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Thread: Neyer on Wily Mo

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    Neyer on Wily Mo

    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some kind of team record for "clearly identifiable defensive mistakes" (although I think that's an old label that has been replaced by something more manageable).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.

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    Re: Neyer on Wily Mo

    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.

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    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer on Wily Mo

    Dunn looks awkward. Wily Mo looks lost.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer on Wily Mo

    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

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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer on Wily Mo

    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).
    Last edited by flyer85; 04-18-2006 at 10:29 AM.
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    Re: Neyer on Wily Mo

    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.
    Last edited by chicoruiz; 04-18-2006 at 10:40 AM.

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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer on Wily Mo

    Quote Originally Posted by chicoruiz
    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.
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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer on Wily Mo

    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.

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer on Wily Mo

    Quote Originally Posted by chicoruiz
    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.
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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer on Wily Mo

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou
    Baseball Vertigo or otherwise known as Lonnie Smith Syndrom.

    Wily Marv Throneberry?
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
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    Re: Neyer on Wily Mo

    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?

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    Member Jpup's Avatar
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    Re: Neyer on Wily Mo

    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.
    "My mission is to be the ray of hope, the guy who stands out there on that beautiful field and owns up to his mistakes and lets people know it's never completely hopeless, no matter how bad it seems at the time. I have a platform and a message, and now I go to bed at night, sober and happy, praying I can be a good messenger." -Josh Hamilton

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    Re: Neyer on Wily Mo

    Quote Originally Posted by Jpup
    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?
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    Re: Neyer on Wily Mo

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R
    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.
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    Re: Neyer on Wily Mo

    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.
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