108 stitches_ february 10 – the boston globe

Immense expectations hover over the Red Sox pitching staff entering 2017, and with good reason. Drip Since president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski took his position, he has added not just this offseason’s centerpiece, Chris Sale, but also David Price, Drew Pomeranz, Craig Kimbrel, and Tyler Thornburg.

The Red Sox have committed an extraordinary amount of capital in both dollars and especially prospects to overhauling a pitching staff that represented a glaring deficiency as recently as 2015.

The addition of director of pitching analysis Brian Bannister to the major league coaching staff in the middle of last season was an important part of that equation — or at least a signal of the team’s altered approach.

Many around the team (including Bannister himself) insist that it would be an oversimplification to attribute the staff’s improved performance down the stretch solely or even primarily to Bannister. Baseball field drawing Still, his ability to offer data-driven suggestions in his work with pitching coach Carl Willis, bullpen coach Dana LeVangie, and pitchers was part of a team-changing culture of problem-solving.

As members of the Red Sox roster flow into Fort Myers, that culture represents a potentially critical component of the team’s hopes for 2017. Facebook search history android The expectation that Sale can be an impact performer once every five days looms large, but the impact of coaching and the ability to import “big data” suggestions to pitchers has a chance to be felt even more broadly.

“I even underestimated how effective some of this stuff can be,” Bannister acknowledged this offseason. Small garden ideas pictures “My own career, I basically took myself from being a minor league pitcher and turned myself into a back-end starter for a couple of years.

“But when I look back and saw what [Zack] Greinke did with some of the changes he made, put up a Cy Young season, Rich Hill keeps blowing me away, some guys like Buchholz and Eddie Rodriguez and Price and Joe Kelly, they made improvements.

“I think every pitcher represents this kind of blank canvas, even once you get close to the big leagues or in the big leagues. Facebook marketplace It’s what can you do to rearrange it or put it together in a different way, or put it together in a way that might lead to more success.

“When you get a well-coordinated scouting and player development staff that is creative, I think the potential to produce really high-upside pitchers goes up exponentially.”

In 2017, this is how championship-caliber staffs are built — not simply by acquiring high-hanging fruit like Sale and Price, but by unlocking the fullest potential of less-heralded pitchers. Retaining wall design The 2016 World Series featured players like Corey Kluber for Cleveland and Kyle Hendricks and Jake Arrieta for the Cubs, players who developed into something beyond expectations after they were acquired from other organizations. Football games today college Coaching helped unlock hidden ace-level impact in all of them.

“It is undervalued — helping guys recover, helping guys understand who they are, helping guys maximize what ability they have,” noted Pirates GM Neal Huntington, whose team has become a noted home of successful reclamations. Fences play “Whether it’s pitch selection, pitch sequencing, the ability to command the baseball better because of a small adjustment to their mechanics or mental approach.

In the context of the Red Sox, as much attention as will focus on Sale, Price, and reigning Cy Young winner Rick Porcello this spring, the work of the staff to tap into the talents of players like Pomeranz, Rodriguez, and depth options like Henry Owens, Brian Johnson, and Roenis Elias may represent the even more significant story line to determining how close the Red Sox come to fulfilling their grand ambitions.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski tells Michael Silverman that he won’t be cutting the sleeves off his suit, but he will try to apply some lessons from Patriots coach Bill Belichick to his own realm.

EMBIGGENING BENINTENDI: Scott Lauber examines Andrew Benintendi’s offseason workout program, designed to position the top prospect in baseball to withstand the rigors of his first full major league season.

Sandoval’s offseason work focused not merely on improving his physique but also on improving his hitting. Realtime landscaping Tomase writes that Sandoval sought out pointers – particularly on how to improve his hitting from the right side of the plate – from Tigers superstar Miguel Cabrera.

ROLE COMES WITH A CATCH: With Sandy Leon entering spring training as the anticipated No. Pitch dark mgsv 1 catcher, the two catchers who came to spring training as the anticipated Opening Day catchers of the last two seasons must re-establish their roles. Baseball diamond diagram Christian Vazquez told Abraham that his vaunted arm strength returned in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

AFTER ORTIZ: The Red Sox have announced plans to retire David Ortiz’s No. Lattice method multiplication worksheet 34 next season — a fact that will only make his absence more glaring at Fenway Park. Rawlings custom glove builder Cafardo examines the expected shape of the Red Sox lineup without its longtime centerpiece.

The Red Sox do not appear to share that expectation – even as they are still waiting to figure out what role Ortiz might have in the organization going forward, writes Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.

AS THE ROTATION TURNS: Price and Porcello both endured rocky transitions in their first seasons with Boston. Landscaper As MacPherson writes, Sale hopes to buck that trend.

GETTING DEFENSIVE: Eno Sarris identifies the Red Sox and Yankees as two teams that could make considerable leaps forward defensively in 2017 thanks to the additions of Mitch Moreland at first base, a full season of Andrew Benintendi in left field, and potential improvement from Xander Bogaerts at short.

Sarris does say that the return of Sandoval – who performed terribly defensively at third base in 2015 – suggests some caution about that defensive improvement, though a) Sandoval is in considerably better physical shape right now than he was in 2015 and b) the defensive bar for the Sox wasn’t set very high in 2016, when the team performed at a roughly league average level (0.1 UZR according to Fangraphs – though according to the Defensive Runs Saved metric employed by Baseball Info Solutions, Sox third basemen were eight runs better than average defensively in 2016, fourth best in the AL).

THE NEW AUSTERITY? MacPherson examines the Red Sox’ shifting approach to spending, and the team’s pivot from a winter of unmatched spending in 2015-16 (and really, 2014-15 qualifies as well) to one of extreme reluctance to pay market rates for top talents.

FOR CASTILLO AND CRAIG, IT’S A MATTER OF DOLLARS AND SENSE: Rusney Castillo closed out a terrific winter league run with an 0-for-4 night on Tuesday, but that donut was secondary to the bigger prize he received. Pitch definition science Castillo was the cleanup hitter for a Puerto Rico squad that won the island’s first Caribbean Series championship since 2000. Small garden design ideas on a budget Though he hit just .174/.174/.304 in five playoff games, that followed a .392/.431/.451 run with five walks and seven strikeouts over 14 games in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

Those numbers unquestionably showed promise, a glimmer that the 29-year-old still has ability. Landscape photography definition Yet it’s still hard to imagine that he’ll get an opportunity to show those talents with the Red Sox for a simple reason: The Red Sox are likely to remain hesitant about calling up a player who would give them a sizable nudge towards the $195 million luxury tax threshold. Team usa baseball tryouts As Tomase writes, Castillo and Allen Craig are likely in luxury tax no-man’s-land.

The Red Sox beat lefthander Fernando Abad in their first arbitration hearing since 2002 (when they beat righthander Rolando Arrojo). Baseball players names Abad will make $2 million rather than the $2.7 million he sought, writes Cafardo.

SOUTHPAW MOVES ON: Lefthander Javier Lopez arrived in Red Sox spring training in the spring of 2003 on the fringes of the big leagues after Boston plucked him from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 draft. Front garden design Lopez couldn’t crack the Red Sox out of spring training that year, and got traded to the Rockies – his third organization as a 25-year-old.

From those ignoble origins, Lopez went on to pitch in 839 big league games over 14 seasons, claiming four World Series rings in the process (2007 in his return to the Red Sox; 2010, 2012, and 2014 with the Giants). Fantasy basketball mock draft 2016 But, at 39, Lopez has elected to retire. Ncaa basketball final four 2016 He discussed his decision to do so with Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

The Red Sox likewise are taking a minor league flyer (with no spring training invite) on former All-Star Carlos Quentin, a player who last appeared in the majors in 2014. Backyard designs with pool Bradford examines the team’s thinking.

Righthander Chris Acosta, who didn’t pitch in 2016 while on the restricted list after leaving the Red Sox’ extended spring training facility and failing to report to the team’s Dominican Academy, has now rejoined the organization in the Dominican, reports Chris Hatfield of SoxProspects.com.

AROUND THE AFFILIATES: Britton writes that even though a recent feasibility study concluded that McCoy Stadium is no longer a suitable home for the Red Sox’ Triple A affiliate, the Red Sox have “every intention” keeping their top minor league affiliate in Pawtucket.

EXTRA, EXTRA! Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that Major League Baseball will experiment with a major change to how the game is played in extra innings in both the World Baseball Classic this spring and in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast and Arizona Leagues this summer. Baseball hitting drills Passan writes that preliminary conversations about the rule change have played with the idea of featuring a runner on second base to start the inning when games go beyond nine innings.

While the experiment will begin this spring with the WBC and possibly reach the lowest rung of the minor league ladder this summer, Passan writes that it likely will take years for any such alteration to reach the big leagues.

DOWN BY WAY OF A SLIGHTLY CHANGED K? As part of an ongoing effort to improve the pace of play, Major League Baseball has proposed the elimination of the requirement that pitchers actually throw four pitches to issue an intentional walk and, more significantly, that the sport raise the bottom of the strike zone by about two inches, writes Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.

The proposal to elevate the bottom of the strike zone, however, comes at a time when scoring in the big leagues (teams averaged 4.48 runs per game in 2016, up nearly a half-run per game from 2014) is at its highest point this decade. Masonry tools and their uses While the idea is motivated by an interest in putting more balls in play, it’s certainly possible that a rise in the bottom of the strike zone could lead to longer games if it boosts offense.

A couple years ago, I examined the change in how the strike zone was regulated over the last 20 years and its impact on offense – an examination that took place just before offense exploded in baseball in the last season and a half.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Hello again. Baseball field diagram My apologies for the three-week hiatus whilst joining the Globe’s coverage of the Patriots. Tournament bracket online I’ll be back on a regular schedule – one to two times a week – for the next two weeks, before resuming weekday daily dispatches on Feb. Fantasy basketball dynasty rankings 27, my own way of easing into the routine of the season in spring training.

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