White Sox news, Minor Leagues updates and more

June 8, 2012

Chris Sale is still working on his changeup

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ June 8, 2012 11:30 pm
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Scott Merkin:

A continuously refined changeup clearly improves Chris Sale’s standing as a starting pitcher, although it’s already a fairly lofty perch for the American League ERA leader and the owner of the third-lowest opponents’ average against entering Saturday’s start.

But the notion that the changeup is a new pitch to Sale is inaccurate. It just was temporarily shelved when he worked in relief during the past two years.

“That was his best pitch when we saw him as an amateur,” said White Sox director of amateur scouting Doug Laumann of the changeup for Sale, who was the 13th pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. “His changeup got better each time. It was his second-best pitch.”

“I didn’t even have a slider in college,” said Sale with a laugh. “So that changeup is something we’ve been working on more than any other pitch in my repertoire.”

Sale’s work takes place with pitching coach Don Cooper and bullpen coach Juan Nieves between starts, and he employed that changeup on 23 pitches during his complete-game effort against the Mariners on Sunday. He recorded one out with the changeup, but just one changeup was put in play safely.

A well-located fastball and a sharp-breaking slider are still Sale’s top two pitches. But the 23-year-old understands the importance of the changeup to his overall well-being as a rotation member.

“Having a third pitch is so big now,” said Sale, who still touches 94 or 95 mph with his fastball but doesn’t get to 97 or 98 as he would as a reliever. “You can’t go out there as a starter and just have two pitches.

“It’s something I’ve been trying to build on and get better. I want to have a third pitch to throw to help me get deeper in games.”

Imagine Sale getting more strikes (called and swinging) on his changeup. It would be awesome!

Other White Sox links:

(more…)

March 25, 2012

Did Alexei Ramirez bulk up?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ March 25, 2012 11:30 pm
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BTW, Scott Merkin has a cool article about how much grateful Alexei is for Jose Contreras’ influence on him on and off the diamond.

Other White Sox links:

And BTB’s Lewie Pollis updates the ‘The Simple WAR calculator’ to version 2.0.

March 7, 2012

Alexei Ramirez, RHP?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ March 7, 2012 10:30 pm
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Other White Sox links:

February 12, 2012

Top Minor League Prospects Compilation – Update #1

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ February 12, 2012 12:00 am
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Joe Hamrahi:

The first top prospects compilation update of the year is now available! I have linked to the new file below. The Excel workbook contains tabs at the bottom representing each of the league’s divisions as well as a tab for top 100 lists and positional analysis.

This is a fairly comprehensive update, but it is far from complete. I will have more for you Monday or Tuesday after Kevin Goldstein‘s Top 101 prospects list is released. All of MLB.com’s published prospects will be updated at that time as well thanks to the help of Jonathan Mayo.

As usual, if you find any errors or omissions, would like to recommend a ranking source, or have any other comments or suggestions, please email me at jhamrahi@baseballprospectus.com.

2011-2012 Top Prospect Compilation File – February 10, 2012

Other White Sox links:

January 24, 2012

Alexei Ramirez to Boston? Gordon Beckham to SS?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 24, 2012 11:45 pm
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Phil Rogers says Gavin Floyd isn’t the only White Sox player rumored to be traded to Boston:

With Eduardo Escobar already on the fringes of the big-league roster and Tyler Saladino on the horizon, why wouldn’t Ken Williams consider sending Ramirez and [Gavin] Floyd to Boston in a package for as much 25-and-under talent as possible?

One rumor bouncing around says Ramirez isn’t the White Sox regular the Red Sox are eyeing for the shortstop opening they created when they traded Marco Scutaro to the Rockies. It says they think Gordon Beckham is capable of regaining his ability as a run-producer and returning to the position he played at the University of Georgia.

Eduardo Escobar playing 2B? I don’t see this happening.

January 16, 2012

BDD is reviewing PECOTA’s 2011 projections

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 16, 2012 7:30 pm
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Doug Thorburn:

The isolated power of Alexei Ramirez has bounced around like a pinball for the last few seasons, and PECOTA mined beneath the career marks and struck gold. The relative hits on Ramirez’s batting average and OBP are less impressive, if only because his career numbers in those categories are more stable. Ramirez did up his walk rate beyond expectations, improving on the biggest deficiency in his offensive game, though he had showed similar patience back in 2009. PECOTA came very close on this hi-beta player, coming within 4 points of OPS and righteously projecting his 2nd-worst performance of the last four years. However, there is no way to measure the deleterious affect that Ramirez may have had on the approach of his aforementioned double-play partner, if only through association by proximity.

Alexei’s stats:

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
2008 26 CHW AL 136 509 480 65 139 22 2 21 77 13 9 18 61 .290 .317 .475 .792 103 228 14 3 4 4 3 *468/5 RoY-2
2009 27 CHW AL 148 606 542 71 150 14 1 15 68 14 5 49 66 .277 .333 .389 .723 86 211 15 1 6 8 3 *6
2010 28 CHW AL 156 626 585 83 165 29 2 18 70 13 8 27 82 .282 .313 .431 .744 99 252 12 2 7 5 2 *6 SS
2011 29 CHW AL 158 684 614 81 165 31 2 15 70 7 5 51 84 .269 .328 .399 .727 97 245 19 6 8 5 1 *6/D
4 Seasons 598 2425 2221 300 619 96 7 69 285 47 27 145 293 .279 .323 .421 .745 96 936 60 12 25 22 9
162 Game Avg. 162 657 602 81 168 26 2 19 77 13 7 39 79 .279 .323 .421 .745 96 254 16 3 7 6 2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table Generated 1/16/2012.

There’s a review of Gordon Beckham’s projection as well at the link.

October 23, 2011

Kenny Williams not in shopping mode

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ October 23, 2011 2:30 am
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Daryl Van Schouwen reports Kenny is not in a shopping mode:

“Everyone I’ve heard speak on it is right. we have talented people, and we did not achieve what we wanted to based on some of those talented people not performing. But we’re in a position where we have to look at the future. So I will not be in shopping mode — I’ll be listening to see what the interest is in some of our players. Quite frankly, I don’t expect people to try to blow our doors down for some of our guys who had down years. Their value is going to be down a little bit.

And Kenny will only trade for major league ready players:

So what we have to do is weigh whatever they’re offering up against our chances are for the next season. Because if we’re going to move our valuable pieces it’s going to be for major league ready talent so they can grow with this nice nucleus in place with [Dayan] Viciedo, [Tyler] Flowers, [Alejandro] De Aza, [Brent] Morel. And have to get [Gordon] Beckham back. We have a nice young, kind of youthful movement. Those players [coming in trades] would have to fit into that. Not A-ball players, AA type. They would have to be major-league ready and potential impact players. Will that happen? I don’t know, that’s why you go to the winter meetings [in early December] and you see what other teams would like to offer you. But I think shopping our guys is something we’re not going to be doing.”

So, Kenny says he will stay away from “grizzled veterans”? It would be nice if he does so.

Doug Padilla has more Kenny:

“Believe me, as long as I am sitting in the chair we will continue to be as aggressive as we can possibly be,” Williams said. “If it turns out that we can’t reasonably expect the talent we have to compete for a championship them I might have dial it back and move today’s talent for tomorrow’s talent that will extend a run longer for us in the future. But none of that has been determined and won’t be determined until we get a gauge on what other teams feel about our players.”

Padilla also has audio of Kenny’s interview (17:53).

Other White Sox links:

October 17, 2011

Jim Thome, White Sox hitting coach?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ October 17, 2011 10:00 pm
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Daryl Van Schouwen:

Sox farm-system hitting instructors Jeff Manto or Tim Laker are thought to be the top candidates to replace Greg Walker as hitting coach, but don’t rule out the Sox making a play for a bigger name such as Jim Thome.

Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf loves Thome, 41, whose playing career likely has come to an end after 21 seasons and 604 home runs. The two share the annual habit of meeting for dinner to talk about life and baseball after the season, and a major-league source said Reinsdorf was eager to move this year’s meeting up.

Jerry is bringing the band is coming together!

Other White Sox links:

September 21, 2011

Will Jerry Reinsdorf force Ozzie Guillen to stay?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ September 21, 2011 3:00 am
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Jon Heyman:

Baseball insiders suggest White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf may “dig in his heels” and force Ozzie Guillen to stay after Guillen’s continuing public blathering about how it might be best for him to be fired and other such musings. But really, it might be best for all concerned to simply trade Guillen to the Marlins, as was briefly discussed a year ago. Those talks ended when the White Sox requested Logan Morrison. But as fortune would have it, Morrison is not exactly beloved these days by the Marlins. Morrison, who was already seen by Marlins management as a bit too opinionated, now has filed a grievance against the team for demoting him at a time he says he didn’t deserve it based on his play.

Again, is this just the Sox trying to gain more leverage?

Other White Sox links:

September 4, 2011

Adam Dunn, pitcher?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ September 4, 2011 11:40 pm
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Padilla @ ESPN:

ESPN’s Pedro Gomez reported the White Sox considered using Adam Dunn to pitch in the ninth inning, but manager Ozzie Guillen nixed that idea.

Couldn’t make things any worse…

Other White Sox links:

July 28, 2011

Who would Ozzie Guillen bat leadoff if Juan Pierre isn’t playing?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ July 28, 2011 6:30 pm
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Padilla @ ESPN chat:

Q: Do most teams have only one bonafide lead-off hitter? Seems like whenever Pierre slumps we have no one else to step in to give him a couple days off.

A: You are correct Chuck. Pierre is the only one. Ozzie said he put together some mock lineups in the event Viciedo came up and on the days Pierre sat, he went with Alexei in the leadoff spot. Not idea but the next best option.

July 15, 2011

Fangraphs’ Joe Pawlikowski on Alex Rios’ struggles

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ July 15, 2011 4:00 pm
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Pawlikowski  @ FG:

… This year Rios has played like one of the worst players in baseball. We know he’s not one of the worst, at least in terms of talent. He’s put it on display before. But it’s not as though this is just a half-season slump that we can expect to correct itself. In the last calendar year Rios has hit .233/.282/.346, which amounts to a .277 wOBA. That ranks 137th out of the 140 qualified players. He has produced just 0.2 WAR in that time as well, which ranks 134th. Given this poor year-long performance, it’s tough to expect an improvement from Rios in the second half.

The problem extends even if we go back two calendar years. In that span Rios has hit .251/.299/.395, a .305 wOBA, and has been worth 2.6 WAR. That ranks 114th out of 133 qualified players. If we take that back even another year, which would include Rios’s worthwhile 2008 season — and give us the magical three-year sample for UZR — he has produced 6.5 WAR, which ranks 89th out of 124. His batting runs above average in the last three years is -10.3, which ranks 109th out of 124. Any way you look at it, his numbers are a far cry from the 8.6 WAR (29th out of 151) he produced from 2006 through 2007. …

Other White Sox links: FutureSox talks to Doug Laumann about the Sox drafting philosophy and more, J.J. talks about Rick Hahn topping SI’s list of GMs in the making, Alexei Ramirez is Fangraphs’ 31st Trade Value in MLB, and Matt Snyder at CBS Sports writes about Dayan Viciedo’s magnificent power.

July 5, 2011

Balk-off!

Bottom of the 9th, A.J. at 3rd, Big Donkey batting, Aaron Crow at the mound:


http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=16613133&c_id=cws (0:54)

Boxscore:

Chi White Sox IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Buehrle 7.0 7 3 3 1 4 1 3.66
Crain 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.56
Santos(BS, 3)(W, 3-3) 1.0 3 1 1 0 1 1 3.07
Totals 9.0 10 4 4 1 5 2 3.79

RE24:A.J. Pierzynski 1.51, Adam Dunn 1.29, Alexei Ramirez -1.39, Alex Rios -1.13.

Sergio was lucky he didn’t give up more dingers though. Pitch F/X shows only 2 sliders:

Pitch Statistics
Pitch Type Avg Speed Max Speed Avg H-Break Avg V-Break Count Strikes / % Swinging Strikes / % Linear Weights Time to Plate
FF (FourSeam Fastball) 95.38 96.1 -4.07 9.55 12 10 / 83.33% 0 / 0.00% 1.2934 0.395
CH (Changeup) 88.50 88.7 -8.43 3.72 2 1 / 50.00% 0 / 0.00% -0.0304 0.428
SL (Slider) 84.55 85.2 3.74 -0.43 2 2 / 100.00% 0 / 0.00% -0.2115 0.446
Pitch classifications provided by the Gameday Algorithm and may be inaccurate. Pitch Type LWTS correspond to how many runs were likely to score on a particular pitch based on average run expectancy when each pitch was thrown and what happened as a result. Negative scores indicate more effective pitches. Time to Plate is the time, in seconds, that it takes an average pitch of this type to reach the plate. This is strongly correlated with velocity, but also factors in movement.
Inning-by-Inning Pitch Totals
Inning Pitches in Inning Strikes in Inning Strike% in Inning Cumulative Total Pitches Pitch LWTS in Inning
9 16 13Adam Dunn, 81.25 16 1.051

Other White Sox links: J.J. explains how Juan Pierre’s 3-game Game-Winning RBI streak can be costly to the Sox, James celebrates getting to .500 (it applies!) and recaps the past week, colin looks at the mystery of Adam Dunn, and Ozzie Guillen gets 2nd place on B-R’s ‘Man, if only they could hit’ leaderboard.

July 1, 2011

Another nasty 1-2-3 inning for Sergio Santos

Nice comeback. Alexei and Juan came through. Sergio and the bullpen shut it down. Crain has been very good this year.

RE24: Juan Pierre 1.58, Alexei Ramirez 1.07, A.J. Pierzynski 0.88, Alex Rios 0.69, Carlos Quentin -2.05, Edwin Jackson (P) -0.75, Brent Lillibridge -0.59, Edwin Jackson -0.55 (H).

Boxscore:

Chi White Sox IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Jackson, E(W, 5-6) 6.0 5 4 4 1 5 1 4.24
Bruney(H, 3) 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 3.27
Crain(H, 12) 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.63
Santos(S, 18) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2.92
Totals 9.0 7 4 4 1 10 1 3.84

At-bat screenshots for Santos from MLB Gameday:

1st batter:

pitch #1: 94mph 4-seam fastball: foul
pitch #2: 84mph slider: foul
pitch #3: 86mph slider: swinging strike

2nd batter:

pitch #1: 95mph 4-seam fastball: strike
pitch #2: 84mph slider: strike
pitch #3: 85mph slider: swinging strike

3rd batter:

pitch #1: 95mph 4-seam fastball: strike
pitch #2: 84mph slider: ground out

The first pitch was a 4-seam fastball all time though.

Pitch F/X for Santos:

Pitch Statistics
Pitch Type Avg Speed Max Speed Avg H-Break Avg V-Break Count Strikes / % Swinging Strikes / % Linear Weights Time to Plate
FF (FourSeam Fastball) 94.80 95.3 -2.36 7.57 3 3 / 100.00% 0 / 0.00% -0.1292 0.392
SL (Slider) 84.54 85.7 3.76 -1.99 5 5 / 100.00% 2 / 40.00% -0.7332 0.442
Pitch classifications provided by the Gameday Algorithm and may be inaccurate. Pitch Type LWTS correspond to how many runs were likely to score on a particular pitch based on average run expectancy when each pitch was thrown and what happened as a result. Negative scores indicate more effective pitches. Time to Plate is the time, in seconds, that it takes an average pitch of this type to reach the plate. This is strongly correlated with velocity, but also factors in movement.
Inning-by-Inning Pitch Totals
Inning Pitches in Inning Strikes in Inning Strike% in Inning Cumulative Total Pitches Pitch LWTS in Inning
9 8 8 100.00 8 -0.862

Pitch F/X for Crain:

Pitch Statistics
Pitch Type Avg Speed Max Speed Avg H-Break Avg V-Break Count Strikes / % Swinging Strikes / % Linear Weights Time to Plate
FF (FourSeam Fastball) 94.71 95.3 -1.53 10.19 9 6 / 66.67% 1 / 11.11% -0.5081 0.394
SL (Slider) 85.13 86.3 2.61 0.78 8 6 / 75.00% 3 / 37.50% 0.1163 0.436
CU (Curveball) 72.40 72.4 5.57 -9.71 1 0 / 0.00% 0 / 0.00% 0.0421 0.527
Pitch classifications provided by the Gameday Algorithm and may be inaccurate. Pitch Type LWTS correspond to how many runs were likely to score on a particular pitch based on average run expectancy when each pitch was thrown and what happened as a result. Negative scores indicate more effective pitches. Time to Plate is the time, in seconds, that it takes an average pitch of this type to reach the plate. This is strongly correlated with velocity, but also factors in movement.
Inning-by-Inning Pitch Totals
Inning Pitches in Inning Strikes in Inning Strike% in Inning Cumulative Total Pitches Pitch LWTS in Inning
8 18 12 66.67 18 -0.350

June 29, 2011

Sergio Santos throws 3 fastballs and then turns to a slider-only pitcher

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ June 29, 2011 11:30 pm
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First 3 pitches: three 95mph 4-seam fastballs. After: eight 84-85mph sliders.

Boxscore:

Chi White Sox IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Buehrle 7.0 7 2 2 2 4 2 3.65
Thornton 0.1 1 0 0 1 0 0 3.68
Bruney(W, 1-0) 0.2 0 0 0 1 0 0 3.60
Santos(S, 16) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3.08
Totals 9.0 8 2 2 4 6 2 3.84

Pitch F/X:

Pitch Statistics
Pitch Type Avg Speed Max Speed Avg H-Break Avg V-Break Count Strikes / % Swinging Strikes / % Linear Weights Time to Plate
FF (FourSeam Fastball) 95.00 95.3 -0.73 8.75 3 2 / 66.67% 0 / 0.00% -0.2914 0.390
SL (Slider) 84.41 85.1 4.60 -0.02 8 7 / 87.50% 2 / 25.00% -0.5710 0.439
Pitch classifications provided by the Gameday Algorithm and may be inaccurate.Pitch Type LWTS correspond to how many runs were likely to score on a particular pitch based on average run expectancy when each pitch was thrown and what happened as a result. Negative scores indicate more effective pitches.Time to Plate is the time, in seconds, that it takes an average pitch of this type to reach the plate. This is strongly correlated with velocity, but also factors in movement.
Inning-by-Inning Pitch Totals
Inning Pitches in Inning Strikes in Inning Strike% in Inning Cumulative Total Pitches Pitch LWTS in Inning
9 11 9 81.82 11 -0.862

RE24: Paul Konerko 2.15, Alexei Ramirez -1.71, Alex Rios -1.40.

Thankfully Seth Smith’s throw bounced and Ianetta didn’t throw didn’t stop Carlos Quentin from scoring. Coxie must’ve realized there were 2 outs. And Alex Rios had a couple nice catches tonight. Maybe yesterday’s benching woke him up.

Other White Sox links: J.J. says the Sox won’t trading for a centerfielderer this year, James looks back on yesterday’s game and the season to this point, Paul Konerko is 2011′s worst base-runner (Fangraphs)., and soxman thinks Adam Dunn should change his at-bat song.

And a non-White Sox link: John Sickels gives us his thoughts on drug policy. Good stuff.

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