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Monday, April 22, 2013

Morrissey: No defense for White Sox’ shaky defense

Hand not in glove…

Since the first day of spring training, White Sox manager Robin Ventura has stressed the importance of defense. He hasn’t just talked about it; he has evangelized it in a way only a recent convert or a six-time Gold Glove winner can.

Ventura’s flock seems to be experiencing hearing loss. In 18 games, the Sox already have committed 12 errors, tied for the fifth-most in baseball. They lost 2-1 on Saturday to the Twins when shortstop Alexei Ramirez’s throwing error allowed the winning run to score in the 10th inning.

You expect that sort of thing from the comical Cubs, who committed three errors and allowed four unearned runs Saturday against the Brewers. You don’t expect it from the Sox, who set a franchise record for fewest errors in a season (70) in 2012. The Sox also led baseball with a fielding percentage of .988 and allowed the fewest number of unearned runs (30) last season. They already have allowed seven unearned runs this season.

The sample size is very small, but it doesn’t make what’s happening any less disconcerting, especially for a team that isn’t hitting.

...In football, general managers and coaches talk about special teams being just as important as offense and defense. They even might think they mean it. But if special teams is so important, kickers, punters and long snappers would be making a lot more money.

Fielding in baseball is a little like that. Everybody talks it up, but people can’t take their eyes off offensive stats when the season starts. Catching the ball is undervalued. The stats guys don’t seem to know what to do with defense.

Repoz Posted: April 22, 2013 at 05:41 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: white sox

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Tricky Dick Posted: April 22, 2013 at 08:53 AM (#4421959)
For what it's worth, the White Sox are average (ranked 15th) based on both UZR/150 and DRS.
   2. TomH Posted: April 22, 2013 at 08:55 AM (#4421961)
The article makes two main points:
1. The WSox fielding is bad and is contributing to their poor start
2. "we" (media, stats guys, owners) don't measure or value defense enough

Evidence? Well...
to 1)-- The WSox have allowed 7 uneraned runs. The AL and MLB team average is... 7 undearned runs.
------- The WSox STINK at having thiewr batters reach first base (as opposed to making outs). They are next to WORST in the AL (to Houston) in OBP. Which is why they aren't scoring RUNS. Which is why they are losing games. Blame Dunn and Keppinger's bats 20 times for every ping you make on the team D.

to 2)-- The writer may not have noticed that more teams are spending more money and granting more playing time to good defenders over bats in recent days. Even while there are fewer balls in play. The ability to measure defense is HUGELY improved over 10 or 25 or 40 years ago.

I conclude: Get your nose out of your preconceived notions, sir.
   3. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: April 22, 2013 at 09:03 AM (#4421964)
They're also average according to defensive efficiency.
   4. Cris E Posted: April 22, 2013 at 09:13 AM (#4421975)
The case for over-reacting is that they've only scored 61 runs, so seven unearned is going to hurt them more than an average team putting up another run a game.
   5. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: April 22, 2013 at 09:46 AM (#4421996)
The Yankees are dead last in DefEff. It's amazing that they continue to win, esp. with guys like Wells and Hafner. I guess the pact with Satan is still in effect.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: April 22, 2013 at 05:10 PM (#4422499)
You expect that sort of thing from the comical Cubs

Hey, I'm insulted. I know a thing or two about comedy and there is nothing funny about the Cubs.
   7. Greg K Posted: April 22, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4422538)
The Yankees are dead last in DefEff. It's amazing that they continue to win, esp. with guys like Wells and Hafner. I guess the pact with Satan is still in effect.

Wells made two good catches off of Encarnacion yesterday, one I'd go so far as to say was great. After that catch he had a nice moment where he tipped his cap to the fans in outfielder corner that had been riding him all series. I've never been able to summon up a single iota of ill-feeling towards Vernon Wells. I thought seeing him in a Yankees uniform would do the trick, but it hasn't at all. I just can't help but like that guy.
   8. madvillain Posted: April 22, 2013 at 08:45 PM (#4422742)
Stupid article. Entering tonight their team obp is .271. You could trot 7 Ozzie smiths out there with maddux on the hill with new pudge behind the plate and not win much with a .271 obp. How does this guy get paid for this drivel.

   9. Walt Davis Posted: April 22, 2013 at 10:03 PM (#4422853)
You could trot 7 Ozzie smiths out there with maddux on the hill

and post an OBP over 271! :-) Heck, Maddux's 191 career OBP is higher than Dunn and Keppinger so far.

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