This Sunday Fox aired the 500th – yes, five-zero-zero – episode of its flagship program, “The Simpsons”. Once one of the greatest shows on television, the show has had it’s ups and downs since the turn of the century, but it’s still going strong ratings-wise. To celebrate the remarkable occasion, I’ve pulled out an old favorite from the Wezen-Ball archives. The post doesn’t quite analyze the single-greatest “Simpsons” episode ever – sadly, Hank Scorpio bought Homer the Denver Broncos and not, say, the Chicago Cubs for helping him take over the East Coast – but it does analyze the single-greatest baseball-themed Simpsons episode ever.
So – how good would a 1992 baseball fan have considered the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant team of ringers to have been? …
February 20, 2012
February 18, 2012
“It might sound arrogant, but I know how good I am at pitching,” Anderson told MLB.com during a recent interview. “I’m extremely talented on the mound, and I want to prove it to people.
“Some people might think this is a joke, and wonder ‘Why doesn’t he just retire?’ Well, they are entitled to their own opinions. I appreciate all the support fans showed me in Chicago, and how they really stuck by me. Hopefully in my new pursuit, in my new dream that I want to pursue, I hope they will give me a chance. If some people don’t, I don’t care. My attitude is so much different.”
… No regrets exist for Anderson over his past life as a center fielder. He holds mostly positive memories from his time with the White Sox, and a few he would like to forget. But Anderson has no regrets about making his career-changing choice.
“I’ve been wrong before, and I could be wrong again. But I don’t think I am,” Anderson said. “If I had a decent rookie year [in 2006], all the other stuff would have taken care of itself. I don’t point the finger at anyone but myself. But I’ve never been happier.”
Other White Sox links:
- James looks at the Kosuke Fukudome signing, and on how to best arrange the outfield. And he looks at the Sox’s ‘Do what you can, fellas,’ approach to win the division.
- J.J., also, writes how to best use Kosuke Fukudome, what happened to him in Cleveland, and why the Sox didn’t go with Jordan Danks. And he explains what things to watch in Chris Sale’s pitching in Spring Training.
- Kevin Goldstein published his ‘Top 101 prospects for 2012’ list. The only Sox prospect in it was Addison Reed at #81. All other AL Central teams fared better on Golstein’s list.
February 17, 2012
Fangraphs’ David Laurilla has a nice interview with Terry Doyle, the White Sox pitching prospect that the Twins selected in the Rule 5 draft:
Doyle:“Being a math guy, I always look at numbers. Strike percentages and ground-ball rates are things where, if you can get the odds in your favor, you’re going to be more successful. That’s what I do when I pitch. I try to get as many small edges as I can.“
A lot of people aren’t good at math, especially in baseball. People struggle in math, so coaches usually keep it simple. They just say, ‘We want first-pitch strikes and we want 1-2 counts versus 2-1 counts.’ They hammer that into us every spring training. Then, during the season, if we have a stretch where we’re falling behind hitters, they’ll step up and say, ‘Look guys, we’re doing a crappy job of getting ahead; we’re trying to be too cute and we’re trying to spin off too many breaking balls. We need to get back to basics and get ahead in the count.’
“Stats are always helpful, but there are some you don’t know how to change. You can’t change something like opponents‘-batting-average-on-balls-in-play. You look at it, and it’s helpful to know what it is, but at the same time you can’t really control how they hit the ball or what happens once they do. All you can do is throw the pitch. There are small alterations that you can make — small changes — but you can’t try to reinvent the wheel. You have to go with what you’ve been successful with, and for me that‘s been throwing strikes.”
February 14, 2012
The Chicago White Sox and free-agent outfielder Kosuke Fukudome have agreed to terms on a one-year, $1-million contract which includes a club option for the 2013 season. Under terms of the agreement, Fukudome will receive $500,000 in 2012, while the Sox hold a $3.5-millon option for 2013, including a $500,000 buyout.
“Kosuke adds to our outfield depth and gives Robin another left-handed bat to mix into the lineup based on matchups,” said Rick Hahn, White Sox vice president/assistant general manager. “He can play center field and right and provides flexibility to our roster.”
… He will wear uniform No. 1. With Fukudome’s addition, the White Sox 40-man roster is at 37.
The addition of Fukudome figures to leave the utility infield spot as the lone battle to be decided between Ozzie Martinez and Eduardo Escobar. Fukudome joins Brent Lillibridge in the outfield mix but could step into a starting role if Alejandro De Aza or Alex Rios struggle, and he can also give Dayan Viciedo an occasional break against tough right-handers. Fukudome has plenty of experience hitting in the leadoff slot.
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards 2007 30 -min Fgn 81 348 269 64 79 22 0 13 48 5 2 69 66 .294 .443 .520 .963 140 5 6 0 4 3 CNI · JPCL 2008 31 CHC NL 150 590 501 79 129 25 3 10 58 12 4 81 104 .257 .359 .379 .738 89 190 7 1 2 5 9 *98/D AS,RoY-6 2009 32 CHC NL 146 603 499 79 129 38 5 11 54 6 10 93 112 .259 .375 .421 .796 105 210 15 3 3 5 3 *89 2010 33 CHC NL 130 429 358 45 94 20 2 13 44 7 8 64 67 .263 .371 .439 .809 114 157 5 0 3 4 1 *9 2011 34 TOT MLB 146 603 530 59 139 27 3 8 35 4 6 61 110 .262 .342 .370 .712 97 196 8 4 6 2 4 *98/D 2011 34 CLE AL 59 258 237 26 59 12 1 5 22 2 4 15 53 .249 .300 .371 .671 87 88 6 3 1 2 3 998/8D 2011 34 CHC NL 87 345 293 33 80 15 2 3 13 2 2 46 57 .273 .374 .369 .742 105 108 2 1 5 0 1 998/8D 4 Seasons 572 2225 1888 262 491 110 13 42 191 29 28 299 393 .260 .361 .399 .760 100 753 35 8 14 16 17 162 Game Avg. 162 630 535 74 139 31 4 12 54 8 8 85 111 .260 .361 .399 .760 100 213 10 2 4 5 5 CHC (4 yrs) 513 1967 1651 236 432 98 12 37 169 27 24 284 340 .262 .369 .403 .772 102 665 29 5 13 14 14 CLE (1 yr) 59 258 237 26 59 12 1 5 22 2 4 15 53 .249 .300 .371 .671 87 88 6 3 1 2 3
I guess Hahn kicked Passan’s $98 million dollar payroll figure up a notch.
February 13, 2012
Clay Davenport has published his 2012 projections (Feb 12). Projected division standings:
|AL Central||Won||Lost||Runs F||Runs A|
The projections for the Sox hitters:
And the projections for the Sox pitchers:
From a quick glance these look too good! 750 OPS out of Dunn/Rios, nearly 800 OPS out of Beckham, and WHIPs in the 1.2s from the entire starting rotation.
February 12, 2012
The first top prospects compilation update of the year is now available! I have linked to the new file below. The Excel workbook contains tabs at the bottom representing each of the league’s divisions as well as a tab for top 100 lists and positional analysis.
This is a fairly comprehensive update, but it is far from complete. I will have more for you Monday or Tuesday after Kevin Goldstein‘s Top 101 prospects list is released. All of MLB.com’s published prospects will be updated at that time as well thanks to the help of Jonathan Mayo.
As usual, if you find any errors or omissions, would like to recommend a ranking source, or have any other comments or suggestions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other White Sox links:
February 11, 2012
I say nothing but Jason Parks @ BP takes a look:
What Could Go Wrong in 2012: [Addison] Reed can get a little fastball-dependent, which doesn’t usually matter because his fastball is an explosive pitch with near-elite velocity that he can spot on either side of the plate. He could struggle if his command wavers, or if his slider flattens out a bit, which it did at times in 2011. If he loses the slider, even for a sequence, he becomes more of a one-dimensional arm, and major-league hitters can square up velocity when they know that’s all you have in the tank. To find sustainable success, Reed needs to keep that slider sharp and in sequence while maintaining his command. If that happens—and it should—there is very little to worry about in his immediate future.
February 10, 2012
The White Sox signed Mitch Mustain out of a tryout camp, even though the 24-year-old hasn’t pitched since high school in ’05. The Springdale, Ark., native pursued a football career in college, playing quarterback for Arkansas and Southern California through ’09. Mustain started only one game for USC and ran afoul of the law, so no NFL team drafted or signed him in ’11. Instead, he signed to play in the Arena Football League last September prior to working out for Chicago. Check out Mustain’s detailed Wikipedia entry for more.
… Mustain went undrafted out of college and was later released by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. He was set to join the Georgia Force of the Arena Football League this spring, but received a tryout from the White Sox in January and says he threw the ball 90 miles per hour.
Mustain has not played baseball since high school.
“I haven’t played in eight years, which, my age, it’s going to be a little bit harder to get back into this,” Mustain told 5News in Fayetteville, Ark. “As time goes, I figured this would be my one shot at it, and why not? I’m going to take this shot. I’m going to give it everything I have and see where it goes.”
“I’m confident that I’ll get back in shape quickly for it,” Mustain said. “They’re going to give me the opportunity to face batters and get my feet wet no matter what happens to me. If I’m getting tagged right off the bat, I’ll just keep plugging away.”
“I’m going to play one sport or the other until somebody tells me to go home,” he said, “until they’re not even going to let me try. So I’m going to go do it and literally throw everything I have at it and see where it goes.”
… Mustain said the baseball chapter of his life will probably be added to a documentary in the works that gained attention last month. Filmmaker Matthew Wolfe posted this clip of the project, tentatively titled “The Identity Theft of Mitch Mustain” on a website. The clip includes Mustain shooting rifles and handguns in the woods.
“I’m not a militiaman by any means,” Mustain said. “I think a lot of that was intentionally vague to draw some attention and see where it goes. We wanted to stir up some reaction, and there was some pretty interesting feedback.
“He had been asking me about stuff, hobbies I have. He was intrigued and wanted to see. We spent maybe 10 or 15 minutes out there shooting a little bit. It’s amazing that from a two-minute clip that people deduced that’s my life.”
February 9, 2012
1. Addison Reed, RHP (video)
2. Nestor Molina, RHP (video)
3. Trayce Thompson, OF (video)
4. Eduardo Escobar, SS (video)
5. Jacob Petricka, RHP (video)
6. Erik Johnson, RHP (video)
7. Keenyn Walker, OF (video)
8. Simon Castro, RHP (video)
9. Tyler Saladino, SS (video)
10. Jhan Marinez, RHP (video)
11. Marcus Semien, SS (video)
12. Nate Jones, RHP (video)
13. Hector Santiago, LHP (video)
14. Charlie Leesman, LHP (video)
15. Kevan Smith, C (video)
16. Andy Wilkins, 1B (video)
17. Michael Blanke, C (video)
18. Scott Snodgress, LHP (video)
19. Jose Quintana, LHP (video)
20. Josh Phegley, C (video)
February 8, 2012
The Chicago White Sox, Comcast SportsNet, WGN-TV, WCIU-TV and WSCR-AM 670 (The Score) have announced the team’s television and radio broadcast schedules for the 2012 season.
Comcast SportsNet (CSN) will televise 101 regular-season White Sox games beginning with the season opener on Friday, April 6 against the defending American League champion Texas Rangers in Arlington at 1:05 p.m. CDT. CSN also will air Opening Day at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday, April 13 vs. the reigning AL Central Division champion Detroit Tigers at 1:10 p.m.
WGN is scheduled to broadcast 30 Sox games this season, beginning with the club’s second game of the year, and first night game, on Saturday, April 7 at Texas (7:05 p.m.). WCIU will begin its 25-game schedule on Tuesday, April 10 at 6:05 p.m. at Cleveland.
Five White Sox games are scheduled to be broadcast nationally as part of the FOX Saturday Baseball “Game of the Week” package, beginning April 21 at Seattle (3:05 p.m.). ESPN will air the White Sox at Rangers game on April 8 as part of its “Sunday Night Baseball” schedule with coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. Additional Sox games may be added to the ESPN and FOX slates later in the season. …
Other White Sox links:
- J.J. looks at Paul Konerko’s resurgence, how Will Ohman should be used, and why A.J. Burnett isn’t a fit for the Sox. Oh, he tries to project the 2012 lineup too.
- James looks at Jake Peavy, and at the June 20, 2009 Sox-Reds game (Civil Rights game).
Listen to J.J. Kenny and stay away from A.J. Burnett.
… However, there are a number of sleepers in the gaggle of C+-grade types in the Chicago system, and two of them are infielders Rangel Ravelo and Carlos Sanchez, both of whom concluded the 2011 campaign in Low-A Kannapolis.
… Certainly, Ravelo’s .452 batting average on balls in play in the Appy is unsustainable, but he seems to have the contact skills to hit at least .300. His BABIP dropped to .359 in Kannapolis, but he struck out just 10.9% of the time, with just 19 whiffs in 43 games. He also drew twelve walks, so his K/BB ratio was solid.
As far as the power goes, Ravelo certainly looks the part of at least a decent power hitter. At 6’2″ and a stocky 210 pounds, he has a powerful frame, and his swing has some leverage in it, although it does seem geared more toward doubles power than home run power. Power is often the last tool to develop, and while Ravelo may never be a 20-HR threat, he could well be able to develop enough to play at third base. Perhaps he could be a .290/.340/.430 hitter, although he could also evolve into an Alberto Callaspo sort of player if his approach improves and his power doesn’t. …
February 7, 2012
Alfredo Despaigne set the single-season home run record in Cuba’s Serie Nacional with 32 homers in 2008-09, only to have it broken last year when Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Abreu each hit 33 home runs. It may not take long for Despaigne to reclaim his crown.
The Granma outfielder hit his 20th home run of the season today, the latest in a recent homer binge that included two home runs in a game on Sunday and one on Wednesday, and all in just 46 games. Granma has played 47 games of its 90-game schedule so far, so even with some second-half regression there’s a good chance that Despaigne could become Cuba’s newest single-season home run king.
Despaigne, 25, is now hitting .358/.479/.756 with 26 strikeouts and 35 walks (including 11 intentional walks), leading the league in slugging and ranking seventh in OBP entering today’s game. Of course, this is nothing new for Despaigne, who already has two Serie Nacional MVPs after winning the award in back-to-back years in 2008-09 and 2009-10 and being named an all-star last season.
Here are some cool videos of Alfredo Despaigne:
This may be the coolest. Alfredo Despaigne (red t-shirt) and Yoenis Cespedes (blue t-shirt) prepare for the baseball season:
February 3, 2012
… This is a little script that displays seasonal PITCHf/x data using labels tagged by the THT writers. It includes over a dozen different ways to cut and slice the data, with some of the most common PITCHf/x plots (e.g., Horizontal Movement x Speed) and some uncommon ones (e.g., fancy trajectory plots with nice art). …
Other White Sox links:
- James looks at projections of the 2012 season.
- J.J. looks at BTB’s negative WAR post.
- Angie Wiatrowski at ‘White Sox Talk’ says with the “Appreciate the Game” slogan the Sox are trying to sell the experience instead of the expectations.
- Wally Fish at SeedlingToStars compares the farm systems in the AL Central.
Gas, cheese, heat. These are the best tools in Jeffrey Soptic’s arsenal. He takes advantage of his size and at 6’6″, he should get stronger as he develops. I don’t need to tell you that a guy who can hit a consistent 96 mph throughout an entire inning, let alone an entire start, is rare. If the MLB was full of them it would be a little too rough for the hitters. Soptic’s main issue has been to learn to pitch low in the zone with his fastball. It’s currently very flat despite the plus velocity.
His slider is a pitch that can flash plus, which is promising but he really needs to develop it further and gain more consistency. It would be to his advantage to work on a nasty sinker for those batters sitting on the fastball.
Jeffrey Soptic has a smooth and easy delivery and uses his size and arm strength to deliver his high 90s, and at times 100 plus, velocity. His mechanics are solid and sound; no need for polishing in that area especially since he profiles so well at the back of the pen.
Soptic pitched 2.2 innings in Bristol after he got drafted in June 2011:
Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB 2011 20 Bristol APPY Rk CHW 0 1 .000 0.00 3 0 1 0 0 1 2.2 2 2 0 0 2 0 2 1 0 0 14 1.500 6.8 0.0 6.8 6.8 1.00 1 Season 0 1 .000 0.00 3 0 1 0 0 1 2.2 2 2 0 0 2 0 2 1 0 0 14 1.500 6.8 0.0 6.8 6.8 1.00
Here are his stats from Johnson County Community College (Junior College):