White Sox news, Minor Leagues updates and more

May 23, 2011

Andre Rienzo strikes out 8 and walks 1 tonight (May 23)

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 23, 2011 11:15 pm
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5/23:

Winston-Salem Dash
Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Rienzo 6.0 5 1 1 1 8 0 2.59
Wickswat 3.1 3 0 0 0 2 0 1.59
Kloess (L, 1-2) 1.1 2 1 1 0 3 0 4.09

Groundouts-flyouts: Rienzo 5-1.
Batters faced: Rienzo 24.

Matt Thornton modifies his slider

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 23, 2011 11:01 pm
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Schouwen @ CST:

Thornton has modified his slider, going back to a harder, true 88-91 mph slider as opposed to the slower, more curvy second pitch he used to throw. He got a big strikeout with it against Oakland’s David DeJesus,, but his bread-and-butter pitch is still a 96-97 mph fastball.”It has a late cut when it’s right,” Thornton said. “Just a touch of cut where I get jams and broken bats. Hitters see a fastball coming in and they’re geared up for a mid-90s fastball and it cuts at the end. It’s a pretty tough pitch to handle.”

Other White Sox links: J.J. looks on Alexei Ramirez’s improvement, James recaps the past week, and Gordon Beckham feels good about his swing.

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 22, 2011

Adam Dunn FTW!

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 22, 2011 11:00 pm
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More Dunn:

“I’m expanding my zone early in the count and that’s getting me in trouble,” he said. “I’m going to fix it. It’s just a matter of how or when. It’s one of those things sitting around pouting about it, moping around about it isn’t going to change anything.

“I don’t want the guy sitting on the hill throwing me pitches to realize it. I want him to look at me and go, ‘Man, this is still a dangerous guy, I don’t care what he’s hitting.’ And if you’ve got that bad body language like you’re pouting or something, what’s that going to solve?”

Other White Sox links: J.J. has a plan to get Adam Dunn on track, James looks on Brent Lillibridge and how he should be used, Jim looks on Gavin Floyd’s hot start, and Brett Ballantini writes about Omar Vizquel’s awesomeness.

Edwin Jackson’s slider was good; Sox 4 games below .500

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 22, 2011 10:00 pm
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Sox at 22-26:

Chi White Sox IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Jackson, E(W, 4-5) 5.2 5 1 1 2 7 0 4.26
Sale 0.1 2 2 2 1 1 0 6.32
Crain(H, 7) 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2.45
Thornton(S, 2) 2.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 5.17
Totals 9.0 8 3 3 4 10 0 3.90

Big day for Alexei: a single, two doubles and a homer. And Dunn goes 1/2 with 3 walks.

Pitch F/X for Edwin Jackson:

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) 95.47 98.4 -3.09 7.19 52 26 / 50.00% 2 / 3.85% -0.1152 0.394
CH (Changeup) 84.40 84.4 -8.60 3.79 1 1 / 100.00% 0 / 0.00% -0.0504 0.456
SL (Slider) 89.67 95.5 0.12 1.44 52 40 / 76.92% 8 / 15.38% -1.1442 0.419
FT (TwoSeam Fastball) 94.30 94.7 -5.79 5.59 2 1 / 50.00% 0 / 0.00% 0.0071 0.399
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 16 11 68.75 16 -0.862
2 12 7 58.33 28 -0.561
3 16 13 81.25 44 -0.575
4 18 12 66.67 62 -0.344
5 31 18 58.06 93 0.795
6 14 7 50.00 107 0.244

Dayan Viciedo hits 2 more home runs

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 22, 2011 9:45 pm
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5/22:

Charlotte Knights
Player Pos AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG
Viciedo DH 4 2 2 0 0 2 2 0 0 .313

Viciedo: .313/.359/.524/.883 with 12 BB and 30 K in 166 AB.

May 21, 2011

Oh my, this is crazy

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 21, 2011 10:00 pm
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Other White Sox links: James looks at the end of Sergio Santos’ scoreless streak in yesterday’s loss, Cheryl looks at today’s win, FutureSox looks on Ryan Buch’s promotion to Class-A+ Winston-Salem (Buch: 3.69 ERA, 3.75 FIP, 1.14 WHIP, .266 BABIP, 46.1 IP, 46 K, 17 BB) and thatshortkid attends a Birmingham Barons game at Regions park and writes about it.

Moose Scowron is fighting lung cancer

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 21, 2011 9:45 pm
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O’Donnell @ CT:

It has been a rough few months for Skowron. After turning 80 in December, he collapsed at a ballpark in Arizona during spring training.

“He collapsed into my arms,” said oldest son Greg, a trucking executive in the Phoenix area. “We were leaving a spring game around the fifth inning, which was unusual for him. Then he turned down an autograph request, which I’d never seen him do before. Then he turned to me and said, ‘I don’t feel so good.’ “

The initial diagnosis was pneumonia.

Tests later found lung cancer.

Since then, Moose’s life has spun around chemotherapy and radiation sessions at Rush University Medical Center. Not to mention the ceaseless faith, nurturing and hope from wife Cookie and daughter Lynnette.

“Don’t leave out Jerry Reinsdorf and the White Sox people in all of this,” said Skowron, who has served the South Siders as a community relations representative since 1999. “Bob Grim, Ed Farmer, Steve Stone, so many … They’ve all been great.”

Best wishes to Moose.

May 20, 2011

Pitching updates

A 6-man rotation means 1 less reliever. How will the Sox compensate?

In order to compensate for the loss of a middle reliever, one of the starters will be available in relief during the middle of their extended break. The exclusions to that possible role are Mark Buehrle and Gavin Floyd.

The six-man rotation will give the starters some relief since the Sox embark on a stretch of playing on 20 consecutive days without a scheduled day off starting Friday, and Guillen wants to ensure the health of Buehrle and Floyd through the entire season.

And if the 6-man rotation experiment goes well?

Manager Ozzie Guillen said he sees no reason not to stay with a six-man rotation if it works past the 20-day experimentation period that began with Phil Humber’s start against the Athletics on Friday night.

“If we like what we see, of course we’ll keep it at six,’’ Guillen said when asked if he can envision it in place deep into the summer. “Yes. Because I don’t see no reason to change it.’’

Why isn’t Santos given the closer title?

Santos wasn’t used Sunday the way a closer would normally be handled. When on the road in extra innings, teams typically save closers in case they take the lead and need to shut down the victory in the bottom of the inning. …

“[If I did,] all of a sudden, I have to stick with him,” Guillen said. “All of a sudden you don’t see him in the ninth and it’s, ‘What happened here? You said he was going to be the closer.’ When you are there, close the game. I think it’s too early to say this is the guy we are going to use. We’re not save that many games. But every time he’s there, he does the job. I hope he just wait a little bit for what’s going on and then we do something or tell him.”

And from the Coop Pitching Education department:

Humber credited Cooper with helping him add a slider to his repertoire during spring training.

‘‘[Before] I was fastball, curve, change,’’ Humber said. ‘‘The slider takes a lot of pressure off my other breaking ball because it gives hitters something else to think about.’’

Humber has been using his slider early in counts and throwing the curve as his put-away pitch.

and

Right-hander Jesse Crain tinkered with a split-fingered grip on his changeup last year in Minnesota, refined it in spring training and has mastered it this season.

The pitch looks like a fastball, then sinks late.

‘‘It’s been good, something else to keeps hitters off balance,’’ said Crain, who also throws a good curve and plus-fastball. ‘‘It’s slower [around 83 mph], it kind of fades into a righty and fades away from a lefty. Got some jams from righties and swings and misses and rollovers from lefties.’’

Other White Sox links: James says Alexei is breaking out, J.J. looks at Alexei’s acting skills, Chuck Garfien interviews Mark Buehrle and Jon Garland, and Carl has his latest sketch.

Fangraphs’ David Golebiewski on Gordon Beckham’s struggles [UPDATE]

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 20, 2011 2:50 pm
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Golebiewski @ FG:

[Gordon] Beckham gave every indication that he was ready for prime time. He hit the ground running with the White Sox in ’09, putting up a .351 Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) in 430 PA while earning the Sporting News’ AL Rookie of the Year Award. Just 22 years old at the time, Beckham looked like a franchise cornerstone and a needed first-round success story for an organization that had recently been criticized for taking low-upside players like Lance Broadway and Kyle McCulloch.

Since then, however, Beckham has been sliding backwards. His wOBA dipped to .305 in 2010, and he’s the owner of a sordid .262 wOBA so far this season for a Chicago team whose park-and-league adjusted offense is 12 percent below average. In late April, White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker told the Chicago Sun-Times, “[Beckham]‘s swinging at a lot of pitches out of the zone. He’s frustrated. He’s getting himself out a lot.”

Walker’s comments are spot-on. Beckham, described in Baseball America’s 2009 Prospect Handbook as possessing “unusual pitch recognition for a young hitter,” has devolved into one of the easiest outs in the majors. Take a look at Beckham’s outside swing percentages from 2009 to 2011, compared to the MLB averages during those years: …

UPDATE: Here’s Steve Stone’s take.

Terry Doyle promoted to AA Birmingham

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 20, 2011 2:39 pm
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Stats: FI, MiLB, B-R, FG.

32/7 is a 4.57 K/BB ratio!

Paint it black

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 20, 2011 12:00 pm
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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 19, 2011

Ozzie Guillen worried with Gordon Beckham’s strikeouts

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 19, 2011 9:00 pm
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Merkin @ CWS:

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen decided to give Omar Vizquel a start at second on Thursday, riding Vizquel’s six-game hitting streak, but didn’t seem to be too concerned about Beckham’s ongoing battle at the plate.”The only thing I worry about with Gordon, he strikes out a lot,” said Guillen.

Beckham’s 36 strikeouts in 143 at-bats were second on the team to Adam Dunn’s 49 strikeouts in 129 at-bats before Thursday’s game.

“He went through a lot of tough times last year and overcame it, came back and was the player we thought he was going to be,” Guillen continued. “But right now, he’s striking out quite a few times and that worries me. Besides that, nothing, nothing at all. That’s part of the game. Vizquel [is playing] because I need to use him, the way he’s swinging the bat.”

Other White Sox links: J.J. looks for the most memorable HR in Sox history while Brett Ballantini compiles a Top-10, and FutureSox thinks it might be time to move Sox pitching prospect Nevin Griffith to the bullpen.

THT’s Jeffrey Gross on Alex Rios

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 19, 2011 12:36 pm
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Gross @ THT:

Alex Rios is a conundrum of turbulence. A five-tool prospect of the early-to-mid naughts, Rios really didn’t do much with his bat over his first two seasons in the majors, posting a combined .273/.315/.390 (.705 OPS) triple-slash line with 11 home runs, 29 stolen bases, 126 runs scored and 87 runs batted in over 257 games played (979 plate appearances). His glove was slick (+23.0 fielding runs above average (FRAR)), but defense is irrelevant in all but the most intricate fantasy formats.

The 2006 season was a breakout year for Rios, however. Over a mere 128 games played (he was slowed down after the All-Star Break due to a ball he fouled off his foot that led to his hospitalization), Rios slashed .302/.349/.516 (.865 OPS) with elite defense (+9.6 FRAR).

Though still somewhat allergic to walks (7.0 percent walk rate), Rios batted in 82 men, while showing a good balance of power (17 HR, .213 ISO) and speed (15 SB, 6.2 speed score). Before his foul-ball injury, Rios’ season looked even brighter, batting .359 with 43 RBI and most of his homers (11) through his first 60 games played. …

May 18, 2011

Kenny Williams says Dayan Viciedo is a right fielder now

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ May 18, 2011 11:30 pm
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Merkin @ CWS:

The days of Dayan Viciedo as a third baseman seem to have been replaced by this top White Sox prospect moving almost exclusively to the outfield.

“Particularly in right field,” said White Sox general manager Ken Williams. “He is very good out there.”

White Sox Minor League director Buddy Bell and Williams talked about Viciedo two weeks ago and decided to mix him in at first base every now and then for Triple-A Charlotte. Viciedo’s experience at first helps keep the White Sox insulated in case something happens to Adam Dunn or Paul Konerko.

“And if we run into a situation where we need him up here in the big leagues, and let’s say you pinch-run for Adam or Paulie while they’re playing first base and you got another guy who can come in and play that as well,” Williams said. “That’s the thought behind it. He’s taking ground balls every now and then at third base, so we might mix him in there, too, with the same mindset.”

Williams has stressed that the ball comes off Viciedo’s bat better than almost any hitter in the organization. With Viciedo’s offense serving as his main asset, the White Sox don’t want to mess too much with his defensive position.

“We’re very mindful of not making him [switch positions frequently], not disrupting him too much, because he’s really come on strong with that bat,” said Williams of Viciedo, who is hitting .322, with 32 RBIs and a .865 OPS.

Other White Sox links: J.J. reports Peavy’s shutout from the Cell, James, also, looks at Peavy’s start, and Brent Ballantini tries to optimize the Sox 6-man rotation.

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