Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Eve of the Cactus League
I’m likely to have trouble sleeping tonight given the Cactus League opener tomorrow at 4:05 CT (listen on WSCR Radio 670 am).
Thursday’s starter John Danks was joking with pitching coach Don Cooper today, asking if he was on a pitch count or an inning count tomorrow.
Cooper hedged his bets.
“Because if it’s pitches, I’ve thrown 41 of those in an inning before,” a smiling Danks said.
Some images from Wednesday’s workout, including J.J. Putz on the mound:
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
The Good Guys took one on the chin, 4-2, today in a seven-inning B Game against the Dodgers.
Gavin Floyd (2.0 IP, 2 SO) and Daniel Hudson (2.0 IP, 4 SO) were the highlights for the Sox, who allowed only one hit, two walks and seven strikeouts over 6.0 scoreless IP except for the four runs allowed by Daniel Cabrera in his one inning of work.
Josh Kroeger homered for the Sox, and Dayan Viciedo drove in the second run as the Sox went up 2-0 before the four-run Dodgers rally.
To Ibis and Ozzie Guillen … today is 27.
“I outperformed expectations,” Ozzie boasted with a smile. “Some people thought we’d only be married for a few months, and some people thought I would only be a manager for a year or two.”
I explained to Ozzie that I thought Ibis deserved all the credit for the 27 years. I won’t print his reply …
We couldn’t top the Dodgers “special coach” for today’s B Game … Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax was in attendance.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Emptying the Inbox
A couple of recently publicized announcements from the stats world are worth noting.
After a couple of fits and starts, Baseball Prospectus has issued its PECOTA projections for the 2010 season, and to no surprise of any White Sox fan, our team does not fair very well.
According to the annual estimates, the Sox will finish 80-82 with about a 27 percent chance to make the playoffs, said Clay Davenport of BP, citing the computer’s concern with age.
But as Sox fans realize, PECOTA has never been kind to a Kenny Williams constructed team, and amazingly, in five of the last six seasons it has underestimated our final performance (the other year hit it on the head).
Here is PECOTA’s past performance regarding the White Sox (as best we can find):
2004 — est 79 wins, actual 83 wins (outperformed by 4 wins)
2005 — estimated 80 wins, actual 99 wins and a World Series (outperformed by 19)
2006 — estimated 80 wins (where was the love?), actual 90 (outperformed by 8)
2007 — estimated 73, won 73 (nailed it)
2008 — estimated 77, won 89 (we outperformed by 12)
2009 — estimated 72, won 79 (outperformed by 6)
So since 2004, the White Sox have outperformed PECOTA projections by 49 games!
Maybe some reader would want to see if that is the biggest over performance in MLB.
So, why do we think PECOTA annually swings and misses on the White Sox?
Last summer, the BP folks were at the ballpark for a seminar and were impressively frank and open about the system, its “flaws” and why the Sox and udnerwhelming in the preseason computer’s analysis.
Two topics seemed to reoccur: 1. health (and the ability of Herm Schneider and his staff to take players with injury histories and have them on the field more than any computer can project); and 2. part of Ken Williams’ modus operandi is to find players (like Carlos Quentin), who we believe have the talent, but for whatever reasons — injury, lack of opportunity/playing time, depth of another team’s roster — just haven’t been given the opportunity to play. Those players, and I understand this, are inherently difficult to evaluate/project going into a season.
There are a lot of folks much smarter than me and much more versed in this that I am, so I’d love to read thoughts/comments related to these annual rankings of the White Sox.
One of my heroes (to be a bit overdramatic). James recently came out with his “Young Talent Inventory” judging the teams with the best young talent in the game. The White Sox rank ninth overall (sixth in the AL), while John Danks and Carlos Quentin are among the best young players in baseball. Last season, the White Sox ranked 25th on this scale, so 2010’s improvement was 16 places.
Monday, March 1, 2010
A typical day in camp, although Sox pitchers didn’t throw from the mound today. Instead, work was spent on defensive drills, bunt defense and batting practice against Sox coaches.
Tomorrow (Tuesday), the Sox take the field in a B Game against the Dodgers on one of the back fields. The Sox lineup will be:
Mitchell 7, Danks 8, Flowers 2, Viciedo 3, Kroeger dh, Nix 4, Lillibridge 6, Morel 5, De Aza 9. Floyd pitching.
From the Weight Room
White Sox strength and conditioning coach Allen Thomas spoke with a Sox TV crew this morning and talked about the team’s commitment to the weight room and to being in shape.
“They are probably the best group I have seen in my 16 years,” said AT of this year’s Sox squad. “Usually, I would come in at 6 a.m., and some of the team would start coming in around 7 a.m. to work out. Now they are in the weight room at 6 a,m.
“Everyone agrees,” he said. “Ozzie, the whole baseball group, and myself, this is one of the better conditioned teams we have seen.”
LHP John Danks starts the Cactus League opener for the Sox on Thursday at the Los Angeles Angels of Tempe.