JD Martinez Hits Like Ted Williams When He Plays Left Field

jd

JD Martinez has been crushing it for the Red Sox all season, regardless of what position he’s been playing. Martinez has made it clear that he likes playing the field and wants to play the field. What you might not realize, though, is how much better his production is at the plate when he does play the field.

JD Martinez has played 70 games as a DH this season and 45 games as an outfielder (30 in left field and 15 in right field). As a DH, Martinez’s slash line is .305/.372/.643, with an OPS of 1.015. As an outfielder, Martinez’s slash line is .376/.449/.694 with an OPS of 1.143.

Part of the variance is due to Martinez’s insane .452 batting average on balls in play as a left fielder. His career batting average on balls in play is .346, which means he may be getting a little lucky in a small thirty-game sample this season. He’s also only been hit by pitch four times this season, but three times came when he was the right fielder. Either way, it’s still obvious that Martinez hits even better when he’s playing the field. He doesn’t seem to be the type of hitter who needs to watch his at bats on iPads while his team is in the field.

So what does this mean? Jackie Bradley’s slash line this year is .218/.305/.387 with an OPS of .692. He’s been hitting a little better as of late with a .250 average this month, but if Martinez hits even better when he is in the field, doesn’t it make sense to put Martinez in the field and DH someone like Steve Pearce? I’d swap Pearce’s bat for Bradley’s glove. Pearce’s slash line with Boston so far is .310/.425/.634 with a 1.059 OPS. It’s a small 25-game sample, but Pearce is playing the best baseball of his career. Plug in JD in left field, make Pearce your DH, and JD wins the Triple Crown and MVP award in a run away. Boom. Everyone wins.

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You can start planning the parade now, Alex. You’re welcome.

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Its Official, The PawSox Are Moving to Worcester.

WORCESTERIt’s official. In just a few years, the Pawtucket Red Sox will relocated to Worcester and play in a newly constructed stadium in the city’s Canal District. According to multiple sources, the City will make an official announcement tomorrow. Members of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce will be present at the announcement. The Worcester Red Sox will begin play in 2021.

Specifically, the source told TWIW that Worcester’s offer will save the Pawtucket Red Sox owners “tens of millions” if they move to Worcester and build a stadium in the city’s Canal District. Another source told TWIW that it will save PawSox ownership around $23 million to move out of Pawtucket and into Worcester.

On one hand this is kind of sad to see as the PawSox have been in Pawtucket since the early 1970s, depending on how technical you want to get. We all grew up going to those games as it was just an hour down 95 and SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than my parents taking us to a game at Fenway.

The main reason for the move is a new stadium deal, which the state of Rhode Island had been negotiating, but ultimately were reluctant to foot the bill. A minor league team that charges $5 for tickets is piking for a new stadium? How? Why?

THATS LARRY LUCCHINO’S MUSIC!

Thats right, the guy most famous for driving the greatest baseball mind of our generation out of town over a pissing contest.

He’s why.

He’s also well known for being the driving force behind ballpark projects like the Orioles’ Camden Yards. Lucchino makes me laugh because when people don’t respect his ballpark building game I just imagine him flipping his shit like Mugatu. I INVENTED CAMDEN YARDS!

I have to admit though, all kidding aside, I am starting to soften on Lucchino over the years, but I think that has more to do with the fact that he looks like Jim Leahy than anything else.

Now I can’t blame Pawtucket for balking at building a new stadium for a minor league team that had to let me bring my dog to the game to actually get me to buy a ticket (and meet the legend that is Rusney Castillo).

Even more so when you see some of the details of how much this thing might have actually cost.

“Rhode Island approved an $83 million proposal to build a new Pawtucket riverfront stadium in June. As recently as last week, Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien told the Providence Journal he believed his city had a 50 percent chance to retain the PawSox.”

Not to mention, Rhode Island has a bad history with financing the passion projects of the Red Sox.

But the real question here is what do we call them? The PawSox is obviously out. WoSox? WoostahSox? The one I’ve seen in actual print I cannot get on board with; the Woo Sox is a TERRIBLE name.  Might as well call them Woo Girls.

So long PawSox, we hardly knew ye. I can’t promise I will visit you often, but it is my moral obligation to film The 300s Reviews: The Worcester Red Sox whenever you do open up shop.

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The 300s Previews the Patriots (Part 4): Who the Hell is Playing Linebacker?

Quick: name the Patriots linebackers this season besides Dont’a Hightower.

not for me no GIF by Originals

For all the attention the team’s depleted receiving corps has received so far this summer, the current group of linebackers lacks some serious name recognition as well.

Everyone knows what to expect from Dont’a Hightower, the team’s unquestioned leader at the position. It’d be nice if he could stay healthy for once, after missing all but five games last season and not playing a full 16-game slate since his second year in 2013. But when he’s on the field, the guy’s pretty damn good.

And sure, Elandon Roberts and Kyle Van Noy started 14 and 12 games, respectively, for the Pats last year, and they’re likely to be the top two playing alongside Hightower in 2018. But I’d be willing to bet that seven out of 10 fans you’d find on the street couldn’t name them both with a gun to their head.

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That doesn’t mean these guys are necessarily anything to sneeze at; Roberts and Van Noy each had 65-plus tackles last year, and Van Noy added 5.5 sacks to boot. Both also received above-average ratings from Pro Football Focus last season. Still, neither player is necessarily going to win you any games, and there’s definitely room for improvement.

Marquis Flowers also came out of nowhere and played all right after the team’s Week 9 bye last season, finishing with 27 total tackles and 3.5 sacks over that time – albeit with 10 of those tackles and 2.5 of those sacks coming in one game against Buffalo in Week 16. He’ll most likely serve as the team’s top reserve.

No matter how you feel about them, though, it seems the team didn’t view linebacker as a big area of need this offseason. They did draft two this past May (Ja’Whaun Bentley and Christian Sam), but other than that there was not one notable move at the position.

The Pats also signed former Falcon Adrian Clayborn. And last year’s second-round pick Derek Rivers – who missed his entire rookie season due to injury – is back as well. Both are expected to help the defense this year, but both are also much more of a defensive end than they are a stand-up linebacker. (Some, though, believe Rivers could eventually become a solid outside linebacker due to his great pass-rushing ability – a la Chandler Jones – so we’ll see what happens there.)

It should also be noted that the Patriots finished with the fifth-best mark in the league in terms of points per game allowed last season (18.5), so it’s not like the defense is in bad shape overall. But the team was 20th when it came to rushing yards allowed per game (114.8), and while that has just as much to do with the defensive line it’s still not a very positive note for the rest of the front seven.

Coverage is another area the team’s linebackers struggled with last season, particularly when it came to opposing running backs. They allowed a whopping 844 receiving yards out of the backfield in 2017, which was the second-most in the league behind Tennessee. The defense also (surprisingly) allowed the third-most passing yards overall in the league last year, which indeed has more to do with the secondary, but the linebackers play a big part in that as well.

And this happened just last week in the team’s first preseason game against Washington:

(Nahhhht a great look there for Van Noy.)

On the plus side, Bentley, the team’s 2018 fifth-round draft choice out of Purdue, has looked great so far, both in camp and during last week’s preseason opener, and he’s even been receiving reps with the starters at practice.

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Hey, at least Bentley caught Marshall last week! (Photo credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

Still, the 6’2″, 255-pound rookie is viewed as much more of thumper who can help against the run, which does not do much at all in terms of helping the team’s pass coverage.

Fortunately, the team often employs a three-safety, two-linebacker scheme, limiting the amount of responsibility the linebackers have in coverage. The team’s solid group of corners as well as safeties Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon (Patrick Chung is more of a run-stopper) can oftentimes pick up the slack and hide the team’s deficiencies in the middle of the defense. This is also perhaps why Bill & Co. chose to focus on other more pressing areas of need this offseason.

The Pats also have guys like Nicholas Grigsby and Brandon King, who are expected to be solid special teams guys. And we can’t forget about second-year man Harvey Langi, who flashed at times early on last season before a serious car accident in October ended his season. Fortunately, it didn’t end his life or his career, and while he is still going to need to win his spot on the team this summer, don’t be surprised if he’s a factor by season’s end. I like what I saw from the kid in his limited action last year.

harvey langi

Welcome back, young fella.

So again, I am not saying the the linebackers are “bad”; I’m just saying that other than receiver, and maybe cornerback, this is probably the area that’s going to see the most ups and downs in 2018.

Gone are the days that guys like Bruschi, McGinest, Vrabel, and Mayo are seen roaming the middle of the defense, striking fear into the hearts of opposing offenses. But can the guys we have this year still get it done? Let’s hope so. For now, I’ll keep the faith.

Check out the rest of “The 300s Previews the Patriots” series here. And be sure to check out the Pats in action tonight against the Eagles in preseason game No. 2.

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The 300s Podcast: Fantasy Football Follies

Football is back, thank christ. So this week, as summer is winding down, we turn our attention to the biggest productivity killer in corporate America; fantasy football.

-Flatscreen TVs are now disposable apparently

-Since I can’t play poker, Fantasy Football allows me to feel like a man and gamble

-Is DraftKings too much math and not enough fantasy?

-Hot Take: Live Drafts SUCK

Subscribe, rate, and review The 300s Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify!

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Mookie or JD for MVP? Who Ya Got?

In some ways, this is going to be reminiscent of the 2012 AL MVP race, when Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown. but Mike Trout was the more valuable player because of his base running and defense on top of his extraordinary hitting.

Cabrera won the award. I don’t think Martinez has a real shot this year unless he wins the Triple Crown as well, and that’s going to require him making up some ground in the batting race. (Betts is at .350 right now, Martinez at .333).

In the end, I think Betts wins the award without much suspense. And I’m not especially concerned about Betts and Martinez splitting the Boston vote. Right now, it’s Mookie’s award to lose.

I’ve got no issue with Chad Finn’s column yesterday. Finn says the AL MVP award is Mookie’s to lose at this point, and he’s right. But that doesn’t mean I don’t take issue with the way BBWAA members vote for this award.

Let me get this straight. JD Martinez has more home runs and more runs batted in than Mookie Betts (and every other player in the game for that matter), but Mookie Betts should be the MVP because he plays the field more often and steals more bases?

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Both players are having phenomenal seasons. I just don’t understand how someone could think the leadoff hitter is more valuable than the slugger hitting cleanup. The lineup is built around JD Martinez. Coming into 2018, he was the only real difference in the lineup from 2017. Last year’s team scored 4.85 runs per game. This year’s team is scoring 5.46 runs per game. Last year’s team hit 168 home runs. This year’s team has hit 168 home runs through just 121 games. Isn’t it logical to assume the new guy is a big part of the reason why? Wouldn’t that guy be a logical choice for MVP?

It’s true that Mookie’s WAR for 2018 (8.1) is higher than JD’s (5.6). But I think the reason why Mookie will probably beat out JD for the MVP award is much simpler than the formula for Wins Above Replacement. It’s the position that JD plays (or, does not play as the voters would likely point out).

The bias against designated hitters baffles me. It’s been a legal position for 45 years. Why shouldn’t a DH win the MVP? American League pitchers don’t hit but they’ve won MVP awards since 1973. And if fielding is so important, how come the MVP isn’t a gold glover every year? The last MVP to win a Gold Glove the same season was Dustin Pedroia in 2008. Daivd Ortiz was very valuable to the Red Sox for 14 years. Would he have been even more valuable playing below average defense at first base, and leaving a worse hitter in the DH spot? I think not.

If Mookie’s numbers and JD’s numbers are roughly similar at the end of the season, sure, give the MVP award to the guy who plays the field more. But right now it isn’t really close. JD gets my vote.

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After Some PR Disasters, This Actually Isn’t a Bad Idea from Marlins Owner Derek Jeter

YahooMiami Marlins part owner Derek Jeter has an idea that could bring the team closer together. Jeter will require the American-born coaches and players to take Spanish lessons, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. The initiative from Jeter will not only help players in the organization communicate better, but will also bring the team closer with the city of Miami, according to ESPN.

With one PR blunder after the other, when I saw the headline that Jeter was forcing the entire Marlins organization to do X, I thought oh God what did this dude do now. Apparently he’s requiring everyone, from the players to the coaches to the executives, take Spanish lessons.

“As the Marlins’ young Latin American players take English lessons, the American-born players and coaches will be required to learn Spanish.

On Thursday, Jeter hauled a bunch of vice presidents into a room for the first of what will be regular weekly lessons in Español.

“… Everybody expects the Latin players to make an effort to speak English. Well, especially here in Miami, if you don’t speak Spanish, you don’t fit in. I think it’s important.’”

As the story notes, Latino players make up 31.9% of Major League Baseball, add to that the fact that the Marlins play in Miami, which is 70% Hispanic or Latino. So yea, actually not a bad idea from Jeets.

The last thing you want is to be like Tom Selleck in the 1992 classic, Mr. Baseball, sitting at the end of the bench by yourself. Oh you didn’t see that movie? It got a 13% on Rotten Tomatoes so I can’t see why you might not pick up on that obscure reference. Basically Tom Selleck goes to play baseball in Japan and can’t understand a goddamn word anyone is saying and is miserable.

Sneaky racist 1990’s movie poster too.

Of course he eventually learns the universal language of baseball (and some Japanese) to bond with his new teammates as (SPOILER) the Chunichi Dragons win the pennant.

Hey, HBO plays a lot of random shit on hungover Saturday mornings…

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The New KFC Colonel is None Other Than….George Costanza?

Ad AgeJason Alexander is the newest celebrity to hawk KFC. The “Seinfeld” star is promoting $20 Fill Up meals in sitcom-style “What’s for Dinner?” ads breaking Monday.

The campaign featuring Alexander, best known for playing George Costanza on “Seinfeld,” includes a one-minute commercial that’s like the opening credits of a 1980s sitcom. In the spot, released Monday, parental roles and those of others in the cast, like the ever-present nosy neighbor, can apparently be filled by the colonel. There’s also a somewhat creepy couch that we’ll let you see for yourself. Another spot depicts him presenting an unusually wide tray of KFC’s latest offerings–with unusually long arms to match.

“As the son of two working parents, there were plenty of dinnertimes when a bucket of chicken and all the fixins saved the day,” Alexander said in a statement. “It’s been fun to combine my personal love for KFC with my sitcom experience into a new take on the role of Colonel Sanders.”

Its the summer of George! Jason Alexander takes his turn as the latest celebrity to don the KFC Colonel mantle and let me tell you, even for a KFC commercial, this one is bizarre.

And version number 2…

Jason Alexander hasn’t really been in anything of note lately, such is the plight of one of the stars of the most popular TV show of all time. He’s got that syndication money coming in every day so he could legitimately just drape himself in velvet and go eat blocks of cheese the size of car batteries until the day he dies.

But, nay. George Costanza is a worker and he’ll be goddamned if he’s going to go quietly into retirement. I’m sure Lloyd Braun would like that.

Also, I’m pretty sure Jason Alexander is the only one to have the honor of appearing in a KFC commercial as not only the Colonel, but also as himself. That’s range.

You think THATS dated? Check out his other KFC commercial from 2002 alongside the MLB home run king Barry Bonds, ya know before the whole BALCO thing.

Fast food marketing in 2018 is wild man. We got Taco Bell producing full scale movie franchises starring Josh Duhamel for Nacho Fries, Dominos making pizza ordering sneakers, Wendy’s smoking fools on twitter, and don’t even get me started on all the wacky shit Burger King does. The rotating celebrity KFC Colonel though is my favorite marketing campaign since Old Spice’s Director of Marketing, Mr. Wolfdog.

Old Spice paid a couple of guys from a marketing agency hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars for that idea. Only in America.

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