Right-handed starting pitcher — Terry Doyle, Kannapolis (seven games), Winston-Salem (20 games): Doyle grew up in Red Sox Nation, but he’s made a nice transition to the Pale Hose. The 6-foot-4 righty went 12-10 with a 2.94 ERA and an organizational-best 157 strikeouts in 168 1/3 innings between two levels. Only Chicago’s John Danks (162) had more strikeouts in 2010.
“He’s a tremendous competitor, he competes his butt off,” said McEwing. “He wants the ball until the end of the ninth. He’s able to mix four pitches for strikes at any time and able to locate to all four pitches — it’s one of the biggest assets he’s got. He competes at a high level and is able to throw four pitches at any time.”
The Boston College product was especially nasty at Class A, going 4-2 with a 0.96 ERA in seven starts. He features a fastball, curve, change and a cutter-slider, throwing his heater in the 89-91 mph range with good control. He was promoted mid-season and earned Carolina League Pitcher of the Week honors June 7.
“He’s very polished,” said McEwing, who helped the Mets reach the World Series in 2000. “He almost had a big league season with about 180 innings, and he did an outstanding job. He wants the ball, he doesn’t want to come out of the game. You wish you had five starters like that every day.”
and Greg Walker on Tyler Flowers:
“He’s a tremendously talented kid that is trying to correct some swing problems and some approach flaws, in my mind,” White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker said of Flowers to MLB.com. “I’m still confident he’s on the right track, but this winter is important to him.”
Walker is also tweaking Morel’s swing:
“There are a few things we are tweaking with his swing. He’s still got a few misses that we are looking to iron out this winter, but he can be a productive offensive player. The more efficient he becomes with his legs and swing, the more pop you will see,” Walker said. “Every time I see him, it’s a little better. His swing and offensive game [are] evolving. He’s working on some things, nothing major, just minor things to iron out.”
More players on the link.
“And I think at times, I don’t know if it’s to sell tickets or what, but I think we’ve told people that at times we were a little more talented than what we were on a given year or maybe we just misjudged it. I know last year, you looked up at a given time and we had Chris Getz and Josh Fields hitting one-two a month into the season, and Brian Anderson and DeWayne Wise [in the lineup]. Nothing against those guys, but they just weren’t ready to handle those roles.”
Brooks Boyer won’t like that.
Merkin writes an article about the 1983 and the 2010 White Sox:
Starting pitching became a prime cause of the White Sox slow start this season, with a 5.20 ERA weighing the team down in early June. The rotation’s 34-15 record, 3.18 ERA and 50 quality starts in the past 68 games emerged as the backbone of the exciting comeback.
“Pitching turned everything around for both teams,” said Greg Walker, a reserve first baseman with 10 home runs and 55 RBIs in 1983, and the current team’s hitting coach. “Everybody looked at that 1983 team as really gutty, coming up with clutch hits.
“Well, it’s easy to get those when your pitchers are shutting people out and you are winning games with low scores. Our starting pitching in 1983 was phenomenal, especially in the second half.”
Not that I disagree with him.
Next week the production of the MLB Network reality series The Club will take place at Knights Stadium. Camera crews will be in town for the Charlotte Knights home stand as they follow the career of several Knights players including 2010 first round pick pitcher Chris Sale, catcher Tyler Flowers and infielder Brent Morel. White Sox Assistant General Manager Rick Hahn is expected to be at Knights Stadium next week as well.
… Award-winning actor, Chicago native and die-hard Chicago White Sox fan Michael Clarke Duncan will provide narration for The Clubhitting coach Greg Walker.
UPDATE: Here’s the latest trailer:
And two older trailers:
”The only thing that got this team off to a bad start, and I saw it this winter — when you look at a team, you say, ‘OK, we might be short here, we might be short there, lack some team speed there.’ But this team, the only thing that really stuck out to me is when I started looking at guys, I was, ‘OK, where are they going to be at when they get to spring training mentally? Where are they going to be, where are they at?’
”We just had a lot of stuff going on. You’ve got guys that didn’t play a lot last year because they were hurt or whatever. You had guys coming from a small market to a big market. You’ve got guys that didn’t play every day last year. … I mean, J.P. [Juan Pierre] didn’t play every day last year, and all of a sudden he’s coming to a new league. [Carlos] Quentin was hurt all last year. [Alex] Rios finished terribly. A.J. [Pierzynski is in a] contract year. [Mark] Teahen moving from Kansas City to Chicago. … Back in spring training — you have new guys and you really don’t know them — there was just a lot of stuff mentally going on with this team.” …
Boy, the BS is flying at all directions…
Tyler Flowers is hitting .207/.313/.429/.742 with 19 BB / 55 K in 140 AB / 163 PA and a .273 BABIP. Scott Merkin looks at the situation:
When Flowers joined the White Sox, the story was about a Major League-ready hitter who needed work behind the plate. Flash-forward two springs, and Williams told MLB.com how Flowers had progressed nicely in the catching department but needed to make changes in the mechanics of his swing in order to show he was an everyday catcher.
Those changes were implemented by Flowers. But with all due respect to the organization, Flowers wants to somewhat return to a more familiar style that made him previously successful.
“At the point where I’ve tried doing it their way this last month, sadly enough the numbers speak for themselves, and that way doesn’t totally work,” Flowers said. “I have to go back to the old me. I have to go back to my style of hitting, while implementing the little things Walk [White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker] and Kenny talked about.
“I’m about being a little more aggressive. I haven’t been happy with not driving balls anywhere, especially to right field. I’m not driving them like I can and why Kenny traded for me. I’ve lost that since spring. It has even been frustrating in batting practice. But I think I found where that piece was missing. I’m pumped up to get my game going and get my timing back and get rolling.”
Here’s Merkin’s article on the Spring Training changes:
So, what happened to Flowers’ hitting strength? It was no less than general manager Ken Williams who made that claim of Flowers being ready to hit Major League pitching shortly after picking him up from Atlanta, and it was Williams who said Monday that Flowers would have not only hit but hit with some impact in the big leagues if he had maintained the same approach Williams witnessed in the 2008 Arizona Fall League.
According to Williams, Flowers’ approach at the plate had changed when he was called up to the Majors last September and was exaggerated more this spring. The 24-year-old moved his hands behind his right shoulder, creating for a much longer swing, while adding a twist of the upper body and opening up his hips and leading with his hips.
“It was a double combination of bad,” Williams said. “Tyler had them more in a traditional place with a traditional load. Walk has talked to him about it. I talked to him about it. I have the greatest frame of reference to see him.
“I do see signs of him now getting his hands away from his body a little bit. He’s showing a shorter swing. His short swing is still very powerful. He’s better able to handle all the pitches when he does this. I’m encouraged by him at this stage.”
Walker thought Flowers’ previous hitting instructors weren’t up to MLB standards:
“There are some things mechanically he needs to clean up, but that’s what Triple-A is for,” Walker said. “I still believe he’s got a chance. I don’t think he’s that far off, and I love his talent.”
“That happens sometimes when guys go home and they work with their own individual hitting instructors and they aren’t necessarily qualified instructors to teach Major Leaguers how to hit Major League pitchers,” Williams said. “He and Walk talked about it and worked very diligently to try to correct those mistakes.”
All this may be overlooking something. Take a look at Flowers’ BABIP splits at Flowers’ minorleaguesplits.com page or Flowers’ firstinning.com page.
Greg Walker on Gordon Beckham:
“Last year [after Beckham was called up], there was a little stumble. Once you come out of one of these, like he’s coming out of it right now as we speak, then you always have that in your back pocket for the rest of your career. The panic level he experienced this year, next year that won’t be there because he will always know that, ‘Hey, I don’t need to panic here because look at me last year.’ ”
Meanwhile Beckham went 0-4 with 2 K today and is now hitting .196/.294/.243/.524. BABIP was .235 as of yesterday.
His hitting coach:
Beckham’s problems now are almost certainly mental, hitting coach Greg Walker said. ”It has been all along,” Walker said. ”His swing is pretty simple. It’s a mind thing. He’s put himself in a position where he’s worrying about what he’s doing wrong instead of concentrating on what he does right.”
Walker said he saw Beckham’s problems beginning in spring training. ”He came into spring really hot,” Walker said, ”which shows he’s pretty darn good. Then I saw he started thinking about the pitches he was missing. If you concentrate on the negatives, it’ll eat you up.”
and J.J. Stankenvitz’s analysis:
While Beckham’s plate discipline numbers are roughly in line with the MLB average, he’s not supposed to be an MLB-average hitter. Beckham is swinging at more pitches out of the strike zone and making more contact with those pitches than he did in 2009, which leads to 1) more strikeouts and 2) more weakly-hit balls in play.
The latter is worse given that, if you swing and miss, you aren’t out unless there’s two strikes. No matter the count, if you hit a ball weakly into play, chances are, you’re going to be out.
The most important stat in offense is winning games,” hitting coach Greg Walker said. “That’s all that matters. If you score seven runs like we did on Sunday and lose, then you look back and say we left this guy on third and there’s always negatives to find on offense.
“I can look at every game we lose and find something we could have done better to win the game.”
Walker’s talent is wasted…