White Sox news, Minor Leagues updates and more

June 15, 2011

John Danks finds his cutter grip

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ June 15, 2011 2:00 am
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Gonzales @ CT:

After rebounding from an eight-game losing streak with two consecutive victories, left-hander John Danks believes he also has regained the feel for his signature cut fastball after experimenting. “I play with grips a lot,” said Danks, who will make his next start Saturday night in Arizona against Zach Duke. “My last game (a 3-2 triumph over the A’s on Saturday), I finally had a good one and was encouraged. Whenever I’m throwing a good one, I’m throwing it out front. That makes sense. I tend to not get on top of it and get around it and it doesn’t do anything for me. My focus is throwing it out front.”

Danks said he continues to employ the grip batting practice pitcher Kevin Hickey taught him. When the pitch is effective, it breaks into right-handed hitters. “I will continue to work on other grips in case I lose it in a game so I have something to fall back on,” Danks said. During his losing streak, Danks said he experimented by trying Mark Buehrle’s grip and he also spoke with bullpen coach Juan Nieves. But with Hickey’s grip, “the way I throw it, it feels better in my hand,” Danks said. “I don’t know why.”

June 14, 2011

US Cellular Field’s (and all other baseball parks’) HR/OFBB park factors

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ June 14, 2011 3:30 am
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Gross @ THT:

A couple of years ago, former THT writer Dan Turkenkopf tabulated an index of single-season (2009) and four-year home run per fly ball (HR/FB) park factors. I have griped plenty about using HR/FB rates over home run per outfield fly ball (HR/OFFB) rates in tabulating xFIP many times in the past, most recently last week, because HR/FB rates include pop-ups (IFFB), which can never be home runs. The data, over large samples, may be insignificant in difference overall, but why use bad data and skew the margins? It’s like Fangraphs’ incomprehensible decision to use strikeouts per at-bat (K/AB) instead of strikeouts per plate appearance (K/PA) to calculate strikeout percentage*. (Dave Cameron has indicated that recalibrating Fangraphs’ database would likely be a cumbersome process.)… Without further adieu, here is the goldmine of data you’ve probably always wanted, but never had (at least not that I was aware of) until now:

Team Park 4-Year HR/OFFB 4-Year HR/FB
Indians Jacobs Field 87 72
Royals Kaufman Stadium 86 84
Tigers Comerica Park 96 86
Twins (old) Metrodome 88 101
White Sox US Cellular Field 113 108

… Or, alternatively, the parks ranked from most-to-least home run inflating per outfield fly:

Team Park LG 4-Year HR/OFFB
Yankees New Yankee Stadium AL 120
Reds Great American Ballpark NL 116
Rays Tropicana Field AL 114
Orioles Oriole Park at Camden Yards AL 113
White Sox US Cellular Field AL 113

Data for all MLB parks at the link.

Other White Sox links: J.J. looks at Paul Konerko’s Hall of Fame chances, James looks at John Danks’ 2011 pitch values and recaps the past week, colin looks at Paul Konerko’s HRs, Mike has more music suggestions, the 3 Sox draft picks from the University of California helped the Golden Bears advance to the College World Series (boxscore), and Phil Rogers says Bud Selig’s re-alignment ideas won’t be going anywhere (good, I don’t want more interleague play).

June 12, 2011

Lillibridge!

8th inning, Sox up 3-2. 1 on, Coco Crisp hits one to the fence. Brent Lillibridge is tracking it. Ball goes over the fence. And then:

http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=15795827&topic_id=8879206&c_id=cws (0:50)

and Danks’ 2nd win of 2011 was preserved!

Boxscore:

Chi White Sox IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Danks(W, 2-8) 7.2 4 2 2 2 4 0 4.54
Crain(S, 1) 1.1 0 0 0 1 1 0 3.10
Totals 9.0 4 2 2 3 5 0 4.10

RE24: Alex Rios 0.56, Ramon Castro 0.48, Alexei Ramirez 0.47, Paul Konerko -1.44, Brent Morel -0.82, Gordon Beckham -0.50.

Pitch F/X for John Danks:

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) 92.13 94.5 4.87 10.12 44 27 / 61.36% 2 / 4.55% -1.7938 0.413
CH (Changeup) 82.71 84.1 6.68 6.32 20 16 / 80.00% 2 / 10.00% 0.3825 0.459
CU (Curveball) 77.76 78.8 -2.90 -0.28 5 3 / 60.00% 1 / 20.00% -0.2023 0.484
FC (Cutter) 88.10 91.4 -1.12 5.32 40 25 / 62.50% 1 / 2.50% -0.5303 0.426
FT (TwoSeam Fastball) 92.85 94.2 7.31 10.09 4 3 / 75.00% 0 / 0.00% -0.2896 0.410
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
1 17 11 64.71 17 -0.862
2 10 5 50.00 27 -0.743
3 19 12 63.16 46 -0.518
4 19 12 63.16 65 0.149
5 12 10 83.33 77 -0.038
6 12 6 50.00 89 0.240
7 15 10 66.67 104 -0.848
8 9 8 88.89 113 0.187

June 3, 2011

Fangraphs’ David Laurila has an awesome Q&A with Mark Buehrle

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ June 3, 2011 9:25 pm
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Laurila @ FG:

David Laurila: What is your approach on the mound?

Mark Buerhle: I just get the sign from the catcher and try to make the best pitch I can, to the best location. I’ve never been a guy who studies film or goes over scouting reports. I go with my catcher, and Coop [pitching coach Don Cooper] usually sits down with us and goes over the game plan beforehand. For the most part, I figure that the less that’s on my mind when I’m out there — if I’m not thinking about, and worrying about, what to throw to guys — the better off I’m going to be.

I have four pitches that I have confidence in, and I’ll throw almost all of them in any count, in any situation. I feel that if I make a quality pitch, sometimes it’s going to be a hit, but a lot of times I’m going to get an out. Who’s to say…if I’m thinking of throwing a fastball to a certain guy, and A.J. [Pierzynski] calls for a changeup, why am I right over him? I just take it as, “Hey, whichever pitch you throw down, I’ll try to throw it to the best location, the best spot, and see what happens.”

Fangraphs has 2 more White Sox related posts: on John Dakns seeing more left handed batters and on Brent Lillibridge’s hot hitting.

June 2, 2011

Jake Peavy gets his wish as he 6-man rotation lives on

Merkin @ CWS:

The White Sox announced their starting pitchers for the upcoming home series against the Tigers and Mariners, and the alignment shows their six-man rotation lives on.

Mark Buehrle opens the three-game weekend set at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday against the Tigers, followed by Edwin Jackson and Jake Peavy. John Danks gets the call Monday against the Mariners, with manager Ozzie Guillen simply wanting to give a healthy Danks the extra day of rest behind Peavy, followed by Philip Humber and Gavin Floyd.Humber has made the White Sox decision to move away from the six-man a difficult one. The right-hander has more recent relief experience, but he also has been the team’s most consistent starter.

Guillen indicated during Wednesday’s pregame interview session at Fenway Park how the six-man rotation would stick at least one more turn. But in that same talk with reporters, Guillen mentioned how the six-man rotation could last through the All-Star break.

“Well, it’s kind of funny, after the All-Star break, we have a lot of days — maybe 12 days with guys without pitching. Then it changes a little bit,” Guillen said. “Before the All-Star break, I want those guys to catch up and breathe for the long stretch.

“Now we have that six-man [rotation], then boom, we go into the All-Star break and we have to figure out to go five or six. In the beginning, we should go with five, because some guys will be spending 10 days without pitching. Obviously they’ll be in the bullpen and throwing on the side and stuff, but it’s not the same.”

Brett Ballantini has more on the 6-man rotation.

Other White Sox links: J.J. looks at how a potential ‘Edwin Jackson to the bullpen’ move would work and concludes that the Sox should “stick with the six-man rotation”, and Matthew Pouliot wonders if Brent Lillibridge is the new Ben Zobrist.

May 30, 2011

Craig Calceterra reviews yesterday’s Ozzie Guillen comments [UPDATE]

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 30, 2011 2:45 pm
Tags: , ,

Calceterra@ HBT:

I watched the entire video at the link above. If you have the time you should too, because his comments provide some pretty interesting insight into the mind of a manager, not just the typical “Ozzie said something crazy” kind of thing. If someone reported just the stuff Guillen said about the fans at the 11-12 minute mark and and none of his other comments, Ozzie has a valid argument that his words were cast in a misleading light inasmuch as he did not set out to specifically and exclusively rip fans.  It was a very small part of a larger monologue and, in context, they seem fairly benign and reflective, not malicious toward fans. One could even make the argument that the “peeing on the monuments” thing was a metaphor, though I don’t expect many will actually make that argument.

UPDATE: Seems Ozzie just messed up his English:

It turns out that White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen got a raw deal.

Portrayed on Sunday as lashing out at White Sox’s fans, a careful review of the 17-plus minute audio of his pregame session with reporters reveals fans weren’t the subject of his disappointment. Instead, Guillen is clearly reacting toward the hosts of opinion shows on talk radio and television.

Guillen has either listened to or been told of shows where critics have called for him or his coaches to be fired. He has also apparently heard of criticism that his strategy and desire is not worthy of the post he currently holds. In his discussion with reporters Sunday he was defending himself and his coaches. …

Padilla has a transcript of Ozzie’s comments.

And finally Ozzie says things are clear now:

“Everything is clear,” Guillen said in a calm tone. “The only thing is when I read that and sleep well and don’t care about it, that’s all I care. People out there, they don’t know who I am, they don’t know what I do. If you sit with me for a few hours or 20 minutes, … . It upset me? Yes, because it put me in the spotlight, talking about White Sox fans. The last thing I talk about when the team not playing good is the fans. That’s not a good combination. But I was upset because I feel like I’m stupid or crazy or ignorant. But it’s over with, a new day, I sleep well.”

More Ozzie:

“It upset me because most of my quotes [in the stories] they don’t start with the quote [from] when the conversation started,” Guillen said. “ They only pick one stuff here one stuff there and boom.. I never get upset, I never get sad with the media because hey I have to say what I have to say.”

Baseball-Reference looks at winless starts

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 30, 2011 2:44 pm
Tags: ,

And besides John Danks, EJax is on the list too:

… Danks has been pretty unlucky compared to the rest of this group. He’s pitched to a better ERA than most but ended up with more losses than most (on a per-start basis, at least.)Yesterday’s blowout was the worst start of Danks’ career by most measures, including Game Score:

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc
1 2011-05-29 CHW TOR L 4-13 GS-4 ,L 4.0 9 9 9 1 1 3 96 61 8
2 2010-05-29 CHW TBR L 5-8 GS-5 ,L 4.0 8 8 8 3 2 1 102 62 13
3 2008-04-09 CHW MIN L 5-12 GS-3 ,L 2.1 7 7 7 3 2 0 69 39 14
4 2007-05-29 CHW MIN L 2-9 GS-4 ,L 3.1 9 6 6 4 0 2 83 44 14
5 2009-05-15 CHW TOR L 3-8 GS-4 ,L 3.0 9 7 7 1 3 1 62 40 15

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/30/2011.

May 29, 2011

Tony Pena sabotages six-man rotation

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 29, 2011 1:31 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Gonzales @ CT:

“Right now we’re a little confused,” Guillen chuckled Saturday morning. “We’re very confused. The six-man rotation puts a lot of load on Crain. If Pena goes out there and does what he should do, I don’t mind staying in a six-man rotation. We even talk about leaving it like that, but my worry is how much Crain will work. He’s the only right-hander we have with (Sergio) Santos. I use Santos as a closer,  there is a very big gap out there to cover. Hopefully Pena comes on and does a better job.”

“I wish Pena could be used when we’re winning to help Crain, and we’d be fine. Everybody else is pretty young. We’re still talking about it every day. Every day we change our mind. (Pitching coach) Don Cooper comes up with good ideas. To make the right decision, right now in my mind, I don’t think what I have is the right decision. We have to wait and play around with it. You see this kid (Phil) Humber throw, and (John) Danks, and it’s kind of hard. We will work it out. But right now I’m between.”

Padilla @ ESPN:

“A lot of people in Chicago thought how crazy you are you were down by one and you brought in Pena,” Guillen said. “I don’t have anybody else. I used Crain the night before and it’s not fair for him to be out there every day to take care of somebody else’s job. I’m not going to do it. I don’t care what people say.

“I’m not going to make somebody suffer with somebody else not doing what they’re supposed to do. I’m not going to do it.”

Schouwen @ CST:

Guillen said there have been no talks about possibly trading a starter.

“No, we don’t even talk about trade, no way,” he said. “The last thing we talk about is trade. We try to figure out how we’re going to play this and how we’re going to be a better ballclub. Right now we don’t have a close decision. We’re still talking to [general manager] Kenny [Williams] and Coop. We have ideas. The only thing is if Pena throws the ball better, then we’re set. We’re fine.”

May 23, 2011

No more six-man rotation? Jake Peavy says wait a minute [UPDATE #2]

Merkin @ CWS:

The White Sox were still using a six-man rotation as of Monday night.

Manager Ozzie Guillen said general manager Ken Williams is on the trip and the plan is to sit down and talk about how to handle the extra starting pitcher. The White Sox started a 10-game road trip with three games in Texas, followed by four games at Toronto and three more in Boston.

“Right now we have a plan,” Guillen said. “Maybe through this trip, but later on maybe not, because if we have some days off, somebody is going to not pitch in seven or eight days. I don’t know if we want to deal with that.”

Guillen and Williams will have a tough job at hand with six quality starters currently in the rotation. Jake Peavy will start Tuesday’s game and Gavin Floyd on Wednesday. Monday’s starter John Danks, Edwin Jackson, Philip Humber and ace Mark Buerhle are also currently in the rotation.

Guillen isn’t worried about telling one of them they’re going to the bullpen.

“It’s not about one guy,” Guillen said. “It’s about the ballclub. We don’t want to do it to anybody.”

more Ozzie:

‘‘It’s not about one guy; it’s about the ballclub,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘We don’t want to do it to anyone, but some guys can’t pitch with eight days’ rest.

‘‘Listen, they can think whatever they want to think. I have a job, and our job is to do the best for the team, not the best for the player. Sometimes when you do the best for the player, they don’t appreciate that, either. I will do what’s best for the ballclub.

‘‘They don’t have a choice because it’s about 25 guys. It’s about the Sox; it’s not about somebody’s name on the back. We’re going to do what’s best for the ballclub.’’

Jake Peavy has a different take though:

“The extra day is so big. Today should be my day. I have no problems pitching on this day. That extra day is big in recovering and it’s just one more day for you to feel even better than you already do.”It’s strange to be pitching in a six-man rotation — the Red Sox are the only other team to do it this season — but Peavy said it might help out all of the starters later in the season.”When you have six guys who are throwing the ball as well as we have, knock on wood, we have six guys who give us a chance every time we go out,” Peavy said. “I can’t see us staying in this the rest of the season, but I can’t see us not having a little bit of an advantage over guys in August and September when we have to be ‘whip hard,’ so to speak, going out of the back stretch. At that point in time, you’re letting it all hang out. I can see us being a little bit ahead of the pack.”

UPDATE: Could John Danks end up in the bullpen?

Guillen said he will talk to pitching coach Don Cooper in the coming days and the team will have a better idea of who might be relegated to bullpen duty. It could be that the staff wants to see John Danks’ start Monday to determine if he or Edwin Jackson is the one that will have to get by, for the time being anyway, on relief appearances.

UPDATE #2: Probably not:

There was some good news Monday night for John Danksdespite suffering his seventh consecutive loss to start the regular season.Manager Ozzie Guillen believes that Danks has pitched well enough to remain in the Chicago White Sox’s rotation even when they trim to a five-man alignment.”I think so,” Guillen said after Danks didn’t receive any run support in a 4-0 loss to Texas and Alexi Ogando, who improved to 5-0 with a 1.81 ERA. “I think he threw the ball well. I think he had really one bad game. We didn’t do anything for him. We don’t help him. That’s the problem. I think I’m very happy with the way he threw the ball.”

And Jake Peavy says ‘whatever dude’:

“Obviously everyone throwing the way we’re throwing, it’s going to be a tough call to do whatever they’re going to do,” Peavy said. “It’s not my call. I’m in it for as long as they want to do it or not do it.”

Peavy believes the starters would have no problem reverting to a normal five-man rotation.

“We’ve done it all our lives,” Peavy said. “We have such a routine that that extra day you can play with. And alter your routine and draw it out longer. But we have such a routine and are creatures of habit that I can easily pitch tonight and feel healthy and strong. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.”

May 20, 2011

Paint it black

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

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.

May 17, 2011

Sox re-arrange pitching rotation

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 17, 2011 10:34 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Merkin @ CWS:

The White Sox will use Gavin Floyd in Thursday’s finale of a brief two-game home series with the American League Central-leading Indians, flip-flopping with Phil Humber, who will now start Friday’s Interleague opener against the Dodgers.

Humber will have six days off between starts after throwing 82 pitches and six innings for a win over Oakland on Friday. Floyd actually will be working on regular rest in the context of this six-man rotation, having allowed five runs over 4 1/3 innings in Saturday’s loss to Oakland.

Floyd follows Jake Peavy and has a 4-3 career record with a 5.44 ERA against the Indians. Mark Buehrle and Edwin Jackson figure to follow Humber, with a Buehrle-Jon Garland matchup set up for Saturday.

John Danks pitched today.

(more…)

May 14, 2011

Coop, where is my cutter?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 14, 2011 11:34 pm
Tags: , ,

Gonzales @ CT:

An extra two days of rest means more time for John Danks to discover his signature cut fastball that has eluded him for most of this season.

“It hasn’t been very good for most of my starts,” said Danks, who is 0-6 and won’t start again until Tuesday against the Rangers. “In talking with A.J. (Pierzynski) and Coop (pitching coach Don Cooper), it’s almost like I’m throwing it too hard. I’m not giving it a chance to do anything. We’ll work on it. It has been a pitch I’ve gone to a lot the past two years, and I need it now.” …

April 26, 2011

Fangraphs on John Danks and Alex Rios

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ April 26, 2011 12:30 pm
Tags: ,

Cwik @ FG:

Still just 26, [John] Danks has always been considered an above-average starter, but his strikeout rate has always prevented him from being elite. While a career 7.06 K/9 isn’t a bad thing, it’s not exceptional either. This season, Danks is fooling hitters more than ever. Through 33.0 innings pitched, Danks has struck out a batter per inning. Typically, we would attribute that large of a jump to luck or blame it on small sample size, but Danks has made some adjustments this season that may allow him to sustain his success. …

Catania  @ FG:

The big culprit in Rios’ case is that he’s falling behind in counts from pitch one and having trouble from there: In 48 plate appearances in which he faced an 0-1 count, [Alex] Rios has managed just 6 hits while striking out 12 times. But his first-pitch strike percentage (63.7%) is his highest ever by a good margin, so it stands to reason that as that tapers off, he’ll start seeing more hitter’s counts, giving him more opportunities to be aggressive rather than defensive. …

April 23, 2011

How much will John Danks get in 2012?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ April 23, 2011 9:26 pm
Tags:

TD @ MLBTR:

Using Danks as a case study, I asked five arbitration experts what they think he’ll earn in 2012.  Danks is at an even $6MM this year, and we’re assuming a normal platform season from him in 2011.

The ceiling for Danks appears to be around $12MM.  Carlos Zambrano, who received a $5.9MM raise to $12.4MM for the 2007 season, is the comparable Danks’ agent at CAA Sports (Jeff Berry) might aim for.  …

April 22, 2011

Carlos Quentin: now OPSing 1.121 (video) [UPDATE]

Video: HR #1 (0:54), HR #2 (0:52). Dr. Fishbein is doing an awesome job!

BTW, here are some BABIPs from statcorner:

Gordon Beckham: .237
Adam Dunn: .250
Brent Morel: .250
A.J. Pierzynski: .250
Alexei Ramirez: .241
Alex Rios: .213

Edwin Jackson: .342
Jesse Crain: .200
Will Ohman: .348
Chris Sale: .346
Sergio Santos: .250
Matt Thornton: .400

(more…)

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