81 gamesWith 81 games in the books and 81 games remaining, many of our fellow Red Sox bloggers have posted mid-season progress reports. Many of these have been well-thought-out and educational. This mid-season report is neither of those things. We are going to grade the Red Sox players' performance based on how we would react if the individual player was on fire.
ranked in order of VORPOF (value over replacement player on fire)
JD Drew, VORPOF = 27.4 If I saw that JD Drew was on fire, I would just assume it had something to do with the Rapture, and that after spending a season suffering for our sins, JD Drew was clearly the second coming of Jesus Christ. Too soon to start calling him JC Drew?
Kevin Youkilis, VORPOF = 24.5 I would be so enraged to see Youk on fire that I would throw my batting helmet in the base path, slam something very large and heavy into the club house wall, and scream loudly in Manny's face in hopes that one of these things would appropriately convey to the world that I was ANGRY.
Manny Ramirez, VORPOF = 24.2 Consult with team to see if there is a "Manny Accidentally Set Himself on Fire While Trying to Juggle Firecrackers with His Kids" protocol. There's got to be, right? Don't you imagine that this happens, like, once a week?
Jon Lester, VORPOF = 23.7 He survived cancer, came back to win the clinching game of the World Series, pitch a no-hitter and emerge as the 2008 first half ace. For him, being set on fire is probably the equivalent of being tickled by your kid brother.
Josh Beckett, VORPOF = 16.8 You know how sometimes guys who want to show that they are total bad-asses will lick their thumb and their index finger and then snuff the flame of a candle that way? I imagine Josh Beckett would do something like that if he was engulfed in flames. Unfortunately, he might then give up a couple homeruns, but the man just single-handedly saved himself from immolation, are you really gonna complain?
Dustin Pedroia, VORPOF = 15.3 Approach cautiously. If this is some kind of behavior modification technique that will help him increase the number of walks he takes, I don't want to interfere.
Jacoby Ellsbury, VORPOF = 14.7 Jacoby is fourth among all rookies in VORPOF (second is Fukudome, and I'm dubious about whether or not he should count) and second among all AL rookies, so maximum effort should be made to assist him if he happens to catch on fire. (Maybe it occurred as a result of his lightening quickness on the base paths?) However, I am pretty sure that Jacoby's 286,598 future wives currently residing in the Boston Metro area (he is Mormon, after all) will sacrifice themselves to save him, so he'll probably be okay.
Mike Lowell, VORPOF = 14.0 Before attempting to put out the fire with the shield of my own body, briefly make sure that the line of succession is in place for the presidency of NHCaPRSFWPNtBiMH218i2010! (The propaganda machine formerly known as NDRaPRSFftEMRSoML).
David Ortiz, VORPOF = 13.9 Is this some sort of wacky holistic treatment to rehabilitate his wrist? At this point, I would be willing to try anything. Get well soon, Papi, get well very, very, very soon.
Tim Wakefield, VORPOF = 13.6 When a dude signs what's essentially a lifetime contract, you gotta figure he knows that eventually they're going to set him on fire, it's just a matter of when. Still, his zen-master old-dude acceptance of his inevitable fate doesn't mean I wouldn't use Craig Hansen's hair to beat out the flames.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, VORPOF = 13.6 Whether or not I would lift a finger to help put out the fire strongly depends on whether or not Daisuke had just taken an at-bat from 0-2 to 3-2.
Sean Casey, VORPOF = 10.2 Keep an eye on the situation, but briefly do nothing, wait around to see who comes to his aid, whether he's really the most likeable player in baseball.
David Aardsma, VORPOF = 10.0 If David Aardsma caught on fire, would one of the local papers finally write something about him? How is it possible that we still do not know anything about him, other than that his last name is a colloquial term for certain male grooming habit. Amalie Benjamin, I know that trying to tame your many flyaways is a full-time job, but can't you see the man is on fire here? What else does he have to do to get you to write a nice, folksy article about him?
Julio Lugo, VORPOF = 9.9 Two words: lighter fluid. And I don't care that, statistically, he is in the top ten among Red Sox position players in VORPOF. Julio Lugo is the one player who turns me into Joe Morgan as far as valuing sabermetrics is concerned. (Katie can't help but add: Julio Lugo's continued presence in this plane of existence makes me want to set myself on fire, so I would actually put the fire out so that I could revive his lifeless body and set him on fire all over again.)
Justin Masterson, VORPOF = 9.7Justin Masterson may have a Major League VORPOF of 9.7, but his VORPOF among players who began the 2008 season in AA ball is something like 262.5. Pretty spiffy.
Hideki Okajima, VORPOF = 8.4 Did you know that Okajima's pitched 33 innings, has given up 33 hits, and has 33 strikeouts? Does that seem creepy to anyone else? Is it possible the flames are a sign that he may have sold his soul to the devil? I mean, how else do you explain his performance last year? Not to mention that creepy song.
Coco Crisp, VORPOF = 7.8 Hmmm ... well. I mean. He's a nice guy, right? And he's batting over 250. Sure he whines a lot, but he rarely has the chance to bunt on the lead-off pitch anymore. Oh, wait, the flames have reached his catching arm. Well, I guess there's no point in doing much of anything, then ....
Jonathan Papelbon, VORPOF = 7.4 Silly, those aren't flames -- that's just a Dunkin' Donuts ad.
Javier Lopez, VORPOF = 7.3 If there's any justice, it's a case of self-immolation over the ridiculousness of his statistical VORPOF compared to his VORPHSBSOF (value over replacement player who should be set on fire), which is a stunning -97.8.
Manny Delcarmen, VORPOF = 6.8 I would put them out. Immediately. Have you seen the small child this man has to live for?
Alex Cora, VORPOF = 2.2 Surely his often-touted genius-level baseball intelligence will get him out of this?
Bartolo Colon, VORPOF = 1.9 He's going through a rough patch at the moment, but I would put out that fire as quick as his delivery to the plate. That's how much I love quick workers.
Jason Varitek, VORPOF = 1.1 No need for alarm. Varitek isn't afraid of fire, fire is afraid of Varitek. Fire is afraid of Varitek the way that I was afraid of his 2 for 27 slump.
Kevin Cash, VORPOF = -0.6 I would assume that he will emerge from the flames like the sword of Excalibur or some such, ready to hit 3-run bombs that land on the Lansdowne Street parking garage. Or any other explanation that makes absolutely no sense.
Clay Buchholz, VORPOF = -1.4 I don't know. The fire is probably just one in the series of mysterious injuries the Sox are using to convince him he could use a little more time in AAA.
Craig Hansen, VORPOF = -3.0 It's gonna be difficult to figure out this particular fire's source of origin. Grease fire starting with his hair? Tragic bong-in-the-bullpen accident?
Mike Timlin, VORPOF = -5.3 Tip my cap and wish him the best of luck pitching for the Styx River Dogs.