Saturday, February 06, 2010

2010 Red Sox Projections - SS

This is post six in a series of posts previewing the 2010 Red Sox.

2009 vs. 2010 Red Sox - SS:
2009 - Nick Green, Alex Gonzalez, Julio Lugo, Jed Lowrie
2010 - Marco Scutaro

The Red Sox went into spring training in 2009 with Jed Lowrie and Julio Lugo competing for the SS position. When Lugo went down with a knee injury, Lowrie won the position by default, though both performed well in the early spring action. But shortly after the season started, Lowrie's wrist started acting up again, and they were forced to fall back on journeyman backup infielder Nick Green, a non-roster invitee to spring training who made the team by virtue of Lugo's injury. They got far more than they had any right to expect from Green, but there's a reason that he's never had a starting job in the majors. In order to "shore up" the position, they re-acquired Alex Gonzalez in August, and he was surprisingly mediocre (as opposed to expectedly awful) during that last stretch.

The bottom line on 2009, though, was that SS was a hole without a plug, a wound that just wouldn't heal. Green was better than average defensively, Gonzalez was worse than average, Lugo was bad. (By Baseball Prospectus' Fielding Runs, Green was 5 runs better than average, Gonzalez 3 runs worse than average and Lugo 6 runs worse. UZR has Green a little worse, Lugo a little worse, and Gonzalez a lot better.) And none of them hit. It was a problem spot.

Enter Marco Scutaro. In Boston's first free agent signing of the winter, they added the former Toronto SS, coming off his best season, and a season that is, unfortunately, likely to remain his best season. But even if he regresses, he still looks to be a significant offensive upgrade over what they put on the field at that spot last year. I'm giving Scutaro 85% of the SS at-bats, with Jed Lowrie and Bill Hall splitting the other 15%.

Red Sox 2009 vs. 2010 - SS
Marco Scutaro (marcel)47472126230952590367824510.266.348.378.72664.84.36
Jed Lowrie (marcel)415102006400900000.251.325.400.7255.44.13
Bill Hall (marcel)414920153001200000.229.293.387.6804.53.35
Marco Scutaro (PECOTA)474761302511056580362834510.275.355.397.75268.74.66
Jed Lowrie (PECOTA)414102005400800000.252.327.393.7215.44.10
Bill Hall (PECOTA)4141020153001100000.244.306.413.7195.03.80

2009 SS55869131330126141111128646611.235.297.358.65658.53.22
2010 SS (marcel)556821452811164671489834612.262.343.380.72374.74.26
2010 SS (PECOTA)556861503011267661482834612.271.349.398.74779.14.55

Obviously, both projection systems see big offensive improvement here. Defensively, it's a tougher call to make. UZR had Scutaro at about a run better than average last year, slightly worse than Green and Gonzalez, but at about eight runs better than average in 2008. FR had him at 11 runs better than average in 2009, significantly better than either Green or Gonzalez. I think that it's likely to be better, but shouldn't be any worse.

2010 3B projection: Big offensive improvement, comparable defense. Big net improvement

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