I received my copy of Baseball Pospectus 2013 last Thursday and have been busy digging through the Red Sox stats trying to prove my theory that Jose Iglesias would be a better choice than Stephen Drew at short. I didn’t find the answer I was looking for but I did find a wealth of good information about the Sox and every other team in MLB. I have never considered myself a stat geek but BP makes everything so approachable and really makes you look a baseball in a different light.
I spoke with Cecilia Tan, the co-editor of Baseball Prosectus, earlier in the week to get her take on the new issue and also to talk about the outlook for the 2013 Red Sox. The first thing I wanted to know was how things have changed with BP since Moneyball brought them into the mainstream. Cecilia told me there was a great deal of talent stolen away from BP to MLB teams in search of a sabermetrician. The thefts were not all bad thought because BP now has much more access to player development offices around the majors.
The explosion of amateur sabermetricians with computers and blogs has given BP many competitors but it has also forced them to innovate. Russell Carleton addresses this issue with an essay at the back of this year’s Baseball Prospectus entitled; Sabermetrician Wanted, Must Have MFA. In his essay he argues that BP authors must be willing to be creative with their analysis; they need to play with the data and become an artist. They must be willing to fail and not writing just to generate page views.
Cecilia Tan’s take on the 2013 Red Sox was that this would indeed be a bridge year and the sellout streak at Fenway would end with the second home game for the Sox. She also said that the trade would end up being a good thing for Boston because you cannot ignore the impact of the fans in Boston. Some players can handle it, some can’t as we saw with Carl Crawford and his recent comments blaming the Boston media for his troubles with the Red Sox. Perhaps Cecilia’s best quote from the conversation was, “New Englanders are reserved about everything until it is about baseball.”
When it came to the AL East she said that all of the numbers point to Baltimore’s success last season as a fluke that will not be repeated but they are a young team with and are a year more experienced. She picked the Red Sox to be in the middle of the pack and will need to make a choice before the final two months of the season if they are going to be buyers or sellers. Her good news for Sox fans is the team will not be Houston Astros bad in 2013 and there is a ton of talent coming up from the minors in the future.