to use the opening weeks of the season as an extended spring training and it was a disaster. They started 6-13 without any WE problem at all (they were actually +0.4).
2019: 99.8 (4), -6.4 (28)
That our slash line since the slow start is actually a bit more more impressive than last year's is surprising at first. Of course the offense is even better, as Devers and Vazquez have been hugely better, Xander also ... the team's offensive wOBA has gone from .340 to .358.
However, more than half of that gain has been the MLB-wide increase in offense. When you adjust for that, it's just .343 to .351, 8 points instead of 18. And that explains why the apparent suckiness of the starting pitching hasn't been as extreme as it seems. The raw wOBA allowed by the pitching (starters and pen) has gone from .305 to .321, but adjusted, it's just .308 to .315, -7 points instead of -16.
So, having established that we still have an elite roster, certainly in the top 5 in MLB, let's start with what might be the biggest question in some people's minds.
Trading Mookie Betts.
It's obviously an insanely terrible idea. A guy is great as Mookie is most valuable to a team that has an excellent shot at winning the WS with him, and an excellent shot of missing the playoffs entirely without him. That describes us. Perfectly. It perhaps describes us better than anyone, given the division we play in. How can you win the trade if he's more valuable to us than the other team? The best NL team that could really use a CF is the Mets, and they're an 86-win slash-line team; they're not an elite team with him.
Furthermore, it's not unclear at all that he wants to leave; his teammates have signed below-market deals to stay. It seems to me that you have a very good chance to re-sign him, but he wants to do so at a bit below market, the standard "home-town discount" (it's a real thing) rather than way below like Xander. If you trade him, you reduce the odds of re-signing him to close to zero, I think.
And in terms of "restocking the farm system," a) you actually won't get that much for him, as evidenced by FanGraphs not ranking him in their top 50 in trade value (in part because he'll make a ton in arbitration), b) our only real need in the short-middle term is starting pitching, the most volatile sort of prospect, and c) even if the pitcher you get pans out, there's no guarantee that we'll be this good when he starts to contribute.
Finally, if you trade Mookie for a pitching prospect the average fan has never heard of (and, I'm sure, another one or two that the average person on this board has never heard of), you will hemorrhage ticket sales. The lost revenue will translate to less ability to spend on players in the future.
Insanely terrible idea. We put it away, we keep it hidden. We never speak of it again! (Frodo to Gandalf about the One Ring.)
Next post: why re-signing Brock Holt is, suprisingly, a no-brainer.