Baseball Preview Wrapup

Opening day is almost here. Today we’ve got baseball preview editions in a couple of newspapers. With the Red Sox bullpen strategy one of the most talked about items in baseball this year, the Globe decides to take an in-depth look at the bullpen, it’s use throughout the history of baseball and some of the biggest personalities involved. Gordon Edes starts off looking at how the role of the closer has risen in stature he also defines the roles in the modern bullpen and lists the best current and all time in each role. Bob Richardson looks at the very early uses of relief pitchers, back in the 19th century game, and early in the 20th century. Dan Shaughnessy remembers the Monster, Dick Radatz, and his impact on how relief aces are used today. Edes looks at Al Hrabosky…the mad Hungarian of the 1970’s. Even Bob Stanley gets from ink from Edes and remembering the role the former Sox pitcher had, and has his current thoughts on bullpen philosophy. Bob Ryan profiles the guy who really started the closer role as it is defined today, Dennis Eckersley. Edes also looks at the bullpen employed by the World Series champion Angels, highlighted by young Francisco Rodriguez. Edes looks at Jesse Orosco pitching in the majors since 1979, still getting people out. He then turns his attention to the maddening lefty/righty matchups. Edes wraps up his coverage with a look at the bullpen coaches.

Whereas the Globe focused on the bullpen, the Projo focuses on the other big controversy of the spring, the use of numbers and hiring of Bill James. Art Martone (pro-stats) and Steven Krasner (anti-stats) In my opinion, Krasner does not come off well in his arguments. You’d think by reading his article that He thinks that the Red Sox were solely relying on Bill James to evaluate players. They’re not. His contributions are simply just another something to factor in the total equation. He also mentions using very small stat groups and how misleading they can be. If he had even looked at a Bill James book, he’d know he doesn’t work that way. Not good arguments there. Maybe he just didn’t want to get into it with his boss, Martone, too much. Martone notes how one of the most famous moments in baseball history could’ve been very different if one of the managers was aware of some simple numbers. The concept of using statistics more in baseball has been around for a long time, but has been slow to be accepted. A dawn of a new age around Fenway, Sean McAdam takes an in-depth look at the changes Theo Epstein is making in the Red Sox thinking and philosophy. As for Bill James, Brandon Musler has a look at James and notes some of his comments from the past on Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, the Easler for Baylor trade, trading Bobby Ojeda to the Mets, Dave Henderson, He wrote about Lou Gorman rueing the day he traded Jeff Bagwell…before Bagwell had a single at bat in the majors, and got the trade for Lee Smith right as well. There are a TON more articles in the Projo rreview, mostly short, there are profiles of all the news guys, a position by position analysis, and predictions on the team.