White Sox news, Minor Leagues updates and more

May 20, 2011

Pitching updates

A 6-man rotation means 1 less reliever. How will the Sox compensate?

In order to compensate for the loss of a middle reliever, one of the starters will be available in relief during the middle of their extended break. The exclusions to that possible role are Mark Buehrle and Gavin Floyd.

The six-man rotation will give the starters some relief since the Sox embark on a stretch of playing on 20 consecutive days without a scheduled day off starting Friday, and Guillen wants to ensure the health of Buehrle and Floyd through the entire season.

And if the 6-man rotation experiment goes well?

Manager Ozzie Guillen said he sees no reason not to stay with a six-man rotation if it works past the 20-day experimentation period that began with Phil Humber’s start against the Athletics on Friday night.

“If we like what we see, of course we’ll keep it at six,’’ Guillen said when asked if he can envision it in place deep into the summer. “Yes. Because I don’t see no reason to change it.’’

Why isn’t Santos given the closer title?

Santos wasn’t used Sunday the way a closer would normally be handled. When on the road in extra innings, teams typically save closers in case they take the lead and need to shut down the victory in the bottom of the inning. …

“[If I did,] all of a sudden, I have to stick with him,” Guillen said. “All of a sudden you don’t see him in the ninth and it’s, ‘What happened here? You said he was going to be the closer.’ When you are there, close the game. I think it’s too early to say this is the guy we are going to use. We’re not save that many games. But every time he’s there, he does the job. I hope he just wait a little bit for what’s going on and then we do something or tell him.”

And from the Coop Pitching Education department:

Humber credited Cooper with helping him add a slider to his repertoire during spring training.

‘‘[Before] I was fastball, curve, change,’’ Humber said. ‘‘The slider takes a lot of pressure off my other breaking ball because it gives hitters something else to think about.’’

Humber has been using his slider early in counts and throwing the curve as his put-away pitch.

and

Right-hander Jesse Crain tinkered with a split-fingered grip on his changeup last year in Minnesota, refined it in spring training and has mastered it this season.

The pitch looks like a fastball, then sinks late.

‘‘It’s been good, something else to keeps hitters off balance,’’ said Crain, who also throws a good curve and plus-fastball. ‘‘It’s slower [around 83 mph], it kind of fades into a righty and fades away from a lefty. Got some jams from righties and swings and misses and rollovers from lefties.’’

Other White Sox links: James says Alexei is breaking out, J.J. looks at Alexei’s acting skills, Chuck Garfien interviews Mark Buehrle and Jon Garland, and Carl has his latest sketch.

Fangraphs’ David Golebiewski on Gordon Beckham’s struggles [UPDATE]

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 20, 2011 2:50 pm
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Golebiewski @ FG:

[Gordon] Beckham gave every indication that he was ready for prime time. He hit the ground running with the White Sox in ’09, putting up a .351 Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) in 430 PA while earning the Sporting News’ AL Rookie of the Year Award. Just 22 years old at the time, Beckham looked like a franchise cornerstone and a needed first-round success story for an organization that had recently been criticized for taking low-upside players like Lance Broadway and Kyle McCulloch.

Since then, however, Beckham has been sliding backwards. His wOBA dipped to .305 in 2010, and he’s the owner of a sordid .262 wOBA so far this season for a Chicago team whose park-and-league adjusted offense is 12 percent below average. In late April, White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker told the Chicago Sun-Times, “[Beckham]‘s swinging at a lot of pitches out of the zone. He’s frustrated. He’s getting himself out a lot.”

Walker’s comments are spot-on. Beckham, described in Baseball America’s 2009 Prospect Handbook as possessing “unusual pitch recognition for a young hitter,” has devolved into one of the easiest outs in the majors. Take a look at Beckham’s outside swing percentages from 2009 to 2011, compared to the MLB averages during those years: …

UPDATE: Here’s Steve Stone’s take.

Terry Doyle promoted to AA Birmingham

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 20, 2011 2:39 pm
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Stats: FI, MiLB, B-R, FG.

32/7 is a 4.57 K/BB ratio!

Paint it black

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 20, 2011 12:00 pm
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Petti @ BTB:

The graphic above depicts all AL Central starting pitchers with greater than 40 innings pitched through May 18th. So far, this is the most surprising divisional breakdown I’ve done. Why? Simple. The White Sox.

Currently they have four starters with FIPs better than league average, and four of the top seven in the division. How have they given up so many runs this year? Their bullpen also has a sub-4 FIP. As someone who doesn’t follow the team closely, this is perplexing. With Jake Peavey seemingly set to pull a Bartolo Colon, that rotation could look even scarier.

Title. Stones.

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