Q: Please explain “Keeping your hands inside the baseball” and do you believe in swinging down on the baseball?
A: When hitting, imagine trying to keep your hands as close to your body as possible. That’ll always keep your hands inside. I’m a firm believer in swinging down on the ball. That pathis what creates backspin, which in turn makes the ball travel further.
February 23, 2010
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.
The Top 100 Prospects list is the culmination of our offseason prospect coverage, which begins with our reviews of the top talent in each minor league and proceeds with ranking the talent in each major league farm system. Our staffers and correspondents talk to general managers, managers, scouting directors, farm directors, scouts, coaches and other people in the game. Four people contributed to the voting this year: Co-Editors Will Lingo and John Manuel, executive editor Jim Callis and assistant editor Conor Glassey. … As always, our view is not necessarily to what a player will do this season, but what his ultimate major league ceiling is, weighed against the likelihood that he will reach that ceiling.
55 Jared Mitchell, of, White Sox (Grade 70)
60 Tyler Flowers, c, White Sox (Grade 65)
66 Dan Hudson, rhp, White Sox (Grade 65)
The Tigers designated righty Casey Fien for assignment to make room for Johnny Damon, according to the team’s Twitter page. Fien, 26, posted a 3.41 ERA, 10.2 K/9, and 2.3 BB/9 in 58 Triple A relief innings this year. He struggled in 11.3 big league frames, which marked his Major League debut. Baseball America ranked Fien 27th among Tigers prospects, writing that he “profiles as a middle reliever.” Still, his minor league command is intriguing.
Why begin with wOBA? I use it a lot, for one, so this will hopefully lead to readers understanding what I’m going on about. But, second, it’s not really that complicated. wOBA, essentially, is runs/PA. The rate at which the batter produced runs for his team. What else matters? Runs are the bottom line in baseball.
But before we get to wOBA, it’s worth justifying the necessity of a new stat. So let’s look at what folks have typically used to evaluate hitters. I’m going to ignore runs and RBI, but Scott covered them too. …
The Sabermetrics Library @ saberlibrary.com has links to several sabermetric concept primers.
The basic point is to find players who are not well-known as prospects on a national basis, but who could develop into something very interesting within the next year. Note that most of these guys aren’t going to appear in the majors in 2010 even if they do have a breakthrough.
Miguel Gonzalez, C, Chicago White Sox
It was a sleepy morning at the White Sox’ training camp … until Carlos Quentin checked in early. Typically terse, the Sox’ new right fielder woke up the whole clubhouse while hugging every player in sight. Quentin seemed to be a changed man at SoxFest, and the jovial nature has carried over into spring training.
Feeling more relaxed these days, Carlos?
“You never want to say relaxed, but I’m maybe a little more positive,” Quentin said. “I’d use that word. Relaxed I take as being a little – lackadaisical. I would say I’m more positive and very excited. And I’m a year older.”
KW [Kenny Williams] might still be after another LH bat. He’s not sure if he’s got enough “thump” in lineup. ” If JD [Jermaine Dye] was lefty, he’d be here.”
”We can create more runs,” Guillen said. ”In the past, yeah, we could score 10, but all of a sudden, when we need to score one, we can’t. That’s why our philosophy changed.
”We have a bunch of guys in the lineup who can hit 20-plus home runs. I would rather have 10 guys hit 20 home runs than have one guy hit 50. How many times did we have men on second base and we couldn’t score a run when we needed it? If everybody contributes — not have a super year, but have the year they are supposed to have — then this ballclub should be fine offensively.”
No doubt, Guillen believes that. But Williams seems to prefer a big bopper in the middle of the lineup.
UPDATE: Daily Herald graphic inside: (more…)
That’s what CSN’s Chuck Garfien says he understood from his interview with Kenny Williams on Monday:
Williams admitted that the Sox were close to acquiring a big-time player this off-season (a player other than Johnny Damon). Pressed about who it was, Kenny first said, “I don’t think I should go down that road.”
Was it a pitcher? Williams paused. Paused again. And then made the most profound statement of 2010:
“It may have given us a chance to have the best rotation maybe in the history of the game.”
Kenny, also, gave his thoughts on extending Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski:
“There’s going to come a time whether it’s this year, or the next year where I’ve got to tell an A.J. or a Konerko (goodbye) if I’m here, so it’s going to be hard either way.”
Watch the 3:52 video of Garfien’s interview with Kenny at the link.
UPDATE: Phil Rogers thinks Kenny didn’t have enough money anyway.
Also, Richard Griffin @ The Toronto Star said the same something similar back on January 17:
According to sources, the most competitive offers for Halladay came from clubs he was ultimately unwilling to go to – the Chisox, Cubs and Dodgers. Heading to the meetings, Anthopoulos had not asked for a list of teams to which his ace would accept a trade. He could then honestly approach everyone and find out what they had to offer without feeling he was leading them on.
The Blue Jays ended up with Travis D’Arnaud (B), Kyle Drabek (B+) and Michael Taylor (B+/A-). Taylor as traded to Oakland later. Prospect grades from John Sickels. A better package of prospects from the Sox would be Dan Hudson (B+), Tyler Flowers (B) and Gordon Beckham? Boy, I’m so glad that trade didn’t go through. Beckham+ for 1 year of 33 years old Halladay.
UPDATE #2: Rosenthal:
The White Sox’s exact offer is not known, but right-hander Dan Hudson and catcher Tyler Flowers were two of the players discussed, according to sources. The Jays, seeking young, affordable talent, surely inquired about second baseman Gordon Beckham as well. …
Why did Andruw Jones come to camp so early? He thought the whole team was supposed to report today. Seriously.
February 22, 2010
You can ask top prospects your questions
In honor of the release of our 2010 Top 100 Prospects list, Baseball America will host a number of chats on Tuesday with prospects who made our Top 100. Here’s a look at the schedule with links to where you can ask your questions now and read the answers once the chats begin.
• Astros catcher Jason Castro will chat at 4 p.m. ET.
• White Sox outfielder Jared Mitchell will chat at 4:30 p.m. ET.
• Mets first baseman Ike Davis will chat at 5 p.m. ET.
• Nationals righthander Drew Storen will chat at 7 p.m. ET.
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.
I thought I might be able to whip up a quick but interesting and possibly useful metric to gauge the number of wins lost or saved due to injury from the table Jeff whipped up. I like the percent of salary measure, but I thought the total days tally might be more telling of training staff aptitude. …
What I think really hurts Thomas, though, was his physical presence itself. I think it hurt him two ways. First, I think the strain of carrying around that immense frame took its toll on his body, causing his performance to suffer. After turning 30, he only hit .270 for his career and topped 30 homers in a season exactly three times. Meanwhile, he suffered from chronic nagging injuries that sapped him of his ability to produce like he once had.
Second, he looked so damn imposing out there that it was hard to think something as small as a foot or ankle problem could slow him down. A tank shouldn’t stop rolling because of a few rocks in its treads. Yet that’s what happened, and Thomas’ critics unfairly nicknamed him “The Big Skirt” because he couldn’t keep going. …
Tyler Flowers is Williams’ latest golden boy. He’s a hit-first, ask-questions-later offensive catcher who was acquired in the trade that sent Javier Vazquez to the Atlanta Braves in 2008.
Flowers just turned 24. Do the math.
”I can’t, and never will, allow too much sentiment to come into play,” Williams said of the idea of Pierzynski’s departure. ”I can’t. I’m probably the only person around here that can’t allow that to happen. Otherwise, we’re not going to turn over enough to keep ourselves a contender each year. If it makes sense, yeah, we’ll travel down that road. Until then, it’s just another thing on the to-do list.” …