White Sox news, Minor Leagues updates and more

March 27, 2012

White Sox vs. Indians @ 3:05 pm CT; free webcast

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ March 27, 2012 2:05 pm
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Watch exclusive webcast

Watch an exclusive free video webcast as the White Sox host the Indians at 3:05 p.m.. Zach Stewart starts. Jake Peavy and Jesse Crain are scheduled to pitch in a minor league game. Watch webcastGameday | Boxscore

Or click the video below and wait 4-5 seconds (the video at the whitesox.com webcast can be expanded to full-screen):

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February 12, 2012

Top Minor League Prospects Compilation – Update #1

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ February 12, 2012 12:00 am
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Joe Hamrahi:

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 jhamrahi@baseballprospectus.com.

2011-2012 Top Prospect Compilation File – February 10, 2012

Other White Sox links:

January 26, 2012

Robin Ventura talks about the 2012 Sox

Scott Merkin:

Ventura was asked about a few key matters during an interview session with White Sox beat reporters on Thursday and came up with a few pre-Spring Training solutions. The White Sox starting rotation, which looks to be one of its strongest suits, seems all but set with John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Chris Sale and Jake Peavy. According to Ventura, Philip Humber has the advantage at No. 5 over any of the young newcomers such as Nestor Molina or returnees such as Zach Stewart or Dylan Axelrod.”Phil would be that leader heading into the clubhouse,” Ventura said of Humber, whose breakout 2011 effort resulted in a 9-9 record and 3.75 ERA. “I don’t see anything changing with that at this point. We will see during Spring Training, but I’m confident in Phil in doing that No. 5 position.”Humber posted an 8-5 record with a 3.10 ERA and .218 opponents average against in the first half, but had a 1-4 mark, 5.01 ERA and .287 average against after the All-Star break.

Reliever Matt Thornton‘s season was slightly reversed, as the left-hander posted a 2.45 ERA over 52 games after May 1 following an 8.64 ERA in April. Thornton also had blown saves in his first four chances, although he didn’t have the best of luck behind him. Even with that slow start, Ventura tabbed Thornton on Thursday as his leading 2012 closer candidate over rookie Addison Reed and Jesse Crain. “I’m leaning on Matt doing that,” Ventura said. “I don’t think those type of things are concrete. I would like to see him do that, but we’ll see how that goes in Spring Training with him and how he feels.”

In Ventura’s estimation, the team doesn’t have a true utility infielder at this point. Brent Lillibridge earned high praise from Ventura for his versatility and talent, but he wasn’t identified as a possible backup shortstop. Ventura said that Alex Rios could see time in both left field and center field, and as of now, Alejandro De Aza looks to be the leadoff man. Of course, it’s just late January and things could change by the end of Cactus League action. “Gordon [Beckham] could probably do it depending on how he feels about that and how he looks in Spring Training, as far as getting on base,” Ventura said of the leadoff slot. “He has more power than normal leadoff guys, but he’s one of them.”

December 6, 2011

Who will be the Sox closer next year and afterwards?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 6, 2011 6:30 pm
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Michael Barr @ FanGraphs:

One guy that many fantasy owners, not to mention White Sox faithful, would like to see handed the job is Addison Reed. Reed, 22, tore through the minor leagues making mincemeat of hitters at every level, Rookie through AAA ball, finishing with a minor league career 1.41 ERA over 108 innings pitched, striking out 155 and walking just 20. He earned a late season call to the majors in September where he threw 7.1 innings, striking out 12 batters and walking one. Reports from his minor league appearances put his fastball in the 94-97 range and that fits with what batters saw in his brief major league stint, averaging 94.9 mph. He has fantastic command and a very good slider, and in terms of just overall stuff, he’s probably the closer of the future and perhaps even the best man for the job in 2012. But it could be that Robin Ventura and company would prefer someone more seasoned, not wanting to throw the kid into the proverbial fire just yet — not to mention the fact that Reed very well could start the season in the minors.

Doug Padilla says it may be Jesse Crain next year.

July 1, 2011

Another nasty 1-2-3 inning for Sergio Santos

Nice comeback. Alexei and Juan came through. Sergio and the bullpen shut it down. Crain has been very good this year.

RE24: Juan Pierre 1.58, Alexei Ramirez 1.07, A.J. Pierzynski 0.88, Alex Rios 0.69, Carlos Quentin -2.05, Edwin Jackson (P) -0.75, Brent Lillibridge -0.59, Edwin Jackson -0.55 (H).

Boxscore:

Chi White Sox IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Jackson, E(W, 5-6) 6.0 5 4 4 1 5 1 4.24
Bruney(H, 3) 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 3.27
Crain(H, 12) 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.63
Santos(S, 18) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2.92
Totals 9.0 7 4 4 1 10 1 3.84

At-bat screenshots for Santos from MLB Gameday:

1st batter:

pitch #1: 94mph 4-seam fastball: foul
pitch #2: 84mph slider: foul
pitch #3: 86mph slider: swinging strike

2nd batter:

pitch #1: 95mph 4-seam fastball: strike
pitch #2: 84mph slider: strike
pitch #3: 85mph slider: swinging strike

3rd batter:

pitch #1: 95mph 4-seam fastball: strike
pitch #2: 84mph slider: ground out

The first pitch was a 4-seam fastball all time though.

Pitch F/X for Santos:

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) 94.80 95.3 -2.36 7.57 3 3 / 100.00% 0 / 0.00% -0.1292 0.392
SL (Slider) 84.54 85.7 3.76 -1.99 5 5 / 100.00% 2 / 40.00% -0.7332 0.442
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
9 8 8 100.00 8 -0.862

Pitch F/X for Crain:

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) 94.71 95.3 -1.53 10.19 9 6 / 66.67% 1 / 11.11% -0.5081 0.394
SL (Slider) 85.13 86.3 2.61 0.78 8 6 / 75.00% 3 / 37.50% 0.1163 0.436
CU (Curveball) 72.40 72.4 5.57 -9.71 1 0 / 0.00% 0 / 0.00% 0.0421 0.527
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
8 18 12 66.67 18 -0.350

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.

April 22, 2011

Carlos Quentin: now OPSing 1.121 (video) [UPDATE]

Video: HR #1 (0:54), HR #2 (0:52). Dr. Fishbein is doing an awesome job!

BTW, here are some BABIPs from statcorner:

Gordon Beckham: .237
Adam Dunn: .250
Brent Morel: .250
A.J. Pierzynski: .250
Alexei Ramirez: .241
Alex Rios: .213

Edwin Jackson: .342
Jesse Crain: .200
Will Ohman: .348
Chris Sale: .346
Sergio Santos: .250
Matt Thornton: .400

(more…)

January 31, 2011

Fangraphs introduces pitcher heat maps

Appelman @ FG:

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.

January 1, 2011

Will Chris Sale be the White Sox closer this year?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 1, 2011 8:52 pm
Tags: , , ,

Merkin’s mailbag:

Who will serve as the White Sox closer?

If this answer had to be given today, it probably would be Sale. There’s no question Matt Thornton not only capably can handle the closer’s job, but also would emerge as one of the AL’s elite last lines of pitching defense. But unless the White Sox add another left-hander, Thornton has made himself All-Star valuable as a pitcher who can work the seventh or eighth or both, on more than a few occasions. Giving the early nod to Sale doesn’t mean Thornton won’t have save opportunities and the same can be said for Crain and Santos from the right side. There will be a go-to guy coming out of Spring Training, but it could be a fluid position.

December 20, 2010

Jesse Crain is learning to throw a split-finger

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 20, 2010 3:16 pm
Tags: , , ,

Reifert tweets:

[Jesse] Crain on Sox: “I’m really excited and getting better. I’m learning to throw a split finger and working with Coop will make me better.”

and

Crain on his White Sox role: “I am going to be the right-handed pitcher between [Chris] Sale and [Matt] Thornton at the end of the game.”

Seems Sale will not be the closer.

UPDATE: Merkin @ CWS:

The 2011 closer’s job seems to belong to either Matt Thornton or rookie Chris Sale, but with both of them throwing from the left side, Crain stands just a tick ahead of Sergio Santos as the team’s right-handed closing option.”That was part of what attracted me, as well,” said Crain, who fits the mold of what J.J. Putz did for the White Sox in 2010 — being able to work anywhere from the sixth through the ninth. “I’ll definitely have opportunities to finish games.”

With Crain’s addition, the White Sox have five solid arms in their bullpen, and they could go with a couple of youngsters to fill out the seven-man bullpen. Crain was part of that all-in, 2011 mentality for the White Sox, with general manager Ken Williams telling MLB.com this past Saturday how there was more money to work with in free agency after he originally stated the team was tapped out following Konerko’s return.

December 15, 2010

White Sox sign RHRP Jesse Crain to 3-year, $13 million deal [UPDATE #2]

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 15, 2010 8:04 pm
Tags: , ,

Gammons @ MLB tweets:

White Sox have three year deal with Jesse Crain.

First mentioned in a tweet by Cowley:

Market on Q is not to KW’s liking …. but what’s that I smell in the kitchen? Smells like Crain cooking.

Crain is a Type-B free agent. He was offered arbitration.

UPDATE: A mini scouting report from Brett Ballantini:

Crain fits well in a Chicago bullpen filled with power arms, and features a wicked slider that has made a fool of many a White Sox hitter in the past. However, Crain has a tendency to give up flyballs, which could have a much more dangerous effect in homer-happy U.S. Cellular Field than at the Metrodome or Target Field in Minnesota.

UPDATE #2: Levine @ ESPN:

The deal is expected to be worth $13 million over three years, another major league source said.

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