jackieball


2012 Chicago White Sox Lineup – Batters
March 7, 2012, 9:11 pm
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This White Sox lineup is looking pretty sketchy. I like that Ventura is switching things around just a little bit… I was just hoping it would be player switching not moving better hitters further down in the order. This is the lineup proposed by Robin Ventura recently with the player’s 2011 season BA/OBP/SLG/wOBA. I like showing these four statistics instead of the usual BA/OBP/SLG mostly because I think that BA is pretty stupid and wOBA (weighted On Base Average) takes into account hitting, hitting for power, and the player’s ability to get on base, which is why I have it in bold. If you’re new to wOBA, think of it as OBP, where under .300 sucks, over .375 is awesome, and lots of guys fall somewhere in between. It is one of the most telling statistics of a player’s impact as a batter.

So here we go, your starting lineup for the 2012 Chicago White Sox as of early March:

1. Alejandro de Aza (L) LF/CF .329/.400/.520/.401 in 171 PA

2. A.J. Pierzynski (L) C .287/.323/.405/.314

3. Alex Rios CF/LF (R) .227/.348/.266

4. Paul Konerko 1B (R) .300/.388/.517/.383

5. Adam Dunn DH (L) .159/.292/.277/.266

6. Alexei Ramirez SS (R) .269/.328/.399/.319

7. Dayan Viciedo RF (R) .255/.327/.314/.295 in 113 PA

8. Brent Morel 3B (R) .245/.287/.366/.286

9. Gordon Beckham 2B (R) .230/.296/.337/.284

So…5 of this year’s starters had wOBAs of under .300 in 2011? These guys just can’t cut the mustard. We don’t have to panic yet, as there is some potential, albeit quite hidden, upside buried in the team. For starters, back-up catcher Tyler Flowers will see much more playing time this season, especially if Adam Dunn continues where he left off last season. In my opinion, there is absolutely no doubt that Flowers should be a starting catcher. We’ll get to that a little bit later.

What are a few things that stick out? First, de Aza’s .404 BABIP in a limited number of plate appearances. This strikingly high number tells us that de Aza’s Batting Average, and his other hitting statistics, should take a fairly substantial dip from the impressive numbers he put up in limited time last season. I’m going with about a .275 Batting Average that will bring down his other statistics, too. Even with this downturn, he won’t be a bad leadoff guy.

Adam Dunn’s .240 BABIP also sticks out to me. Although other aspects of Dunn’s hitting are deplorable (Striking out nonstop and lack of power), this number tells me that he was getting kind of unlucky when he put the ball in play. Sure, this could be the result of poor contact with the ball (the percentage of his Infield Fly Balls was way up), but I have to find something potentially positive buried in his statistics, don’t I? Also, please note that he has not lost his ability to judge the strike zone, as his impressive 75 walks was good of 14th in the AL and put his OBP ahead of several White Sox starters.

With apologies to Robin Ventura, here is my (better) lineup, again with 2011 stats:

1. Alejandro de Aza CF (L) .329/.400/.520/.401 in 171 PA

2. Brent Lillibridge 2B (R) .258/.340/.505/.362 in 216 PA

3. Paul Konerko 1B (R) .300/.388/.517/.383

4. Adam Dunn DH (L) .159/.292/.277/.266

5. Tyler Flowers C (R) .209/.310/.409/.313 in 129 PA

6. Alexei Ramirez SS (R) .269/.328/.399/.319

7. Kosuke Fukudome RF (L) .262/.342/.370/.313

8. Dayan Viciedo LF (R) .255/.327/.314/.295 in 113 PA

9. Brent Morel 3B (R) .245/.287/.366/.286

I think I did a decent job fighting platoons with the LRR LRR LRR lineup. Its also lot different from the one we just saw. Here is why:

Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham are grabbing some bench, with Alex Rios being perhaps the highest paid pinch-hitter in the league. Why no more Rios? He has absolutely no upside. Even in his “good” seasons have been highly overrated. Why no Beckham? Gordon is a classic guy who got drafted high because he had “the look” that we’ve heard ridiculed so many times. He is promising the White Sox fan base that he has a new mental outlook; I just don’t care after two awful seasons. He should no longer be given the same opportunity with this club with a talent like Brent Lillibridge waiting in the trenches.

Speaking of Lillibridge, he’s awesome. In limited and inconsistent playing time he crushed the ball, hitting 13 home runs. He’s left me no reason to think he can’t hit more than 20 home runs, which is just plain exciting from such a versatile and speedy player. He’s shown he can be flexible in almost any position, and I have no doubt that he could be effective as a second baseman. The number two spot is often given to the wrong guy who has some kind of useless intangible, like bunting. The guy in the #2 spot is going to get the second most AB’s on the season, bunting simply should not matter. Lillibridge is the perfect candidate for this spot in the order. So, Robin, play him!

Adam Dunn’s starting job is completely dependent on what his season looks like on June 1st. If it looks like a .205 BA with 4 HR’s, then I say send him down to the minors to get his confidence and hitting back up. Tyler Flowers is a better defender than Pierzynski (most catchers are), and has a ton of potential as a full-time hitter. It is not a stretch to say he could hit 25 dingers this season. If they sit Dunn, AJ gets a full-time job back splitting time with Flowers at catcher and DH.

Also, don’t think I’ve forgotten for a second how much Dayan Viciedo and Brent Morel suck. However, they both have decent potential to become fine MLB players, and Morel’s glove at 3rd base helps his case a little bit. Let’s give them all of 2012 to prove it. Kosuke Fukudome has always been a halfway decent outfielder, both in the batter’s box and with a glove on. That is a hell of a lot more than Alex Rios can claim. Let’s see what a new environment can do for him. Plus, he starts out hot every year, so why not start him at least in the beginning?

Well, that’s my lineup. I can’t help but be way more excited about it than the one they’re actually going to use right now. Thanks for reading.

JackieBall

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Introduction and Thoughts on the 2012 White Sox
March 5, 2012, 1:51 am
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Spring Training is upon us. Thank God I say, I’ve had a rotten taste in my mouth since the 2011 “All-In” campaign and the miserable off-season that ensued. Oh yeah, and I also love baseball more than most things in life.

Thank you for reading my first post. I’ll be posting as much as possible throughout 2012 Spring Training and the regular season to praise criticize managerial and front office decisions of the 2012 Chicago White Sox. I’ll also write about other things that kind of have to do with the White Sox. I wish I could praise them but there just doesn’t seem to be much to praise these days. Plus who wants to read a cheerleading blog anyway? This is the South Side of Chicago!

Don’t worry, this isn’t just going to be an outlet for me to call everyone a “f*cking idiot” and declare that I could manage the team better drunk. Well, I might say things like that if I actually am drunk and channeling my inner Ozzie Guillen. Instead, I’m just going to give my somewhat well-informed two cents about baseball decisions made on and off the field. By somewhat well-informed I mean that I’m a pretty smart dude whose studied some books and religiously follows sabermetric principles and the baseball strategy that these principles call for. I’m no baseball expert, or total egghead, but I think I have a decent grasp of these things.

The 2011-2012 off-season saw a 79-83 team lose key players and gain almost nothing that will immediately help the team. By almost nothing I’m talking about Kosuke Fukudome, which was actually a fine signing as his career wOBA is superior to a chunk of the starting lineup. Like I said, I’m no egghead, but (1) Fukudome does not even equal (1) Carlos Quentin; losing Mark Buerhle and Sergio Santos just makes it a blowout loss for the Good Guys. I have to praise Kenny Williams for the thrifty Fukudome signing, however, to at least prove that I can praise the guy. Plus, I’m just naturally frugal, or some would say cheap, and love thrift in all of its beautiful forms.

Not really too much to expand on at this introductory moment. No need to beat a dead horse by reiterating that the White Sox need some major help from the bums of 2011, and the new guys of 2012. We already know that.. On that note, I’ll also be including one idiom in each major blog post. I love idioms.

Tune in soon for my batting order/starting lineup analysis, because from what I read today, it looks messy. I’ll sound a lot more informed, and interesting, on my second post. I swear.

JackieBall