Friday, September 13, 2013

Patience, grasshoppers

I've had a lot of criticism regarding the Red Sox this season.  With the team playing white hot baseball right now, I've been reluctant to write about it because, honestly, I don't want to jinx it. 

After getting rest (and slumping) in August, Mike Napoli has been one of the key players for the Red Sox this month.  His strikeouts are down -- way down -- and he has 21 homers with 87 RBIs.  He's stayed healthy and vested all contract options, earning him the full amount of his one year deal.  His fielding at first base has been above average as well; though I wouldn't claim it's worthy of a gold glove. (Only reason why I bring that up is because some ESPN analysts are saying Napoli deserves a gold glove.)

Guess that means I have a heaping helping of crow to fuck my face with, right?

Maybe.  There are some troubling statistics to look at, though, before considering whether Ben should give Napoli a multi-year deal. 

First stat: How many stadiums has Napoli homered in?  Six -- Fenway, Yankee Stadium, Rogers Centre, Dodger Stadium, Angels Stadium, and SafeCo Field. 

Second: Of those stadiums, Napoli has hit 9 homers a Fenway, 5 at Rogers Centre, and 4 at Yankee Stadium -- that's 18 of his 21 HR reserve to just 3 ballparks. 

Third: Overall, Napoli has hit 6 homers against both Toronto and the Yankees.  With 12 homers against two teams, Napoli has scattered his other 9 homers. 

Finally, fourth: The quality of pitching Napoli tees off against is still sub-standard.  This month, he's homered against a minor league call up (Evan Reed), another minor league call up (Brett Marshall), a bad journeyman with a 6.04 ERA (David Huff), and Boone Logan.  Logan is the only decent pitcher out of that bunch -- the Yankees also found out that his elbow is injured.  He's currently day-to-day and hasn't pitched in a game since Napoli homered off of him. 

So the fourth stat is filled with 4 bums.  Napoli has doubled off of David Price and Alex Cobb, great pitchers, but he's just not bringing it against great pitchers.  

Like I mentioned, Napoli is striking out less and having a great month of September.  I hope he's working his swing to the point where he'll damage great pitchers in the playoffs, but since his power numbers are greatly weighted to certain teams and bad pitchers, I'm feeling some trepidation.

We just have to wait and see. 

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