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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, January 03, 2008

2008 ZiPS Projections - Chicago White Sox

The White Sox don’t seem to have noticed it yet, but they’re no longer even a heavy favorite to beat out the Royals for 4th place in the division.  Like the team they beat in the World Series in 2005, the Astros, Kenny Williams and the rest of the Pale Hose seem to be looking at the team, hoping that if they squint hard enough, the team will look like 2005.  The team will continue to suffer the next few years as a result of the organization not accurately assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the team during and after the 2006 season.  Not much else to say - despite a few bright spots, this is a bad, old team, with a thin farm system (though not Astro-bad).  Gio Gonzalez is one of the bright spots in the organization, but despite a solid 2007, the Met is an extreme pitcher’s park in a very strong pitcher’s league and Gonzalez would be best served with some serious time in the less hospitable Knights Stadium in Charlotte.


Name               P Age   AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS
Jim Thome*          dh 37 .253 .378 .487 111 372 63 94 15 0 24 81 72 115 0 1
AVERAGE 1B——————- 1b——.280 .359 .487—————————————————————
AVERAGE LF——————- lf——.279 .364 .468—————————————————————
AVERAGE RF——————- rf——.278 .362 .469—————————————————————
AVERAGE 3B——————- 3b——.276 .359 .460—————————————————————
Paul Konerko         1b 32 .262 .347 .474 150 549 77 144 29 0 29 101 68 108 0 0
Jermaine Dye         rf 34 .265 .334 .494 136 502 75 133 29 1 28 95 48 114 4 1
AVERAGE CF——————- cf——.273 .350 .432—————————————————————
AVERAGE 2B——————- 2b——.278 .350 .421—————————————————————
Craig Wilson         1b 31 .238 .340 .438 68 210 32 50 10 1 10 33 23 80 0 0
Josh Fields         3b 25 .259 .334 .451 149 541 66 140 28 2 24 87 61 157 11 6
Carlos Quentin       lf 25 .249 .342 .428 132 418 62 104 30 3 13 60 36 79 4 3
AVERAGE SS——————- ss——.276 .342 .414—————————————————————
AVERAGE C———————- c——.262 .346 .410—————————————————————
Joe Crede           3b 30 .263 .318 .438 113 395 50 104 21 0 16 61 27 50 0 1
Cory Aldridge*        lf 29 .251 .315 .421 106 375 43 94 21 2 13 53 33 115 5 4
Orlando Cabrera       ss 33 .276 .330 .372 149 591 91 163 31 1 8 70 47 59 18 3
A.J. Pierzynski*      c   31 .266 .311 .416 129 459 57 122 21 0 16 63 22 70 0 1
Wiki Gonzalez         c   34 .258 .311 .407 54 182 16 47 9 0 6 27 12 19 1 0
Ryan Sweeney*        cf 23 .266 .330 .390 147 533 54 142 25 1 13 61 51 91 10 8
Casey Rogowski*      1b 27 .244 .318 .395 131 451 45 110 30 1 12 57 45 108 14 7
Luis Terrero         cf 28 .249 .309 .411 112 285 34 71 14 1 10 35 17 70 9 6
Juan Uribe           ss 28 .250 .302 .427 149 511 64 128 25 1 21 76 35 94 3 7
Jason Bourgeois#      2b 26 .263 .315 .373 132 490 59 129 25 4 7 46 34 73 23 8
Brian Anderson       cf 26 .251 .313 .395 116 334 41 84 19 1 9 37 28 75 4 5
Ernie Young         1b 38 .232 .320 .364 80 272 29 63 12 0 8 44 29 79 0 1
Jeremy West         1b 26 .262 .319 .363 99 355 35 93 18 0 6 35 23 52 0 1
Kenny Kelly         rf 29 .256 .326 .357 110 347 49 89 15 1 6 34 34 80 12 5
Shawn Garrett#        1b 29 .257 .300 .403 121 444 49 114 28 2 11 57 24 115 5 4
Jerry Owens*        cf 27 .261 .325 .338 131 494 70 129 17 3 5 44 44 80 40 13
Danny Richar*        2b 25 .249 .304 .381 144 527 68 131 26 4 12 57 41 97 8 5
Scott Podsednik*      lf 32 .262 .327 .345 96 362 56 95 20 2 2 33 31 62 29 13
Toby Hall           c   32 .265 .300 .369 83 268 19 71 13 0 5 31 11 31 0 1
Andy Gonzalez         2b 26 .237 .324 .339 119 384 38 91 19 1 6 39 49 95 7 7
Adam Shabala*        cf 30 .238 .317 .342 92 307 42 73 12 1 6 32 34 84 6 4
Chris Getz*          2b 24 .256 .320 .337 111 433 49 111 14 3 5 37 39 43 14 8
Pablo Ozuna         lf 33 .271 .311 .349 60 166 22 45 8 1 1 15   7 18 8 4
Earl Snyder         3b 32 .224 .280 .381 111 402 41 90 21 0 14 58 29 100 0 1
Alex Cintron#        ss 29 .253 .290 .350 102 300 35 76 13 2 4 33 15 42 4 2
Cole Armstrong*      c   24 .230 .282 .360 97 331 18 76 16 0 9 34 23 92 1 1
Alex Sanchez*        lf 31 .269 .301 .354 50 175 18 47 7 1 2 15   7 25 4 4
Donny Lucy           c   25 .234 .286 .331 118 393 34 92 17 0 7 34 23 101 11 2
Kenny Perez#        2b 26 .246 .291 .328 119 399 43 98 16 1 5 36 24 58 6 4
Tomas Perez#        ss 34 .228 .260 .301 98 289 31 66 15 0 2 28 12 54 1 0
Robert Valido         ss 23 .183 .218 .241 110 432 34 79 14 1 3 26 17 72 19 8

* - Bats Left
# = Switch-Hitter

Name           CThr 1b 2b 3b ss lf cf rf
Thome*            Pr            
Konerko         Av   Fr            
Dye                           Fr
Wilson             Av       Pr   Pr
Fields                 Pr   Fr    
Quentin                   Av   Av
Crede                 Vg        
Aldridge*                  Fr   Fr
Cabrera                 Av      
Pierzynski*      Fr                
Gonzalez       Av                
Sweeney*                  Vg Av Vg
Rogowski*          Av       Av   Av
Terrero                   Fr Fr Fr
Uribe               Av   Av      
Bourgeois#            Fr Fr   Av Fr Av
Anderson                   Vg Av Vg
Young             Fr       Pr   Pr
West             Fr            
Kelly                     Av Fr Av
Garrett#          Av       Fr   Fr
Owens*                    Vg Av  
Richar*              Av   Pr      
Podsednik*                  Av Pr  
Hall           Fr                
Gonzalez             Fr Fr Fr Av Fr Av
Shabala*                  Av Fr Av
Getz*              Av   Pr      
Ozuna             Av Fr Fr   Fr   Av
Snyder             Fr   Fr Pr      
Cintron#            Fr Fr Fr      
Armstrong*      Vg                
Sanchez*                  Fr Fr Fr
Lucy           Av                
Perez#            Av Pr Av Pr Fr   Fr
Perez#            Av Av Av Av      
Valido               Vg   Vg      

Player Spotlight - Josh Fields
Name           AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ DR
Optimistic (15%)  .284 .365 .525 160 581 84 165 35 3 33 117 74 164 16 5 127 -8  
Mean         .259 .334 .451 149 541 66 140 28 2 24 87 61 157 11 6 101 -12
Pessimistic (15%) .237 .304 .400 132 480 50 114 22 1 18 70 46 146 7 6   81 -16

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps: George Scott, Dean Palmer

Player Spotlight - Jermaine Dye
Name           AVG   OBP   SLG   G AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB   K SB CS OPS+ DR
Optimistic (15%)  .293 .367 .573 146 539 94 158 34 3 37 121 58 115 7 0 139 -3
Mean         .265 .334 .494 136 502 75 133 29 1 28 95 48 114 4 1 111 -6
Pessimistic (15%) .242 .297 .418 121 447 55 108 22 0 19 71 34 100 2 2   83 -10

Top Near-Age Offensive Comps: Andre Dawson, Ellis Burks

Name               Age   ERA   W   L   G GS   INN   H   ER HR   BB   K
Bobby Jenks           27   3.21   5   2 69   0   73.0   62   26   6   26   73
Mike MacDougal         31   4.06   5   3 59   0   51.0   48   23   5   25   46
Javier Vazquez         31   4.07 13   9 31 31   201.0 200   91 26   50 172
Matt Thornton*        31   4.20   4   3 66   0   60.0   57   28   6   26   51
Ehren Wasserman       27   4.30   5   5 67   0   69.0   74   33   5   28   36
Mark Buehrle*        29   4.32 11 10 30 30   202.0 224   97 24   47 108
Mike Myers*          39   4.50   2   1 63   0   40.0   42   20   4   16   20
LEAGUE AVERAGE RELIEVER———4.51———————————————————————-
Scott Linebrink       31   4.70   5   5 70   0   69.0   75   36 12   23   49
Jack Egbert           25   4.72   9 10 30 28   164.0 180   86 16   67 101
Jose Contreras         36   4.73 11 11 28 27   175.0 194   92 20   58   96
Boone Logan*          23   4.86   2   2 70   0   63.0   67   34   8   28   46
LEAGUE AVERAGE STARTER———- 4.90———————————————————————-
Carlos Vasquez*        25   4.90   4   5 56   0   79.0   83   43   7   51   48
David Aardsma         26   5.08   4   4 63   0   78.0   78   44 13   35   70
Josh Fields           28   5.35   2   3 30   0   37.0   40   22   5   13   21
Dewon Day           27   5.40   2   3 38   0   45.0   44   27   5   34   40
Jake Robbins         32   5.52   2   2 39   0   44.0   47   27   5   29   25
Oneli Perez           25   5.63   3   4 54   1   80.0   90   50 15   30   58
Andrew Sisco*        25   5.64   3   5 59   7   83.0   86   52 13   51   73
Nick Masset           26   5.66   5   8 36 16   124.0 144   78 18   52   69
Gavin Floyd           25   5.87   6 10 29 26   161.0 189 105 29   69   98
Charlie Haeger         24   5.89   8 14 31 24   159.0 180 104 25   96   95
John Danks*          23   5.90   7 13 28 28   151.0 169   99 33   56 121
Lance Broadway         24   6.17   6 12 29 27   162.0 196 111 28   78   83
Edwardo Sierra         26   6.19   2   5 44   2   64.0   70   44   8   50   44
Gio Gonzalez*        22   6.20   6 12 28 28   148.0 161 102 34   81 127
Wes Whisler*          25   6.21   6 12 26 24   142.0 177   98 24   57   60
Paulino Reynoso*      27   6.32   2   3 39   0   47.0   51   33   6   38   30
Heath Phillips*        26   6.50   5 13 27 24   151.0 192 109 34   51   73
Adam Russell         25   6.72   5 12 29 22   130.0 162   97 25   71   58
Corwin Malone*        27   6.90   3   9 34 13   103.0 122   79 19   73   64

* - Throws Left

Player Spotlight - Mark Buehrle
              ERA   W   L   G GS INN   H   ER HR   BB   K   ERA+   
Optimistic (15%)  3.49 15   8 33 33 227 230   88 22   40 134   133
Mean           4.32 11 10 30 30 202 224   97 24   47 108   107    
Pessimistic (15%)  5.38   7 11 25 25 159 198   95 23   43   74   86

Top Near-Age Comps:  Scott McGregor, Doug Rau

Disclaimer:  ZiPS projections are computer-based projections of performance. 
Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors -
many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2008. 
ZiPS is projecting equivalent production - a .240 ZiPS projection may end up
being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example.  Whether or not a player will play
is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting
the future.

Players are listed with their most recent teams unless Dan has made a mistake. 
This is very possible as a lot of minor-league signings are generally unreported in
the offseason. 

ZiPS is projecting based on the AL having a 4.49 ERA and the NL having a 4.40 ERA.

Nationals

Projections

Blue Jays

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Rangers

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Rays

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Cardinals

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Mariners

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Giants

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Padres

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Pirates

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Phillies

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A’s

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Yankees

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Mets

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Twins

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Brewers

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Dodgers

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Angels

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Royals

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Astros

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Marlins

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Tigers

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Rockies

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Indians

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Reds

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Dan Szymborski Posted: January 03, 2008 at 04:33 AM | 99 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. 1k5v3L Posted: January 03, 2008 at 05:01 AM (#2658782)
So the plan is that Josh Fields go to the bullpen on days he's not playing at 3B?

Mike Myers is still alive? I remember the Dbacks gave up Cust and Closser for him 37 years ago.

And I really really would like to take the over on Quentin's projection. But I'm just not sure.
   2. SuperGrover Posted: January 03, 2008 at 05:27 AM (#2658791)
That's damn ugly. their really is nothing much to get excited about this season. The Sox simply aren't very good and have two of the better teams in baseball in their own division. They will be lucky to win 72 games me thinks.
   3. stealfirstbase Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:28 AM (#2658812)
So ZiPS super-hates on Mark Buehrle, Scott Linebrink, Jon Danks, Gavin Floyd, David Aardsma, and Jose Contreras on the pitching side, and Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, and Carlos Quentin on the hitting side.

On the plus side, ZiPS loves Josh Fields and Bobby Jenks. And ZiPS has Jermaine Dye pegged pretty accurately, I think.

IMO, I think Zips is backwards on all the players it hates (with the possible exceptions of Aardsma, Floyd, and maybe Contreras) and wrong about the players it loves, Jenks and Fields. I really think that Jenks's arm is going to fly off one of these years, and that Fields won't get on base at much more than a .300-.320 clip, though he might slug .500.

I also wonder if Baseball Prospectus will continue its annual tradition of predicting a Buehrle collapse. It has to be going on, what, maybe five years now?

I also think the Sox will be significantly better in 2008 (Happy New Year, everybody) than they were in 2007, though not nearly good enough to reach the playoffs.

Also, where can we see a Jon Garland prediction. I don't think he's in the Anaheim ZiPS thread, and he's not here. Ah, yes, here's the thread about the trade itself, for anyone who's curious:

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/oracle/discussion/angels_acquired_garland/
   4. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:31 AM (#2658816)
Yikes.
   5. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:37 AM (#2658820)
ZiPS doesn't want to give up on Craig Wilson, does it?
   6. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:48 AM (#2658824)
ZiPS doesn't want to give up on Craig Wilson, does it?

A guy with no defensive value being projected as worse hitting than a league-average 2B isn't giving up?
   7. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:49 AM (#2658825)
I think the projections are pretty fair on the pitching side -- it seems to have the same problem with Buehrle as it did with Vazquez for years, except with the opposite outcome. The peripherals would be just about right, but Vazquez's ERA ended up being too optimistic, and Buehrle's too pessimistic. Though I think I'd take 4.32 in The Cell.

It's scary that it thinks Scott Linebrink is going to be worse than Matt Thornton, Mike MacDougal and Mike Myers.

I'm a little surprised that it has Thome losing 80 points of slugging in a year. I think it also undersells Konerko, but Dye could be right on.

I doubt Sweeney could sniff a .390 slugging percentage. It took him about 75 at-bats to get an extra-base hit in the Arizona Fall League.

Should be a fun year.
   8. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:56 AM (#2658829)
A guy with no defensive value being projected as worse hitting than a league-average 2B isn't giving up?

True. But it looks positively sunny considering:

1. Nobody else besides Thome and Konerko finished the year with a .340 OBP, so that looks magical in comparison.
2. His slugging percentage tumbled more than 100 points from Pittsburgh to the Yankees, and the Yankees to the Braves, so .430 would be a helluva rebound.
   9. *BaseClogger* Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:56 AM (#2658830)
Dan,

You have Konerko listed as an average catcher...
   10. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: January 03, 2008 at 07:02 AM (#2658832)
I also wonder if Baseball Prospectus will continue its annual tradition of predicting a Buehrle collapse. It has to be going on, what, maybe five years now?

Buehrle's ERA+'s over the past seven seasons -

140-126-112-122-144-95-131. He's far more likely to hit that optimistic projection than that mean one. Like all other projection systems, ZiPS hates pitchers with low "K" rates. I'd also bet that John Danks beats that projection.

I don't get those numbers for average production by position. The average line for all AL hitters in 2007 was .271/.338/.423, which is about as productive as ZiPS thinks a shortstop should be. Is ZiPS predicting an offensive explosion next season or something?

In any case, this team will have all sorts of trouble scoring runs (again). If they want to have any shot whatsoever at contention in 2008, the pitching will have to be absolutely lights-out. It won't be. The Sox will be lucky to finish in fourth.
   11. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 03, 2008 at 07:11 AM (#2658839)

I don't get those numbers for average production by position. The average line for all AL hitters in 2007 was .271/.338/.423, which is about as productive as ZiPS thinks a shortstop should be. Is ZiPS predicting an offensive explosion next season or something?


That's league-average at the Cell. Shortstops in MLB have a .736 OPS over the last 3 years and that's all shortstops, not just starters.
   12. Don Guillote (The Cheat) Posted: January 03, 2008 at 07:15 AM (#2658842)
No mention of Jack Egbert as (arguably) the Sox 3rd most effective starter?
   13. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 03, 2008 at 07:31 AM (#2658848)
One thing that I always do is scrawl down players with projections that are actively disagreed with in these threads, add some if I have a particular disagreement, and check how the projections do compared to other projections. Even among a well-educated group, people haven't done a good job at selecting the players ZiPS gets wrong - I haven't had a single season yet in which the projections that were objected to were significantly worse as a group than the rest of the group. I think that highlights the value of computer projections, as inaccurate as they can be!

Looking at the White Sox comments from last year (real OPS or ERA/ZiPS OPS or ERA):

-----------------------------------------------
"I doubt Matt Thornton will regress as much as ZiPS thinks he will. I get why the numbers are what they are, but I doubt that his control problems will be as much of a problem going forward."

"The only one that's likely WAY off is Thornton."
(4.79/5.17)
-----------------------------------------------
"I don't think Fields would come near that line. I think he'd struggle as much as Anderson did last year, seeing that he struck out more than Anderson did at AAA."

"This is another Josh Fields situation, where I think the projections are far too optimistic
(.788/.781)
-----------------------------------------------
"I think it undersells MacDougal"
(6.80/4.15)
-----------------------------------------------
"and a healthy Jenks beats his easily."
(2.71/3.70)
-----------------------------------------------
"The Vazquez projection seems positively optimistic, but JV always has great peripheral stats and maybe that's fooling ZiPS?"
(3.74/4.21)
-----------------------------------------------
"Garland might do better though. He was very good after a terrible, terrible April-May. I'm actually optimistic about him posting better than career-average numbers next year."
(4.23/4.69)
-----------------------------------------------
"Once again, Boone Logan is not ready for the bigs."
(4.97/4.05)
-----------------------------------------------
"I don't think McCarthy's 2006 out of the bullpen does him justice, (4.87/4.69) so I could see him coming in at around 4.1 for ERA. The same could be said of Buehrle (3.63/4.36) and Garland (4.23/4.69) and especially Contreras (5.57/4.55). I'd give them all great odds of beating those projections."
-----------------------------------------------
"I wish I had your confidence. I wouldn't be
surprised if Garland (4.23/4.69) beat that projection, but Buehrle's projection looks really optimistic to me (3.63/4.36) given how he finished the season this year."
-----------------------------------------------
"Why do people keep talking about Garcia (5.90/4.46) like he's toast? From someone who didn't see him much this year, his numbers look like a slightly down year from a remarkably consistent pitcher. Cut those HRs a bit and he's once again very good. What am I missing?"
-----------------------------------------------

Again, I don't mean to rag on you guys, but even a smart bunch has a very hard time picking out which ones the computer gets wrong and the computer gets right! I'm constantly surprised by the ones ZiPS gets right that I had no idea that it would even come close and shocked by the ones that end up wrong.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: January 03, 2008 at 07:37 AM (#2658850)
I don't get those numbers for average production by position.

I was gonna comment on that as well. The Cell is a hitters' park but not that extreme I don't think. According to b-r, the lgOPS* (on which Sox players' OPS+ is calculated) was 775 last year whereas Dan has the average C putting up a 756. Something sure looks screwy there ... and we all know b-r can't be wrong!! :-) ... or Dan's been slipping in those Coors 2000 equivalencies just to see if we're paying attention. :-)

Also, I notice that the other AL teams (at least the 7 I checked) all list the "AVERAGE 1B/DH" while the Sox are listed as just the "AVERAGE 1B" (as the NL teams I checked are). I'm assuming that's automated, but if by hand, then it could be a typo.

But amazingly, the ML average SS did hit 734 (according to ESPN) and 756 is only 3% higher than that which is quite believable. Cs however were down at 711 so it seems odd they'd project basically the same as SS (about 6.5% higher). Of course, 3-year averages probably look more similar. So nevermind.
   15. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 03, 2008 at 07:49 AM (#2658853)
Average catchers get a slightly bigger Cell boost than average shortstops simply because of the shape of their contributions. Home runs makes up a higher percentage of value of an average catcher than it does the average shortstop. This has an effect since I take a league average line and "move" it from a neutral park to the park in question instead of starting with a RC/27 and multiplying it by the park factor. There's an argument to be made for the latter, of course.
   16. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: January 03, 2008 at 07:56 AM (#2658854)
Mike Myers is still alive?

If this was Classic Primer, I'd be posting as Donald Pleasance right now.
   17. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:45 AM (#2658859)
Couple of thoughts...

- ZiPS doesn't think much of Danny Richar, ehh? That's dissappointing that it (apparently) didn't believe in his ~.875 minor league OPS last year (albeit in good hitters parks and leagues).

- I love that Egbert projection. I imagine his ceiling is limited due to (lack of) stuff, but he does a decent job of keeping the ball in the yard and last year his K-rate skyrocketed.

- That looks like a pretty decent bullpen, although I am a little skeptical on projection systems with relievers. There's four above average relievers there with two more average-ish guys.

- Dan -- you may (or may not) have addressed this in the other thread, but any chance of an Alexei Ramirez projection? Perhaps an 'ejucated guess'-type projection?
   18. Walt Davis Posted: January 03, 2008 at 10:55 AM (#2658879)
Home runs makes up a higher percentage of value of an average catcher than it does the average shortstop.

I wondered if that might be it.

But I still think these are Coors averages. :-)
   19. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 03, 2008 at 02:30 PM (#2658913)
Yeah, ZiPS doesn't give Egbert a high ceiling either, at least not the next few years - upside only half a run less than the mean, which is quite low!
   20. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: January 03, 2008 at 02:37 PM (#2658915)
In our heart of hearts, we know that while we may disagree with a projection here or there, in the main, this is what we're looking at: a lot of 4-2 defeats.
   21. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 03, 2008 at 02:47 PM (#2658923)
I will be surprised if Vazquez outpitches Buehrle in 2008.

The Cabrera trade looks atrocious from the ZiPs point of view. Didn't Sickels just give Carter a B+?
   22. Anthony Giacalone Posted: January 03, 2008 at 03:10 PM (#2658928)
The Cabrera trade looks atrocious from the ZiPs point of view. Didn't Sickels just give Carter a B+?


Ah, but ZIPS doesn't take into account that Cabrera is a "baseball player" and a "#2 hitter."
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 03, 2008 at 03:39 PM (#2658951)
A guy with no defensive value being projected as worse hitting than a league-average 2B isn't giving up?

And yet he's one of their 4-5 best hitters. D'OHHHHH!
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 03, 2008 at 03:42 PM (#2658958)
Seriously, why isn't this team rebuilding?

Is K Williams delusional? They have no chance to compete with the Indians/Tigers/Yankees/Sox.

Wouldn't Konerko/Thome/Dye/Vasquez have pretty decent trade value? The 3 hitters are likely to be shot when the ChiSox are good again.
   25. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: January 03, 2008 at 04:05 PM (#2658977)
I'd like to see what Dan/ZiPS has to say about Alexei as well. Here's the results of some quick calculations I did - I wouldn't invest too much faith in them.
   26. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: January 03, 2008 at 04:08 PM (#2658978)
The Cabrera trade looks atrocious from the ZiPs point of view. Didn't Sickels just give Carter a B+?

Carter was traded for Quentin, not Cabrera.

Wouldn't Konerko/Thome/Dye/Vasquez have pretty decent trade value?

Dye didn't have any value last year (the Red Sox only wanted to give up Wily Mo Pena, who was later traded for a PTBNL). Konerko's been on the market for a while with no real strong rumors. Thome probably wouldn't bring back a ton either, with his age, salary and injury concerns.

Vazquez has the most value, and it'd be interesting to see what his return would be. But as it stands, the only benefit for trading them according to the deals out there would be salary relief, which the Sox don't really need. Pretty much tells all the fans the Sox have accumulated in recent years to go watch the Cubs.
   27. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 03, 2008 at 04:09 PM (#2658980)
Carter was traded for Quentin, not Cabrera.


Um, pretend my two sentences are unrelated...
   28. booond Posted: January 03, 2008 at 04:27 PM (#2658992)
A guy with no defensive value being projected as worse hitting than a league-average 2B isn't giving up?


That describes the whole team, doesn't it?
   29. davekemp Posted: January 03, 2008 at 04:36 PM (#2659007)
Peripherals be damned...Lance Broadway will beat that projection!
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 03, 2008 at 04:51 PM (#2659023)
But as it stands, the only benefit for trading them according to the deals out there would be salary relief, which the Sox don't really need.

Couldn't they eat salary to get better talent?
   31. 1k5v3L Posted: January 03, 2008 at 04:54 PM (#2659030)
Quentin, Terrero, Richar, Cintron...

That's AZ's 2004 future right there.
   32. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: January 03, 2008 at 05:05 PM (#2659042)
Is K Williams delusional? They have no chance to compete with the Indians/Tigers/Yankees/Sox.

I think people are way too quick to say a team has no chance on this site but .. . . yeah, I think Kenny Williams is delusional. Anyone remember his comment when the Tigers nabbed Miguel Cabrera - all it did was put Detroit "in a better position to compete with us."

This isn't just a team that had a bad season. They've had a bad season and a half. Since 7/1/06, they've gone 110-135. That's only a little better than the Royals (105-141) or Orioles (102-141). In response, Williams reloaded, got Orlando Cabrera, and saw every other player he wanted go elsewhere.
   33. larry1 Posted: January 03, 2008 at 05:53 PM (#2659085)
yeah, I think Kenny Williams is delusional. Anyone remember his comment when the Tigers nabbed Miguel Cabrera - all it did was put Detroit "in a better position to compete with us."

anyone remember dry humor? ha ha. make a joke instead crying that detroit just improved their team a great deal? sheesh.
   34. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:02 PM (#2659098)
anyone remember dry humor? ha ha. make a joke instead crying that detroit just improved their team a great deal? sheesh.

How much do you know of Kenny Williams the week that trade went down?

Prior to the move, he'd been increasingly stand-off-ish and angry with the media. He was clearly angry at losing out on Torii Hunter and a tough off-season in general. Then Detroit makes that move and Williams makes that statement. Then, afterwards, Kenny Williams completely refuses to meet with the media. I believe he even skipped a press conference. The reports I heard coming out of the meetings in general and on that comment on particular have never indicated he was joking.

He acted angry before hand, was apparently angrier afterwards . . I don't see the comment as dry humor. It's totally out of character with how he was acting. When he's been in difficult situations he's always had a degree of controlled anger - remember his press conference when he had Sirotka-shoulder-gate?

And I do think he's in denial on the quality of his team. He gave AJ a contract extention a year and a half before his current one was up, reloaded on his bigger priced players instead of cutting them. He clearly expects them to compete next year.

Unless you can provide some evidence that it was a joke, I don't see it.
   35. larry1 Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:14 PM (#2659117)
you're asserting that he said something as ridiculous as that - which you describe as being a symptom of delusion - but you just don't see how he could be possibly joking. well, i watched the broadcast where he made that quote and it was pretty clear to me he was joking. KW makes wry comments all the time. maybe you should allow for the possibility that kenny williams isn't a complete idiot and the reason he was going after players like hunter et al was because he was, i don't know, attempting to catch up with teams like detroit who won sixteen more games than the sox last year. i don't even see why i would need to provide evidence contravening something as silly as what you're suggesting.

i suppose you could take it as spin but here's what scott reifert had to say about it.

http://whitesoxpride.mlblogs.com/inside_the_white_sox/2007/12/back_from_nashv.html
   36. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:22 PM (#2659128)
And I do think he's in denial on the quality of his team. He gave AJ a contract extention a year and a half before his current one was up, reloaded on his bigger priced players instead of cutting them. He clearly expects them to compete next year.

I think he felt like he had to do that. The team doesn't have any in-house options to replace guys like Pierzynski and Dye.

The team is kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place right now. For several reasons, they're not in a position to do a complete Marlins-style teardown and rebuild. Aside from a couple of guys, the upper levels of the minor-league system are completely bare right now (and Williams is well aware of this). And the team isn't going to be the Yankees and jack the payroll up to $180 million.

So that leaves Williams with the task of patching holes and trying to field a team that isn't too bad while leaving the door open to contend down the road. That means better drafting, more international scouting, and working to develop young talent.

The thing that's really killed this organization is the fact that they really haven't developed much in-house talent in the seven years that Williams has been GM. Josh Fields looks like he might be the first player that Williams has drafted to do much of anything in a White Sox uniform, and he's far from a sure thing. Williams has done a good job of trading for talent and picking up guys off the scrap heap, but in the end, if you have to pay market rates for every decent player you have, you're going to have an expensive, mediocre team.
   37. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:25 PM (#2659131)
I think he felt like he had to do that. The team doesn't have any in-house options to replace guys like Pierzynski

What was the rush? His contract went through the end of 2008 and he resigned him in 2007. Should he expect no new catchers to become availalbe through free agency, trade, or AAAA in the intervening time? And he didn't just re-up for one yar.

Dye I have a bit more understanding for, but it's more like managing from desperation. It's a move you make when you're not sure what else to do rather than having a plan on what to do. Unless you think you can reload the aging, lousy team and expect them to play better.
   38. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:26 PM (#2659132)
well, i watched the broadcast where he made that quote and it was pretty clear to me he was joking.

Fair enough. I stand corrected.
   39. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:29 PM (#2659138)
What was the rush? His contract went through the end of 2008 and he resigned him in 2007. Should he expect no new catchers to become availalbe through free agency, trade, or AAAA in the intervening time? And he didn't just re-up for one yar.

Don't get me wrong - I don't like the signing. But it's definitely part of Williams' MO. He doesn't want to be left without options, or be forced to overpay or dig through the bargain bin for players.

Williams definitely sees the market continually escalating, so unless he's got a clear plan to replace a player, he's always trying to lock that player into a contract that he can live with. His big thing is cost certainty.
   40. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:30 PM (#2659139)
So that leaves Williams with the task of patching holes and trying to field a team that isn't too bad while leaving the door open to contend down the road. That means better drafting, more international scouting, and working to develop young talent.

I dunno if Williams moves seem to agree with your assessment, JRE. They swapped out Garland for another one year rental (rather than going for young talent) and they moved Chris Carter for an older guy with a lower ceiling.
   41. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:34 PM (#2659144)
Scott Podsednik is average defensively in left?
   42. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:35 PM (#2659146)
Couldn't they eat salary to get better talent?

They could, but they have money for better talent right now. They were going to pay Hunter $70-75 million, so they have the money to invest in the farm system without swapping players with decent value for scrap parts. Hopefully they'll do that.

I dunno if Williams moves seem to agree with your assessment, JRE. They swapped out Garland for another one year rental (rather than going for young talent) and they moved Chris Carter for an older guy with a lower ceiling.

Cabrera-Garland makes more sense if they let Cabrera go at the end of the year. Cabrera is a Type A FA, and Garland a Type B. If they save themselves $4.5 million and get an extra draft pick while upgrading a position, that seems sensible.

If they re-sign Cabrera, I'll be scratching my head even more.
   43. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:38 PM (#2659149)
####. Disregard my first part -- I didn't read that as "eat salary". They could eat salary, but Reinsdorf is averse to doing so, and I don't know if that would sweeten the deal all that much. There just doesn't seem to be much of a market for 30something, defensively limited corner position players.

Dye also has a no-trade clause for 2008.
   44. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:39 PM (#2659150)
I dunno if Williams moves seem to agree with your assessment, JRE. They swapped out Garland for another one year rental (rather than going for young talent)

Again, for many reasons, I think Williams feels he can't do a re-build. If he trades major-league talent, he has to get major-league ready talent in return. The Cabrera trade exactly fits in with what I was talking about - it patches a perceived hole without leaving the Sox in a worse position down the road. Next winter, they'll be no worse off for having traded Garland, unless of course they sign Cabrera to an expensive contract extension.
   45. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:39 PM (#2659152)
Cabrera-Garland makes more sense if they let Cabrera go at the end of the year. Cabrera is a Type A FA, and Garland a Type B. If they save themselves $4.5 million and get an extra draft pick while upgrading a position, that seems sensible.

That is a fair point. I have difficulty seeing Cabrera as comparable value for Garland on the trade market. As such, I figured it was a 'need' move a team makes when they consider themselves to be close to contention.

Would Cabrera really turn down arbitration?
   46. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:41 PM (#2659154)
Would Cabrera really turn down arbitration?

Probably, unless he has an awful season this year. Reports are that he's been very resistant to signing a contract extension (with either the Angels or the White Sox), and wants to test the market.
   47. rfloh Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:44 PM (#2659156)
Would Cabrera really turn down arbitration?


Unless the market suddenly deflates, or Cabrera has an abysmal year, given the paucity of good SSs, why would he take arby? He isn't that old, and his recent seasons have been pretty decent for a SS.
   48. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:47 PM (#2659163)
He'll be 34 years old and coming off a $9 million salary to set the bar for arbitration.

I really don't know which would be to his advantage.
   49. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: January 03, 2008 at 06:54 PM (#2659174)
He'll be 34 years old and coming off a $9 million salary to set the bar for arbitration.

The fact that he'll be 34 would make him more likely to want to test the market. There's a good chance that the next multi-year contract he signs will be his last, and it's not likely to be a better deal for him if he waits until he's 35.

But it's hard to say what Williams will do. If I had to guess, I'd say they're going to take a good long look at Alexei Ramirez in AAA this year, and if he looks like he can handle the job, they'll bid adieu to Cabrera. If not, they'll try to sign Cabrera to an extension. Juan Uribe seems to be out of the picture. But Williams has surprised me before.
   50. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 03, 2008 at 07:01 PM (#2659184)
Again, for many reasons, I think Williams feels he can't do a re-build. If he trades major-league talent, he has to get major-league ready talent in return. The Cabrera trade exactly fits in with what I was talking about - it patches a perceived hole without leaving the Sox in a worse position down the road. Next winter, they'll be no worse off for having traded Garland, unless of course they sign Cabrera to an expensive contract extension.

But couldn't he have gotten YOUNG MLB talent for Garland.

Did he offer him to the Mets for Milledge? Wily Mo Pena for Dye looks pretty good right now.

If he can't draft well (and he hasn't) and won't trade vets for young talent, this team is going to suck for a long time.

Are that many more people going to pay to watch an old,expensive 72-90 team than will pay to watch a young, cheap 67-95 team?

This has NY Knicks written all over it.

To me you're either competing or rebuilding, there should be no "plan" to field an old .500 team.
   51. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: January 03, 2008 at 07:08 PM (#2659194)
But couldn't he have gotten YOUNG MLB talent for Garland.

Apparently not. Garland's trade value wasn't as high as a lot of people around here thought. He's only under contract for one year, and that one year isn't even much below market. Young MLB talent is valued very highly. Teams aren't willing to trade much of it for Johan F. Santana - why would they trade any of it for Jon Garland? All he could have gotten for Garland would have been a couple of lower-level prospects.
   52. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 03, 2008 at 07:43 PM (#2659248)
Well, JRE, I guess we'll have to disagree. I don't see any evidence that Kenny is trying to get younger or is willing to sacrifice any present success for future gains. I see some possible arguments that he could think the way you do but still make these seemingly contrary moves - but nothing suggestive that he sees it your way.
   53. For the Turnstiles (andeux) Posted: January 03, 2008 at 07:44 PM (#2659250)
No projection for Jack Keefe?
   54. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: January 03, 2008 at 07:50 PM (#2659258)
I don't see any evidence that Kenny is trying to get younger or is willing to sacrifice any present success for future gains.

I don't think he's trying to get younger, nor is he trying to re-build. But he's not going full-out to try to win now, either. He's basically trying to tread water over the next couple of seasons and not make any moves that cripple him over the long haul. At least that's the sense that I'm getting.

I know that most people around here want teams to either be in full competitive mode (adding payroll, trading prospects for immediate help) or full rebuilding mode (trading all their veterans for prospects and tanking the next season or two), and they don't like it when GMs try and split the difference. But that is exactly what Williams is trying to do.
   55. bhoov Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:03 PM (#2659274)
You could even say that in the case of the White Sox that is what KW should do. A complete fire sale would send KW's season ticket base back down below pre World Series levels. Keeping the Sox around .500 would likely maintain that base until the Sox are good again. I'm actually one of those new season ticket holders and another 70 win season and I'm gone. So it's not quite as simple as slash payroll/save money.
   56. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:10 PM (#2659286)
Soxtalk is saying the Sox have traded Gio/DLS/Sweeney for Nick Swisher...
   57. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:11 PM (#2659290)
Soxtalk is saying the Sox have traded Gio/DLS/Sweeney for Nick Swisher...

All three of 'em?

If that's the case, forget everything I've said. Williams is an idiot without a plan.
   58. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:13 PM (#2659293)
At first they were saying just Gio and Sweeney, but now DLS seems to have been added.

There has to be another trade coming, because the Sox now have a ton of corner players (Swish, Crede, Fields, Quentin, Dye).
   59. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:16 PM (#2659296)
There has to be another trade coming, because the Sox now have a ton of corner players (Swish, Crede, Fields, Quentin, Dye).

Crede was getting moved one way or the other.

This might open the door for a Konerko trade, though.

I'm not too impressed with Sweeney Gonzalez AND De los Santos? Ugh. I really hope this isn't true.
   60. Walt Davis Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:20 PM (#2659301)
Wouldn't Konerko/Thome/Dye/Vasquez

Mostly covered by others but a couple points.

Thome -- the money the Sox owe Thome is rather trivial actually (about $7 M a year I think with Philly picking up the rest) so they shouldn't have to eat salary here. The question is which contending AL team needs a DH. Certainly not Boston or Cleveland. Thome's probably better than Giambi at this point but not by enough for the Yanks to give up talent for him while eating Giambi's salary. He might be better than Sheffield (Det) or Thomas (Tor) too but similar argument. Minnesota could use him but the Sox aren't going to want to trade him in-division. The Angels make a good bit of sense but it's not clear the Angels think so. The A's might nibble despite their abundance of corner types just to get one fearsome bat in the lineup ... but not enough interest to give up anything of value. So that leaves Seattle if they're willing to stick Vidro on the bench (which they should for the upgrade to Thome).

Konerko -- here the contract is a burden as he's signed through 2010 for $36 M. He's already projecting as average or slightly below and he'll be 32. He'd definitely be an upgrade in 2008 for a number of teams but not at that cost and probably not much of an upgrade in 2009-2010. Even if the Sox eat a chunk of salary, it's hard to see any team giving up serious talent here.

Dye -- This contract is a little worse than I remembered. They should have moved him last season at the deadline even if they couldn't get much in return. That was the one that clearly signalled "we are not going to rebuild, we can still compete." Two things I don't like about the contract. It's a full no-trade clause for this year and a partial one for 2009 -- that's going to inflate the cost of any deal that gets done. Second, there's a $12 M _mutual_ option for 2010. Cots doesn't break down how the mutual option works but generally these work such that if Dye doesn't think he can get $12 M elsewhere, he can exercise the option. Granted, Jose Guillen plus two years of inflation should give any decent OF hope of making at least $12 M in 2010 but I'd be surprised if Dye will command that on the open market in 2010.

Vazquez -- He's movable (good pitcher, good contract) but here's where fans often think differently than GMs. Williams just extended him for 3 years. He didn't do that to trade him in the first year of his contract, he did that because he expects him to be a good pitcher for the next 3 years. Now by mid-2009, Williams may have changed his mind about either this team or Vazquez but he's not even gonna think about trading him before then. (The same is true of Dye who's pretty clearly not going anywhere sooner than the 2008 trade deadline).

"Delusional" is obviously too strong but Williams actions are consistent with a mis-reading of this team's chances and that he's making the same set of mistakes that lots of GMs have made over the years -- he's living somewhat in the past (the Konerko signing always looked like a bad move made in part to please fans) and putting too much faith in aging, averageish veteran players.

This now looks like a lot of crappy-mediocre Cubs teams of the past 20 or so years. A couple "stars" (Thome, Buehrle) and OK players at most positions. You've got Pierzynski and Konerko and Dye and Cabrera. Are they good? Not really but they're about average or a little below. You'd love to upgrade them to good, but there aren't many players who would be a substantial upgrade and they're hard to obtain. That was particularly true of this year's FA and trade market and Williams did at least upgrade SS (though not by a huge margin if ZIPS is right which I think it is) and tried to upgrade CF. As another poster noted, they're stuck between a rock and a hard place -- but it was of their own doing and very predictable that this is where they'd end up.

What are they gonna do in CF? Is this where Lofton ends up? And are they ever going to trade Crede?
   61. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:21 PM (#2659305)
I'll wait and see what else Kenny does this offseason. Yes, this trade basically destroys what little the Sox had in the farm system. However, Swisher seems like the guy you should be trading prospects for: He's just entering his prime, has hit well in the past, and is reasonably signed through 2012.

I'm a little concerned that Swisher has "old ballplayer" skills and will flame out quicker than expected...
   62. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:22 PM (#2659308)
Confimed.

####! #### fuck ####!

God ####### dammit!
   63. Danny Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:24 PM (#2659311)
WTF?
   64. larry1 Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:30 PM (#2659322)
Dag Nabbit -
i take it all back. KW is delusional.
   65. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:33 PM (#2659331)
Wow, I don't see how any rational person can look at the Sox and think they are just a Nick Swisher away from winning the Central.
   66. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:38 PM (#2659346)
However, Swisher seems like the guy you should be trading prospects for:

Excatly. Plus Sweeney isn't a prospect anymore. He's only 23 but no power and no speed. Might turn into an OK player, but he's probably not even the caliber of Jeremy Reed.

I doubt Crede is going to be traded before spring training begins unless Williams gets pitching he wants in return.
   67. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:41 PM (#2659361)
On the positive side, Fields, Quentin, Swish, Richar, Danks, and Jenks is a pretty nice little group to build on. Egbert and Broadway have a chance to contribute too.

I'm fairly certain Gio will be a quality major-league pitcher. Sweeney could either turn out to be Jeff Francouer or Greg Golson, and I'd say he's leaning more toward Golson now. Some are already saying that DLS' upside is a reliever (though a very good reliever). They gave up a lot, but like I said, Swish is the type of player you should be trading for.
   68. billyshears Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:49 PM (#2659391)
I think this is a good deal for the Sox. Swisher is young, good, cheap and has a broad base of skills (I wouldn't worry too much about old player skills with a guy who can handle CF). Gio Gonzalez is a good prospect, but he's a young left handed pitcher with limited stuff, which seems to be an especially risky profile. Sweeney is a 23 year old tools prospect who is losing his luster because he has never produced. De Los Santos is a guy who I've never heard of. Seems like a win for Chicago to me.
   69. The Wizard Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:53 PM (#2659399)
re: farm system

though not Astro-bad


not anymore...
   70. The Wizard Posted: January 03, 2008 at 08:57 PM (#2659415)
De Los Santos is a guy who I've never heard of. Seems like a win for Chicago to me.


so you evaluate the trade without knowing anything about one of the players traded?

goldstein had de los santos as a 5-star project (and the only 5-star project on the sox)
   71. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 03, 2008 at 09:11 PM (#2659434)
It's amazing. In the same seasonal two teams (CHW, HOU) that won 72 and 73 games have decided to gut their already poor farm systems and go for broke.

WTF! Are these guys absolutely delusional? Someone remind me again why Primates wouldn't do just as well as the actual professional baseball executives? At least we'd work a lot cheaper.
   72. bhoov Posted: January 03, 2008 at 10:08 PM (#2659575)
Yes, but there is a huge difference between gutting your system for a past his prime player signed expensively for 2 years and an entering his prime, high OBP player who is cost controlled at reasonable salary for 5 years. I probably still wouldn't have done it. But it is certainly a defensible move.
   73. FBI Posted: January 04, 2008 at 12:04 AM (#2659712)
Who is leading off for the White Sox in 2008?
Could Swisher actually be the one?
   74. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 04, 2008 at 12:05 AM (#2659713)
So Williams is willing to deal with Beane now?
   75. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: January 04, 2008 at 12:11 AM (#2659722)
Who is leading off for the White Sox in 2008?

God only knows. I don't think Williams is done this winter.
   76. billyshears Posted: January 04, 2008 at 01:01 AM (#2659753)
so you evaluate the trade without knowing anything about one of the players traded?


Dude, it was a joke. I thought it was obviously a bit flip. My assumption was that as someone who follows the prospect world reasonably closely, if I hadn't heard of a guy, he couldn't be THAT good. Apparently, my assumption was off. But my post was meant to be an immediate reaction rather than an in-depth analysis. Sometimes I feel like posting without doing extensive research. On a baseball message board. The horror.
   77. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: January 04, 2008 at 01:10 AM (#2659759)
I don't see any evidence that Kenny is trying to get younger or is willing to sacrifice any present success for future gains.

In the 2007 off-season, that is exactly what he did: Freddy Garcia traded for 2 young pitching prospects.

So Williams is willing to deal with Beane now?


Makes "Moneyball" seem more like a whole lot of poetic license with every passing day.
   78. Walt Davis Posted: January 04, 2008 at 02:25 AM (#2659796)
From the article on the trade, this is hilarious:

Swisher's 22 home runs were second-highest in the AL for switch hitters

I'm not a prospect hound but this seems like a reasonably good trade for the Sox. 5 years of Swisher at that price is likely to be very good value. Obviously the upside is lower than what the 3 prospects might deliver, but the likely return is probably about the same ... and the expected return relative to average might well run in the Sox favor.

What really surprises me is the extent to which Beane is rebuilding. The A's weren't that bad ... and Haren and Swisher had good chances to "be part of the next good A's team." Trading off good, young players who are under your control for several years at a reasonable price is going beyond cleaning house or even rebuilding -- it's selling a couple nice houses in the suburbs and buying several development projects in a run-down neighborhood. The A's have generally shown a good eye for young talent (Hudson trade aside unless someone can convince the Meyer injury was more than standard TINSTAAP) but then I'm not sure Williams has traded away a good young player since the Ritchie trade.

I understand the logic behind Beane's moves and I realize the A's may have gone from a "blah" farm system to one of the best in the game overnight, but they're also basically the Marlins or D-Rays now. Looks like 4-5 years before they're likely to be competitive. And what are the chances that 2 of these prospects turn out as good as Haren/Swisher and the A's can sign them to long-term reasonable contracts? Those chances are probably pretty good but far below 1 and the chances that 3 of them turn out that well are probably pretty low.

And at this point, a Chavez trade almost has to be expected unless teams want to wait to see if he's past the injury (which I would if I were them). Blanton might be gone too though if Cabrera is the going price for a Garland-type pitcher, I don't think Beane will bite. Smart teams should be inquiring about Ellis. Hmmm...I wonder if Beane already has enough faith in Buck to give him the standard A's arb buyout contract yet.

Anyway, while this further convinces me that Williams is looking to compete, it does temper my opinion in other regards. I think JRE (?) was right in saying that there's no reason for a team with the Sox resources to stink and keeping around decent vet players is not counter-productive as long as they're not blocking anyone. I tend to agree with that as a strategy for a team with this level of resources but I was going to counter that it depends on two things: (1) you do this while developing some talent on the farm and (2) you better make sure the vet talent you have on hand will in fact get you to the 500 mark ... and I didn't think the 2008 Sox had much shot at 500. And to the extent they did, it would be because guys like Gonzalez or Sweeney broke out (honestly, I was going to use those two as my example).

Obviously Swisher alone doesn't improve the Sox dramatically, but it does at least suggest that Williams has a better understanding of the 2008 talent level (before today) than I gave him credit for. Of course, even if his strategy is to keep a decent team on the field while waiting to be good again, they've got little young talent worth developing now. So this trade puts the Sox on the O's plan ... but much as I am not thrilled about Williams, he's a better GM than the ones the O's have had the last decade or so, so there's hope they'll at least be 500ish the next 5 years or so.

The article on the website also (ominously) quotes Williams saying that Swisher can play all 3 OF positions. I wonder if the Sox are planning on him in CF on a fairly regular basis. All told, Swisher/Gonzalez/Dye might not be that bad even if one of them is stretched in CF.
   79. kwarren Posted: January 04, 2008 at 03:28 AM (#2659822)
De Los Santos is a guy who I've never heard of. Seems like a win for Chicago to me.

so you evaluate the trade without knowing anything about one of the players traded?

goldstein had de los santos as a 5-star project (and the only 5-star project on the sox)


There are some real genius(s) posting here. The White Sox best prospect, who he has never heard of is part of the deal......and he feel qualified to critique it from the White Sox point of view.
   80. johnny_mostil Posted: January 04, 2008 at 04:46 AM (#2659861)
I tend to agree with that as a strategy for a team with this level of resources but I was going to counter that it depends on two things...

The problem with all of this analysis is the reality that the White Sox just can't do the blow-up-and-rebuild path. History has shown that the paying customer base for the White Sox is extremely fickle and basically unwilling to show up for a "the kids can play" marketing campaign. They have to at least appear to be trying to win in April to sell tickets; if they just phone in the season -- even for a good cause -- the newspapers absolutely go medieval on them and they draw 10,000 a game. Remember, this is the city where Jay Mariotti has a bully pulpit. Just try to rebuild with him around.

The second problem with the analysis is the White Sox' farm system isn't just bad because of scouting and drafting, it's probably also bad because of poor instruction, and prospects from that organization have a very low success rate, so holding onto them while they bust (or collecting more of them) may not be a reasonable alternative for the GM.

The third problem is de los Santos is a first year pro and his projections are laughable as nobody knows whether his UCL will survive past his 2000th professional pitch, because he hasn't thrown it yet. Think about that. He's thrown the equivalent of about 23 major league starts in his career. Or 10 1/2 starts under Dusty Baker.
   81. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 04, 2008 at 06:31 AM (#2659908)
Yes, but there is a huge difference between gutting your system for a past his prime player signed expensively for 2 years and an entering his prime, high OBP player who is cost controlled at reasonable salary for 5 years. I probably still wouldn't have done it. But it is certainly a defensible move.


There's also a huge difference between gutting your system when you're in the AL Central and gutting your system when you're in the NL Central
   82. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 04, 2008 at 06:36 AM (#2659909)
I hate that TO doesn't allow you to edit. I wanted to add that I wasn't really slagging the Sox so much as much as commenting that the Astros might view this as their one chance before the Brewers really get their #### together.

The fact that Swisher is locked up for 5 more years(seriously?) makes this trade all sorts of weird.
   83. billyshears Posted: January 04, 2008 at 07:51 AM (#2659940)
There are some real genius(s) posting here. The White Sox best prospect, who he has never heard of is part of the deal......and he feel qualified to critique it from the White Sox point of view.


Um, yeah. I do feel qualified to make an obviously offhand assessment of a trade on a baseball message board. Because the requisite qualifications for such a post are a pulse and a keyboard. So, I'm not exactly trying to flatter myself.

In any case, De Los Santos was an under the radar guy. He was basically unknown before the season and only pitched 100 IP in 2007 in low-A ball. He's apparently garnered some attention as BA ranked him as the #3 prospect in the Sally League and Kevin Goldstein had some nice things to say about him. Thus, I was wrong to discount him without investigation, but even after some research, I still think the White Sox won the deal.

As a Mets fan, I certainly understand the impulse to jerk off over your top prospects after they have been traded, so I feel your pain. If there's an open wound, I'm not trying to rub salt in it. But jeez - lighten up.
   84. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 04, 2008 at 06:17 PM (#2660195)
I've gotten some e-mails about the poor Konerko projection.

ZiPS simply sees Konerko as a good candidate to decline. Just to illustrate, here's a quick look at Konerko's 50 best comps, and how far their "next year" rates dropped from the previous 3 years and how it would look if Konerko was 24 instead of 32.

32 24
2B Rate: -1% +2%
3B Rate: -30% -3%
HR Rate: -17% +9%
BB Rate: -4% +2%
SO Rate: +7% -3%
BABIP: -5% -1%

Konerko's 10 best comps are Roy Sievers, Richie Zisk, Geronimo Berroa, Don Mincher, Paul Sorrento, Harmon Killebrew, Kent Hrbek, Don Baylor, Norm Cash, and Greg Luzinski.
   85. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: January 04, 2008 at 06:29 PM (#2660206)
Those are some scary comps, Dan.

I've argued time and time again with White Sox fans that if the Sox can find a taker for Konerko, they need to deal him.
   86. bhoov Posted: January 05, 2008 at 01:43 AM (#2660674)
Bad comps yes, but Paulie has an .894 OPS the last 3 years. Thome is predicted to have a 1 year 108 point drop in OPS. Given his age it's possible, but I wouldn't bet on that. Decline from .973 sure, but not a 108 point decline. I appreciate the unbiased nature of computer models, but CHONE just seems a little more on target for Thome (.904 OPS) and Paulie (.873 OPS). If I'm wrong feel free to include me in the list of doubters next year, but if I'm right feel free to include me in a list of doubters about specific players that were right.
   87. Walt Davis Posted: January 05, 2008 at 02:23 AM (#2660713)
3B Rate: -30% -3%

Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
and you gotta have somethin'
if you wanna be with me

Seriously, he hasn't had a triple since his age 24 season.
   88. Ennder Posted: January 06, 2008 at 07:26 PM (#2661733)
I also wonder if Baseball Prospectus will continue its annual tradition of predicting a Buehrle collapse. It has to be going on, what, maybe five years now?

Well he did collapse in 2006 and it took a 26% hit rate in the first half to produce an ERA as low as he ended up with. I'd say it is as safe to assume a low 4 ERA as a sub 4 ERA.
   89. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: January 07, 2008 at 10:14 PM (#2662696)
One of the things about projecting Buehrle's pitching numbers is that his base running prevention and pickoffs are so good that they have a tangible effect on his ERAs every year. Granted it's because he gets away with balks, but value is value I suppose.

Isn't that projection for Alex Cintron just wonderful?
   90. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: January 07, 2008 at 10:16 PM (#2662698)
Isn't that projection for Alex Cintron just wonderful?

Cintron isn't with the Sox anymore. Thank God for small favors, I suppose.
   91. BurlyBuehrle Posted: January 08, 2008 at 01:48 AM (#2662941)
Assuming the White Sox are seriously looking into a Konerko to the Angels deal, what would be good value? I've heard Chone Figgins and Ervin Santana, but I see that deal as a win for L.A.
   92. 1k5v3L Posted: January 08, 2008 at 05:16 PM (#2663333)
Dan, can you please get started with the B's so eventually we can get the A's?

I want to see how underwhelming the ZiPs projections are for AZ's hitters.
   93. xeifrank Posted: January 09, 2008 at 12:04 AM (#2663905)
For pitchers that get moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation in 2008, how would you convert their rate/stats accordingly. There are a number of pitchers from some of the teams with ZIPS projections out that you seem to be projecting as relief pitchers, but may get moved to the starting rotation. What is a fair factor to multiply each stat by to convert from relief to starting pitcher?
vr, Xeifrank
   94. JPWF13 Posted: January 09, 2008 at 12:28 AM (#2663926)
One of the things about projecting Buehrle's pitching numbers is that his base running prevention and pickoffs are so good that they have a tangible effect on his ERAs every year. Granted it's because he gets away with balks, but value is value I suppose.


Whereas Gooden's "skill" at base running prevention and pickoffs was unusually horrific, which when combined with the defense behind him most years lead to much worse ERAs than his peripherals would have predicted.
   95. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: February 29, 2008 at 05:25 AM (#2702762)
B-Pro projects Alexei to hit .295/.342/.452/.278 eqa in '08, which is signficantly more optimistic than my q'n'd calculations (we differ significantly on contact rate).
   96. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 01, 2008 at 03:59 AM (#2703615)
Where do you guys get his Cuban stats anyway? I only found a .cu site that loads slower as hell. With Ramirez impressing people early, I maybe be forced to do a projection somehow. I'll probably just say #### it and pretend his Cuban stats were the Sally League or something. Cuba's in the South Atlantic, sorta (at least in respects to the US).
   97. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 01, 2008 at 04:00 AM (#2703616)
And yes "slower as hell" is a completely ridiculous phrase.
   98. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: March 01, 2008 at 04:32 AM (#2703622)
I only found a .cu site that loads slower as hell.
The revolution will not be televised? At least it does load in time and it's got platoon stats, detailed defensive numbers, clutch stuff, there's actually quite a bit you can work with once it loads... eventually. I've linked specific pages below, if it helps.

2006 individual hitting stats.
89 g, 403 pa, 340 ab, 65 r, 114 h, .335 ba, 13 2b, 4 3b, 20 hr, 195 tb, .574 slg, 6 sb, 3 cs, 68 rbi, 0 sh, 1 sf, 14 hbp, 48 bb, 17 ibb, 37 so, 10 (gi)dp
2006 individual fielding.
2B: 9 games, 60.0 inn, 25 po, 33 a, 2 e, 10 dp, .967 fa
3B: 6 49.2 11 17 0 3 1.000
SS: 1 3.0 1 1 0 1 1.000
CF: 79 659.2 150 6 3 2 .981
2006 team hitting.

2005 individual hitting.
89 g, 395 pa, 337 ab, 54 r, 109 h, .323 ba, 18 2b, 1 3b, 12 hr, 165 tb, .490 slg, 4 sb, 5 cs, 54 rbi, 1 sh, 2 sf, 7 hbp, 48 bb, 9 iw, 23 so, 12 dp
2005 individual fielding.
2B: 5 19.2 7 7 1 4 .933
SS: 1 1.0 0 0 1 0 .000
CF: 87 760.0 186 13 6 2 .971
2005 team hitting.

Overall 2005 stat page. Overall 2006 stat page.

Pinar del Rio is a pitcher's park, by the way. I don't have B-Pro '08 handy to give Clay's PF.
   99. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 01, 2008 at 04:57 AM (#2703633)
OK, using the Sally League, that gives me a 265/326/424 for 2006 and a 267/327/418 for 2005.

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