All-Overachievers Team

Cesar Crespo

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The vast majority of people on this board were really excited when Mookie Betts was the next Tony Phillips.

He certainly overachieved, but like the post above says, it never really felt like it. Pedroia is the same.
 

bankshot1

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Well, I know that when I first saw Pedroia play in 2006, and taking into account his size etc., that he would become one of my favorite players ever, and totally exceeding my expectations.

And I've no idea what Sabremetric said about him, but I just googled "Pedroia scouting report 2004" and found this in the Cooperstown archives

It was prepared for the White Sox.

https://collection.baseballhall.org/PASTIME/dustin-pedroia-scouting-report-2004-february-15.


This scouting report screams "intangibles" but other than the line "the kid flat out plays the game and finds a way to beat you" its hard to read that scouting report and think borderline HoF player.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Well, I know that when I first saw Pedroia play in 2006, and taking into account his size etc., that he would become one of my favorite players ever, and totally exceeding my expectations.

And I've no idea what Sabremetric said about him, but I just googled "Pedroia scouting report 2004" and found this in the Cooperstown archives

https://collection.baseballhall.org/PASTIME/dustin-pedroia-scouting-report-2004-february-15.


This scouting report screams "intangibles" but other than the line "the kid flat out plays the game and finds a way to beat you" its hard to read that scouting report and think borderline HoF player.
Yeah, the traditional scouting and the advanced metrics guys had a completely different opinion about Dustin Pedroia.

More specifically, I think it was PECOTA that really loved Dustin Pedroia.


https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/4841/lies-damned-lies-pecota-takes-on-prospects-wrap-up/

He was #11 on BP's prospect list. #4 on PECOTA.

edit: And at the time, this board was a lot more "nerdy" so we ate that up.
 

EdRalphRomero

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Dustin Pedroia was an amazingly talented hitter, gifted with a supernatural hand-eye coordination that allowed him to put the bat on the ball. That ability allowed him to be a top tier baseball player at just about every level where he played including college where he finished with a 393/.502/.611 line and was First Team All PAC-10, Collegiate Baseball Defensive Player of the Year (twice), Baseball America, ESPN, and NCBWA First Team All-American. This led to him being a highly touted second round draft choice. He then proceeded to put up a .970 OPS in his first minor league season (including a promotion) and was promoted to the big club after just 2 minor league seasons. He then proceeded to win ROY, MVP, and the hearts and minds of Red Sox fans.

On the other hand, he is short.
 

runnels3

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Has anyone ever started the season in the minors and made the all star team? I give you rookie Don Schwall, who got called up in May '61, won his first 5 starts on his way to pitching 3 innings in the all star game at Fenway. Granted, a one year flash, but certainly "exceeded all expectations for at least one full season!"
 

Rovin Romine

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I thought I was taking crazy pills because no one mentioned Pedroia until this post.
Again, look at his MiL stats. Sometimes guys are good.

I think you could consider Mike Lowell in this spot. Mostly because everyone thought he was cooked and was a throw in with the trade. If overachieving is surpassing expectations he did that to a huge degree. Big rebound year in '06 and even better in '07. You won't find many people who would have said at the time of the trade he'd be a key guy in the next WS championship.
Noted on Lansford.

My thoughts are still the same on Lowell. He had a bad age 31 year in 2005. People (the Marlins - ha!) thought he was finished. He returned to in-line production. Kind of like age 33 Ortiz in 2009 (though Lowell's bad year was worse, obviously.)
 

Yelling At Clouds

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Fwiw, my first thought for catcher was actually Doug Mirabelli, who I remember being brought in basically as a warm body after Varitek broke his arm, only to turn out to be a useful player on both sides of the ball. But at the same time, they brought him in to be a backup, and he ... was a backup, albeit a more visible one than usual. (Also, I might be remembering the circumstances of his arrival incorrectly.) So I’m not sure.
 

Hank Scorpio

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I think Koji might belong on the team. Good relieve who became legendary for a couple of years.

Reggie Jefferson? Journeyman DH guy who once batted around .350 and I think slugged close to 1.000 one year for us.
 

Al Zarilla

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Rovin, thanks for including Clyde Vollmer. Players from the long ago should be included, if deserving of course. It reminds me of the 100 year anniversary top 100 NFL players that were presented last year. Bill Belichick was a part of the selection committee and I believe he had a lot to do with getting some guys who played before the modern era included, like Dutch Clark, Cal Hubbard and Dan Fortmann. Of course, it's hard to find the baseball gems of this "better than expected" category who played back before we were alive.
 

Al Zarilla

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Jackie Jensen, outfielder. Sox traded Mickey McDermott and Tom Umphlett to Washington for him before the 1954 season. Jensen had had a good year for the Senators in 1953, but put up far better ones, including an MVP in 1958, for Boston. McDermott had a couple of decent seasons pitching for the Senators, but Umphlett did nothing. Jensen could probably have done more, but he had his well publicized fear of flying and retired.
 

Archer1979

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OK - Provisionally updated in the first post and here. Steve wright, Bronson Arroyo, Tom Gordon, Mike Carp, John Valentin/Luis Rivera, Clyde Vollmer, Carney Lansford.

Argue them in, argue them out.

We need some catchers, and starting pitchers. Or a 2b - we can stick BROCKHOLT in at catcher.


***
So, this would be a "Surprise Finds" team... basically the reverse of the Disappointments. Guys that exceeded expectations for at least one full season."

The key to All-Overachievers Sox would be modest expectations greatly exceeded. Think scrappy over-achiever, surprise find, journeyman actually "putting it all together" when everyone has more or less given up on them. Utility guy who takes a main role and does it well.

1B: Brian Daubach
2B: BROCK HOLT! (team captain)
SS: John Valentin/Luis Rivera?
3B: Travis Shaw, Shea Hillenbrags, Carney Lansford
OF: Daniel Nava, Troy O’Leary, Clyde Vollmer
C:
DH: David Ortiz, Mike Carp

SP: Tim Wakefield, Steven Wright, Bronson Arroyo
RP: Andrew Miller, Rich "El Guapo" Garces, Hideki "hero in the dark" Okajima, Tom Gordon.

Managed by: Joe Morgan, Torey Lovullo
GM: Dan Duquette

I made a case for Luis Tiant earlier. A couple of teams thought he was toast due to injuries. Signed with the Sox, had a mediocre year and then basically became El Tiante.
 

curly2

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I know Stanley's "wild pitch" should have been a passed ball and I know he fell off the cliff after that, but I stand by my earlier recommendation for catcher.

Rich Gedman was undrafted out of Worcester High but put up 12 WAR from 1984-86.
 

The Gray Eagle

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For me personally, I would consider the acquisition cost of the player, along with his track record, and the general expectations when he was acquired.

That's why I wouldn't put any reasonably high draft pick on my overachiever team-- most draft picks crater, but the first 4, 5 or so rounds of of the draft are valuable expenditures. If you get picked in those rounds, at least some teams probably think you have a decently high ceiling. So if you hit that ceiling, that's not that much of an overachievement, IMO.

Any player who blows away his projected "ceiling" is overachieving of course. But the higher that projected ceiling, the harder it is to overachieve by a lot. If you put high draft picks on this team, then you are basically saying that anyone who is really good is an overachiever, because even high first round picks fail a lot. In a sense that's true, but relative to guys who were dumped and basically unwanted by anyone, it's less so.

If a player was released right before we signed him, he should be a candidate for this team IMO. Especially if we picked him up on a minor league deal or very low-cost contract. Once a guy is cut and has to take a minor league deal, it doesn't much matter how good he was before that, that's evidence that almost all of the league thinks he is virtually worthless. To get anything from a guy like that is a real overachievement.

So for me, Tiant and Ortiz should be on this team, but I wouldn't put Pedroia on it. Ortiz and Tiant were dumped and could have signed with any team for very little money, but Pedroia was our first pick in the draft. All blew past their projected ceilings, but Pedroia cost a lot more to acquire and the expectations bar for what he might do with the Red Sox was higher for him as a high pick.
 

MtPleasant Paul

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Ancient history, but meeting your definition - Billy Klaus, the regular shortstop in '55 and '57 and the third baseman in "56 on three decent Red Sox teams. He was the proverbial scrappy infielder and a reputed team leader from whom little had been expected.
 

runnels3

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"Utility guy who takes a main role and does it well." - That would be Jerry Adair aka Mr. Clutch who came in a trade in early June 1967 and immediately filled in for Rico Petrocelli with 3 weeks of errorless ball. He always seemed to be in the middle of every comeback that golden summer. Put him at 3B, SS, or 2B. There is no Sox player I admire more.
 

amRadio

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I think Koji might belong on the team. Good relieve who became legendary for a couple of years.

Reggie Jefferson? Journeyman DH guy who once batted around .350 and I think slugged close to 1.000 one year for us.
After being converted to a reliever at 35 years old and prior to coming to Boston, Koji posted a 2.36 ERA, 11.1 K/9 and 10.3 K/BB in 145 appearances over three seasons. He was already a stud when he got here.

I feel like Pedroia is a real stretch too. In 185 PA's at A-A+ ball at 20 years old he posted a .970 OPS, the next year in 538 PA's at AA-AAA he posted an .837 OPS. My memory says he projected to be an every day regular and a possible all star from the get-go and the stats back it up. Sometimes borderline HOFers blossom in the big leagues at ages 24-27, and that's how I view Pedey's career arc. Good minor leaguer who became a great major leaguer. I'm not sure if that fits the spirit of this thread.

Glad to see Okajima mentioned - I'll never forget what he and Papelbon pulled off in game 2 of the 2007 World Series.

What about Steve Pearce?
 

tims4wins

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I think Koji might belong on the team. Good relieve who became legendary for a couple of years.

Reggie Jefferson? Journeyman DH guy who once batted around .350 and I think slugged close to 1.000 one year for us.
I mentioned Jefferson on the first page. The only thing that might prevent him is that the year prior to joining the Sox, he hit .327 / .392 / .543 (935 OPS / 138 OPS+).

I also love the earlier mention of Bronson Arroyo. While he was a 3rd round pick, he was claimed off waivers by the Sox. There were zero expectations for him.
 

RIFan

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I know Stanley's "wild pitch" should have been a passed ball and I know he fell off the cliff after that, but I stand by my earlier recommendation for catcher.
Being undrafted is definitely a point in his favor for this exercise. My issue with including him would be that once he was in the system he very quickly became a known prospect. He started strong in A ball and advanced to AA Bristol in his second year. He was second on the team in AB's and games played. That was no small accomplishment for a 19 YO in his second year of pro ball. He advanced to AA the next year, was the primary catcher and got a cup of coffee in Boston later in the year. He improved the next year in Pawtucket and when Allenson went down basically took over as the primary catcher and hit in line with his minor league progressions. When he broke into Boston he was viewed as the catcher of the future. No one was expecting him to be Fisk, but I don't recall anyone being shocked that he was a solid hitter.

I'm probably splitting hairs on being an overachiever and exceeding expectations. There is definitely a dearth of candidates that fit the definitions so while I think he doesn't quite fit, I don't have any real issue with anyone who does.
 

Rovin Romine

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What about Steve Pearce?
His 2018 season was totally in line with everything else he did. If you want to nominate him solely for his hot 2018 WS performance over 4 games, you'd have to nominate JBJ for his 2018 ACLS performance.

In terms of short impact, if the player were a minor league replacement call-up who had a huge impact on a pivotal post-season series, I'd say he fit the bill. Can't be a heralded rookie though. . .
 

Rovin Romine

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I mentioned Jefferson on the first page. The only thing that might prevent him is that the year prior to joining the Sox, he hit .327 / .392 / .543 (935 OPS / 138 OPS+).
That's why I didn't add him. They signed him as a FA because Seattle had Edgar Martinez - there was no question he was a good hitter.

Although. . .he didn't strangle Jimy Williams. That's over-achieving from one point of view, and under-achieving from another.
 

Al Zarilla

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"Utility guy who takes a main role and does it well." - That would be Jerry Adair aka Mr. Clutch who came in a trade in early June 1967 and immediately filled in for Rico Petrocelli with 3 weeks of errorless ball. He always seemed to be in the middle of every comeback that golden summer. Put him at 3B, SS, or 2B. There is no Sox player I admire more.
I thought of Adair also. There was a game on August 20, 1967 that was kind of "his game." The Sox fell behind the Angels 8-0 early. They came back in the middle innings until Adair singled in Dalton Jones in the bottom of the sixth to tie it at 8. Adair homered in the bottom of the eighth and they won it 9-8. Interesting that Yaz followed Adair in the lineup and was HBP after Adair's home run. Back then, superstar or not, you got drilled if the pitcher gave up a big HR.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Sandy Leon Trotsky proposed we do an inverse of the All-Potential and All-Disappointment Teams.

So, this would be a "Surprise Finds" team... basically the reverse of the Disappointments. Guys that exceeded expectations for at least one full season."

The key to All-Overachievers Sox would be modest expectations greatly exceeded. Think scrappy over-achiever, surprise find, journeyman actually "putting it all together" when everyone has more or less given up on them. Utility guy who takes a main role and does it well.

1B: Brian Daubach
2B: BROCK HOLT! (team captain)
SS: John Valentin/Luis Rivera?
3B: Travis Shaw, Shea Hillenbrags, Carney Lansford
OF: Daniel Nava, Troy O’Leary, Clyde Vollmer
C:
DH: David Ortiz, Mike Carp

SP: Tim Wakefield, Steven Wright, Bronson Arroyo
RP: Andrew Miller, Rich "El Guapo" Garces, Hideki "hero in the dark" Okajima, Tom Gordon.

Managed by: Joe Morgan, Torey Lovullo
GM: Dan Duquette
Holy shit! I posted that on the way out the door and haven't been able to check in since then. Thanks for starting this thread (I actually forgot all about it). I'm overwhelmed with all this, but definitely fun to check in all these guys that were all easy to root for. Some are definitely amongst my all time favorites: Wakefield, Gordon, Oki. I'm still unsure about Ortiz but I get it... he still had a pretty good pedigree, just his stock took a dive before he got here.
 

cantor44

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Similar thought about Youk. 8th round pick who didn't debut until he was 25. Then he became a 3x AS.

Maybe Youk should actually be team captain the more I think about it. He should be 3B over Shaw. Unless Boggs counts.
Both Youk and Boggs got late starts in the majors not because they weren't well regarded prospects or because they weren't performing in the minors. Both - and particularly Boggs - were simply kept in the minors for too long.

The production of guys like like Nava and Daubach really did come as a complete surprise.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Both Youk and Boggs got late starts in the majors not because they weren't well regarded prospects or because they weren't performing in the minors. Both - and particularly Boggs - were simply kept in the minors for too long.

The production of guys like like Nava and Daubach really did come as a complete surprise.
Boggs was certainly kept down for far too long. I don't know that I agree about Youk. He debuted at 25 after spending three seasons in the minors (1434 PA through the 2004 season). For contrast, Dustin Pedroia spent a similar amount of time before his debut (1216 PA). Youk's start was only "late" because he was drafted after his senior year of college rather than his junior year like many top prospects (such as Pedroia). He debuted in 2004 because Bill Mueller went on the DL for a couple weeks and did well enough to make the post-season roster. But because he had Mueller and Millar blocking his path, he was forced to ride the Pawtucket shuttle for the first couple years before he became a full time big leaguer.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Being undrafted is definitely a point in his favor for this exercise. My issue with including him would be that once he was in the system he very quickly became a known prospect. He started strong in A ball and advanced to AA Bristol in his second year. He was second on the team in AB's and games played. That was no small accomplishment for a 19 YO in his second year of pro ball. He advanced to AA the next year, was the primary catcher and got a cup of coffee in Boston later in the year. He improved the next year in Pawtucket and when Allenson went down basically took over as the primary catcher and hit in line with his minor league progressions. When he broke into Boston he was viewed as the catcher of the future.
Doesn't virtually everyone who gets to the majors have a strong minor-league track record?
 

mauf

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Tony Fossas didn’t make The Show until age 30 and had a career ERA of 4.50 when he arrived here. Wouldn’t have expected the two steady seasons (1991-92) we got from him.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Doesn't virtually everyone who gets to the majors have a strong minor-league track record?
Not really. A lot of players improve in the minors so have a few terrible years prior to 1 or 2 good ones. Do Christian Vazquez and Travis Shaw have good minor league track records? I don't think so, though I guess one could argue yes. Michael Chavis was also terrible for awhile before busting out.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Tony Fossas didn’t make The Show until age 30 and had a career ERA of 4.50 when he arrived here. Wouldn’t have expected the two steady seasons (1991-92) we got from him.
Wasn't Fossas basically a LOOGY those years? Maybe I should look this up but by memory, Fossas was always able to get lefties out.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Wasn't Fossas basically a LOOGY those years? Maybe I should look this up but by memory, Fossas was always able to get lefties out.
He was. Four seasons with the Sox, 239 appearances, 160.1 innings.

Judging strictly on his Sox years, I wouldn't call him an over-achiever. He came to them after two seasons with Milwaukee and pitched about the same as he had there. For his career, given the late start and that he pitched into his 40s, it would be safe to call him an overachiever in general.
 

3Olympics

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To me, "Overachiever" in the dictionary should have pictures of both Troy O'Leary and Brian Daubach...guys that came utterly from nowhere to become very valuable regulars for the Sox.
 

YTF

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I've enjoyed reading the different POV's here. Overachiever is a very subjective term, in my eye's there is a certain "shelf life" to the word. My take on an overachiever would be someone who doesn't have a lot of expectations placed on. Someone who somehow puts everything together for a short period of time (perhaps a couple of seasons) and then reverts back to who we expected him to be. I think the term diminishes as the individual success continues. In the case of pro athletes, some are just late bloomers. Mike Carp certainly overachieved for the Sox in 2013 as he did for the Mariners in 2011 with either one of those seasons outperforming his other four MLB seasons combined. Holt is an interesting case. His versatility afforded him the opportunity to be the overachiever that he was. If he were a part timer at one position he may never have gotten the playing time that he got and by comparison when pressed into continuous duty he showed that he was best suited to the role that he filled.
 

Jason Bae

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Alfredo Aceves... at least in 2011. He was a crucial part of that bullpen putting up a 2.61 ERA despite pedestrian peripherals (4.03 FIP, 4.77 xFIP, 6.3 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 39.6% groundball rate) and threw 93 innings in only 51 relief appearances. He went 2+ innings in 21 of those appearances, thirteen of those were 3+ innings. He also made four starts to mixed results.