White Sox news, Minor Leagues updates and more

January 29, 2012

Rick Hahn and Moneyball

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 29, 2012 9:00 pm
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J.J. Stankevitz:

Hawk Harrelson argued on Saturday that Moneyball was a “fraud” and tore into Billy Beane as a general manager, rhetorically asking how many playoff games those sabermetrically-oriented teams ever won. Hawk further dismissed the book and movie, saying he’s neither seen or read the work, but doesn’t need to because, as he puts it, it’s a bunch of BS.

But on Sunday, assistant general manager Rick Hahn lauded Moneyball, saying he “enjoyed the book very much” as a learning tool. He added that it offered a good insight into how teams find market inefficiencies and run a business. Although, for Hahn, the movie had some inaccuracies, namely in how it didn’t mention the A’s stout pitching staff from the year.

Good thing Hawk is only an announcer and Hahn is the Assistant GM. Hopefully Hahn is the next Sox GM.

January 28, 2012

The White Sox don’t use advanced stats at all

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 28, 2012 6:30 pm
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J.J. Stankevitz:

The White Sox assistant GM recounted that post in a seminar Saturday, noting that the Sox have liked OBP for years — just like every other team in baseball:

Although, if Hahn had his way, he’d like the perception that the Sox don’t use advanced stats to persist. “It makes it easier for us to maneuver when they don’t know where we’re going to go,” Hahn said.


January 18, 2012

The Hardball Times projects the 2012 AL Central

The Hardball Times:

American League Central
Team Wins Losses
DET 91 71
MIN 85 77
CHA 76 86
CLE 76 86
KCA 63 99

Other White Sox links:

January 11, 2012

White Sox Front Office and sabermetrics

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 11, 2012 12:00 am
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Doug Padilla’s chat:

Q: This may be a tough question for you to answer. But, do you have any idea how highly the White Sox FO values sabermetrics?

A: They put a solid emphasis on it. Not saying it’s the deciding factor in all their moves, but they have a guy that works closely with KW to break down those numbers.

“Solid emphasis” would be better than I thought. Hopefully, Padilla is right. Another interesting note:

Q: Whats the biggest difference between Walker and the new hitting coach?

A: Walk was huge on mechanics, passing along what he had learned over the years from some of the greats in the game. He coached the mental side as well, but the word is that Manto will stress the mental side even more. Manto wants you in a great frame of mind to hit, then he will go to work on mechanics.

November 11, 2011

1915 sabermetrics

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ November 11, 2011 10:00 pm

Fangraphs’ Sam Menzin:

I‘m currently in the midst of writing my college thesis (yes, it’s on baseball), and I recently came across a piece of research that sounded my “wow, everything I thought I knew about baseball is wrong” alarm to claxon-like levels. In the 1915 edition of Baseball Magazine (distributed from 1908-1957), there’s an article written by F.C. Lane that would make even Tom Tango take notice (assuming he isn’t already aware of its existence): “Why the System of Batting Averages Should Be Changed: Statistics Lie at the Foundation of Baseball Popularity — Batting Records Are the Favorite — And Yet Batting Records Are Unnecessarily Inaccurate.”

F.C. Lane wanted to compare two players; Jake Daubert (high batting average) and Gavvy Cravath (sub-.300 batting average):

To make this comparison, Lane looks at the league average figures for singles, doubles, triples and home runs (77.44%, 14.80%, 5.51%, and 2.24%, respectively) and compares those numbers to each player’s numbers. Daubert’s hit breakdown was as follows: 79.47% singles, 13.90% doubles, 5.29% triples and 1.33% home runs. “In other words,” explains Lane, “Jake made more singles and fewer extra base hits than the general average right down the line. Jake had a lot of coins in his pockets, but many of them were nickels and dimes.” Cravath, on the other hand, had the following breakdown: 59.38% singles, 20.80% doubles, 4.69% triples and 16.12% home runs. Lane breaks down the numbers further, assigning the proper (his idea of the correct) values to each hit, thus creating a weighted batting average. Comparing a player’s weighted figures to the league averages seems quite a bit similar to what we know as wRC+ today, wouldn’t you say?

Fascinating stuff!

October 7, 2011

Kenny Williams, Robin Ventura, and sabermetrics

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ October 7, 2011 2:05 am
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Mark Gonzales:

Williams, meanwhile, spent more than six minutes stressing why Ventura was the right guy for the job and wasn’t hired because he was a fan favorite as a player.Williams said he sought a candidate who possessed a passion for the city and the organization, the ability to lead veterans as well as youngsters, enforce discipline as well as display a sense of humor and show a familiarity with the minor league instruction.

In addition, Williams said he wanted a manager who wasn’t afraid to express his beliefs even if they didn’t conform to those of the staff, as well as to bring an old-school attitude with an open-mindedness toward sabermetrics in evaluations.

Not Tom Tango but better than:

Guillen also didn’t care for sabermetrics, and many of the Sox’s number crunchers avoided the dugout during pregame batting practice, which used to be their hangout in previous years.

September 29, 2011

Ozzie Guillen, sabermetrics, and money

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ September 29, 2011 2:30 am
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Mark Gonzales:

Guillen also didn’t care for sabermetrics, and many of the Sox’s number crunchers avoided the dugout during pregame batting practice, which used to be their hangout in previous years.

Tension between Guillen and Williams in past years didn’t help, but that was secondary to Guillen’s wish for more money and security – in that order.

Good riddance!

Brett Ballantini wrote about the money factor too:

While Guillen spoke often about knowing his worth and needing more money to continue managing the White Sox (“f— more years—I want more money”), he would not be happy simply with a raise for next season, telling me directly that he needs both additional years and more money.

Joe Frisaro reports Ozzie’s deal with the Marlins is a 4-year, $10 million contract while he was earning $1.8 million a year with the Sox.

Remember when Ozzie said he loves the Sox more than anyone? Yeah…

Other White Sox links:

April 14, 2011

JJ takes a look on Matt Thornton’s struggles

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ April 14, 2011 11:42 pm
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Stankevitz @ BL:

While some of Matt Thornton’s early-season struggles have been due to bad luck, command issues have plagued him as well. …

Terrific article. James pointed to Thornton’s command too.:

His control hasn’t been up to his usual standard, his fastball maxing out at 95.6 mph isn’t up to his usual standard, has struck out on 2 batters in 3.1 innings, and he gave a go-ahead 3-run HR to Rays 1st basemen Dan Johnson, who was perhaps the only player having a worst start to the season than Rays RF Matt Joyce.

Fangraphs’s Chris Cwik has a post on the White Sox bullpen struggles too:

Despite his early troubles, Thornton has gotten consistent support from his manager. Guillen also likely realizes that Thornton is his best pitcher, and that he should be able to rebound rather quickly. For now, the frustration with the pen is at a high point and Guillen is likely to ride the hot hand. Could that include Tony Pena? Maybe, but it’s not likely. Once Thornton returns to form, he should return to the closer role.

April 12, 2011

Sergio Santos and his 98 mph “effective velocity” fastball

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ April 12, 2011 11:06 pm
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Verducci @ SI:

… Trackman measures not just the speed of the pitch, but also the key variable: the distance between the pitcher’s release point and the plate. With those measurements, Trackman defines not only the time component of a fastball — “flight time,” if you will — but also defines in irrefutable data why scouts might describe a pitcher as “sneaky fast” or throwing a ball with “hop.”

… Imagine if Robertson moves the pitching rubber 14 inches closer to home plate every time he pitches. That’s the kind of advantage he gains over the average pitcher by releasing his fastball with so much extension. The radar gun (and Trackman) clocks Robertson’s fastball at an average of 93 mph. But because Robertson shortens the distance between his release point and home plate, his “effective velocity” is 95 mph. It looks like 93 but gets on a hitter like 95 — thus the illusion of “hop.”

When it comes to “stealing” distance — and distance equals time for a pitcher – here are the top 10 pitchers from one AL park last year, ranked by fastball extension in feet and inches:

Pitcher, Team Extension MPH FT* Effective MPH
Sergio Santos, White Sox 6-10 96 .386 98
Gavin Floyd, White Sox 6-8 92 .407 93
Average MLB 5-10 92 .416 92

April 1, 2011

Jake Peavy and the disappearing slider [UPDATE #2]

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ April 1, 2011 8:56 pm
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Stankevitz @ BL:

It’s interesting that Peavy has thrown a fewer percentage of sliders over the last few years as compared to his heyday with San Diego. Whether it’s a calculated strategy change remains to be seen—we haven’t seen a large enough sample size over the last two seasons to determine that. But heading into 2011, the percentage of sliders thrown by Peavy certainly is something to keep an eye on. It’s his best pitch, and if he throws it less he’ll have to be more effective with his other pitches.

UPDATE: And here’s JJ’s article on Mark Buehrle’s cutter and changeup:

But worse command of his changeup lessened the effectiveness of Buehrle’s cutter. Opposing batters didn’t have to cheat to reach Buehrle’s changeup, so they were able to get around on Buehrle’s cutter on the inner third much easier.

UPDATE #2: James has a preview of the Sox starting pitchers.

March 15, 2011

Baseball Musings looks at the White Sox offense

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ March 15, 2011 8:45 pm


The series on team offense continues with the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox finished tenth in the majors and seventh in the American League in offense last season, scoring 4.64 runs per game.

The CBSSportsline probable batting order gives us a feel for the type of lineup Ozzie Guillen is likely to use. The OBP and slugging percentage used come from the Marcel the Monkey forecast system. Plugging those numbers in the Lineup Analysis Tool (LAT) produces the following results:

  • Best lineup: 4.94 runs per game
  • Probable lineup: 4.84 runs per game
  • Worst lineup: 4.65 runs per game
  • Regressed lineup: 4.49 runs per game

January 22, 2011

SoxFest Day 2 tweets

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ January 22, 2011 8:30 pm
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Ballantini: Rick Hahn basically says White Sox will never offer a Cliff Lee-type contract to a P: “We can allocate resources in better ways”

Ballantini: Hahn on sabermetrics: It’s a factor in our decisionmaking but we dont mind othr people not thinking so. They dont need to see behind curtain

Cowley: KW asked about good and bad trades – said he thought his best was going to be Bartolo in 2003.

Gonzales: Fan asks if frank t considered as hitting coach. Oz: NO! Says coaches don’t make enough $ and frank can’t take heat — Ballantini: Says coaches don’t get paid enough, and you need to be a very bad hitter to be a hitting coach. Frank’s hitting came too naturally.

December 1, 2010

mgl: Does (one-year) UZR tell us exactly what happened?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 1, 2010 12:14 pm
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We’ve discussed this before, and the answer is, “No.” Apparently almost everyone keeps forgetting this or doesn’t know it yet.  It differs from all offensive stats in that regard.  There are two kinds of regressions that one needs to do with UZR in order to make any practical sense of it:

1) Regress to estimate what actually happened from what UZR “thinks” happened.  The UZR “engine” does not do any internal regressions.

2) Regress to estimate a player’s true talent from what actually happened. …

November 22, 2010

Tango’s Run Expectancy Matrix (1950-2010)

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ November 22, 2010 12:31 pm

Tango (blog):

The following table presents the average number of runs that scored, from that base/out state, to the end of that inning.All data is from 1950-2010, courtesy of Retrosheet, our sabermetric sliced bread. 

Note: Only includes: completed innings; through the 8th inning.

The RE24 values for 1999-2002 are:

RE 99-02 0 1 2
Empty 0.555 0.297 0.117
1st 0.953 0.573 0.251
2nd 1.189 0.725 0.344
3rd 1.482 0.983 0.387
1st_2nd 1.573 0.971 0.466
1st_3rd 1.904 1.243 0.538
2nd_3rd 2.052 1.467 0.634
Loaded 2.417 1.65 0.815

Don’t forget, Run Expectancy by the 24 base out states (RE24) is THE single most important thing to know about baseball.

November 5, 2010

Carson Cistulli’s SCOUT system (and Eduardo Escobar’s AFL BABIP)

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ November 5, 2010 3:04 pm
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Carson Cistulli devises the SCOUT system to get around, as much as he can, the small sample sizes issues of the AFL stats:

Herein lies at least one of the problems with winter-league stats. Because the AFL leaders in plate appearances rarely top even the 125-PA threshold, we’re forced to regress them over two-thirds of the way back to league average. That creates little in the way of meaningful separation. An alternative, however, is to look at those categories that (a) become reliable more quickly, but also (b) tell us the sorts of things we like to know about a prospect — namely, the quality of his tools. In this case, we can probably say at least something about contact- and power-hitting — via strikeout and home-run rate, respectively. …

… With all that as preface, allow me to introduce what I’ll call SCOUT. To devise it, what I’ve done is to find the regressed strikeout and home-run rates (xK% and xHR%) for all the qualified batters in the AFL. Then, for each player, I’ve found the z-score (that is, standard deviations from the mean) in xK% and xHR%, and averaged them (i.e. the z-scores) together. SCOUT is the result of that.

Here’s today’s SCOUT leaderboard (earlier versions):

Hmmm, a .373 BABIP. I’m not excited.

Speaking of Eduardo Escobar this is from Bryan Smith’s ‘Must watch White Sox prospects’ post today:

The question is how much he’s going to hit. His walk rate is downright Viciedo-esque, and it did not improve between 2009 and 2010. His contact rates are about average, maybe a touch better. Overall, Escobar is a much better hitter from the right side with these batting lines in his three leagues this year: .326/.343/.495 in CAR, .321/.333/.491 in SOU, and .542/.577/1.208 in AFL. It should be said that his patience is non-existent from that side, but he swings a big stick. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised he tripled off the best southpaw prospect in Arizona. It’s clear that Escobar has grown since his initial listed weight of 5-10, 150, so there’s slight optimism for 10 home run power potential. Strength is where the similarities with Jose Vizcaino (one of those lazy comps you’ll hear people use) end, and where you can see his ceiling is that much higher.

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