Dog Days Thoughts

--With Rios now in Texas, the Sox have three major league average hitters in their lineup. And if you control a bit for BABIP, the Sox have two major league hitters: Adam Dunn and De Aza. Yikes.

--Adam Dunn is 13th in the majors in ISO (power) and his walk rate is 4th best.  Meanwhile his BABIP is up to .265, after a brutal first two months of bad luck, his BABIP is .367 the last 30 days—hey look, regression! And he’s hitting dingers. Basically he’s what you’d expect him to be. His wRC+ of 117 means he’s creating 17% more runs than the average hitter, that’s not great, but it’s good.  He’s really taken too much abuse.  Yes he strikes out too much, he’s a horrible defender and he can’t run. But Adam Dunn wasn’t signed by the Sox to do any of those things. He was brought to get on base and hit home runs; other than 2011, he’s done that. Dunn has value, the problem for the Sox is that he’s the best hitter on the team, and if Adam Dunn is your best hitter...

...Then Dayan Viciedo is your fifth best hitter (now fourth with Rios moving on).  This is a major problem as Viciedo isn’t a very good hitter and plays a position where you need him to be a good hitter. You might be able to live with Viciedo if you’ve got a great hitting second baseman and third baseman. But the Sox don’t (and haven’t). He’s got to go next year.

-- I was going to write nice things about Chris Sale, but he’s great and doesn’t need more praise.  So how about this, which is now my favorite state line of the year... John Danks ERA/FIP/xFIP in 2013:

ERA: 4.52
FIP: 5.13
xFIP: 3.94

Ummm, okay.  I have nothing to say other than Danks’ BABIP is .257 and his HR/FB is 18%. So he’s been lucky and unlucky. It’s pretty funny that it has completely washed out and his ERA is nearly smack in the middle of the two.

Danks year so far has been a disappointment; he's given the Sox innings but not a lot of quality innings. His strike out rate is down slightly from where it was in '09-'11, but I'm not going to worry about it too much. He's actually shown the best control of his career, walking the fewest number of hitters per 9. But Danks has been allowing too many fly balls, it's always been a bit of an issue but it's been worse this year, and they've turned into home runs at either an alarming (or unlucky) rate.

Looking a tad deeper into this, his fastball velocity is down slightly, about 1mph/1.5mph from last year when he was pitching through shoulder issues. That's the concern, he's now 2 or 3 ticks below where he was in 2010 and 2011. I think it's a tad too early to say that Danks might be closer to done than effective, but it's something to keep you eye on the last six or seven weeks of the season.

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