White Sox news, Minor Leagues updates and more

February 24, 2010

Kenny, Ozzie, and the DH

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ February 24, 2010 1:53 am
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Cowley:

While Guillen and Williams are on the same page in many instances, the job description of the DH isn’t one of them. Williams wants a 40-homer bull while Guillen wants matchup nightmares.

So even with Williams saying he and Guillen have been on the same page, his actions scream otherwise.

Case in point: SoxFest and Williams throwing Jim Thome at Guillen’s feet to either bring him aboard or allow him to continue his free-agent shopping.

Once Guillen took the pass on Thome, Williams started shaking the Scott Boras tree and seeing if Johnny Damon fell out. Detroit gave the former Yankee 8 million reasons to go to Motown. …

February 23, 2010

Andruw Jones to DH against left-handed pitching

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ February 23, 2010 7:13 pm
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Merkin:

Ozzie Guillen mentioned Tuesday that Andruw Jones will be penciled in as the 2010 White Sox designated hitter against left-handed pitchers, at least at this early stage of Spring Training.

But the White Sox manager left the door open for the physically fit Jones to earn even more warranted at-bats.

“Can he play every day and help us? I don’t see why not,” said Guillen of Jones, who has already drawn early-camp notice from his svelte look. “He has to use all the fields to make him better. The potential and ability is there. He has to know how to use it the best.

“Talking about him right now, he will play against lefties and is going to be in the middle of the lineup. It depends how [Carlos] Quentin and [Paul] Konerko swing the bat, and [Alex] Rios. I hope he keeps in the middle of the lineup and hopefully that works out.”

Gonzo says this means Kotsay will get more of the DH at-bats against right-handed pitching, and that Ozzie Guillen didn’t rule out Jones batting lead-off against tough left-handers.

Andruw Jones loves Glendale

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ February 23, 2010 12:20 am
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Chuck Garfien:

Why did Andruw Jones come to camp so early? He thought the whole team was supposed to report today. Seriously.

BTW, Andruw Jones wants to prove his critics wrong. He has a lot of gas left in his tank.

February 22, 2010

Walker’s probable lineup

Gregor:

Walker’s not sure what the regular lineup is going to look like.

Pierre is going to lead off, likely followed by Gordon Beckham, Quentin and Konerko. Walk said Teahen could hit fifth, likely followed by Rios, A.J. Pierzynski, Ramirez and whoever the DH is that day.

February 21, 2010

Gordon Beckham wants to hit .300 and 50 or 60 doubles

Merkin:

Gordon Beckham moves from third base to second base. Beckham, who arrived almost one week before position players report on Saturday, seems confident in his ability to handle the new position, while avoiding the sophomore jinx following an opening campaign earning him two top rookie honors.

“Hit .300, that’s all I really want to do,” said Beckham, who isn’t concerned as much with his home run power as he is with knocking out 40 or 50 doubles. “But it’s not an easy task.”

February 20, 2010

Gordon Beckham arrives in Glendale for Spring Training

Merkin: Gordon Beckham already has arrived. Taking clubhouse ribbing from Matt Thornton about media waiting to talk to him.

merkin: Other non-catching position players on hand were Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, and C.J. Retherford,

more on Andruw:

Andruw Jones was one of the early arrivals in White Sox camp, and the former Gold Glove Award winner vowed that he isn’t washed up. “I still have a lot of gas left in the tank,” Jones said Saturday morning after working out with teammate Juan Pierre. …

J.J. Putz feels good:

Among those were newcomer J.J. Putz, who said his right elbow feels great about seven months following surgery to repair bone chips. “I threw a bullpen (Friday) and another one on Tuesday, and everything feels good,” said Putz, who rehabbed his elbow in Phoenix under the supervision of therapist Brett Fischer. …

February 19, 2010

BP’s AL Central division preview

Kahrl:

Why They Might Win: They’ve scrupulously followed the formula that worked in 2005 in assembling their 2010 team: a rotation so good that a former ace ranks as the fifth starter. That was Orlando Hernandez then, and it’s Freddy Garcia now. A bullpen stocked with multiple closers? With the addition of J.J. Putz and the emergence of Matt Thornton to support Bobby Jenks, check. Power up the middle? With Alex Rios in center and Gordon Beckham moving to second to join shortstop Alexei Ramirez and catcher A.J. Pierzynski, that’s looking good, too.

Why They Might Not Win: If Jake Peavy breaks down, the rotation starts to look a lot less impressive. If Rios continues to sleep-walk his way through the South Side portion of his career, he’ll be the most expensive mistake ever made involving revocable waivers. And the thing about that 2005 plan… did they really have to follow the part about getting a leadoff hitter who doesn’t get on base? I see your Podzilla and raise you a Juan Pierre. The hitting portion of being a DH is non-optional, yet that’s what the Sox are probably stuck with if they settle for Andruw Jones and Mark Kotsay. …

February 16, 2010

The two types of pitchers (and hitters)

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ February 16, 2010 12:20 pm
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Andrecheck:

A principle component analysis depends greatly on the variables fed into it. For hitters, I used the singles, doubles, triples, homers, walks, and strikeouts per plate appearance as the input variables. While I could do that here, I thought I would use variables over which the pitcher had more direct control. Using Fangraphs pitch data, I used the following: % of Fastballs Thrown (including cutters), % of Sliders, % of Changeups, Velocity of Fastball, Ground Ball%, Walks per PA, and Strikeouts per PA. I thought about using Hits per PA, and HR per PA, but since those are largely a function of luck and I didn’t want to measure that, I decided to leave them out. Like before, each variable was normalized before putting it into the model.

For hitters I was uncertain of what to expect, however for pitchers I had a fairly good idea. I expected that the two groupings of pitchers would be between power pitchers and control pitchers. However, I wasn’t exactly sure how it would break it down. Running the analysis, the factor loadings for the first principle component were as follows: …

and here’s the two types of hitters post:

For those unfamiliar with the type analysis, the point of it is to reduce a large number of potentially correlated variables down to a few key underlying factors that explain the variables. The researcher feeds the computer a bunch of records (in the this case, players) and several key variables (in this case, their statistics), The computer, blind to what those variables actually mean, spits out a set of underlying factors which explain the “true” underlying causes for the variables in question. It does this by maximizing the variability between the players. It’s then up to the researcher to interpret what each factor represents. In this case, I’m looking for the one underlying factor that best describes a player.

In the baseball world, I wondered what one underlying factor best determined a player’s statistics. Normally, this type of analysis would be done on many more variables, but I wanted to see what it would pick out from players’ basic, non-team influenced statistics: 1B, 2B, 3B, HR, BB, K.

February 14, 2010

Ozzie wants a new identity

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ February 14, 2010 6:57 pm
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From Cowley’s ‘What Ozzie wants: A new identity for Sox‘ column:

The 2010 model is about pitching and defense, getting on base and creating pressure, scoring runs by any means necessary. There is still power, but it’s more spread out.

The 2010 model is about getting on base? is any 2010 acquisition on base threat? Juan Pierre? .339 OBP for the last 3 years. Mark Teahen? .330. Andruw Jones? .304. Omar Vizquel? .301. A ‘during the 2009 season’ acquisition like Alex Rios? .330. Mark Kotsay? .315. And we lost a starter with a .380 OBP. I don’t see any ‘getting on base’ player. I hope the pitching will be strong. Otherwise 2010 will suck. Big Time.

And as soon as I finish I see this.

February 11, 2010

Jayson Nix added to Ozzie Guillen’s DH committee

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ February 11, 2010 1:11 pm
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Merkin:

Guillen ultimately made the decision to bypass the return of Jim Thome or the addition of a full-time, left-handed designated hitter to use this position as a rotating talent slot. Guillen will employ Mark Kotsay, Andruw Jones, Jayson Nix and Omar Vizquel as the DH, while giving a day off without giving a day off from time to time to position-player starters such as Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin.

There are plenty of doubters who believe the offense will not succeed at its optimum level with the variety of players filling this slot. But Guillen believes he can better suit his offense to different styles of pitchers by using this flexibility to maneuver the lineup. …

Somehow the addition of a 700 OPS bat to the DH committee doesn’t make me feel any better.

February 7, 2010

You’re doing it wrong!

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ February 7, 2010 1:38 pm
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When even Phil Rogers implores you to get a DH:

The guess here is he can make enough plays to make a difference in 2010. He [Johnny Damon] appears headed to the Tigers, but the White Sox ought to stage an intervention.

Imagine Damon in the Sox leadoff spot and Juan Pierre as the No. 2 hitter — or the other way around. Can a rotating DH including Mark Kotsay, Andruw Jones, Omar Vizquel and Jayson Nix outproduce Damon? And what would be the harm in having 23-year-old Jordan Danks spend time with Damon? They seem to be the same kind of player.

Dye’s continuing unemployment relates to an unflattering statistical analysis of his outfield skills and his reluctance to accept a role as a DH or extra outfielder (the Cubs pursued him before turning to Xavier Nady).

… Branyan, like Damon, could improve the White Sox’s DH spot. He strikes out a ton but delivers long balls — 43 in 563 at-bats the last two seasons — and the Sox haven’t added power after sliding to sixth in the AL in homers. He could fit on almost any team in a bench role but fits best in the AL, where he would be an instant upgrade for the Indians, Athletics and Rangers.

then you know,

The run projections I calculated with Dye as DH yielded 12-18 runs more than the ones with Kotsay/Jones.

February 5, 2010

Fangraphs on Ozzie’s ‘rotating DH’ idea

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ February 5, 2010 6:35 pm
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Klaassen:

Seriously, a Jones/Kotsay platoon is the first option? Keep in mind that a league-average hitter is a replacement level DH. While Jones might still have his uses as a bench/platoon player, CHONE projects him as a below average hitter (.324 wOBA, -7/150 in context-neutral linear weights). If you think that’s bad, Kotsay projects at .297 wOBA, -16/150 context-neutral. That’s not useful at any of the positions Kotsay backs up at this point, much less DH. Even if efficiently platooned, that’s ugly. Heck, Mike Jacobs (-6) would be an upgrade, and would also keep the Chicago/Kansas City pipeline active.

They really didn’t have room for Thome? He probably adds just a few runs for the Twins, but he would be at least a one, maybe two win improvement over Jones/Kotsay. …

February 2, 2010

February 2 links

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ February 2, 2010 1:32 pm
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- A sample of Carl’s work for Jim’s book.

- Jim looks back on Jose’s Sox years.

- Jermaine Dye rejected a $3.3 million contract offer from the Cubs. Xavier Nady grabbed that $3.3 million offer afterwards

- Sox’ improved PECOTA projection: 80-82. One more win!

- Another 2010 projection. Sox: 87.9-74.1.

- A.J. Pierzynski is projected to throw out 21.7% of attempted steals in 2010.

- WAR for the MLB draft.

- There are two types of players

January 25, 2010

Ozzie’s underpants theory of baseball

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 25, 2010 10:42 pm
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1. Replace your DH that gives  you a .900 OPS and with a combination of 3 guys with .700, .700, and .600 OPS (stats are for last 3 years)

2. ?

3. Win your division

(South Park’s Underpants Gnomes video)

January 22, 2010

January 22 links

- Gordon Beckham will stay at the 2nd post of the batting order.

- More on the Opening Day starter.

- Matt Thornton takes over Merkin’s mailbag.

- SoxFest news: Bobby Jenks looks good, Ozzie Guillen is a jackass, Carlos Quentin wasn’t there, J.J. Putz is recovering, A.J. Pierzynski went to Africa. From Merkin and Reifert: Reifert is taking questions for Kenny and Ozzie and former Sox greats. Kenny is proud for Bobby. The Go-Go Sox are coming back says Ozzie. Hawk likes his kindle. Juan Pierre is a heavy hitter. Gonzales and Cowley: Peavy can’t afford pants. Ozzie wants Alexei to eat Vizquel’s brain. More SoxFest here.

- Kenny on Jared Mitchell: it’ll be a “little while” till he reaches majors.

- Alexei Ramirez says Dayan Viciedo looks incredible. I hope he has lots of Cuban pride.

- J.J. Putz is looking for an intro song suggestions.

- Scot Gregor is taking questions you want him to ask at Sox Spring Training.

- Gordon Beckham and Jeff Cox were working the phones. Beltin’ Bill Melton too.

- Jon Heyman says “Andruw Jones is said to be in the best shape he’s been in for a decade.”

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