PDA

View Full Version : Neyer on Wily Mo



osuceltic
04-18-2006, 09:27 AM
If you're a Red Sox fan, you already know this, but if you're not, you might find this of interest: In the last week, Wily Mo Pena's "defense" has plainly cost the Red Sox nine bases. That's a lot. That's as many as you'll ever see. And even if the Boston Herald's Tony Massarotti weren't counting, we know the Red Sox would be. Because one of the things Bill James likes to count is defensive mistakes that do not get counted officially as errors.

I don't think I'm telling tales out of school. Bill has mentioned this in various interviews the last year or two. Anyway, now that the Red Sox are paying attention -- I mean really paying attention -- my guess is Pena's going to set some kind of team record for "clearly identifiable defensive mistakes" (although I think that's an old label that has been replaced by something more manageable). So many they'll realize his hitting doesn't (can't) balance his lousy fielding. At which point, the question for Theo Epstein becomes, "How do I convince some other team that Pena's really not as bad as we all know he is? Because there's not exactly an opening at DH."

Or maybe the Red Sox will simply limit his exposure. Let him start against left-handed pitchers, and yank him from the game as soon as the Sox are ahead by three runs or have a smaller lead in the late innings. But he simply won't be allowed to give away runs as regularly as he has been.

This is from Rob Neyer's latest at ESPN.com. Not surprising.

I'd be curious to see similar stats for Dunn defensively this season. Clearly Dunn's offense demands you overlook the defensive lapses a little more easily, but I'd love to know how many "clearly identifiable defensive mistakes" Dunn has made, and how many bases he has cost the Reds.

Casey_21
04-18-2006, 10:15 AM
Nah... If it's one thing Wily Mo is untouchable in, it's fielding mistakes. Dunn don't come close. And even when he does suck, he usually makes up for it. I aint worried about Dunner. Looks like the Red Sox are screwed though... Oh well, better them then us.

RedsManRick
04-18-2006, 10:16 AM
Dunn looks awkward. Wily Mo looks lost.

westofyou
04-18-2006, 10:24 AM
Let him start against left-handed pitchers, and yank him from the game as soon as the Sox are ahead by three runs or have a smaller lead in the late innings.

Strat-O-Matic

flyer85
04-18-2006, 10:27 AM
anybody who has ever seen the two play OF at the ballpark(sorry TV does not do justice to OF play) would never compare them. I have never seen an OF like WMP, he never takes a straight line to any ball. It seems like he just starts running then after 2-3 steps starts trying to figure out where the ball might end up(thus altering course).

WMP is a 1B or DH(somebody in Boston already has that job). Kindo of funny that the Reds Sox now have three DHs(WMP, Papi and Manny).

chicoruiz
04-18-2006, 10:35 AM
So what do you think is the underlying reason that Wily Mo is such a grease fire defensively? His work ethic is supposedly good. His ability to hit would seemingly preclude any eyesight or depth perception issues. I'm not buying "inexperience"; he's chased plenty of fly balls in his life. Is it all psychological with him?

I wonder how many of Wily's errors come with runners on base. You can get away with a narrow focus when you're hitting; maybe when he has to think about catching the ball, where to throw to, etc., he just has a momentary vapor lock.

You would think that the Red Sox, an organization that seems to be doing things right these days, would be able to solve this mystery if anyone could. I certainly have more faith in their ability to deal with this than I would have in the Reds organization. I'm fascinated to see how this all plays out.

flyer85
04-18-2006, 10:38 AM
So what do you think is the underlying reason that Wily Mo is such a grease fire defensively? His work ethic is supposedly good. His ability to hit would seemingly preclude any eyesight or depth perception issues. I'm not buying "inexperience"; he's chased plenty of fly balls in his life. Is it all psychological with him?
I think for the most part the ability to track a ball and run to the spot where it will come down takes a lot of innate ability. WMP is one of those guys(Kal Daniels was another) that just doesn't have it.

westofyou
04-18-2006, 10:39 AM
So what do you think is the underlying reason that Wily Mo is such a grease fire defensively? Baseball Vertigo or otherwise known as Lonnie Smith Syndrom.

Chip R
04-18-2006, 10:51 AM
So what do you think is the underlying reason that Wily Mo is such a grease fire defensively? His work ethic is supposedly good. His ability to hit would seemingly preclude any eyesight or depth perception issues. I'm not buying "inexperience"; he's chased plenty of fly balls in his life. Is it all psychological with him?

You would think that the Red Sox, an organization that seems to be doing things right these days, would be able to solve this mystery if anyone could. I certainly have more faith in their ability to deal with this than I would have in the Reds organization. I'm fascinated to see how this all plays out.

Maybe it's just not in him to be a good defensive player. Some guys can't hit no matter how much you work with them. Other guys can't run or throw or hit with power. Wily Mo may just be inherently no good defensively. Some guys you can work with and improve them to the point where they are adequate. Then there are those who are beyond help. I tend to think Wily Mo is in the latter category.

RFS62
04-18-2006, 12:18 PM
Baseball Vertigo or otherwise known as Lonnie Smith Syndrom.


Wily Marv Throneberry?

Benny-Distefano
04-18-2006, 12:46 PM
I too have always wondered why the light never came on for Wily Mo defensively.

Maybe there is something to the above suggestion about him "freezing up" when he has to think about where to throw the ball (runners on base).

Perhaps someone with a greater mind for stats than I, can put together some type of comparison of Peña's fielding % with and without runners on base?

Jpup
04-18-2006, 12:51 PM
I kind of think that Theo will get something better than Arroyo for him. I loved the trade on the Reds part, but Theo knows what time it is. I would call Jim Bowden, quick like.

Chip R
04-18-2006, 01:29 PM
I kind of think that Theo will get something better than Arroyo for him. I loved the trade on the Reds part, but Theo knows what time it is. I would call Jim Bowden, quick like.

I dunno. Playing in a place like BOS exposes your weaknesses a lot more than playing here would. They keep putting him put there in RF all the time and people all over baseball are going to see his weaknesses. Unless you are going to DH him, why give up anything of value for him? Wait for the Sox to not offer him arbitration. As for JimBo, where would the Nats use him?

cumberlandreds
04-18-2006, 01:35 PM
I dunno. Playing in a place like BOS exposes your weaknesses a lot more than playing here would. They keep putting him put there in RF all the time and people all over baseball are going to see his weaknesses. Unless you are going to DH him, why give up anything of value for him? Wait for the Sox to not offer him arbitration. As for JimBo, where would the Nats use him?

JimBo could use him as his designated driver. :)

M2
04-18-2006, 02:19 PM
If Boston's really digging beneath the surface to understand Wily Mo's defense then it should realize that for inexplicable reasons he's a far better CF than a corner OF. It's like he becomes a completely different person. The Reds proved out the concept two years in row and the numbers are there to back it up if the Sox care to pay attention. With Coco Crisp out, I'd be deploying Wily Mo in CF.

Chip R
04-18-2006, 02:23 PM
If Boston's really digging beneath the surface to understand Wily Mo's defense then it should realize that for inexplicable reasons he's a far better CF than a corner OF. It's like he becomes a completely different person. The Reds proved out the concept two years in row and the numbers are there to back it up if the Sox care to pay attention. With Coco Crisp out, I'd be deploying Wily Mo in CF.

Isn't CF in Fenway pretty tough to play too?

Crash Davis
04-18-2006, 02:29 PM
If Boston's really digging beneath the surface to understand Wily Mo's defense then it should realize that for inexplicable reasons he's a far better CF than a corner OF. It's like he becomes a completely different person. The Reds proved out the concept two years in row and the numbers are there to back it up if the Sox care to pay attention. With Coco Crisp out, I'd be deploying Wily Mo in CF.

Bingo. Great point.

From what I've seen, Wily Mo in CF is a dramatic improvement over Wily Mo in the corners. I can't tell you why, but it's something that sticks out when you watch him play CF for awhile.

registerthis
04-18-2006, 02:31 PM
I dunno. Playing in a place like BOS exposes your weaknesses a lot more than playing here would. They keep putting him put there in RF all the time and people all over baseball are going to see his weaknesses. Unless you are going to DH him, why give up anything of value for him? Wait for the Sox to not offer him arbitration. As for JimBo, where would the Nats use him?

Wily Mo might actually work in CF for the Nats. It's the position where he is least likely to cause defensive damage to a club. And the Nats need all the offense they can get at this point...problem is, they hardly have anything they can give up for a trade.

RedsManRick
04-18-2006, 02:32 PM
If his real problem is projecting the path of the ball properly (leading to horrible routes and bad jumps), then it makes sense for him to be a better CF. He certainly has the generic speed and athleticism for the position. He probably has the best arm of the group they've got out there. However, I wouldn't bet on them moving Crisp to RF to make room for him.

Jpup
04-18-2006, 02:33 PM
Wily Mo might actually work in CF for the Nats. It's the position where he is least likely to cause defensive damage to a club. And the Nats need all the offense they can get at this point...problem is, they hardly have anything they can give up for a trade.

They have plenty to snatch up Wily Mo.

flyer85
04-18-2006, 02:38 PM
While CF is probably his best OF position it's similar to the difference of death by firing squad or slow strangulation.

M2
04-18-2006, 02:39 PM
Isn't CF in Fenway pretty tough to play too?

I tend to think that's overhyped a bit. There a notch and some weird angles off the walls, but it's not like performing derivative calculus on the run. Carl Everett and Tony Armas managed to survive out there.

M2
04-18-2006, 02:41 PM
While CF is probably his best OF position it's similar to the difference of death by firing squad or slow strangulation.

I've always thought he's pretty good out in CF. In fact he was stellar out there in 2004. Last year he was just all right. Struggled a bit early in the year when he played there infrequently, but bounced back when Jr. went down and he got regular work in CF.

red-in-la
04-18-2006, 02:41 PM
This really isn't necessarily the Red Sox point of view....this is ONE writer who lets in a small hint that he knows the GM watches these kind of things, and thereby is inuendo that James is counting these things about WMP and the Sox in general are upset about it just because he is.

The OF in Fenway has been notorious for years for being difficult to play....hence the greatness of the Yaz......playing WMP in Fenway's RF where everybody is measured against a double-digit gold glover and first ballot HOF'er is a little bit unfair to WMP.

flyer85
04-18-2006, 02:44 PM
The OF in Fenway has been notorious for years for being difficult to playall 3 OF positions are tough in Fenway.

M2
04-18-2006, 02:44 PM
This really isn't necessarily the Red Sox point of view....this is ONE writer who lets in a small hint that he knows the GM watches these kind of things, and thereby is inuendo that James is counting these things about WMP and the Sox in general are upset about it just because he is.

The OF in Fenway has been notorious for years for being difficult to play....hence the greatness of the Yaz......playing WMP in Fenway's RF where everybody is measured against a double-digit gold glover and first ballot HOF'er is a little bit unfair to WMP.

Yaz played LF. Tony Conigliaro played RF.

And the writer in question knows James counts these things because he's worked with James for more than a decade. He was James' research assistant and they've gone on to write books together.

westofyou
04-18-2006, 02:50 PM
Yaz played LF. Tony Conigliaro played RF.

And Reggie Smith played CF

registerthis
04-18-2006, 02:50 PM
While CF is probably his best OF position it's similar to the difference of death by firing squad or slow strangulation.

No, he's never been anywhere near that bad in CF. In 97 games there, he has a RF of 3.05 and a ZR of .866.

By comparison, Crisp has career numbers of 2.44 RF and .863 ZR.

WMP being an awful CFer is a myth enhanced by his atrocious play in RF and LF. There can be any number of explanations for that, but regardless he's proven to be a very serviceable CFer.

HalMorrisRules
04-18-2006, 03:26 PM
Neyer added this in his ESPN chat this afternoon:


Chris (Oxford, UK): You wrote in your column that there's no way that Wily Mo's offense can ever make up for his shoddy defense. For years now, the Red Sox have put up with Manny Ramirez's glove in left - if Wily Mo develops into a serious offensive threat (and he's still young), could the same not be true of him?

SportsNation Rob Neyer: One: Pena's a lot, lot worse than Ramirez.

Two: It's a lot easier to play left field in Fenway than center or right.

Three: You don't mind one butcher so much, but two is too many. And no (answering a question somebody e-mailed yesterday), we should not expect Pena to get any better. He was terrible with the Reds, he's terrible now, and he'll probably always be terrible.

registerthis
04-18-2006, 04:08 PM
One: Pena's a lot, lot worse than Ramirez.


No, he's not.

Manny the Gold Glover:



CAREER BY POS GP GS INN TC PO A E DP FPCT RF ZR PB SB CS CS% CERA
Total as LF 541 535 4509.0 935 874 38 23 1 .975 1.82 .769 -- -- -- -- --
Total as RF 905 891 7768.0 1711 1608 65 38 15 .978 1.94 .875 -- -- -- -- --

WMR
04-18-2006, 04:44 PM
Wow... Neyer went from fairly credible to crap really quickly there.

westofyou
04-18-2006, 04:56 PM
Wow... Neyer went from fairly credible to crap really quickly there.
Ummm.. yeah he's the first to say that WMP stinks in the field.

Hap
04-18-2006, 05:00 PM
Sometimes you have to analyze a trade like this:

http://www.editingarchive.com/imgs/239.jpg

HA-HA!!!!

Johnny Footstool
04-18-2006, 05:05 PM
Bingo. Great point.

From what I've seen, Wily Mo in CF is a dramatic improvement over Wily Mo in the corners. I can't tell you why, but it's something that sticks out when you watch him play CF for awhile.

Hook and slice. They're more pronounced for corner OFs than for CF. He's just not good at reading them.

That might explain his trouble with breaking pitches, too.

KronoRed
04-18-2006, 05:25 PM
Sometimes you have to analyze a trade like this:

http://www.editingarchive.com/imgs/239.jpg

HA-HA!!!!
At us or them? ;)

RedsManRick
04-18-2006, 05:29 PM
Hook and slice. They're more pronounced for corner OFs than for CF. He's just not good at reading them.

That might explain his trouble with breaking pitches, too.

I've always wondered if there was any correlation between fielding instincts/reactions and hitting instincts/reactions. A basic inability (or weakness) to project the non linear path of a ball would seem to manifest itself both in the field and at the plate.

Chip R
04-18-2006, 05:31 PM
I've always wondered if there was any correlation between fielding instincts/reactions and hitting instincts/reactions. A basic inability (or weakness) to project the non linear path of a ball would seem to manifest itself both in the field and at the plate.

Manny would seem to disprove that theory.

registerthis
04-18-2006, 05:33 PM
Ummm.. yeah he's the first to say that WMP stinks in the field.

But saying that Pena is "a lot, lot worse" than Ramirez defensively doesn't help his credibility. Ramirez is serviceable in RF, and downright awful in left. He's the worst everyday defensive leftfielder by a country mile.

His offensive production makes up for it, though, so it gets overlooked. But let's call his defense what it is--atrocious.

Sea Ray
04-18-2006, 05:39 PM
While Wily Mo's problems in Boston do not surprise me, the fact that it's only taken two weeks is pretty impressive. I was in Seattle last week and saw the series on their local network and the Fenway fans cheered him for picking up a ground ball on Sunday. His problems had little to do with the OF walls. His problems began before the ball ever hit a wall.

This is why I was never a Wily Mo fan here in Cincinnati. I never felt I'd be comfortable watching a fly ball drift out in his direction. I don't know why Boston couldn't see this. If they don't have an opening at DH, why trade for him?

I am of the opinion that his defense will never improve and he's destined for a DH role somewhere and I'm glad he's someone else's problem now...

WMR
04-18-2006, 07:07 PM
But saying that Pena is "a lot, lot worse" than Ramirez defensively doesn't help his credibility. Ramirez is serviceable in RF, and downright awful in left. He's the worst everyday defensive leftfielder by a country mile.

His offensive production makes up for it, though, so it gets overlooked. But let's call his defense what it is--atrocious.

That was my point. Making Ramirez out to be some great shakes over Wily Mo defensively is downright silly.

And I've said it in other threads and others have made the same remark here, WMP is much better in CF... but that's neither here nor there. I certainly wouldn't expect Neyer to know anything about that.

traderumor
04-20-2006, 04:25 PM
Found another log:

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/askedes/04_19_06/

Casey_21
04-21-2006, 09:12 AM
Hmm... Looks like Boston fans feel the same way I do about him. It's not looking too good for him. If he don't pick up a little at the plate, your gonna see some P.Oed people in Boston.

blumj
04-21-2006, 01:51 PM
Hmm... Looks like Boston fans feel the same way I do about him. It's not looking too good for him. If he don't pick up a little at the plate, your gonna see some P.Oed people in Boston.
Well, they're mostly the same people who are also POed about trading a backup catcher for Mark Loretta because of a few passed balls.

traderumor
04-21-2006, 01:56 PM
Well, they're mostly the same people who are also POed about trading a backup catcher for Mark Loretta because of a few passed balls.I saw that brewing in ST when Wakefield tossed against the Reds in a TV game. You could tell Bard and Wakefield both were totally frustrated.

I wouldn't minimize that when you start thinking about postseason. All I know is that Reds' history was changed with "it's in the dirt, here comes Foster, the Reds win the pennant."