Monday, March 27, 2017

'Cluster Luck' Stat Shows Sox Should Be Better In 2017

It seems that the Baseball Geeks come up with a new stat every year. Sometimes, they're actually helpful in understanding a season. One such stat is 'Cluster Luck' (folks, you just can't make this stuff up). Basically "CL" determines how susceptible a team is to both offensive and defensive clusters of hits. The total combined score can give you a pretty good assessment of how well they did. Unless you are the 2016 Red Sox. Despite winning the AL East, Boston had the 28th ranked CL (out of 30). In fact, you really have to question the stat when you see that the Angels and Padres topped the list for 2016 (religious overtones, anyone?). But, we have to remember that 'CL' is less a reflection of talent than it is just dumb luck—since hit "clustering" is pretty much out of a team's control. Anyway, the bottom line is that with some improved 'Cluster Luck' in 2017, the Red Sox should be even better than the 93 wins they got last year. And that's after losing David Ortiz and "the best final season ever". We shall see.

Two Former Red Sox Backstops Released By Phillies

Hanigan at Andover H.S.
Both Bryan Holaday and Andover High School's Ryan Hanigan were released today by the Phillies. The two backstops were both on the 2016 Red Sox roster at one time or another. This may be the end of Hanigan's ten-year MLB career—which started with the Reds and also included stints with the Rays and, of course, his hometown Carmine Hose. Hopefully, Hanigan can catch on with another club, but if he doesn't, he can be proud a pretty darn good MLB career. In his ten seasons, Hanigan has logged a .250 average, with 28 HRs and 202 RBIs and a .345 OBP. In his two years with the Red Sox he hit just .219, but was a stalwart defensive force behind the plate. Over his career, Hanigan threw out a more than respectable 37% of baserunners. If this is the end of his time in The Show, we wish Ryan the best in whatever path he pursues!

Set-Up Guy Thornburg Goes Down With Muscle Issue

Haven't had enough bad news on Red Sox pitchers? How about their newly-acquired set-up guy going down with a trapezius muscle spasm? Tyler Thornburg—who hasn't pitched since March 1st because of another medical issue—missed today's scheduled action because of the new injury. Given the point we are at in Spring Training, it's likely Thornburg will land on the disabled list to start the season.

Sox Job Opening: Wally The Green 'Back-Up' Monster

The Red Sox are looking for a few good monsters—or at least one more. Apparently, the rigors of being Wally The Green Monster are too much for just one person. So, the Red Sox are looking for a 'back-up' to fill in for Wally when he just can't perform his mascot duties. Hey, they get sick, too. We can just hear the conversation now: "Wally, you look a little extra green this morning—better take the rest of the day off." In any event, if you are under 5'8", have a driver's license and can wave a wicked big flag, you might be in luck. Well, you also need actual experience as a mascot—so that leaves all of us out. Also, you have to "perform under extreme temperature conditions" and "maintain and react to a flexible schedule." Fuggetaboutit! If you are interested, though, apply HERE.

Washington Post: World Series Or Bust For '17 Red Sox

The Washington Post's Dave Sheinin predicts that the Red Sox will again top the AL East in 2017—finishing ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays. As far as expectations go, Sheinin pulls no punches: "The season is a success if: they go all the way. Nothing else will suffice in Boston this year, after GM Dave Dombrowski pulled off the blockbuster trade of the winter, prying [Chris] Sale away from the Chicago White Sox for the hefty price of four top prospects." Needless to say, our expectations are just as high.

Last Chance To Vote On Dalton Jones Pre-Season Ballot

With just seven days left before the Red Sox take on the Pirates on Opening Day at Fenway, this is your final opportunity to vote in the Dalton Jones Industrial Average Pre-Season balloting. The DJIA (honoring the Red Sox all-time pinch-hit leader) gathers four key metrics from FN readers scattered around the world. Each month, readers assess the fortunes of the team on: starting pitchingrelief pitchingoverall offense and overall defenseFenwayNation will publish the DJIA Index Score at the start of the season and at the beginning of each month during the season. Starting today, you can cast your pre-season vote HERE.

Travis, Marrero, Swihart Cut From Red Sox Roster

The Red Sox cut their roster to 38 players today by sending C Blake Swihart and SS Devin Marrero to AAA Pawtucket and reassigning 1B/DH Sam Travis to minor league camp. Travis, who was having his second straight hot Spring, is tabbed as the #4 prospect in the organization. Both Swihart and Marrero have minor league options left—but Swihart has the best chance of cracking the major league roster if injury or poor performance arises with either Sandy Leon or Christian Vazquez. Among the 38 remaining players on the roster, six are non-roster invitees.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

David Price Is Likely Out Until Some Time In May

In typical Red Sox medical team fashion, David Price's elbow was assessed as showing "improved strength" in his latest test—meaning he'll be out until sometime in May. Translated from the 'Yawkeyese': you might see him before the All-Star Break. Price will continue with "light catch" (whatever the hell that is), and we're sure that—in a few weeks—we'll hear that a lack of improvement will push the lefty's debut into August. Get prepared for a "Price-less" 2017.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Big Papi's Post-Retirement Role With Sox Still Unclear

With Opening Day just ten days away, the role of David Ortiz on the 2017 Red Sox remains undefined. While multiple sources have suggested things like broadcasting, roving instruction or marketing—nothing has been solidified. Apparently, the main reason is that Ortiz is so busy with a multitude of non-baseball activities. Team President Sam Kennedy recently stated, "We will continue to chat and put something together when the time is right for him". It seems clear that Big Papi will not be a ubiquitous presence around the clubhouse—at least not at the start of the season. Stay tuned.

POLL: Panda Inches Ahead As 'Most Pleasant Surprise'

In a see-saw battle, Pablo Sandoval has nudged ahead of Kyle Kendrick as the most pleasant surprise of the Red Sox spring. As the chart shows, The Panda now draws the support of 34% of readers—marginally ahead of Kendrick at 33%. Far behind the two leaders are Marco Hernandez at 11%, Sam Travis at 10%, Mitch Moreland at 7%, Blake Swihart at 3% and Brandon Workman at 1%. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Twinkies, Moncada And The Ultimate Question Of Life

In Douglas Adams' brilliant Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to the 'Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything' is the number 42. For former Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada that number has clearly more than doubled to 85. That's how many Twinkies Moncada once ate in a single week—clearly dealing with one of the ultimate questions of life. Of course, he also bought a $500,000 Lamborghini with part of the $31.5 million the Red Sox handed to him. Despite that windfall, Moncada could not be bothered taking mandatory English lessons. Between this kind of attitude and his predilection for Twinkies, he may or may not fulfill his awesome potential. While Moncada will start the 2017 season in AAA, look for him to be a fixture at second base for the White Sox from about this coming June until roughly 2030.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

POLL: Kendrick Catches Sandoval As Pleasant Surprise

Updated voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that Kyle Kendrick has caught The Panda as the 'most pleasant surprise' in Sox camp. As the chart shows, each player now pulls 32% of the vote, followed by 11% each for Marco Hernandez and Sam Travis. Next up are Mitch Moreland at 9% and Blake Swihart at 4%. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

POLL: Four In Ten See Panda As Most Pleasant Surprise

Early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that four in ten readers (40%) select Pablo Sandoval as "the most pleasant surprise" of Red Sox Spring Training this year. As the chart shows, P Kyle Kendrick gets the next highest share of the vote (23%), followed by IF Marco Hernandez (20%), 1B/DH Sam Travis (7%) and C Blake Swihart (3%). No votes have yet been recorded for pitchers Matt Barnes or Brandon Workman. You can still vote in the poll HERE.