Skip to main content

Soft Toss

The Sox just traded for Paul Byrd from the Indians. The soft-tossing veteran righty never walks anyone, is only slightly less hitable them me, and does a stricking tribute to the likes of Grover Cleveland Alexander every time he winds up. Byrd might very well be the non-knuckleballer with the slowest fastball in the game today. But he's effective and I like this trade.

Byrd hardly walks anyone (only 24 so far this year) but does get hit hard, at .282 this year, with a .466 slugging and OBP of .316. That results in a respectable but not great 1.30 WHIP, about the same as Jon Lester's. Byrd will be a welcome edition to the back-end of the rotation. With Wake's health in question and Buchholz royally struggling, we need another arm who can give us a shot to win most games he starts. Byrd will do that.

As an aside, I get a kick out of how much different Byrd is than our beloved Dice-K. Byrd averages about 82 pitches in 6 innings every time he starts. Dice-K throws 99 pitches in just under 6 innings per start. The difference really matters when they're pitching well: Byrd can generally keep pitching as long as he's getting outs, while Matsuzaka often gets pulled after the 5th or 6th inning when he's throwing well because he's around the century mark in pitches. By my calculations, the Dice Man has been pulled out of one quarter of his 20 starts before or during the 6th inning when he was pitching well (by my judgment) simply because he'd thrown 96 pitches in 5 innings, 117 in 5, 101 in 5.1, 109 in 5, and 118 in 5.2 (log here). Meanwhile, Byrd has surpassed 100 pitches only once this year (going 7.2 innings), and threw only 94 pitches in his complete game last time out. Both players are making around $8 million this year. That said , I would take Dice-K over Byrd anytime, but it's worth thinking about. Maybe Byrd can teach Dice-K something about efficiency (this makes me wonder if Blowhard Schilling might actually be missed this year as an efficiency-in-pitching tutor, hmm).

Now, what's it going to be like watching Wake and Byrd (and maybe Zink) in the rotation together? Maybe 'Tek and Cash could use mittens to catch Byrd, mostly because that would be hysterical.


Smitch said…
I like the Byrd trade, too -- it's an extra decent starter to make up for the loss of Wake and the awfulness of Clay. In addition to Beckett, Dice-K, and Lester, that gives us four solid-to-great starters that we can rely on for quality starts for the stretch run. Byrd isn't awesome -- he's a little bit better than average, can pitch deep into games, and doesn't walk anybody. I'd point out that a .282 BAA isn't so bad when you're not walking people, and that a .316 OBP is still better than league avg (~.330).

As far as the Byrd/Dice-K comparison, I would assert that they're just fundamentally different pitchers. Dice-K is much more of a strikeout pitcher, which means he's gonna throw more pitches per at bat and walk more guys (as a result of nibbling). Last year, Dice-K had 201 Ks to Byrd's 88 in comparable innings. Byrd pitches to contact much more, which means fewer BBs, fewer pitchers per at-bat and per inning, and higher BAA.

While this probably comes as no surprise to you, I guess what I'm saying is that, while it's frustrating that Dice-K's not pitching deeper into games, his being effective depends on throwing more pitches.

What's really interesting is that Dice-K's BAA is 75 points lower than Byrd's, but his OBP against is higher... That's a shit ton of walks. But what the hell, here's to hoping he keeps pitching out of jams.

Popular posts from this blog

Hanley Exits Stage Right

Hanley Ramirez has been released by the Red Sox.  With Pedey coming back, this had occurred to me as an option but a very unlikely one.  It seemed like having three catchers was a luxury they couldn't afford, or they'd send Brock Holt down temporarily or put Nunez on the DL just because he really is always injured so why not.

In the end though, they realized keeping Hanley didn't make sense.  If he came out of his slump, you're likely going to get stuck with him for next year or have a conflict with him and the fans when you bench a productive player.  But it was more likely he'd have good moments but never be all that good.  He's been terrible for about 3 weeks now.  Cutting bait with Hanley means you have more money for next year (Kimbrel & Mookie perhaps), you don't have the headache of however he's going to act if/when you bench him, and you keep other options on your roster.  As for the money, you're already spending it either way so don…

JD Martinez and Red Sox Depth

The Sox have signed JD Martinez; so, that's good.  His track record, personal reports on work ethic and attitude (aka lessons learns from Panda mania), and the fact that he's seen most of his success in the American League point to this being as sure a success as you can have in free agency.  He is getting a hefty pay check while the Sox aren't locked down for 6, 7 or Hosmer years.

Taking as a given that Martinez will be an outstanding hitter in the middle of the lineup, this signing - along with the signing of Eduardo Nunez earlier in the weekend - gives this Red Sox offense the most depth they have had since the 2013 champions.  That team taught us that it makes good baseball sense to go a few players deep at each position if you can, and to not obsess with how you'll find at bats for everyone.  Here we go again with that approach.

The 2018 Red Sox are remarkably deep and flexible.  When someone gets hurt, the likelihood is that that player will be replaced in the l…

Opening Day & Possible Unlikely 2018 Contributors & Breakthroughs

It's opening day and the Sox are playing the Rays.  While the beauty of baseball is that any team can beat any other team on any given day, the Sox should - and need to - dominate the Rays this season.  The Rays are going to try a 4 man rotation (a very good idea btw with the way the game is trending) - but then they lost one of those four.  Rumor is that they are close to signing Charlie Hough.  Their best player is Kevin Kiermaier whose very solid, but essentially their best player is Jackie Bradley, Jr.  Even if Wilson Ramos returns to All Star form and C.J. Cron finally becomes decent, this will be a pretty bad team.  They'll get a jolt when star SS prospect Willy Adames arrives but otherwise the Sox need to feast on the Rays this year if they hope to win the division.

The Sox opening day lineup meanwhile has a couple of sorta-surprises from where we started spring.  Hanley is starting at 1B over Mitch Moreland despite a righty starter, and Christian Vazquez is catching Chr…