Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Know Thy Enemy: Right Field

Next up in our position by position debate, we are going to review rightfield. If you are just catching on we have been doing a debate on who has the better player at each position between the Red Sox and the Yankees. To be clear, this is not a debate on who has the better team, just the better player at each position. A debate on who has the better team would require much more than a position by position evaluation.
Red Sox Rightfield

When the Red Sox signed Nancy Drew they were expecting a bit of a power hitter with a high on-base percentage who despite some shoulder problems would solidify right field for them. Although Red Sox fans were willing to let Nancy off the hook after he hit that grand slam in the ALCS, he still had an awful regular season. He batted .270 with 11 homeruns and 64 RBI's, and was a consistent dissapointment to the team throughout the season. I didn't see enough of his defense to really comment, but I did see him dive for a ball once that bounced about 6 feet away from his stretched out glove. It was kind of funny. Although the Red Sox expected more from Nancy, he did bring a lot of the intangibles. For example, Nancy would solve a lot of mysteries in the club house and on the road.

Yankees Rightfield

Bobby Abreu had such an inconsistant season last year that I found myself disliking him. I always thought his defense was no good. Despite having a canon for an arm, he seems completely resistant to running into a padded wall or diving for a ball hit his way. He is the anti-Melky. Despite his inconsistancies he finished the season with a .283 average, 16 homeruns, and 101 RBI's. Also, he stole 25 bases last season, which is pretty impressive for a number 3 hitter. Last season, he had shown up to spring training out of shape, strained some muscles swinging a bat, and then got off to a slow start. Abreu is the perfect example of the baseball card rule. This rule states that any established player, barring injury, will finish the season posting numbers similar to the ones on the back of their baseball card. Abreu had an awful season, but then at the end, he had a .283 average and 100+ RBI's.

Winner: Yankees. Drew was awful last season. Abreu was bad, but somehow managed to end the season with decent stats. Last off-season there was talk of trading Manny and replacing him with JD Drew. I really prayed that that would happen.

The one mystery that will remain unsolved is where Abreu's power went. He used to hit at least 20 homeruns every season, he then comes to a park that is friendly for lefty hitters and he cracks 16. Nancy at least has an excuse since he's at Fenway, but I think they'll want a little more than 11 bombs, and 18 solved mysteries by seasons end.