Here is what one respected scout told me the other day about Jake Peavy, who threw all fastballs during a Cactus League loss vs. the Royals last week:
“He lost confidence in his fastball when he was with the Padres last year. He was just throwing sliders and cutters. They’re both great pitches and he gets a lot of movement with them. But he’s got to get the fastball back.”
March 30, 2010
March 27, 2010
… Mark Kotsay recalled Guillen found ways to inject his style into the Sox’s 2005 World Series champions.
In one instance, Guillen called for Juan Uribe to lay down a squeeze bunt that enabled Pierzynski to score an insurance run in the clinching game of the American League Division Series at Boston.
“People look for his antics, but he always knows what’s going on,” Juan Pierre said. “He’s not scared to put on a signal, like a squeeze play. In the past, there wasn’t much he can do because of all the home run hitters.
“He’s excited, and so am I because that’s what my game is tailored to.”
March 26, 2010
Ozzie Guillen is more or less immune from heat over his antics, his tweeting and his tendency to shoot off at the mouth from time to time, but he could be under some pressure this year all the same. Why? Because this seems more like the team he wanted than the team Kenny Williams wanted. Back at the Winter Meetings Ozzie was adamant that he not be tied down with a dedicated DH. Williams listened, passed on bringing back Thome or Dye and now there’s a decent chance that Mark Kotsay and Omar Vizquel will be getting at bats from the DH slot. Juan Pierre was clearly a Guillen priority. He’s moving Gordon Beckam to second base just as he was getting used to third (and after being drafted as a shortstop). I don’t think Ozzie’s job is in jeopardy or anything, but if the team doesn’t produce, Guillen is probably due a lot of the heat for it. How he reacts to the heat could put his job in jeopardy of course, because anything is possible with Ozzie. …
March 24, 2010
The latest revelation is manager Ozzie Guillen is considering batting Mark Kotsay in the third spot against right-handed starters to give the Sox a balance of left- and right-handed hitters at the top of the order.
That Guillen has Kotsay as an option is a tribute to Kotsay’s production because Guillen doesn’t want to bat a left-handed hitter high in the order just for the sake of balance.
But Kotsay is batting .429 with seven RBIs in his last 10 exhibition games. He also has four stolen bases and is running better than Carlos Quentin, who missed eight weeks last season because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Quentin ripped three singles Wednesday in a 10-3 victory over the Diamondbacks. ….
March 20, 2010
BaseballMusings plugs the Marcel projections into the Lineup Analysis Tool:
- Best lineup: 4.89 runs per game
- Probable lineup: 4.84 runs per game
- Worst lineup: 4.67 runs per game
- Regressed lineup: 4.56 runs per game
The White Sox probable lineup comes very close to the optimum lineup, just 0.5 behind. One reason is that Guillen puts Pierre, Beckham and Quentin consecutively in the lineup. The LAT slots them 9-1-2 instead of 1-2-3, but keeping those three together helps get the most out of the order.
The lineup used now is ‘Pierre, Beckham, Quentin, Konerko, Rios, Pierzynski, Ramirez, Teahen and Kotsay.’ When I used the LAT back in February 1, the projected lineup was ‘Pierre, Rios, Quentin, Konerko, Teahen, Beckham, Pierzynski, Ramirez and Kotsay,’ and the results were:
Best lineup: 4.89 runs per game
Probable lineup: 4.81 runs per game
Worst lineup: 4.67 runs per game
Seems the current lineup projection is closer to the optimal run production!
March 17, 2010
… “I know my lineup,” Guillen said. “I got my lineup against lefties and righties already.” But when pressed for the exact batting order, Guillen came up with several possibilities, even though he claims that “it’s easier than in the past.” He listed Pierre, Gordon Beckham, Carlos Quentin and Paul Konerko as the first four. And he seemed certain that Mark Teahen would bat eighth and Alexei Ramirez ninth. Five through seven? “(Mark) Kotsay fifth and A.J. seventh, or … (those) two lefties will bat fifth and seventh with (Alex) Rios in the middle,” he said. “Or I might put Kotsay in the middle.” …
March 15, 2010
4. What does the future hold for Gordon Beckham?
Good things – and lots of them. His performance with the Sox last year showed that the team was right to draft him with their No. 1 pick in 2008, and then move him out of the minors after only 59 games. The kid looks like the real deal and should have a terrific future in front of him.
… For a clearer picture what’s in store for him, I did a little digging for comps. Last year, the 22-year-old Beckham posted a 107 OPS+. So, I went to Baseball-Reference.com’s excellent Play Index and did a search for seasons by: 1) 22-year-olds since 1900, who 2) played an infield defensive position (short, third, or second), 3) posted an OPS+ between 97 and 117, and 4) either qualified for a batting title or had 400 PA.
Fifty-three names popped up. Two were in 2009 (Beckham himself and Everth Cabrera) – leaving the remaining 51 to serve as forecasting tools for Beckham. (I know B-ref has easily available sim scores, but I don’t really trust them because of the differences of era and park. Besides, I think it matters to account for defensive position.) I then dug into their careers to get an idea what the short- and long-term future could be for him (they’re all listed in references and resources at the end of this column if your curious). …
March 3, 2010
Mark Kotsay will serve as the designated hitter Thursday when the Sox play the Los Angeles Angels in Tempe. The plan remains to rotate the DHs, and Alex Rios will get some time there while he recovers from a sore right throwing shoulder. Andruw Jones will start Thursday in center field, but will serve as the DH against left-handers.
It also means that Guillen will begin to show the versatility his DH-by-committee plan really gives him. With Alex Rios nursing a sore throwing shoulder, Guillen will sit him out of the opener and then start Rios as the DH for a few games, while Andruw Jones plays in the outfield.
February 24, 2010
While Guillen and Williams are on the same page in many instances, the job description of the DH isn’t one of them. Williams wants a 40-homer bull while Guillen wants matchup nightmares.
So even with Williams saying he and Guillen have been on the same page, his actions scream otherwise.
Case in point: SoxFest and Williams throwing Jim Thome at Guillen’s feet to either bring him aboard or allow him to continue his free-agent shopping.
Once Guillen took the pass on Thome, Williams started shaking the Scott Boras tree and seeing if Johnny Damon fell out. Detroit gave the former Yankee 8 million reasons to go to Motown. …
February 23, 2010
Ozzie Guillen mentioned Tuesday that Andruw Jones will be penciled in as the 2010 White Sox designated hitter against left-handed pitchers, at least at this early stage of Spring Training.
But the White Sox manager left the door open for the physically fit Jones to earn even more warranted at-bats.
“Can he play every day and help us? I don’t see why not,” said Guillen of Jones, who has already drawn early-camp notice from his svelte look. “He has to use all the fields to make him better. The potential and ability is there. He has to know how to use it the best.
“Talking about him right now, he will play against lefties and is going to be in the middle of the lineup. It depends how [Carlos] Quentin and [Paul] Konerko swing the bat, and [Alex] Rios. I hope he keeps in the middle of the lineup and hopefully that works out.”
Gonzo says this means Kotsay will get more of the DH at-bats against right-handed pitching, and that Ozzie Guillen didn’t rule out Jones batting lead-off against tough left-handers.
February 21, 2010
Gordon Beckham moves from third base to second base. Beckham, who arrived almost one week before position players report on Saturday, seems confident in his ability to handle the new position, while avoiding the sophomore jinx following an opening campaign earning him two top rookie honors.
“Hit .300, that’s all I really want to do,” said Beckham, who isn’t concerned as much with his home run power as he is with knocking out 40 or 50 doubles. “But it’s not an easy task.”
February 19, 2010
Why They Might Win: They’ve scrupulously followed the formula that worked in 2005 in assembling their 2010 team: a rotation so good that a former ace ranks as the fifth starter. That was Orlando Hernandez then, and it’s Freddy Garcia now. A bullpen stocked with multiple closers? With the addition of J.J. Putz and the emergence of Matt Thornton to support Bobby Jenks, check. Power up the middle? With Alex Rios in center and Gordon Beckham moving to second to join shortstop Alexei Ramirez and catcher A.J. Pierzynski, that’s looking good, too.
Why They Might Not Win: If Jake Peavy breaks down, the rotation starts to look a lot less impressive. If Rios continues to sleep-walk his way through the South Side portion of his career, he’ll be the most expensive mistake ever made involving revocable waivers. And the thing about that 2005 plan… did they really have to follow the part about getting a leadoff hitter who doesn’t get on base? I see your Podzilla and raise you a Juan Pierre. The hitting portion of being a DH is non-optional, yet that’s what the Sox are probably stuck with if they settle for Andruw Jones and Mark Kotsay. …
February 14, 2010
From Cowley’s ‘What Ozzie wants: A new identity for Sox‘ column:
The 2010 model is about pitching and defense, getting on base and creating pressure, scoring runs by any means necessary. There is still power, but it’s more spread out.
The 2010 model is about getting on base? is any 2010 acquisition on base threat? Juan Pierre? .339 OBP for the last 3 years. Mark Teahen? .330. Andruw Jones? .304. Omar Vizquel? .301. A ‘during the 2009 season’ acquisition like Alex Rios? .330. Mark Kotsay? .315. And we lost a starter with a .380 OBP. I don’t see any ‘getting on base’ player. I hope the pitching will be strong. Otherwise 2010 will suck. Big Time.
And as soon as I finish I see this.
February 11, 2010
Guillen ultimately made the decision to bypass the return of Jim Thome or the addition of a full-time, left-handed designated hitter to use this position as a rotating talent slot. Guillen will employ Mark Kotsay, Andruw Jones, Jayson Nix and Omar Vizquel as the DH, while giving a day off without giving a day off from time to time to position-player starters such as Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin.
There are plenty of doubters who believe the offense will not succeed at its optimum level with the variety of players filling this slot. But Guillen believes he can better suit his offense to different styles of pitchers by using this flexibility to maneuver the lineup. …
February 7, 2010
When even Phil Rogers implores you to get a DH:
The guess here is he can make enough plays to make a difference in 2010. He [Johnny Damon] appears headed to the Tigers, but the White Sox ought to stage an intervention.
Imagine Damon in the Sox leadoff spot and Juan Pierre as the No. 2 hitter — or the other way around. Can a rotating DH including Mark Kotsay, Andruw Jones, Omar Vizquel and Jayson Nix outproduce Damon? And what would be the harm in having 23-year-old Jordan Danks spend time with Damon? They seem to be the same kind of player.
Dye’s continuing unemployment relates to an unflattering statistical analysis of his outfield skills and his reluctance to accept a role as a DH or extra outfielder (the Cubs pursued him before turning to Xavier Nady).
… Branyan, like Damon, could improve the White Sox’s DH spot. He strikes out a ton but delivers long balls — 43 in 563 at-bats the last two seasons — and the Sox haven’t added power after sliding to sixth in the AL in homers. He could fit on almost any team in a bench role but fits best in the AL, where he would be an instant upgrade for the Indians, Athletics and Rangers.
then you know,
The run projections I calculated with Dye as DH yielded 12-18 runs more than the ones with Kotsay/Jones.