A few points before I have to start sawing logs:
Saratoga was delayed not by escorts but by the necessary repair of a 5-inch gun barrel explosion. There could be said to be other factors, including her use as an aircraft 'ferry' out west. But the proximate cause should be assigned to her accident.
Escorts were not only short, they were short-legged too. But considering operational requirements versus the leisurely peacetime routine which failed to adequately anticipate wartime usage...for example, just changing station when the flattop chases the wind was an expensive chore in time and oil...but one had to keep the carrier screened. Or else.
As for Neosho I'm certainly happy to see someone else who considers her loss, as you quite aptly put it, 'especially grievous....' Her loss was appalling for the Pacific Fleet at that point in time; without tankers the flattops were hamstrung on both speed and range.
I would take issue with your reasoning of Wasp's absence from the Eastern Solomons but the absence of a large and dedicated fleet train is noted.