White Sox news, Minor Leagues updates and more

January 31, 2011

Fangraphs introduces pitcher heat maps

Appelman @ FG:

At FanGraphs we’re big fans of the heat map. And now customizable heat maps are now available in the pitchf/x sections for all pitchers. Much thanks to Dave Allen for helping me out!

Here are the heat maps for Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Edwin Jackson, Chris Sale, and Jake Peavy. Also, Jesse Crain, Gregory Infante, Will Ohman, Tony Pena, Sergio Santos, and Matt Thornton.

January 1, 2011

Will Chris Sale be the White Sox closer this year?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 1, 2011 8:52 pm
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Merkin’s mailbag:

Who will serve as the White Sox closer?

If this answer had to be given today, it probably would be Sale. There’s no question Matt Thornton not only capably can handle the closer’s job, but also would emerge as one of the AL’s elite last lines of pitching defense. But unless the White Sox add another left-hander, Thornton has made himself All-Star valuable as a pitcher who can work the seventh or eighth or both, on more than a few occasions. Giving the early nod to Sale doesn’t mean Thornton won’t have save opportunities and the same can be said for Crain and Santos from the right side. There will be a go-to guy coming out of Spring Training, but it could be a fluid position.

Matt Thornton: Oney Guillen’s personal White Sox tweets must be snuffed out fast

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 1, 2011 8:38 pm
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ESPN Chicago:

“I’m not a big fan of the social media, personally,” Thornton said on ESPN 1000’s “Talking Baseball.” “I don’t tweet. I don’t Facebook. I don’t like it in sports at all. I don’t think it’s necessary at all. … What happened here with Oney tweeting what he did, that’s crossing a pretty big line in my personal opinion. That’s something that’s gotta be addressed quickly and taken care of and snuffed out real fast. Anytime you bring clubhouse stuff out in the open, I don’t care what it is, it’s that person’s personal business and also the clubhouse’s personal business. That’s the first time all this stuff has really irritated me. It doesn’t matter what’s true and what’s not true, I don’t care about that. The fact that anything was said at all is ridiculous. It’s definitely gotta be addressed and taken care of real quick around here.”

Audio (3 minutes) at the link. Or download the mp3 here (748 KB).

December 22, 2010

Scott Merkin sees Chris Sale as the White Sox closer in 2011

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 22, 2010 6:06 pm
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From Merkin’s mailbag:

Q: In 2010, Chris Sale‘s contribution to the White Sox was indisputably huge. I was wondering what capacity you see Sale in for the White Sox in 2011: starter or bullpen? I remember Williams saying that the White Sox were looking for him to join the rotation, but finding solid bullpen help is so difficult.

A: Right now, I would say Sale is the White Sox closer, even if he prepares as a starter during Spring Training.

That guess is not meant as any slight to Matt Thornton, who certainly can handle this job and probably would become one of the American League’s elite closers. He has the makeup and, of course, the pure talent.

Thornton ultimately might become a victim of his own All-Star success. The Sox rely on Thornton to shut down hitters in the seventh or the eighth or possibly both innings and might feel more comfortable with the rookie Sale solely working the ninth.

Sale could end up as a starter. But pitching coach Don Cooper has stressed to me during two offseason conversations how he doesn’t think it’s good for Sale’s development to use him as a starter in place of Jake Peavy for four or five weeks and then put him back into the bullpen. Remember, just because Sale closes or relieves this season doesn’t mean he can’t be a top-flight starter in the future. Check out Texas and its potential plans for Neftali Feliz as an example.

Merkin also speaks positively about Tyler Flowers’ defense.

December 20, 2010

Jesse Crain is learning to throw a split-finger

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 20, 2010 3:16 pm
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Reifert tweets:

[Jesse] Crain on Sox: “I’m really excited and getting better. I’m learning to throw a split finger and working with Coop will make me better.”

and

Crain on his White Sox role: “I am going to be the right-handed pitcher between [Chris] Sale and [Matt] Thornton at the end of the game.”

Seems Sale will not be the closer.

UPDATE: Merkin @ CWS:

The 2011 closer’s job seems to belong to either Matt Thornton or rookie Chris Sale, but with both of them throwing from the left side, Crain stands just a tick ahead of Sergio Santos as the team’s right-handed closing option.”That was part of what attracted me, as well,” said Crain, who fits the mold of what J.J. Putz did for the White Sox in 2010 — being able to work anywhere from the sixth through the ninth. “I’ll definitely have opportunities to finish games.”

With Crain’s addition, the White Sox have five solid arms in their bullpen, and they could go with a couple of youngsters to fill out the seven-man bullpen. Crain was part of that all-in, 2011 mentality for the White Sox, with general manager Ken Williams telling MLB.com this past Saturday how there was more money to work with in free agency after he originally stated the team was tapped out following Konerko’s return.

December 6, 2010

Kenny Williams talks bullpen

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 6, 2010 11:12 pm
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Ballantini @ CSN:

Williams forecasted the news that J.J. Putz apparently signed with Arizona to become the Diamondbacks’ closer, saying, “We wanted him back, but [Putz is] headed elsewhere.”

As for the recently non-tendered Bobby Jenks, Williams remained open to a return by his five-year closer, with logical hesitation: “He’s new to the market, and he’s got to flesh some things out before he gets back to us.”

With holes in the pen (just Matt Thornton, Sergio Santos, and possibly Chris Sale and Tony Pena project as holdovers in 2011), Williams knows he needs at least one recognizable addition in the trenches.

“[A trade is] quite possibly the way we might have to go because we’ve taken ourselves to—or beyond—our payroll limits,” he said. “I might have to get a little creative with trades…[but] I don’t think a reliever is going to come at these meetings for us. That will be after.”

November 10, 2010

Most Important Sox, 2011 and beyond edition (#1-10)

Ballantini @ CSN:

As the coals in the hot stove are just beginning to get stoked up, it’s time to rank the current Chicago White Sox, in order of importance for 2011 and beyond. It’s not intended to be a strict list of merely the best players, or best values, on the White Sox. Rather, it takes into account team depth, the free agent market, or answering the question of which player would hurt the most not being on the team? …

1.    Chris Sale, P

Sale is not the best White Sox player — yet. But in just 21 games last season, he established himself as a potential superstar. He’s the most important White Sox player in 2011 because of his flexibility — he’s a potential starter, setup man, or closer. Talk about a “Sale” — the 21-year-old lefty will fill a crucial slot on the team for peanuts, and for a guy who provided $2.6 million in value (estimated salary values all via FanGraphs) in just his short stint with the club last season, the value of this Sale is immeasurable.

October 26, 2010

White Sox pickup 2011 options on Matt Thornton and Ramon Castro

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ October 26, 2010 1:56 pm
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Merkin @ CWS:

The White Sox have exercised the 2011 club options on catcher Ramon Castro and left-handed reliever Scott Matt Thornton and released right-handed pitcher Carlos Torres so he can pursue a job in Asia, the club announced Tuesday.

Castro will earn a base salary of $1.2 million, Thornton a base of $3 million.

$3 million for Scott Thornton? I don’t know about that…

September 22, 2010

White Sox to pick up Matt Thornton’s 2011 option

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ September 22, 2010 10:15 pm
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Gonzales:

The White Sox appear destined to make several changes next season, but they made a move to stabilize their bullpen Wednesday in picking up the 2011 option on All-Star left-handed reliever Matt Thornton.

The Sox gave Thornton security by signing him to a three-year contract before the 2007 season that included two team options. The last of those two options — a $3 million contract for 2011 — likely will be picked up formally once the season concludes.

September 4, 2010

Chronicling Don Cooper’s successes

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ September 4, 2010 7:41 pm
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Ballantini @ CSN:

Most markedly, Cooper’s suggestion to Jackson that he apply the “Jose Contreras Treatment”—i.e., a more erect posture in his delivery—has worked wonders. (It’s neither a surprise that Cooper spotted the flaw immediately upon viewing tape of Jackson nor that he was hopping exciting to get the flamethrower in trade.)

Jackson brought a 5.16 ERA with him from the Arizona Diamondbacks and has offered up a clean 1.47 ERA so far with the White Sox, along with reducing his H/9 a full two, from 9.4 in Arizona to 7.4. He’s also cut his walks in half (4.0 BB/9 to 2.0 BB/9) while increasing his strikeouts by four (11.0 K/9 in Chicago vs. just 7.0 K/9 in Arizona). Those factors have combined to have increased Jackson’s K/BB by 200%, from 1.73 with the Diamondbacks to 5.63 with the White Sox.

… Let’s take a look at some other famous Cooper turnaround efforts, beginning with the two players the pitching coach himself was quickest to cite:

August 10, 2010

A.J. Pierzynski still on track to be a Type-A free-agent after this season

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ August 10, 2010 9:40 pm
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MLBTR crunches the numbers. Here’s the AL catchers section:

Name Team Type Score
Joe Mauer Minnesota A 89.862
Victor Martinez Boston A 83.871
Kurt Suzuki Oakland A 76.959
Jorge Posada New York A A 76.037
A.J. Pierzynski Chicago A A 76.037
Matt Wieters Baltimore A 72.350
Mike Napoli Los Angeles A B 71.889
Bengie Molina Texas B 71.429

August 2 numbers:

Name Team Type Score
Joe Mauer Minnesota A 89.286
Victor Martinez Boston A 83.673
Kurt Suzuki Oakland A 78.061
Jorge Posada New York A A 77.041
A.J. Pierzynski Chicago A A 76.020
Bengie Molina Texas B 71.429
Mike Napoli Los Angeles A B 69.388

Paul Konerko and J.J. Putz are on track to be Type-Bs. Matt Thornton, club option for 2011, is a Type-A. Alexei Ramirez is again on track to be a Type-A (he had slipped to Type-B) but he isn’t a free-agent after this season.

Spreadsheets at the link.

August 4, 2010

A.J. Pierzynski still on track to be a Type-A free-agent after this season

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ August 4, 2010 8:38 pm
Tags: , , , ,

MLBTR crunches the numbers. Here’s the AL catchers section:

Name Team Type Score
Joe Mauer Minnesota A 89.286
Victor Martinez Boston A 83.673
Kurt Suzuki Oakland A 78.061
Jorge Posada New York A A 77.041
A.J. Pierzynski Chicago A A 76.020
Bengie Molina Texas B 71.429
Mike Napoli Los Angeles A B 69.388

July 26 numbers:

Name Team Type Score
Joe Mauer Minnesota A 87.619
Victor Martinez Boston A 82.857
Jorge Posada New York A A 77.143
Kurt Suzuki Oakland A 77.143
A.J. Pierzynski Chicago A A 76.667
Bengie Molina Texas A 73.333
Mike Napoli Los Angeles A B 70.000

Paul Konerko and J.J. Putz are on track to be Type-Bs. Matt Thornton, club option for 2011, is a Type-A. Alexei Ramirez is on track to be a Type-B but he isn’t a free-agent after this season.

Spreadsheets at the link.

July 26, 2010

A.J. Pierzynski on track to be a Type-A free-agent after this season

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ July 26, 2010 12:55 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

MLBTR crunches the numbers. Here’s the AL catchers section:

Name Team Type Score
Joe Mauer Minnesota A 88.095
Victor Martinez Boston A 83.333
Jorge Posada New York A A 79.524
Kurt Suzuki Oakland A 78.571
A.J. Pierzynski Chicago A A 76.190
Bengie Molina Texas A 74.762
Mike Napoli Los Angeles A B 70.476

July 15 numbers:

Name Team Type Score
Joe Mauer Minnesota A 87.619
Victor Martinez Boston A 82.857
Jorge Posada New York A A 77.143
Kurt Suzuki Oakland A 77.143
A.J. Pierzynski Chicago A A 76.667
Bengie Molina Texas A 73.333
Mike Napoli Los Angeles A B 70.000

Paul Konerko and J.J. Putz are on track to be Type-Bs. Matt Thornton, club option for 2011, is a Type-A. Alexei Ramirez slipped to a Type-B but he isn’t a free-agent after this season.

Spreadsheets at the link.

July 14, 2010

A.J. Pierzynski on track to be a Type-A free-agent after this season

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ July 14, 2010 7:12 pm
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AL catchers:

Name Team Type Score
Joe Mauer Minnesota A 88.177
Victor Martinez Boston A 82.759
Jorge Posada New York A A 78.325
A.J. Pierzynski Chicago A A 78.325
Kurt Suzuki Oakland A 77.340
Bengie Molina Texas A 72.414
Mike Napoli Los Angeles A B 69.458

July 4 numbers:

Name Team Type Score
Joe Mauer Minnesota A 87.619
Victor Martinez Boston A 82.857
Jorge Posada New York A A 77.143
Kurt Suzuki Oakland A 77.143
A.J. Pierzynski Chicago A A 76.667
Bengie Molina Texas A 73.333
Mike Napoli Los Angeles A B 70.000

Paul Konerko and J.J. Putz are on track to be Type-Bs. Matt Thornton, club option for 2011, is a Type-A. Alexei Ramirez is a Type-A but isn’t a free-agent after this season.

Spreadsheets at the link.

July 4, 2010

A.J. Pierzynski: currently a Type-A free-agent after this season

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ July 4, 2010 7:00 pm
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AL catchers:

American League Catchers
Name Team Type Score
Joe Mauer Minnesota A 87.619
Victor Martinez Boston A 82.857
Jorge Posada New York A A 77.143
Kurt Suzuki Oakland A 77.143
A.J. Pierzynski Chicago A A 76.667
Bengie Molina Texas A 73.333
Mike Napoli Los Angeles A B 70.000

Paul Konerko and J.J. Putz are Type-B. Matt Thornton, club option for 2011, is a Type-A. Alexei Ramirez is a Type-A but isn’t a free-agent after this season.

Spreadsheets at the link.

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