Tuesday, March 18, 2014

'Ballpark-Fit' And Character Were Keys To 2013

The absolutely indispensable website, FanGraphs, offers up a fascinating analysis of just why the Red Sox are 2013 World Series Champions. Don't worry, you don't need a pocket protector to visit FanGraphs—their articles can be comprehended by non-geeks as well. Today, Tony Blengino deftly shows how Ben Cherington and company elegantly tailored the 2013 roster to fit the ballpark. Knowing the quirkiness of Fenway—which exaggerates run-scoring on fly balls second only to Coors Field—Boston got guys who disproportionately hit fly balls. Several of the new guys—Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes, Mike Carp, Stephen Drew—combined with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Daniel Nava, Will Middlebrooks, and David Ortiz to produce well above average fly-ball frequencies. Then there's what Belngino calls The Pedroia Factor—the 'team-first' ethos that attracted similar players to Boston (and later resulted in Ryan Dempster leaving his $13.25 million on the table when he retired). All of these factors helped The Carmine Hose to glory in 2013—and has set them up well for a long run of success in the future.