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View Full Version : In what areas are the Sox best at?


MRKARNO
01-22-2003, 06:16 PM
First a quick comment: I know that Kenny WIlliams in recent years has proved to be one of the worst GMs in baseball (I really hope you don't need examples). This year, if the sox win a pennant, he will prove to being one of the best GMs of the year. He will have had this past week to look back at as his shining moment in his early career, but if the sox fail to make the playoffs, a top to bottom overhall from GM to Manager needs to be made.

The main question: What areas are the Sox poised to be best in in 2003? What areas are they poised not to be too well in?

Good:

All offensive categories-3rd in the MLB in runs last year. They are getting some good new talent from the minors who should add to that total to make them again one of the top 3 in baseball, if not number one

1-2 pitching combo-Buerhle and Colon will make the sox have a top 5 1-2 combo for certain. No way number one though, but top 3 is likely

Bullpen-Koch, Gordon, Glover Wuncsh, Rick White(newest aquisition), Marte and Vining(I think). This should be one of the best in baseball. At worst they're decent. At best, no team would realistically think of scoring more than 3 runs in the 7th, 8th or 9th innings.

Iffy:
3-4 combo-Garland and Wright both have shown flashes of being quality pitchers, but need to improve. If they are decent, we should expect a pennant, no questions asked.

Intangibles-Can the sox come back once they're down?

Bad:

Errors-Jose Valentin:need I say more?

5 pitcher-Rauch has shown us that he is the tallest player ever to play baseball. He has not shown us that he is any good. I will be surprised to see much of anything from him. Can Glover give us a quality start in the worst case scenario?

I would like to see what everyone thinks about my statements and would like to see what other people view as the strengths and weaknesses of the team.

P.S. What is the deal w/Comiskey renovations this year. I heard that they were going to make a main entrance to the park (Like at Edison Field in Anaheim, but no giant angels hat). I also heard about outfield bleachers. I think I saw them on the website that has the contract for th renovations. They have drawings of these additions on the site too.

delben91
01-22-2003, 06:22 PM
I agree with most of what you've got there, but with two caveats.

1) In the bullpen, do we even still have Vining in the system? I'd heard he was gone to Houston or other parts west. If we even have 7 pitchers in the bullpen, I'd bet on seeing maybe Ginter, or Munoz (unlikely) or maybe Stewart out there in the "Vining" slot.

2) I wouldn't underestimate Rauch. He dominated the minors before his injury, and he also seemed to put together some nice starts at the end of last season. I would be surprised if he didn't end up with better numbers than Danny Wright had last year.

Daver
01-22-2003, 06:28 PM
According to Phil Rogers on ESPN.com the Sox are tied for the tenth best infeild in all of MLB,with Jose Valentin as the starting SS.

On paper only the Twins have a better rotation than the Sox in the Central,but games are not won or lost on paper,and with Don Cooper choosing to remain the pitching coach I expect better production from the bottom of the rotation.

I think you highly underestimate the potential of Jon Rauch.

Ken Vining is no longer in the White Sox organization,he was lost to minor league free agency,but the Sox bullpen will be much better this year than it was last year.

DustyIsOverated1
01-22-2003, 06:28 PM
Originally posted by MRKARNO
First a quick comment: I know that Kenny WIlliams in recent years has proved to be one of the worst GMs in baseball (I really hope you don't need examples). This year, if the sox win a pennant, he will prove to being one of the best GMs of the year. He will have had this past week to look back at as his shining moment in his early career, but if the sox fail to make the playoffs, a top to bottom overhall from GM to Manager needs to be made.

The main question: What areas are the Sox poised to be best in in 2003? What areas are they poised not to be too well in?

Good:

All offensive categories-3rd in the MLB in runs last year. They are getting some good new talent from the minors who should add to that total to make them again one of the top 3 in baseball, if not number one

1-2 pitching combo-Buerhle and Colon will make the sox have a top 5 1-2 combo for certain. No way number one though, but top 3 is likely

Bullpen-Koch, Gordon, Glover Wuncsh, Rick White(newest aquisition), Marte and Vining(I think). This should be one of the best in baseball. At worst they're decent. At best, no team would realistically think of scoring more than 3 runs in the 7th, 8th or 9th innings.

Iffy:
3-4 combo-Garland and Wright both have shown flashes of being quality pitchers, but need to improve. If they are decent, we should expect a pennant, no questions asked.

Intangibles-Can the sox come back once they're down?

Bad:

Errors-Jose Valentin:need I say more?

5 pitcher-Rauch has shown us that he is the tallest player ever to play baseball. He has not shown us that he is any good. I will be surprised to see much of anything from him. Can Glover give us a quality start in the worst case scenario?

I would like to see what everyone thinks about my statements and would like to see what other people view as the strengths and weaknesses of the team.

P.S. What is the deal w/Comiskey renovations this year. I heard that they were going to make a main entrance to the park (Like at Edison Field in Anaheim, but no giant angels hat). I also heard about outfield bleachers. I think I saw them on the website that has the contract for th renovations. They have drawings of these additions on the site too.


I think Rauch could one of the leagues biggest suprises this year. He played injured last year and the sox scouting has enough faith in him to list him as a possible 5 spot this early. Still a highly respected prospect (if thats possible).

Comiskey is not getting any front entrace, the drawings you saw wear twig teasers, not reality.

Jose Valentin is an underated shortstop. He teamed up for alot of double plays with ray in 200 when the spot was his, and all the errors were meaningless. I think one or two actually cost the hose a run. Nevertheless I would lose to have A-rod, but I'll settle for manos...hee haw :gulp:

MRKARNO
01-22-2003, 06:32 PM
Yeah, I forgot about Munoz and Ginter. I think you are right about Vining, that's why I followed his name with a question mark. I may have been a little harsh on Rauch, but he needs to show that he is able to compete well in the Majors. Garland and Wright at times have done that. Rauch has not. He deserves more time, but we can't allow him to be too long of a project. If we need a better #5, we need to start in the minors now. I really do hope that I am wrong and you are all right about Rauch, but I don't have anything to base an optimistic opinion about him on. ALso, an injury in the first year is not a good sign of things to come.
One question: Is Edwin Almonte a starter or reliever?

Daver
01-22-2003, 06:37 PM
Originally posted by MRKARNO
Yeah, I forgot about Munoz and Ginter. I think you are right about Vining, that's why I followed his name with a question mark. I may have been a little harsh on Rauch, but he needs to show that he is able to compete well in the Majors. Garland and Wright at times have done that. Rauch has not. He deserves more time, but we can't allow him to be too long of a project. If we need a better #5, we need to start in the minors now. I really do hope that I am wrong and you are all right about Rauch, but I don't have anything to base an optimistic opinion about him on. ALso, an injury in the first year is not a good sign of things to come.
One question: Is Edwin Almonte a starter or reliever?

Edwin Almonte is a set-up man/closer in the making,more likely a set-up man with Royce Ring the closer of the future.

Lip Man 1
01-22-2003, 06:48 PM
To answer your question in broad general strokes:

1. Offense- Excellent potential, HOWEVER as we've seen far to often the past few years, prone to slumps. They are average at best in situational hitting (which may account for their dismal record last year in one run games.) try to hammer home runs FAR to often!

2. Defense- Fair (at best). Rogers ranked the Sox infield 10th in baseball based on OFFENSIVE potential. In the same story he stated that the Sox infield often gives back as many runs as they drive in. Crede will help, Valentin will be OK as will Konerko. Jiminez? who knows? Ditto for Rowand. Carlos "The Butcher" Lee is still in left field so that's obviously not a strong area. Maggs is very good. catching? Again who knows?

3. Pitching- Above Average. has potential (there's that word again) to be excellent. Garland and Wright MUST step up! Winning double figures and losing double figures does nothing! #5 starter is a REAL CONCERN (Jeff Suppan is still out there!) Bullpen should be solid. Koch, Gordon, White, Marte, Wunsch can shorten games and has potential to be best Sox bullpen since 1990- 1994.

4. Fundamentals- Horriffic! Will cost the Sox games this season (The question is how many?) These guys can't run the bases, have trouble doing the "little things." (i.e. bunting, hit and run, situational hitting, hitting the cutoff man on relay throws, run down's and so forth) How much of that was the fault of the coaching staff? If Uncle Jerry's directive last August that spring training be a "boot camp," is followed this might get better to "average".

5.Field Staff- Average (at best) Manager Gandhi has neither the spirit nor the stomach to kick asses when needed. Let's himself and team get intimidated by umpires. Refuses to go with the best lineup everyday and leave it be. Has pathological condition to "tinker" often for the worst. As far as the coaches, perhaps the new guys will help.

6.Front Office- The BIG question mark. GM has a history of bad moves. If the Sox are in the race come July, will he make the moves needed for the stretch run? Historically the Sox have rarely done this. Will owner relent and allow GM to add payroll? If the Sox start slow will GM fire Manager Gandhi? if the Sox start slow will owner allow then to "stay the course" or will he immediately order "White Flag Redeux?" and start blaming the fans for problems caused by his organization?

Lip

hold2dibber
01-22-2003, 11:07 PM
Originally posted by MRKARNO
I may have been a little harsh on Rauch, but he needs to show that he is able to compete well in the Majors. Garland and Wright at times have done that. Rauch has not. He deserves more time, but we can't allow him to be too long of a project. If we need a better #5, we need to start in the minors now. I really do hope that I am wrong and you are all right about Rauch, but I don't have anything to base an optimistic opinion about him on. ALso, an injury in the first year is not a good sign of things to come.


Jon Rauch has had only 2 MLB starts where he was healthy/healed. Both of those starts came against the (95 wins) Twins in September of last year. His performance in those two starts?

1-1 W/L
12 IP
9 H
1 BB
8 K
3 ER

Obviously, a VERY small sample size. But he looked poised and in total control during those two starts. He was really, really impressive. I'm not suggesting he's a Cy Young candidate quite yet (I remember Kip Wells kicking ass in a few starts when he first came up) - but I think you're wrong to state that he hasn't yet shown he can perform at the MLB level. He also was, don't forget, the minor league player of the year in '00 (not just in the Sox system - in ALL of the minors) and a huge stud in the Olympics. Thus, I also think you're wrong when you suggest that you have no reason to be optimistic. Young pitchers are a hit or miss proposition, to be sure, and his injury is a red flag. But there are some good reasons to think Rauch will be a good pitcher this year.

jeremyb1
01-23-2003, 02:41 AM
i agree with what everyone has said for the most part.

the offense should be spectacular. maggs and possibly paully (if his season resembles his second half instead of his first for some reason) are the only two players who could reasonably be expected not perform at least as well as they did last season. better offense at 3B and SS are more or less a given in light of clayton's departure. carlos and jimenez are pretty decent bets to improve on last season. even if frank doesn't return to form completely, he should improve on last season pretty easily. if olivo can hit .250 and show the speed he had in the minors, we've upgraded offensively at catcher. i don't see how this offense could not be amongst the best in baseball.

the bullpen has a rather good chance of being absolutely sensational. i'm not sure that koch will prove to be an upgrade over foulke and closer might not be an absolute strongsuit in the pen but he'll be solid. the depth of the pen looks to be rather outstanding. glover looked like one of the best set up men in baseball last season and he may be coming in in the fifth or sixth inning this season. marte looks to be amongst the best lefthanded relievers in the game if he repeats last season. ditto for wunsch if he makes good on his strong finish and comes anywhere near repeating '00. gordon should be good as long as he's healthy. white looks to be solid. i think glover will be the biggest reason the pen ends up being oustanding.

starting pitching is rather promising. we have one of the better 1-2 combos in the al. i think garland and wright would be solid 3-4 starters if they merely repeated their performances last season. however, considering their ages, their ability, and their seemingly good makeup, and their experience last season it seems pretty likely they'll improve. people seem to forget what a special pitcher rauch was in '00. its true that its not a given that he'll return to that level, but he was at or near that level at the end of last season so again it seems like a good bet to me. even if he struggles some, he should be able to hold down the number five spot relatively easily.

defense is the teams' biggest hurdle but it could be worse. olivo should be a strong defensive catcher. paully is at least average at 1B as is jiminez at second. valentin has trouble with errors at short but we showed the ability to win despite them in '00. crede looks to be at least average at 3B and could be even better if he cut down his errors some. maggs is at least average in right and i think rowand can be average in cf although many would disagree with that for reasons i don't entirely understand. carlos has had his share of troubles in left but he worked to improve defensively last season and he could be a lot worse. all in all, a lot has been made about this team's defense. its probably below average but its not terrible by any means and i don't see it costing us a ton of games.

Tragg
01-23-2003, 06:58 AM
Strengths: Starting pitching, bullpen depth, hitting against mediocre to worse pitching, demeanor of manager (I think it's a big plus and has kept the team fighting all year long when we were out of it).

Weaknesses - managerial decision making, hitting against qualilty pitching because of the inability to get on base by the non-stud hitters, up the middle play, catcher, center field. Bench may also be a weakness - it was a huge weakness last year - we'll see how the roster shapes up - should be improved.

Tragg
01-23-2003, 07:03 AM
As for Kenny Williams, I think he's made some unbelievably bad moves: Clayton and Ritchie exhibits A and B.
however, each day there seems to be at least one string that demonstrates indirectly how horrendous his predecessor was. The string about bad players that the Sox had, someone mentions kruk and sabo - well, who got those two clowns here? Veteran pitching aquisitions? hello navarro, drabek and mckaskill. Veteran player aquisitions? Enjoy snyder and pasqua. Need a manger? Try LaMonte or Bevington - he did better on his third try; manuel, as flawed as he is, towers above those two idiots.
I guess what i'm saying, I think our present GM is less bad than our prior GM.

Soxboyrob
01-23-2003, 08:56 AM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
defense is the teams' biggest hurdle but it could be worse. olivo should be a strong defensive catcher.

It's probably a little early to suggest that Olivo will be strong defensively. He has had a horrible problem w/ passed balls over the last couple of seasons, averaging about 20 per season, while catching minor league pitchers. I watched him struggle to catch Jon Garland's fastball. On three consecutive Garland pitches, he had two consecutive passed balls and then dropped the third pitch but was able to hold the runner at third (even though he'd advanced from first to third on the two prior pitches). Needless to say, I'm a bit nervous about Olivo back there. His arm strength is phenomenal, but his footwork and release slow him down a bit, making him able to be stolen on.

Maybe he just needs some work and will improve. Maybe his offensive skills will make us forget about all of the rest. If he can play good defense and hit .250, I'll be thrilled.

maurice
01-23-2003, 10:59 AM
Originally posted by MRKARNO
Good: All offensive categories

This statement is a bit too broad. As you point out, the Sox will be great in the most important offensive category: scoring runs. They're also a good power team, with extra-base hitters scattered throughout the lineup (as opposed to having one big HR hitter pulling up the team SLG).

However, they are a first-fastball-hitting club and have trouble with even mediocre junkballers. They certainly can stand to look at a few more pitches and take some more walks. Also, the Sox have virtually no team speed and a lot of bad baserunners. I'd be surprised if any Sox player steals as many as 20 bases this year with a decent SB%. Finally, they are not particularly strong in the traditionally overrated batting average category.

As far as pitching goes, you're right that the Sox have only two proven starters, though they have young talent who could really step up this year. (Haven't heard that in previous years.) I don't think the pen is spectacular, but it is very deep and should be fine.

soxruleEP
01-24-2003, 01:14 PM
quote: In the same story he stated that the Sox infield often gives back as many runs as they drive in.

Anyone who believes this can't be giving it any thought. There is no way that the Sox infield "gave up" over two hundred runs last year--and those are just the rough number driven in by konerko and valentine.

At the risk of repeating myself--and many other people--the most overrated stat/skill in baseball is defense. While you do not want a complete slop on dee (and Carlos Lee two season ago approached this) average or adequate defense is more than enough.

See Bill James's book on the Hall of Fame and his analysis of what Ozzie Smith's defense meant to the Cardinals. In the end, Ozzie only saved his team about six runs over a 162-game season. (that is, the difference between his defense and the average shortstop in the National League, not including Smith himself.)

Do you think Valentine meant more than six runs on offense?

Lip Man 1
01-24-2003, 07:17 PM
Your issue then is with Phil Rogers not me. E-mail him with those comments perhaps you'll get a reply.

The Sox of recent vintage have shown what transpires when almost complete attention is focused on hitting at the exclusion of all else.

As for me, stats put me to sleep, just play the damn game.

Also now that I think of it wasn't it Theo Epstein, one of the Gods of stat heads, who said in that Sporting News story that one of the real problems with statistics is that nobody has figured out a way to quantify defense in the grand sceme of baseball?

Perhaps King Andrew would know, he seems to think he knows everything else.

Lip