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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Fortified White Sox say they’re ready to contend again

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago White Sox and their long-frustrated fans say they’re primed and pumped for the team to contend in 2020.

The White Sox haven’t made the playoffs since 2008 and have endured seven straight losing seasons, but there was an optimistic buzz at the team’s sold-out fan convention Saturday after a splashy offseason.

“It hard not to be excited and feel that energy they’re giving us,” fourth-year manager Rick Renteria told the crowd. “Obviously, it’s our job to put it from paper to the field and accomplish those things you want us to accomplish.”

The AL Central title — and more — may be within reach as the White Sox emerge from a rebuild and an offseason filled with free agent signings.

“Fortified”? Have the White Sox been drinking again?

 

QLE Posted: January 26, 2020 at 01:04 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: white sox

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   1. Dock Ellis Posted: January 26, 2020 at 12:50 PM (#5919348)
Really looking forward to seeing Yoan Moncada's next step forward. He had a 141 OPS+ and 4.6 WAR last year and could contend for the MVP this year.
   2. asinwreck Posted: January 26, 2020 at 01:12 PM (#5919350)
“Fortified”? Have the White Sox been drinking again?

The correct local parlance is #108ing.
   3. spycake Posted: January 26, 2020 at 07:35 PM (#5919424)
Really looking forward to seeing Yoan Moncada's next step forward


What’s a step forward from a .406 BABiP?
   4. Dock Ellis Posted: January 26, 2020 at 07:40 PM (#5919426)
.407 BABIP
   5. Itchy Row Posted: January 26, 2020 at 09:26 PM (#5919449)
They’ve turned themselves into a regular malort.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: January 26, 2020 at 11:20 PM (#5919464)
For the record, the career record for BABIP (tracked however far back and however well at b-r) is Cobb at 383. That's a whopping 17 points ahead of Joe Jackson. The highest modern is Carew at 359, followed closely by (huh) Christian Yelich then (WTF) Austin Jackson. That's right, Austin Jackson has a top 10 all-time BABIP.

Both ZiPS and Steamer project Moncada to have a nice season but not as good as last year. Obviously maintaining anything close to that 400 BABIP would be a good thing but more likely the only way he can maintain much less surpass last year's offense is with a big boost in power to compensate for a drop to even his very good career 369 BABIP. Given his ISO jumped 70 points last year, a second big jump seems unlikely. So really, be happy if he maintains the 200+ ISO.

Still he pulled off the young prospect trifecta last year -- a 6% drop in K-rate (from historically terrible to regular terrible) while also having the big BABIP jump and the big ISO jump. The only downside was losing some walks. His career "fair territory" split (close to on-contact) is 419/726 which is very impressive. I'm not sure he knows where the pitch is going but when he finds one, he is whacking it good.
   7. Sunday silence Posted: January 27, 2020 at 02:11 PM (#5919642)
so what's the current thinking on BaBIP? Does this mean Cobb was extremely lucky? Is Yelich due to fall off a cliff?
   8. PreservedFish Posted: January 27, 2020 at 02:24 PM (#5919648)
Yeah, Ty Cobb was just real lucky. That's it.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 27, 2020 at 02:29 PM (#5919654)
so what's the current thinking on BaBIP? Does this mean Cobb was extremely lucky?

It means if you hit the absolute crap out of the ball, you get more hits on balls in play. Especially if you don't hit them quite far enough to be HR. That's why Ruth is only at .340 BABIP.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: January 27, 2020 at 02:44 PM (#5919667)
It means if you hit the absolute crap out of the ball, you get more hits on balls in play. Especially if you don't hit them quite far enough to be HR.


And when you add "and be really fast" to hit the absolute crap out of the ball, you've got a recipe for a very nice BABIP.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: January 27, 2020 at 03:37 PM (#5919682)
Also no doubt era differences and maybe some of those weirdly shaped early parks were really good for BABIP. But a BABIP over 11,000+ AB is never described as "luck."

BABIP for hitters is not generally considered luck/random and never has been. BABIP spikes suggest some extra luck for that season (e.g. Moncada) but there are guys who can maintain a 350 BABIP (at least in their youth) and guys who can't get it over 270 (mainly because of being extreme FB hitters whose good hits go over the wall). High BABIP correlates well with LD% (or hitting the ball hard) and (as noted) speed.

In addition to Yelich, Votto, Goldschmidt, Trout and JD Martinez are all just under 350. Votto of course is a top LD hitter (and never pops up which also helps BABIP). None of those guys were fast of course (Carew was, I assume Jackson is). There are plenty of surprise names -- David Freese at 344. Speed shows up more consistently as you move a bit further down the list -- McGee, Bourn, Cain, Ichiro, Brock, Altuve are all in the high 330s. Dee Gordon has a career 288/320/363 line and a 335 BABIP.

It clues you in to why Billy Hamilton has been such a lousy hitter -- he K's too much and he hits the ball in the air slightly more than average and those are pretty much the exact opposite of what you want out of a fast player with no power. If Hamilton could hit like Dee Gordon, he'd pick up about 9 WAR and be comfortably above-average and theefore have gotten more playing time.

But BABIP just doesn't matter that much for hitters. It's nice to have obviously but speedsters and the occasional LD machine aside, it's more a result of being good rather than a cause. The key things for hitters are how often they make contact, what happens when they make contact and what proportion of the non-contact is walks. The best hitters crush the ball on-contact even if they make less contact than we might like and, of course, the best contact is sending it over the wall.

To wit, Barry Bonds had a career 285 BABIP, clearly below-average. That's lower than his career BA. The list of guys whose BA >= BABIP (sorted by HR) is mildly impressive:

Bonds, Aaron, Ruth, Mays, Pujols, McGwire, Killebrew, Palmeiro, T Williams, Banks, Ott, Sheffield, Gehrig, Musial, Vlad, B Williams, Kaline, DiMaggio, Mize, Berra. The first Austin Jackson kinda guy in the list is probably Carlos Lee at #24 by HRs.

BABIP>BA if (give or take) HR/(HR + K) > (H-HR)/BIP. That suggests a high HR/(HR + K) might be a stat to look at. Certainly the list of those with career K<3*HR is a fine bunch of players. 15 players did it in 2019: Trout, Yelich, Bellinger, Bregman, Rendon, Springer, K Marte, Altuve, Arenado, Gurriel, Brantley, Kepler, Moose, Rosario, Pujols. I'm sure the presence of 5 Astros is purely coincidence. :-)
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 27, 2020 at 04:10 PM (#5919693)
It means if you hit the absolute crap out of the ball, you get more hits on balls in play.
Do we really think Cobb hit the crap out of the ball? I'm sure he was capable of hitting the ball hard, but as I understand it he was also the master of the "strategically placed dink" that was the preferred approach back then (split-handed grip, etc.). If I had to bet, I would take the under on his average exit velo.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 27, 2020 at 04:16 PM (#5919696)
Do we really think Cobb hit the crap out of the ball? I'm sure he was capable of hitting the ball hard, but as I understand it he was also the master of the "strategically placed dink" that was the preferred approach back then (split-handed grip, etc.). If I had to bet, I would take the under on his average exit velo.

Yes, when he wanted to. He had a lot of power for his day, it just showed up in doubles and triples.

Exit velocity would be a silly comparison. They were using a beanbag of a ball that was spit on, and beat to hell, and 40+ ounce bats.
   14. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 27, 2020 at 05:01 PM (#5919722)
Exit velocity would be a silly comparison.
Which is why it was mostly tongue in cheek. But knowing what we do about Cobb, and hitters in general from that era, I would guess that placement (and poor fielding) had more to do wit BABIPs in that era than hitting the ball particularly hard.
   15. PreservedFish Posted: January 27, 2020 at 05:12 PM (#5919728)
I don't agree with that. I am sure there were many hitters that relied heavily on placement. But hitting the ball hard was never not going to be the best way to get base hits, and particularly extra-base hits.
   16. "RMc", the superbatsman Posted: January 27, 2020 at 09:13 PM (#5919778)
It means if you hit the absolute crap out of the ball, you get more hits on balls in play.

Ol' Ty also hit the crap out of people in the stands, thus giving this guy a Wikipedia page.
   17. bbmck Posted: January 27, 2020 at 10:17 PM (#5919787)
Among the 925 members of the 100+ HR Club, HR / (HR+SO) * 100:

49.5 - Joe DiMaggio
48.1 - Lefty O'Doul
46.4 - Yogi Berra
43.3 - Ted Kluszewski
42.4 - Ted Williams

42.0 - Ernie Lombardi
41.1 - Bill Dickey
40.7 - Johnny Mize
40.6 - Ken Williams
40.6 - Stan Musial
40.4 - Frank McCormick

20th 35.3 - Hank Aaron
22nd 34.9 - Babe Ruth
25th 33.9 - Albert Pujols highest active player
29th 33.1 - Barry Bonds
170th 23.3 - Alex Rodriguez lowest member of the 650+ HR club

343rd 19.4 - Jim Thome lowest member of the 600+ HR club
436th 17.8 - Reggie Jackson lowest member of the 500+ and 550+ HR club
574th 16.3 - Adam Dunn lowest member of the 350+, 400+ and 450+ HR club
654th 15.2 - Curtis Granderson lowest member of the 300+ HR club
845th 12.4 - Derek Jeter lowest member of the 250+ HR club
861st 12.0 - Devon White lowest member of the 200+ HR club

9.8 - Randy Winn
9.8 - Ichiro Suzuki
9.6 - Tony Phillips
9.5 - Melvin Upton Jr
9.4 - Leo Cardenas
9.3 - Alex Avila

9.1 - Chase Headley
9.0 - Greg Gagne
8.7 - Dexter Fowler
7.9 - Lou Brock
7.8 - Dave Concepcion
7.2 - Royce Clayton

Debut since 1986 (Barry) is half just under half the list, 456 players:

33.9 - Albert Pujols
33.1 - Barry Bonds
31.3 - Vladimir Guerrero
30.3 - Gary Sheffield
29.7 - Rafael Palmeiro

29.2 - Nomar Garciaparra
28.4 - Albert Belle
27.7 - Mike Piazza
27.2 - Frank Thomas
27.1 - Moises Alou

Alex Rodriguez moves up to 34th so 33 of the 169 players ahead of him debuted since Barry.
   18. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: January 28, 2020 at 09:48 AM (#5919847)
“Fortified”? Have the White Sox been drinking again?


It's fortified, so it's good for you.

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