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Entries in Cody Ross (4)

Monday
Nov262012

Monster Mash: Red Sox Land New Corner Outfielder in Jonny Gomes

Throughout the offseason, the Red Sox have been working on a deal with free agent outfielder Cody Ross to keep him in a Red Sox uniform for the foreseeable future. With the chance that they could lose out on a bidding war for his services, the Red Sox acquired a right handed hitting force in Jonny Gomes for 2 years and $10 million. With the way the market is playing out, this could turn into a steal for the team, as there is slim picking for quality corner outfielders.

The Red Sox need to return to playing better in Fenway Park this season. After many seasons of success at home, Boston lost more contests at home than it won, which did not please the Fenway Faithful. Gomes has had an incredible power stroke for his career, albeit low AVG numbers. Boston is trying to return to its roots and the strategy that won them a championship: seeing pitches and getting on base. Gomes had a .377 OBP last season, which was significantly higher than Cody Ross (.326). Considering the difference in price there could be between these two contracts, Boston may have made the correct call. This will not stop them from attempting to bring in Ross to man the other corner position, but having the powerful bat of Gomes next year certainly will not hurt them.

Take a look at his hit chart below:

Jonny Gomes hit spread for 2012 with the Oakland AthleticsGomes was quite clearly a dead-pull hitter; all eighteen of his home runs and eight of his ten doubles went to left field. This is the kind of hitter the Red Sox would love to have hitting balls in Fenway, considering the looming wall in left field. 

Gomes has also had excellent career splits versus left-handed pitching, something that has been lacking in Boston over the last few years. He joins the Red Sox after a season in which he compiled a .974 OPS against lefties including eleven of his eighteen home runs. That number would have made him third on the team behind David Ortiz and Ross.

Gomes SLUG versus left-handed pitching in 2012

Gomes will be a great fit as a hitter at Fenway Park, and if he manages to learn the wall in left field, his limited fielding ability may not hurt the Red Sox all that much. Pending other moves that the team makes, he could be in a platoon role with other players, serving primarily as a player when the team faces lefties. He is also well known as an excellent clubhouse presence, something the Sox need in spades. 

In limited time during the 2012 season (97 games, 333 PA), Gomes put up a stat line of .262/.377/.491/.868/18/47 (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS/HR/RBI). If given an opportunity, Gomes could provide very similar numbers to Jason Bay circa 2009 during his brief tenure with the team (.267/.384/.537/.921/36/119). This would be a welcome addition and at $5 million per year, it could be one of the biggest steals of the offseason. 

Friday
Sep142012

Red Sox weren't smart against Phil Hughes and Yankees

Last night, the Red Sox dropped a 2-0 decision to the Yankees. It was the sixth time the Sox have been shut out this season, this time being held to six hits and one walk against Phil Hughes (15-12) and three relievers.

In today's Boston Globe, Peter Abraham wrote: 

“Hughes pitched up in the strike zone and we couldn’t lay off of it,” Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. “Made a lot of quick outs swinging at some of those pitches. We were a little immature in our approach at times.”

Cody Ross, who was 1 for 4 batting cleanup, agreed with Valentine.

“You fall victim to it. You just try for quality at-bats and not grinding. When you do that you get quick outs,” he said. “It’s one thing to be aggressive, but another thing to be smart about it. We just weren’t smart the whole night.”

The team at BaseballAnalytics.org wanted to show you what Valentine and Ross meant.

Let's break down the Yankee pitchers performances

Pitching IP H BB SO BF Pit Str Ctct StS StL
Phil Hughes, W (15-12) 7.1 5 1 7 27 95 68 38 14 16
Boone Logan, H (20) 0.1 0 0 0 1 5 4 3 0 1
David Robertson, H (26) 0.1 0 0 0 1 3 2 1 0 1
Rafael Soriano, S (38) 1 1 0 1 4 12 9 4 2 3
Team Totals 9 6 1 8 33 115 83 46 16 21
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table Generated 9/14/2012.

Let's focus on starter Phil Hughes.

Here is the array of Hughes pitches last night:

Over half of Hughes pitches (53) were in the upper half of the zone:

Over half of those 53 pitches (31) were swung at by Sox batters:

Of those 31 swings by 16 different batters, three resulted in hits (Mike Aviles and James Loney singled, while Yankee killer Pedro Ciriaco doubled) and 13 resulted in outs including seven strikeouts.

Here are the pitches that the Red Sox swung at:

Here is the summary and final support of Bobby Valentine's assertion: 

  • There were 53 pitches in the upper half of the zone
  • There were 31 swings and 11 misses
  • There were 37 strikes and balls put in play
  • There were nine pitches put in play and 11 fouled off
  • There 31 pitches in the strike zone and six pitches that were chased.
  • There were six called strikes  
  • There were just three swings and misses on the lower half of the zone. T
  • The Sox looked at 10 strikes in the lower half of the zone, but only took three upper half strikes.
  • The two hits in the lower half of the zone came from Ross and Jacoby Ellsbury.

Say you want about Bobby Valentine as a manager, he's remains a very good analyst and when he said the Sox weren't smart against Phil Hughes, he was absolutely right.

Saturday
Jan282012

Cody Ross: Lefty Masher

Considering that Ryan Sweeney gets jelly-legged against same-handed pitching, Carl Crawford is questionable for the start of the season following wrist surgery and Mike Aviles is expected to be part of a shortstop platoon after Boston shipped incumbent Marco Scutaro to Colorado, the Red Sox were in need of a lefty-mashing outfielder. They found their man in Cody Ross, signing the 31-year-old to a one-year, $3 million deal with plate appearance-based incentives.

After bouncing from Detroit to L.A., Cincinnati to Florida and then to San Francisco, Ross understandably sought some stability and was reportedly looking for a two-year deal this winter. But teams were reluctant to commit multiple years to a guy who doesn't inflict much pain versus the nearly three-quarters of big league pitchers who throw from the right side: Ross has a career .253/.313/.414 line in 1,924 plate appearances against righties.  

Lefties are a different story, though. Ross has raked them for a .282/.349/.563 triple-slash in 759 plate appearances, and most of that slugging comes against pitches thrown above the belt. Take a look at his in-play slugging percentage by pitch location against lefties since 2008:

Cody Ross' in-play slugging percentage against lefties, 2008-2011Ross' lefty lashing should complement Sweeney, who holds his own against right-handers (.296/.352/.402 in 1,319 PA) but struggles to get the ball out of the infield against same-handed pitching (.233/.306/.289 in 362 PA against LHPs). Ross might be a nomad for the rest of his career, shifting from one city to the next as teams seek a guy who creams lefties. Still, there are worse fates than spending the summer making dents in the Green Monster.