This week at BP Boston I wrote about an often overlooked but very important part of the game: defense. Thus far in the 2017 season, the Red Sox have been very sloppy on the defensive side of things (32 errors in their first 38 games) and it is costing them wins in the standings. I examined what has been going on by digging into player-specific changes in defensive performance from last year. When added up, the changes reveal that the team is on track to be considerably worse than they were last year, which when combined with the underperforming offense does not exactly scream playoff-team. Mookie Betts, in particular, has been playing well below his 2016 level. Now, all of my analysis is based on only 38 games of games, and defensive metrics are notoriously variable, so Red Sox fans need not worry too much just yet. But the sloppy play on defense is concerning and something they need to get turned around if they are going to resume their place atop the American League East standings.
Head over to BP Boston to read my work: Time to Tighten Up a Disappointing Defense.
I was excited to find that this work was mentioned in Alex Speier’s excellent 108 Stitches Newsletter. As I have noted previously, Speier is a Red Sox beat writer for The Boston Globe, so it is nice to have his recognition. Here is what he wrote about my article:
[Jackie] Bradley’s erratic throws have been only part of the Red Sox’ early-season defensive struggles. Chris Teeter of Baseball Prospectus examines a group that, as a whole, is falling well short of its 2016 standards in the field.