the kid was beating the ball into the ground roughly 50% of the time during the first two or three months of the  season. Once he made an adjustment and started getting more loft on the ball, the production increased considerably. This shouldn’t be a surprise, The Cell is a hitter friendly park especially for right-handed hitters (137 HR, 104 wOBA park factor for RHB according to StatCorner). Park dimensions won’t matter too much when when you’re hitting the ball into the ground, just how long the groundskeeper keeps the grass. Beckham’s ground ball rate in 2009 (40.4%) was right in line with his rate from the last three months of 2010 (~40.3%), and the production was similar as well. …
January 31, 2011
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.
A star in the field and a gentleman in life, the White Sox were convinced they could not part with Alexei Ramirez and so tied to their destination for four years and $ 32.5 million. This new agreement makes the Cuban player with the biggest contract of all those who came to the majors after playing several seasons in the National Series. Ramirez’s new contract includes a club option for a fifth season for $ 10 million, to become valid, ensure as Cuban-experienced player in baseball on the island, with the highest paid contract in history.
If Alexei’s new contract replaces this year’s $2.75 option, then it covers this year, the two arbitration years (2012 & 2013), and one year of Free Agency (2014). If the new contract starts next year, then it covers the two arbitration years (2012 & 2013), and two years of Free Agency (2014 & 2015).
UPDATE: Dave van Dyck says the new contract starts with this year. So, if D.V. Dyck is correct, the contract covers this year, two arbitration years (2012 & 2013), and one year of Free Agency (2014).
UPDATE #2: Brent Ballantini tweets that the $10 million option is for 2016. That would mean the new contract starts next year. If Ballantini is correct, the contract covers two arbitration years (2012 & 2013), and two years of Free Agency (2014 & 2015). Ballantini, also, reminds us that Alexei’s value over his first 3 years with the Sox was $29.6 million; $15.2 million in 2010 alone (Fangraphs).
UPDATE #3: Gregor @ DH says the contract starts next year:
NEW: A source Monday night told me the extension doesn’t kick in until 2012, which is good news for the Sox. And while details on the new deal are still being ironed out, Ramirez is going to make $2.75 million this season.
January 30, 2011
6. Addison Reed | RHP | Age – 23 | Grade – C+
7. Eduardo Escobar | SS | Age – 22 | Grade – C+
8. Tyler Flowers | C/1b | Age – 25 | Grade – C+
9. Greg Infante | RHP | Age – 23 | Grade – C+
10. Thomas Royse | RHP | Age – 22 | Grade – C+
11. Andre Rienzo | RHP | Age – 22 | Grade – C+
12. Tyler Saladino | SS | Age – 21 | Grade – C+
13. Brandon Short | OF | Age – 22 | Grade – C+
14. Anthony Carter | RHP | Age – 25 | Grade – C
15. Matt Heidenreich | RHP | Age – 20 | Grade – C
The following was the comment for Andre Rienzo: “Intriguing sleeper…report contains a breakdown of his mechanics, which are pretty Tim Lincecum-esque.” That’s a hell of a teaser!
January 29, 2011
[Eric] Chavez has already worked out for a handful of American League clubs that could also use Chavez as a designated hitter, among them Toronto, Seattle and the Yankees. The White Sox also are believed very interested.
The Sox signed Adam Dunn on December 2 and Paul Konerko on December 8. So, I assume they are interested in Chavez as a 3B-man.
January 28, 2011
Chris Sale gets an A-/B+ and is #1. From his scouting report:
I know some are worried about his arm action. I think those worries are overblown. If you are worried about his elbow going above his shoulder, the first thing I’d say is that the inverted arm action theory is just that: a theory, and it doesn’t mean a pitcher is guaranteed for an injury-plagued career. The second thing I’d point out is that the height of Sale’s elbow is exaggerated since his torso is hunched over, distorting the elbow’s position as it relates to the shoulder.
Also, Sale’s arm slot requires the elbow to drop back down to below shoulder’s level. The elbow comes down before the period of maximum stress on one’s shoulder. Remember, even those who completely buy into the inverted arm action theory will tell you it’s not that the elbow goes higher than shoulder’s height, it’s if the elbow is above shoulder’s height as it begins external rotation. You also have look at the front shoulder. Those who subscribe to the inverted arm action theory are concerned with a pitcher’s timing. If the arm is not vertical and the front shoulder has begun opening, then you have a timing problem — I tend to agree with this.
If you look at Sale’s mechanics, you’ll notice he does a good job of keeping that front shoulder closed. In fact, Sale’s front side mechanics are extremely sound. He firms up the glove out in front of his chest and brings his chest into the glove. As a result, he’s able to keep his front shoulder from flying open and achieve excellent finish and extension on his pitches as well.
Brent Morel (B-), Jared Mitchell (B-), Jacob Petricka (B-), and Trayce Thompson (C+) round up the Top 5. Hit the link for the full report on Sale.
January 27, 2011
It’s not a world-beating team, but the White Sox are my early pick for the AL Central, edging out the Tigers and a little above the Twins. The team’s not headed for a 95-win season, but they are generally solid without a lot of major holes, though they could use another bullpen arm. …
Here are the first 5 hitting projections:
Player B PO Age BA OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS OPS+ Adam Dunn L DH 31 .252 .383 .539 147 497 81 125 24 1 39 98 102 190 1 1 142 Paul Konerko R 1B 35 .273 .358 .500 133 484 70 132 24 1 28 86 62 92 1 1 126 Carlos Quentin R RF 28 .261 .358 .495 128 444 74 116 25 2 25 88 49 79 4 2 125 Alexis Rios R CF 30 .273 .321 .440 153 605 84 165 33 4 20 84 40 103 26 10 100 Dallas McPherson L DH 30 .226 .310 .487 105 380 51 86 17 2 26 63 44 153 5 2 106 ...
and the the first 5 pitching projections:
Player T Age ERA W L G GS IP H ER HR BB K ERA+ John Danks L 26 3.82 15 9 32 32 200.3 189 85 21 65 161 117 Jake Peavy R 30 3.89 10 6 20 20 120.3 110 52 14 40 119 115 Gavin Floyd R 28 3.95 14 9 30 30 189.3 186 83 20 57 157 113 Mark Buehrle L 32 4.30 13 10 30 30 190.3 214 91 21 45 103 104 Chris Sale L 22 4.40 10 8 40 20 143.3 143 70 18 52 130 102 ...
I hope and expect Beckham will have a better year than what his projection says!
chisox considering freddy garcia. they like him. issue is return of peavy (june maybe) would make it 6 starters.
UPDATE: Kenny says there hasn’t been any recent contact with Freddy:
Williams talked to Garcia’s camp about the White Sox rotation situation, although no numbers were exchanged and Williams said there haven’t been talks with Garcia for at least two or three weeks.
“We have no idea what is going to happen in Spring Training, regarding Peavy at this point, other than what Peavy tells us,” said Williams with a laugh. “So, [Garcia] would be coming in with no guarantee that he would start at all.
“If he did start, it would only be for a shorter time and then he would move to the bullpen. Somebody would move to the bullpen, as [manager] Ozzie [Guillen] tends to go with whoever is pitching the best.
“That situation doesn’t seem like one Freddy wants to be in,” Williams said. “But I’m not sure what’s out there for him or what motivates him. I know he likes Chicago.”
UPDATE #2: Freddy wants to go to New York (MLBTR):
The White Sox may be considering Freddy Garcia, but Garcia had a different team in his sights when he spoke yesterday with Israel Pacheco Velásquez from the Venezuelan paper Meridiano. “My preference is to be with the New York Yankees, and it’s not unreasonable to have that in mind, because I’ve demonstrated that I can be useful,” Garcia said. “A team like New York would be ideal for my age, [as would ] playing in a successful, media-heavy, demanding division. Without doubt it would be an inspiration.”
Freddy says he plans to sign soon.
January 25, 2011
That talent also earned the southpaw spot No. 25 on MLB.com’s list of Top 50 Prospects, officially released on Tuesday night. Sale was the lone White Sox prospect on the list, coming in just behind fellow 2010 draftee, Baltimore’s Manny Machado.
As the 13th selection overall in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Sale became the lone player to reach the Majors from that particular class. The idea arrived upon shortly after the pick was to use Sale as a big league reliever just months after he was anchoring the Florida Gulf Coast University rotation, although his future was as a starter. This potential promotion came with the assumption he could prove his mettle during Minor League stops at Class A Winston-Salem and Triple-A Charlotte, and Sale gave up six hits and struck out a combined 19 over 10 1/3 innings thrown for the Dash and Knights.
Video (click picture or link on the bottom of the picture):
1. Chris Sale, LHP
2. Eduardo Escobar, SS
3. Brent Morel, 3B
4. Dayan Viciedo, 1B/3B
5. Jared Mitchell, CF
6. Jacob Petricka, RHP
7. Greg Infante, RHP
8. Trayce Thompson, OF
9. Addison Reed, RHP
10. Thomas Royse, RHP
11. Andre Rienzo, RHP
While the AL East graph showed some team-to-team consistency (save possibly the Rays), the AL Central graph shows a mess. The Twins have been an underdog, spending more than the league average only once, in 2010 . This is especially impressive considering they were almost contracted into oblivion. The AL Central is the lowest-spending division on average, with the White Sox being the only team to average above the major league average during the ten-year period.
Jim Thome was drafted in the 13th round by the Cleveland Indians in 1989, out of Illinois Central Junior College, where he played shortstop. He began his career in the Gulf Coast League, hitting a mere .237/.314/.296 in 55 games, 186 at-bats. He showed decent strike zone judgment but little power. He split time defensively between shortstop and third base, though scouts felt he would end up at third in the long run due to lack of range. There was little to distinguish him at his point from the mass of rookie-ball players: a junior college guy drafted in the 13th round who couldn’t hit in rookie ball wouldn’t end up on many prospect lists. …
January 24, 2011
After finishing the Top 10 prospect lists for each team Baseball America’s Jim Callis looks on the best of the rest:
Born: March 22, 1988. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 185. Drafted.: Morehead State, 2010 (12th round). Signed by: Phil Gulley.
Many scouts considered Lee a metal-bat creation—until he got a wood bat in his hands. The all-time leader in hits and RBIs at Morehead State, he hit .413 as a junior and .412 as a senior before the White Sox drafted him in the 12th round last June and signed him for $5,000. He batted .324 in his first month in pro ball before tiring late and finishing at .282. He earned all-star honors in the Rookie-level Appalachian League and topped the circuit with 24 doubles, showing enough at the plate to suggest Chicago may have found a bargain. Lee is still growing into his body and wouldn’t stand out at a showcase, but he knows how to hit and play the game. A switch-hitter, he has a compact swing that looks similar from both sides of the plate. He’s a smart hitter with surprising pop for his size. Most of his power comes from the left side of the plate. Lee played mostly shortstop in college but has a second baseman’s arm and spent most of his time as a pro at the keystone. He has the tools to be a solid defender there, with the ability to fill in at short. He’s a good baserunner, though he has just average speed. Whether Lee becomes a regular or utility infielder will depend on how much he hits. He’ll be tested with a full-season assignment in 2011, likely at high Class A Winston-Salem because he’s already 23.
Wilkins was a somewhat advanced college bat from the SEC so at face value there is an expectation to move rather quickly through the system. However, he is a bit of a project. The corner infielder has a powerful bat, but he strikes out too much. …