Keith Woolner recently broke down what the Red Sox have that can get the team to the World Series in 2007. He talks about the top notch rotation and then the bullpen problems as well as the team’s top notch offense. Great read.
Beyond the Boxscore recently took a look at Red Sox infield prospect Jed Lowrie. Lowrie made the jump to Wilmington and his power vanished to where he only hit 3 homeruns in 374 at bats. He does have a good eye though (88 walks vs. 95 strikeouts in two minor league seasons). Lowrie is a couple of years away and as he moves up to Double A this year, we’ll really get to see whether he can hit for power or not at the professional level.
Beyond the Boxscore recently took a sabermetric look at the Boston Red Sox. There’s no doubt that the Red Sox made some big moves in the offseason and like most of the past five years (2006 excluded), the Red Sox should be right there with the Yankees up until the end. If they have one question mark, it’s then pen. The Red Sox still don’t have a closer, but they have some solid arms in the pen, which is good enough for me.
It looks like the Red Sox aren’t go to pay up to extend Curt Schilling’s contract so once the 2007 is done, Schilling will file for free agency. It looks like Schilling’s demand for an extension came as a surprise and I think the Red Sox are being prudent by not offering up another year. Schilling was good last year but he’s also 40 and he’s had his share of injuries.
While Curt Schilling is more then able to motivate himself, the Red Sox might be able to cash in on Schilling’s walk year. He’ll know he’s playing for a new contract so a solid 2007 will go along way toward Schilling cashing in as much as he possibly can.
The Red Sox avoided going to the arbitration table again when they finished up a one year deal with Wily Mo Pena. The slugging outfielder has been an enigma of late. He broke out for the Reds in 2004 when he hit 26 homeruns in only 110 games. Then injuries kept him down in 2005 and he was dealt to the Red Sox for Bronson Arroyo and once again, he played dinged up quite a bit but still hit .301 with 11 homeruns in 276 at bats.
If, and this is a big if, they can find 450-500 at bats AND Mo Pena avoids the injury bug, we could see a 30 homerun season out of him with a pretty good batting average. For now, Pena will be the fourth outfielder but since he can play all four spots, he should get his share of at bat.
PECOTA has Pena pegged at a .276/.336/.504 clip with 20 homeruns in 417 plate appearances. If he could get that, I’d be pretty happy for what we’re paying him this year.
This is a very interesting story on Devern Hansack, who was the Red Sox Double A pitcher of the year and who could compete for the closer job in 2007.
Tim Kurkjian recently wrote about the best rotations in baseball and while the Red Sox definitely have some question marks, you can’t dispute there’s potential there. In the end, the Red Sox are the spotlight of the column as the best rotation heading into 2007.
Unfortunately, the Yankees are right there as well. The tipping point will most likely be who nabs Roger Clemens. Talk about a guy holding all of the cards.
Ian Browne, the Red Sox beat writer for MLB.com, recently answered nine key questions that the Red Sox have heading into spring training. You’ve got how J.D. Drew will fit in to who the closer will be to what the Red Sox have in mind for 2005 top draft pick Craig Hansen. There’s a lot of good stuff in here.
Terry Francona addressed the media the other day, and while he said he’d love to have Jon Papelbon as his closer, he’s going to put the ROY of the year runner up in the rotation in 2007. He’s doing it not because he thinks it’s best, but because the doctors think having a regular pitching schedule would be better for his injured shoulder.
I’m actually happy about the decision. 75 innings of Papelbon isn’t nearly as good as 180-200 innings. I know the Red Sox still need a closer but I’d like to see Mike Timlin start there with a transition to Craig Hansen.
Also, Clay Buchholz was interviewed by David Laurila at Baseball Prospectus. He talks about everything from his pitches to his confidence on the mound. Good stuff here.
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