A few years ago finding a competitive advantage meant evaluating players in new and different ways, often with statistics. That’s what Moneyball was all about. Finding value in places other teams aren’t looking.
Nowadays the analytical gap between clubs is relatively small, so finding those competitive advantages are getting more difficult. The Red Sox believe they’ve found one, however. They’re making sure their players are well-rested before games, and it extends far beyond the usual “send the next day’s starting pitcher home early” routine.
According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox have a “sleep room” at Fenway Park outfitted with two bunk beds so players can rest before games. Here are some details:
The “sleep room” is just that, a 145-square-foot room where the players and even an occasional member of the coaching staff can grab a nap before a game. It has become so popular that the Red Sox recently entered into a sponsorship agreement with a bedding company that will include a full renovation of the room along with high-tech sheets, blankets, and pillows for the players to use at home.
In recent years several teams, particularly West Coast teams, have upgraded their team planes to help players get as much rest as possible. These days several clubs are also holding their spring training workouts a little later as well. Rather than, say, a 9 a.m. workout, they don’t have to report to the complex until 10 a.m. or even 11. Given baseball’s demanding travel schedule, a little extra sleep can go a long way.
The Red Sox players (and coaches) love their sleep room according to Abraham, so it seems like only a matter of time until this catches on around the league. After all, simply having the best players isn’t enough of an advantage anymore. It’s about having the best players performing at the highest level most often.