We already know this season, if it gets off the ground in the first place, is going to be unlike any baseball season we’ve ever seen. There are a whole lot of reasons for this, not the least of which being that there will almost certainly be totally empty stands in the background, but the biggest to me is simply the length. There are only going to be 60 games instead of the normal 162, and that is going to lead to some truly wild results. Anyone who watches baseball regularly knows just how much noise is involved in any individual small-sample stretch, and how anything can happen in 60 games.
Seemingly the most-cited example of this has been that the Nationals would not have made the playoffs last season if the season ended after 60 games. They, of course, went on to win the World Series. I also talked about the wildness of small sample sizes with respect to Sandy León and his MVP-caliber run in 2016.
I want to continue focusing on the small sample weirdness over the next couple of days, but focus on the players actually on the Red Sox roster. It is a fool’s errand to try and predict an individual player’s season in a normal, 162-game year. It is downright impossible for a 60-game season. But I was curious just how bad and how good it could get for players. There’s still no definitive answer to this, but we can look to the past to see how good and bad it has been.
So, with that, I looked at all of the regulars on the Red Sox roster, starting today with the position players, and tried to find their best and worst 60-game stretches of their career. I didn’t include players like Alex Verdugo or Michael Chavis who could (or will) play a big role but haven’t had enough major-league experience to make this exercise worthwhile.
Good: May 2-July 12, 2019: 193 PA, .333/.354/.563, 10 2B, 10 HR
Bad: Opening Day- June 2, 2018: 150 PA, .191/.235/.248, 5 2B, 1 HR
Good: April 8-June 10, 2018: 168 PA, .313/.381/.627, 13 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR
Bad: May 22- July 29, 2013: 166 PA, .185/.247/.311, 7 2B, 4 HR
Good: May 25-August 4, 2018: 255 PA, .319/.369/.453, 13 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR
Bad: June 2-August 7, 2017: 205 PA, .245/.270/.306, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR
Good: May 24-August 1, 2019: 265 PA, .341/.411/.659, 23 2B, 17 HR
Bad: June 25-September 4, 2014: 195 PA, .178/.218/.272, 8 2B, 3 HR
Good: May 3-July 13, 2019: 258 PA, .342/.380/.642, 18 2B, 17 HR
Bad: July 21-September 24, 2018: 106 PA, .221/.302/.400, 2 2B, 5 HR
Good: May 8-July 11, 2018: 263 PA, .331/.411/.590, 16 2B, 13 HR
Bad: July 20-September 23, 2018: 237 PA, 237 PA, .261/.328/.365, 14 2B, 2 HR
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Good: April 6-June 11, 2016: 230 PA, .315/.391/.591, 16 2B, 5 3B, 10 HR
Bad: April 26- July 1, 2014: 196 PA, .197/.262/.275, 9 2B, 1 HR
Good: July 26-September 29, 2017: 238 PA, .313/.378/.776, 13 2B, 28 HR(!)
Bad: April 6-June 10, 2015: 246 PA, .258/.317/.444, 12 2B, 10 HR
A couple of notes here. One, with J.D. Martinez I cheated a little bit and only went back to 2015. He’s transformed so much as a player since his early career that I don’t think looking at pre-2015 is of any use. More importantly, I’m not sure what to do with this information! I can tell you that the average OPS’s — not accounting for playing time, just using each player’s OPS — range from .997 on the high end and .600 on the low end. For some context, last season the top team OPS was .848 and the bottom was .673.