Monday, April 18, 2005
Well, I scalded the entire length of the little and ring fingers on my right hand tonight. Thanks, pasta. I guess the water does really get hot enough to burn you.
So it's a bit hard to type, and quite frankly the stress of the paper/packing/sophomore review business I have going on is killing me, but right now I'm hyped on coffee and blogging is, for whatever unfathomable reason, stress relief. And because I've been stuck in my room for long stretches of time lately, I've seen rather a lot of baseball and baseball highlights.
The Tigers just finished up a series against the Royals, and yes we took two out of three and did some serious ass-kicking at points, but the Royals were interesting. They're just so young. I know I've been harping on that lately, but I've been thinking about it. The average age of their starting rotation is 27.4. 27! The average age of the Red Sox starting rotation is 34.8*. The Yankees? 35. The Detroit Tigers, however? 26.8. The Oakland A's? 24.4. Yes, you read that correctly. The average age of the Oakland A's starting rotation is 24.4.
Zach Greinke is 21. The A's don't have a single pitcher over 26. I mean, these guys are almost my age. If the Mariners decide to bring up Felix Hernandez at some point this year, there'll be a guy pitching in the majors who's younger than I am. I mean, younger. Than I am.
I'm digging through the Sox Prospects site, taking a look at our big-name prospects. Hanley Ramirez? Older than me. Dustin Pedroia? Older than me. Manny Delcarmen. Jon Papelbon. Charlie Zink (think knuckleball). Ian Bladergroen (think Mientkie). Juan Cedeno. Anibal Sanchez. All older than me. Everyone on the PawSox is older than me.
In fact, the average age of the PawSox starting rotation is 26.6. Yes, again, you're reading that correctly. The Boston Red Sox AAA squad has an older starting rotation than the big-league Oakland Athletics.
The youngest guy on the Red Sox active roster is the 27 year old Blaine Neal (a bullpen pitcher with a gaudy 11.57 ERA), and he's been in the majors since '01. Not exactly a new kid. But that's the closest thing in our clubhouse to a rookie. I don't much like him.
The youngest guy on the A's active roster is 21 year old Huston Street (a bullpen pitcher with a, well, an adjective-defying 1.23 ERA), and this is his first season with the big club. He's so rookie you can practically still see the bubble packaging he came in. It's kind of hard to not like him.
Oh, I know full well that a team with money can afford established players, while a team without much money has to make do with the relatively unproven (and much cheaper) young guys. I know that a younger team is most definitely not necessarily better than an older team. *glances sidelong at the Royals* I know that the Red Sox are aiming to compete now, not several years down the road.
It just makes me a little nervous. Admit it, guys, we're an old team, and we're getting older. Our GM is younger than 3/5ths of our starting pitchers. I watched the Royals get batted around like a tether ball (except for that first game, it never happened, it never happened) and all I could think of was how much upside so many of their players had. I watch Sportscenter and see all these highlights featuring Rich Harden (23) and Nick Swisher (24). I watch Jeremy Bonderman pitch and think, "Wow, if he's this good now, just imagine in a couple of years..." I watch David Wells pitch and I think, "Jesus, I hope we can squeeze a final couple of good years out of him before he undergoes gravitational collapse and becomes a black hole."
Do I think we can be a very valid contender this year? You betcha. Am I basically just a paranoid Sox fan? You betcha. Do I think none of this is stuff that Theo hasn't already gone over and made a plan for? You betcha. But I look at our team and I wonder what the hell we're going to do in two or three years.
And I don't think I'm too crazy for doing so.
*Admittedly, one of these is a knuckleball pitcher, which almost doesn't count. But still.