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Free Agent Profile: Mark Loretta

Mark Loretta

Mark Loretta, acquired by the Boston Red Sox last offseason, had a solid year at the plate and played gold glove caliber defense at 2nd base for the BoSox in 2006.  The veteran 2nd-baseman anchored one of the best defensive infields of recent memory and helped set-up the powerful combination of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.  Boston would not have been as good a team without Loretta last season, and he can have the same impact on whichever club signs him, provided he stays healthy. 

To get a look at what Loretta accomplished in 2006, here are his base statistics…

  • Batting Average: .285 — well below career .301BA
  • On-Base Percentage: .345
  • Slugging Percentage: .361 — no power whatsoever
  • OPS: .706 — hampered by lack of power
  • Doubles: 33
  • Triples: 0
  • Homeruns: 5 — as I said, Loretta doesn’t have much pop
  • RBI: 59
  • Runs: 75 — inflated slightly due to Ortiz and Ramirez behind him
  • Stolen Bases/Caught Stealing: 4/1
  • Walks: 49
  • Strikeouts: 63 — decent for 635AB’s

Loretta had a decent season at the plate, hitting 2nd in the Red Sox lineup for the majority of the year.  There aren’t any statistics that stand-out as especially horrible (the .361SLG is acceptable for a 2B), nor are there any superb numbers in there. 

For a deeper view of Loretta’s 2006 at the plate, here are his situational numbers…

  • Bases Empty: .286/.347/.371
  • Runners On: .284/.343/.347
  • RISP: .280/.331/.304 — hmmm, what happened to the SLG here?
  • RISP w/2 outs: .347/.424/.387 — excellent
  • Bases Loaded: .385/.400/.462

Loretta’s situational statistics are actually quite good.  He doesn’t struggle in any particular situation, but does exceptionally well when run-scoring possibilities are on the line (RISP w/2 outs).  The .304SLG with RISP won’t make any scouts or GM’s happy, but Loretta did get hits with RISP (45), it’s just that only 4 of them went for extra-bases (and all of those were doubles).  For a #2 hitter and a middle-infielder, those situational stats are very much acceptable. 

To continue our look at Mark Loretta, here are his split stats…

  • Vs. Lefties: .274/.355/.392
  • Vs. Righties: .290/.341/.347
  • Home (Fenway): .308/.376/.411 — Red Sox Nation loved those! …
  • Away: .261/.313/.309 — …but hated these
  • Day Games: .303/.376/.411 — good thing the season’s during Daylight Savings Time!
  • Night Games: .278/.333/.341

Just as with his situational statistics, there’s no situation in which Loretta struggles but a few in which he thrives.  The veteran right-handed hitter does best against RHP’s during day games at Fenway; as was evidenced by his walk-off, 2-run Homerun on Patriots Day.  He struggles on the road and doesn’t do quite as well during nightcaps, but once again, Loretta’s numbers never really take a nosedive in any situation.  

 

Where will Mark Loretta be in 2007?

Mark Loretta should draw plenty of interest on the free agent market with several teams needing an offensively-productive 2nd-baseman.  One possibility is that he’ll stay in Boston, but the Red Sox have top-prospect Dustin Pedroia waiting in the wings to take his (or Alex Gonzalez’s) place.  Another is that Loretta will go to the New York Mets, a team that got decent hitting from 2B Jose Valentin, but unspectacular, if not disgusting defense from him.  The San Diego Padres might also express interest in bringing Loretta back, and the San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers could all try to move him west-ward.  Other teams could certainly take part in the bidding for Loretta, but the 5 I just mentioned should be the major players.

My prediction: Loretta moves to the Big Apple to offer a dynamic DP-combo with Jose Reyes.  He’ll sign a 2year deal worth about 9Million to go to the Mets. 

Stats prediction: Loretta will hit around .285-.290 with 3-6HR and 60-70RBI.  He’ll provide an excellent lead-in to the Beltran-Delgado-Wright trio with his performance in the 2-slot of Willie Randolph’s starting lineup. 

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Tomorrow’s Profile: Andy Pettitte

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Trivia Time!

Yesterday’s question was (see — Free Agent Profile: Mark Mulder)

Mark Mulder was traded by Oakland to St. Louis after the 2004 season for 3 players.  Two of them were reliever Kiko Calero and catching prospect Daric Barton.  Can you name the 3rd?

The correct answer…

Dan HarenHaren has been solid for the A’s as Mulder’s replacement in the rotation. 

Today’s question is…

Mark Loretta played for 2 teams before coming to the Padres in 2003.  Can you name them?

Hint: both are NL Central teams

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