We’ve Got Cabin Fever…It’s Burning In Our Brain

We’ve been snowed in for almost a week now. Not Boston-level snowed in by any stretch of the imagination, but snowed in for us, which basically means 4″ of snow, some ice, and Hoth-level temperatures for the rest of the week. Which means I haven’t been in school all week. 

So let me go over a few things I haven’t talked about on my hiatus. First off, can we just celebrate for a moment the fact that the Patriots are SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS?????

I’m done!!! That was such an AWESOME moment. I literally fell on the floor (I was at a party, people can vouch for this).

And I heard the best Boston sports question EVER the week after the Super Bowl:

If you walked into a bar and Malcolm Butler and Dave Roberts were both there and you only have enough money to buy one of them a drink, who do you buy for?


Ug. I can’t even decide. Butler put to rest so many demons…Spygate, 2007, 2011…but Dave Roberts’s steal basically started off the chain reaction that put to rest 86 years of nonsense for the Red Sox. Too hard. Can’t do it.

Speaking of the Red Sox, it’s SPRING TRAINING! It’s HERE! PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORTED TODAY! BASEBALL SEASON IS STARTED!!!!!!

I’m so stinking excited. Not only because I love baseball (seriously…love it) but because it’s like the heralding of spring. It means that all this stupid winter stuff is going to melt away and the temperatures will warm up (it’s a balmy 18 degrees right now…) and we can pull out the spring clothes and get ready for that magical time known as SUMMER.

I can’t even…

So on to another topic. I’ve had a lot of time this snow break to work on finances. Dave Ramsey. So fun. It’s in the book a little, but I didn’t realize how absolutely irritating the, let’s just call them “DR Doldrums” are. I’m almost done with my first debt (yay!) and then I’ll start snowballing the next debt. And I see the light way, way, way at the end of the tunnel but right now all I keep thinking is “AM I EVER GOING TO HAVE ANY MONEY AGAIN?”. 

I know. I know. Stick to the plan. It’s going to work out if you stick to the plan. It’s like loosing weight. It sucks while you’re doing it, and you may not see progress ALL the time, but the end is worth all the work and sweat and healthy eating. 

I’m going with the mantra I have been learning to apply to everything: Jesus take the wheel.

Right now I’m discouraged, right now I don’t want to snowball my debts, I want to go to Hawaii and buy new spring clothes and shop and go out more. But that’s not how this works. That’s what got me into this mess, and stopping all those behaviors is what will get me out. 

It’s exactly like loosing weight. I had to change the way I ate, completely, before I could really start to lose (30 lbs so far! and continuing) So with my finances I have to change the way I think and the way I do things. And once that first debt is gone, it’ll feel really good and I will get that adrenaline boost, similar to the one you get from losing 5 lbs. And then I’ll feel more ready to tackle the next debt and it will snowball, but right now I still have the debt, I have lots of things coming up I need to pay for, and I’m in the DR Doldrums. I’ll just have to keep watching highlights of Super Bowl XLIX and see pictures from Spring Training to help motivate me. Because if I ever want to GO to spring training or buy Patriots things again, I have to get my brain in a better financial place. 

Jesus take the wheel, cause I’m gonna crash if I drive. And just so I don’t end this blog on a low note, here’s Tom Brady jumping up and down in reaction to the Butler interception (what was Carroll thinking????)

Advertisements

Red Sox Spring Training Analysis (Part 2)

lowrie headshot.jpg

A few days ago, I posted an article analyzing the Red Sox and using
my stats love to predict the 2009 season based on spring training. You
can read that article here, if you haven’t.This is the second in what will be a series of articles.

Today I’m going to look at the question marks of the Red Sox, Mike Lowell, Jed Lowrie, and Kevin Youkilis.

We’ll start with Mike Lowell, who had offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip.

In Spring Training 2007, Mike hit .170 with 9 hits, 3 homers, and 8 RBI.

In his World Series MVP 2007 Season, he hit .324 with 191 hits, 21 dingers, and 120 RBI.

In Spring Training 2008, he batted .237 with 9 hits, 2 home runs, and 5 RBI

2008 was a down year for Mike, mostly due to his hip issue. He hit .274 with 115 hits, 17 homers, and 73 RBI.

So,
how does he bounce back? He’s looked good so far in spring training,
and the hip doesn’t seem to be bothering him. In spring training this
year, Lowell has hit .286 with 9 hits, 3 home runs and 4 RBI.

My
prediction for the 2009 season? I think he bounces back to good form,
maybe not the year he had in 2007, but pretty good. I think Mike will
hit around .275-.290 (I give him a wide margin because of the injury)
with about 150 hits, between 94-100 RBI and probably around 18-20 home
runs.

Next we’ll look at the Jed Lowrie.
He’ll be the short stop on opening day, but he’ll have to fight to keep
the job when Julio Lugo comes back, because the Red Sox don’t want nine
million dollars riding the bench.

Lowrie is difficult because he is young, and we don’t know what to expect from him yet.

In
2008, he batted .098 with 4 hits and 3 RBI in spring training, then hit
.258 with 67 hits, 2 homers, and 46 RBI in 81 games with the Red Sox
last year.

So then we have to ask
ourselves, how much does spring training really matter? Can it be used
to predict a player’s performance? The answer is no. It can give a some
insight to what a player might do, but the law of averages does not
take into account injuries, slumps, and hot streaks.

That
being said, Jed Lowrie is a sort of dark horse in 2009. In spring
training so far, he’s batted .408 with 20 hits, 2 home runs, and 11
RBI.

So how will Jed do in 2009?
Good question. I’m going to predict he’ll hit around .260-.280, with
maybe 80-90 hits. However, if his spring training is any indication of
how he’ll do this year, he could do much better. It will definitely be
exciting to watch.

Next we move on to Kevin Youkilis.

Last year was the first year that Youk didn’t slump a little after the All-Star break. The question is, at 29, can Youk
repeat last year’s stats or will they take a little dip? Again, this is
where all the stats in the world can’t predict the answer.

In
2007, Youk hit .375, with 18 hits and 5 RBI in spring training, and
.288 with 152 hits, 16 homers, and 83 RBI in the regular season.

2008 was Youk’s year. He finished 3rd in the AL MVP race and had a career year in terms of hitting.

In spring training, he hit .297 with 11 hits, 3 home runs, and 8 RBI.

During the regular season, Youk hit .312 with 1678 hits, 29 homers, and 115 RBI.

In 2009, Youk played in the World Baseball Classic, which skews his stats a little.

In the WBC, Youk hit .182 with 4 hits, 3 homers, 9 RBI, and 6 walks.

In spring training, Youk has hit .208 with 5 hits, 1 home run, 3 RBI and 4 walks.

So what does Kevin Youkilis regular season look like? If he doesn’t slump after the All-Star break, I think Youk can hit around .285-.300, with 95-100 RBI and 20-25 homers. Of course, his OBP will be high, as usual, because he’s a tough out, and he should be pretty good protection for Ortiz this year.

That’s all the analysis for today. Next I’ll look at J.D. Drew, Jason Bay, and the pitching staff.

Red Sox Spring Training Analysis (Part 1)

It’s time for a little baseball prognosticating.

I admit to being a stats addict, and as such, I’m going to look at
the stats from spring training in 2008, compare them to the stats from
the 2008 regular season, and then see what conclusions can be drawn for
this season based on this year’s spring training numbers.

Whew. Good thing I’m a stats freak…’cause that’s a lot of numbers.

We’ll start by looking at the captain, and see if his 2009 will be better than 2008.

‘Tek hit .320 in 2008 Spring training, with three homers and seven RBI.

In 2008, he hit .220 with 13 home runs and an astounding 122 strikeouts in 131 games.

So far this spring, Varitek has hit .206 with 3 homers and 12 RBI.
Maybe the lower spring training batting average bodes well for ‘Tek;
his 2007 spring training batting average was .108, and he ended up
hitting .255 with 17 home runs in 2007.

Prediction: ‘Tek will hit somewhere between .229 and .245 for 2009. We’ll see.

 

Next, we’ll take a look at Jacoby Ellsbury.

In 2008 spring training, Jacoby hit .209 with 4 RBI and 3 runs scored.

During the regular season, despite slumps, Jacoby finished with .280, 47 RBI, 98 runs scored and 50 stolen bases.

This spring, Jacoby has hit .250 with 8 runs scored, 5 RBI, and one steal.

Look for him to hit around .300 this season, with more runs scored
and more stolen bases if he can avoid the slumps. Since this will be
(sort of) his third year in the majors, maybe he can avoid the
sophomore slump. If he does, Ellsbury will be one of the game’s elite
leadoff hitters. That, combined with his great defense, should lead to
an excellent player.

 

Now lets look at the AL MVP Dustin Pedroia.

In 2008 spring training, Dustin batted .179 with one homer and four RBI.

By the time the 2008 season rolled around, he stepped up his game considerably, hitting .326 with 17 home runs and 83 RBI.

This spring, not including his brief stint at the World Baseball Classic, Pedroia has hit .370 with four RBI and 10 hits.

Pedroia throws off the stats a little, because so far, he’s been a
slow starter (he hit .196 in 2007 spring training, then hit .317 for
the year). But because of the World Baseball Classic, we don’t have all
his stats. If you figure them all out, Dustin’s spring average is
.279–considerably higher than his usual spring training average. That
means I have to forget stats and just guesstimate.

Look for Pedroia to do better than his stellar year last year,
hitting around the .335 to .350 mark. This may be overly optimistic,
but he’s got the will and the drive.

That’s it for part one. Next, I’ll look at Lowrie, Lowell, and Youkilis, and see what kind of years they will have.