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Paulie World: White Sox Preview

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Manager: Ozzie Guillen (20-25) (620-560)

Current: White Sox are playing right to their potential with a pythag of 20 - 25. Eight games out of first place, things might be hopeless if not for the fact they are chasing a Cleveland Indian team who will eventually come back to earth. Every lineup I look at these days seems to have major offensive problems and the White Sox are no exception. The every day lineup boasts six players with an OPS under .700. What is shocking is seeing the name of Adam Dunn on this list. Dunn has been as consistent a hitter as you could ask for, yet here we sit 40 games into the season and he's still struggling.  Considering the ball park they play in, this offense is putrid. Konerko and Quentin provide the only substantial offense, Ramirez is holding is own, and everyone else blows chunks.

Outlook: With the pitching they have  this team should be much better then what they have done so far. They have a great hitter who might get going in Dunn, two hitters in Rios and Beckham you have to hope can get going and a solid rotation who just got back Jake Peavy.  Even without Peavy the rotation has been one of the best in the AL with an xFIP of  3.74 (Rotation) and .358 (Bullpen).  Would not surprise me if this team still makes a run.


Disabled List: Mark Teahen


Old Friends: Paul Konerko, Edwin Jackson, Juan Pierre, Will Ohman(more of an old enemy)

Positions:

                                                                              
Player              OPS+ Age  PA 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS    Pos
Brent Lillibridge    161  27  45  1  0  3   5  4 13 .297 .386 .568 .954 9/84D7
Paul Konerko         147  35 188  5  0 10  32 19 27 .307 .378 .521 .899   *3/D
Carlos Quentin       136  28 181 15  0  9  26 14 25 .253 .343 .519 .862   *9/D
Omar Vizquel         107  44  55  3  0  0   5  3  3 .327 .358 .388 .746  *5/46
Alexei Ramirez       107  29 181  6  1  5  16 16 21 .270 .339 .411 .750     *6
Lastings Milledge    102  26   4  1  0  0   0  0  1 .250 .250 .500 .750    /*7
Adam Dunn             91  31 159 10  0  4  19 23 51 .203 .321 .368 .689   *D/3
Mark Teahen           78  29  60  2  0  1   4  7 16 .226 .317 .321 .637 5/3D79
Juan Pierre           67  33 194  4  1  0   9 14 16 .247 .314 .282 .596   *7/D
Gordon Beckham        62  24 158  7  0  3  13  7 36 .210 .263 .322 .584   *4/D
A.J. Pierzynski       61  34 148  4  0  1  12  6  8 .246 .281 .297 .578     *2
Alexis Rios           56  30 173  6  0  3  10 13 21 .203 .266 .297 .563     *8
Ramon Castro          54  35  37  1  0  1   3  2 12 .200 .243 .314 .558   *2/D
Brent Morel           51  24  98  5  0  1  11  0 13 .229 .237 .313 .550     *5
Dallas McPherson      40  30   8  0  0  0   0  0  3 .250 .250 .250 .500   /*53

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/20/2011.

1st Base: Paul Konerko seems to be getting better with age. Two years after noted baseball writer Joe Sheehan predicted the end of Konerko he has put up his two best seasons. Paulie was always solid but at age 34 he was touching the 1.000 OPS barrier last year as he slugged 39 home runs. This year he is still mashing his way to a .899 OPS with 10 bombs which I'm sure without even looking is twice the whole Dodger infield has managed. For his career he's now launched 375 home runs. From 1999 - 2011 he ranks 6th in home runs hit.  Tied with him is Carlos Delgado. For 100 TBLA Points name the five players who rank above him.

2nd Base: In 2009 at only 22 years old Gordon Beckham hit like the 8th pick of the 2008 draft by posting an .802 OPS in 430 plate appearances. He seemed destined for stardom as they moved him from3rd base to 2nd base but he has fallen off the yellow brick road and is now a lousier player then Aaron Miles, Jamey Carroll, and possibly Juan Castro. At age 24 he is sporting an OPS of .584 and is a good reason why the White Sox offense just can't get going.

Shortstop: Alexis Ramirez is having his best offensive season which puts him right in the middle for SS in the AL. His OPS+ is 107. He is the only other White Sox besides Paulie and Quentin who is helping not killing the offense.

3rd Base: Brent Morel beat out Mark Teahen for the gig this spring but has done everything possible to lose it since then. He is by far the worst offensive 3rd baseman in the AL, with an OPS+ of 51.  Problem is that Mark Teahen has not been much better when he's been given the chance. This is their black hole, problem is, it is just one of many.

Catcher:Dodgers did get lucky this winter when AJ Pierzynski decided to spurn the Dodgers offer and stay with the White Sox.  Another black hole offensively for the Sox, AJ would be the worst offensive option among regular catchers if not for Miguel Olivo. Good God Russell Martin is having a killer year for the Yankee's. Top of the leaderboard.

Right Fielder:Carlos Quentin is doing what many of us thought he'd do if we could have pried him away from the White Sox to fill our LF problem. Good thing the White Sox did not trade him as he's paired up with Paulie to provide the only offense this team has. His OPS+ of 136 ranks among the top right fielders in the AL.  So far he's stayed healthy which is the key for him.

Center Fielder: Alexis Rios is the worst offensive regular  CF in baseball. When you combine his production with his $12,000,000 salary he might just be the worst value in baseball, even in a world where Vernon Wells exists. His TSL stands at .203/.266/.297. He had a similar year in 2009 but had bounced back in 2010, yet here he is again. Tony Gwynn Junior must look at this contract and production and wonder what he did wrong in life.

Left Fielder: Juan Pierre is having a dreadful offensive and defensive season. He's only making $8,500,000 to be this bad (3.5 Mill paid by Dodgers). According to WAR he's the worse LF in baseball. According to his offense he's only the 3rd worst LF in baseball with similarly high paid Left fielders Vernon Wells / Carl Crawford still below him. When fans keep asking for the Dodgers to open the checkbook to fill the void in LF, just remember what you sometimes get.

DH: Adam Dunn might be the most shocking suckitude on this team. No left handed hitter has provided more consistent power over the last decade then Adam Dunn but that is what is missing this year. Power. Only four home runs in 159 plate appearances. Sure the appendectomy has to be part of the story but that was 140 plate appearances ago. 

                                                              
Player            HR From   To   Age   PA   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
Adam Dunn        358 2001 2011 21-31 6224 .249 .379 .517  .896
Jim Thome        358 2001 2011 30-40 5403 .271 .399 .569  .967
David Ortiz      337 2001 2011 25-35 5952 .282 .378 .558  .937
Carlos Delgado   283 2001 2009 29-37 5227 .278 .383 .539  .922
Jason Giambi     270 2001 2011 30-40 4981 .266 .408 .524  .932
Barry Bonds      268 2001 2007 36-42 3465 .325 .531 .731 1.262
Ryan Howard      262 2004 2011 24-31 3950 .277 .369 .568  .937
Carlos Pena      235 2001 2011 23-33 4438 .240 .352 .487  .839
Todd Helton      232 2001 2011 27-37 6321 .321 .426 .539  .966
Jim Edmonds      230 2001 2010 31-40 4386 .278 .382 .540  .923
Aubrey Huff      229 2001 2011 24-34 6154 .281 .344 .473  .817
Raul Ibanez      221 2001 2011 29-39 6141 .286 .349 .481  .830
Bobby Abreu      212 2001 2011 27-37 7113 .290 .395 .476  .871
J.D. Drew        205 2001 2011 25-35 5048 .281 .389 .500  .889
Prince Fielder   201 2005 2011 21-27 3706 .280 .384 .535  .919

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/20/2011.

Bench: Mark Teahen (on DL), Omar Vizquel - I kid you not he's still playing, Brent Lillibride, backup catcher Ramon Castro, and Dallas McPherson. It is possible we will see McPherson play 3rd base as they try to inject offense into the lineup. Hard to believe the one time 3rd baseman of the future for the Angels is now 30 years old.

Starting Pitching:

Game Pitcher Triple Stat Line ERA/FIP/xFIP
Game One Philip Humber 2.91 / 3.20 / 4.05
Game Two Mark Buehrle 4.07 / 3.58 / 4.27
Game Three Edwin Jackson 4.53 / 3.40 / 3.58

 

White Sox have so much good starting pitching they are going with a six man rotation now that Jake Peavy is back in the saddle. You can understand why, no one has pitched poorly enough to get removed from the rotation.  Silly Twins they made a bad enough trade when the dealt Santana, but the guy who might end up being the best of the lot that they got back they simply released, and now he's doing good work for their competition. Humber has the pedigree of being a number one pick, kind of shocking the Twins just let him go like that. Humber added his slider back this season, which might account for his success so far.

                                                                      
Player            IP Age  G GS GF W L SV  H ER BB SO ERA+ HR  OPS OPS+
Gavin Floyd     60.1  28  9  9  0 5 3  0 54 26 15 51  105  7 .683   88
Mark Buehrle    59.2  32  9  9  0 3 3  0 66 27 17 31  100  4 .744  105
John Danks      58.1  26  9  9  0 0 6  0 63 28 22 42   94  6 .761  110
Edwin Jackson   55.2  27  9  9  0 3 5  0 65 28 22 45   90  4 .776  113
Philip Humber   45.1  28  9  7  0 3 3  0 32 16 11 26  128  2 .550   52
Jesse Crain     20.1  29 17  0  6 1 1  0 11  6  8 21  155  1 .461   29
Sergio Santos   20.0  27 16  0 11 2 0  6  8  0  9      23  0 .389   10
Tony Pena       15.2  29 13  0  7 0 1  0 19 11  8 13   65  2 .813  120
Chris Sale      15.1  22 15  0  5 2 0  1 16  9  8 18   78  3 .836  128
Jake Peavy      15.0  30  2  2  0 1 0  0 10  4  0 12  172  0 .444   22
Matt Thornton   13.1  34 15  0  7 0 3  1 20  9  7 15   68  2 .875  140
Jeff Gray       13.1  29  6  0  5 0 0  0 13  4  4  7  154  1 .708   95
Will Ohman      11.2  33 15  0  3 0 0  0 14  8  4 13   68  2 .857  133

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/20/2011.

Bullpen:

Setup: Matt Thornton is back to setting up after failing as the closer at the beginning of the year. For those who do not know Thornton, just think of Kuo when Kuo was the best left handed setup man in the NL. Thornton was that guy in the AL. Like Kuo, Thornton has also struggled in 2011 and by the numbers, he's the worst pitcher in the bullpen right now, though it does look like he's pitched better lately. Most of his numbers are skewed because of some horrific outings but he's still clearly not the man he was in years past. He's helped out by the rejuvenated live arm of Jesse Crain who used to do good work for the Twins. Right now Crain is dealing a WHIP of 0.934 with dominance to match. Top pitching prospect Chris Sale and ex Diamondback Tony Pena fill out the right handed bullpen. Will Ohman handles the left hand gig that Thornton doesn't.

Closer:If you wonder can Kenley Jansen make the quick jump to closer look no further then Sergio Santos who made the same jump Kenley did last year from failed SS to hard throwing setup man to closer this year. Originally one of the best setup man of the past few years Matt Thornton was going to close but he failed to do the job, so they turned to Santos, and boy has he delivered. He's yet to give up an earned run in 20 innings, using his three pitch repertoire of 96 FB, 86 Slider, and change up. He will walk a few hitters but he makes up for that by not allowed very many hits, only 8 in 20 innings.

Matchup Notes:

Dodgers historically are awful in interleague play on the road. This is not a good time for that trend to continue, they best break out some bats. Andre in particular, these streaks of his are maddening.