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Bruck35
05-12-2004, 03:30 PM
Miguel Olivo? The pic is of him tagging out what looks like a Royal or Blue Jay at the plate. Only a small paragraph about his contributions in the article, but still nice to see a Sox player on the front page. Keep it up Miguel!!

SoxxoS
05-12-2004, 03:36 PM
A Sox story on on the front page of ESPN happens about once a year...so check it out while you can...

It's a pretty ordinary article about young catcher...

Kirkjian, who is a pretty good analyst/writer (especially for ESPN) had to get in his cheap shot about the Sox:

The White Sox's Miguel Olivo, 25, shares the catching duties with veteran Sandy Alomar Jr., but through Tuesday, Olivo was hitting .300 with three homers and 15 RBI. Plus, he can throw with almost any catcher in the league. On a team that lacks good defense, that's very important.

Hey Tim. Watch the game. Don't always go by past stereotypes. Valentin and Crede are above average, contrary to popular belief. The outfield is solid. The right side of the infield is solid. I don't get it. We just went 51 innings without making an error.

fledgedrallycap
05-12-2004, 03:49 PM
Originally posted by SoxxoS

Hey Tim. Watch the game. Don't always go by past stereotypes. Valentin and Crede are above average, contrary to popular belief. The outfield is solid. The right side of the infield is solid. I don't get it. We just went 51 innings without making an error.


You beat me to it, I was going to state the same thing. I am very tired of reading national reporters blast our defense when it has been above average the past couple of years.

pearso66
05-12-2004, 04:14 PM
Did anyone else notice that at the end of the article it says the best young catcher of the group is Joe Mauer? How about let the guy play in the majors a little bit, without getting injured, before we hand him the title. As of right now, Id much rather have any of the other guys, than someone who is often injured.

BearSox
05-12-2004, 04:21 PM
Originally posted by SoxxoS
A Sox story on on the front page of ESPN happens about once a year...so check it out while you can...

It's a pretty ordinary article about young catcher...

Kirkjian, who is a pretty good analyst/writer (especially for ESPN) had to get in his cheap shot about the Sox:



Hey Tim. Watch the game. Don't always go by past stereotypes. Valentin and Crede are above average, contrary to popular belief. The outfield is solid. The right side of the infield is solid. I don't get it. We just went 51 innings without making an error.

You should e mail him with exactly what you just said.

fledgedrallycap
05-12-2004, 04:23 PM
Originally posted by pearso66
Did anyone else notice that at the end of the article it says the best young catcher of the group is Joe Mauer? How about let the guy play in the majors a little bit, without getting injured, before we hand him the title. As of right now, Id much rather have any of the other guys, than someone who is often injured.

I thought that was a little comical as well. They could of phrased it much better, does the guy have the potential to be great? Of course he does and the early results show that the kid is talented. However, it was a slap in the face to the other guys mentioned who have all played well and stayed healthy.

Iwritecode
05-12-2004, 04:25 PM
Originally posted by SoxxoS
A Sox story on on the front page of ESPN happens about once a year...so check it out while you can...

It's a pretty ordinary article about young catcher...

Kirkjian, who is a pretty good analyst/writer (especially for ESPN) had to get in his cheap shot about the Sox:



Hey Tim. Watch the game. Don't always go by past stereotypes. Valentin and Crede are above average, contrary to popular belief. The outfield is solid. The right side of the infield is solid. I don't get it. We just went 51 innings without making an error.


Originally posted by fledgedrallycap



You beat me to it, I was going to state the same thing. I am very tired of reading national reporters blast our defense when it has been above average the past couple of years.

Looking at # of errors and fielding %, the team is still below average coming around 19 or 20.

Surprisingly though, the Twins are worse... :o:

jeremyb1
05-12-2004, 04:32 PM
Originally posted by SoxxoS
Hey Tim. Watch the game. Don't always go by past stereotypes. Valentin and Crede are above average, contrary to popular belief. The outfield is solid. The right side of the infield is solid. I don't get it. We just went 51 innings without making an error.

I've become convinced that analysts opinion's on defense are the worst aspect of old school, "traditional" evaluations. Way too much weight is given to errors since range is such a huge part of the picture. A shortstop will on average record somewhere in the ballpark of 200 put outs in a season. A guy with 30 errors is considered an awful shortstop and a guy with 15 is a great one. Range will often account for a lot more than 15 outs difference between a guy with good range and a guy with mediocre to poor range. A lot of people tend to focus on how good a guy looks making a play when that has nothing to do with it. If you take bad routes but you're fast and get to more balls to a guy with average speed that takes great routes, you're making more outs. It's hard to see range so it is more or less just dismissed. There's a huge seperation between guys actual fielding ability and their reputations. Once someone, somewhere pegs you with the reputation as a good or bad fielder everyone else just seems to take it as true for years. How else can you explain Jeter having a reputation as a good fielder?

fledgedrallycap
05-12-2004, 04:59 PM
Originally posted by Iwritecode
Looking at # of errors and fielding %, the team is still below average coming around 19 or 20.

Surprisingly though, the Twins are worse... :o:

That is surprising. However, in 2003 the Sox finished 8th in MLB in total team defense:

TEAM GP GS INN TC PO A E DP FPCT
Mariners 162 162 1441.0 5839 4323 1451 65 159 .989
Marlins 162 162 1445.1 6004 4336 1590 78 162 .987
Cardinals 162 162 1463.2 6112 4391 1644 77 138 .987
Giants 161 161 1437.1 6067 4312 1675 80 163 .987
Twins 162 162 1462.0 5955 4386 1482 87 114 .985
Rangers 162 162 1433.1 6097 4300 1703 94 168 .985
Astros 162 162 1450.0 6154 4350 1709 95 149 .985
White Sox 162 162 1431.0 5975 4293 1589 93 154 .984
Phillies 162 162 1443.2 6122 4331 1694 97 146 .984
Orioles 163 163 1449.2 6137 4349 1683 105 164 .983

I know last year is last year, but the main core of guys are back, so with time similiar results are probably not too far fetched.

fledgedrallycap
05-12-2004, 05:03 PM
I had some time, so I decided to send Tim and note:

Tim,

Overall I enjoyed your article on Young Catchers in Baseball. However, I do have one bone to pick with you and the rest of the ESPN staff in terms of the ongoing claims the Chicago White Sox team defense is below average. You stated in your analysis:

"he can throw with almost any catcher in the league. On a team that lacks good defense, that's very important."

The Sox ranked 8th in Major League Baseball last year in team defense. I watch every single game and can attest they do have some weaknesses, but not to the extent which seems to be the popular belief. Our corner infielders are above average, with Joe Crede having Gold Glove potential and Paul Konerko fielding an above average first base. At current time, our second baseman Willie Harris is playing an outstanding defense and has speed to cover a lot of ground. Not to mention he and our shortstops turn over an extremely high percentage of double plays. Jose Valentin is questionable at times, but overall he is a good fielding shortstop. He has his lapses and makes the occasional ill-advised throw, but he gets to a lot of balls that might normally get through to the outfield. Our corner outfielders are above average as well. Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Lee definitely are not going to win a Gold Glove, but they seldom misplay a ball and have good enough arms to keep base runners honest. I will consent center field is an ongoing issue on the Southside. Aaron Rowand is an average center fielder, as is Timo Perez; but the Sox could and should upgrade that position.

All in all, the Sox as a team are not great, but an above average defensive team; which their ranking indicates.

Lastly, I just wanted to let you know I thought it was a little premature to crown Joe Maurer the King of Young Backstops. You spent a lot of time giving well-deserved kudos to guys around the league who are actually in the line-up and have been contributing at the major league level for more than two weeks, but maybe that's the Sox fan in me talking....

fquaye149
05-12-2004, 05:03 PM
here is an e-mail i sent to kurkjian in regards to his article:

Dear Mr. Kurkjian

In your recent column on young catchers, you pointed out the fact that White Sox catcher Miguel Olivo is both a blossoming young hitter and an excellent defensive catcher. Both of these statements seem to be quite true. However as a White Sox fan, I must take issue with a sentence that comprised one third of your paragraph on Olivo. At the end of this paragraph you state, "On a team [the White Sox] that lacks good defense, [Olivo's ability to throw] is very important."

Normally a throwaway sentence in an article wouldn't bother me. However, in this case, my frustration is the result of a month and a half of ESPN's, and particularly Baseball Tonight's, treatment of my favorite franchise. If and when the Baseball Tonight or Sportscenter crew mentions the White Sox or shows highlights of their game, any in-depth commentary on the team ultimately centers on the White Sox' supposed lack of defense. How a team of baseball analysts might make this mistake is a mystery to me, however I have a few theories to explain this puzzling mentality.

THEORY 1. In recent years, the White Sox defense HAS been quite bad. With Royce Clayton at shortstop and Jose Valentin at third in the early 00's the left side of the infield lacked range and Carlos Lee's past performances in Left Field gave the White Sox perhaps one of the weakest left sides in baseball. Add to that no standout defensive players at any other position, and the claim that the Sox had a poor defensive team certainly held weight.

THEORY 2. The AL Central has two teams with superb defenses. The Royals and the Twins both have great defensive players. The Twins in particular in recent matches against the White Sox have made the Sox look bad by flexing gloves and robbing the Sox of base hit after base hit while the South Siders struggled on the astro turf carpet of the Metrodome. Surely most defenses would look horrible in such close comparison to the Twins'.

THEORY 3. The idea that the Sox have a bad defense is a self-perpetuating ideal. When the Sox make an error (as any team might) it proves the point commentators have already subscribed to, and any superb or solid play goes unnoticed.


While it is certainly understandable why one might mistake the Sox for a poor defensive team, it is no longer true to say so. The Sox have shored up most (if not all) of their defensive issues in the past year. As you mentioned, Miguel Olivo is an above average, if not excellent defensive catcher. Joe Crede is also a great young third baseman, and defensively he can hold his own with most anyone in the league. Although Jose Valentin's error numbers are higher than many, his range is also among the best in the league and he makes plays on balls that many shortstops couldn't dream of touching. Willie Harris is a young, quick second baseman who at least threatens to become Ray Durham's defensive equal. Paul Konerko is as solid as you could ask a first baseman to be, though he admittedly is nowhere near the league of Doug Mientkiewicz, J.T. Snow, or Derrek Lee. Carlos Lee has improved his outfield play immensely to the point where he can no longer be called in good conscience a liability. Aaron Rowand's reads and hustle make up for his lack of speed and though he won't rob many homeruns, he makes very few errors. And Magglio Ordonez has very good range and makes very few errors. Our starting pitchers are generally very good defensively with Mark Buehrle being a perennial gold glove candidate with one of the best pickoff moves in baseball.

While our team is not the equal defensively of squads like Minnesota or Kansas City, we are certainly at least up to the league average, making the assertion that we "lack good defense" rather inflammatory. Perhaps we lack great or spectacular defense, but the idea that we are murder with the gloves is one that needs to stop/ It leads to the kind of attitude about the White Sox that leaves our highlights pushed to the back or completely off Baseball Tonight and it instigates ill-founded claims like when analyst Harold Reynolds picked us to finish 4th in the Central behind the Royals and Indians, and when most prognosticators picked us to finish behind the starting-pitching-deficient Royals. Hopefully, you realize your mistake, or perhaps there is something about the White Sox that I have forgotten. If that is the case I would be glad to hear where I am incorrect. At any rate, thank you very much for your time.

Sincerely,

Fquaye149

ChiSox14305635
05-12-2004, 05:24 PM
Kurjkian will never say anything bad about the Twins, just like Gammons will never say anything bad about the Yanks or Red Sox.

Lip Man 1
05-12-2004, 05:41 PM
Defense is more then just errors...it's being able to execute relays, hitting the cut off man, being able to execute run downs without throwing the ball into the outfield and doing things like the 'wheel play,' when you need to get the lead runner.

The Sox have been poor at these things for years and I can't explain why considering all the time they work on them in spring training.

Lip

pudge
05-12-2004, 05:42 PM
Originally posted by fquaye149
here is an e-mail i sent to kurkjian in regards to his article:




Just a tip - if you actually want someone like Kurkijan to read your reply, make it much much shorter and get to your point fast.

MRKARNO
05-12-2004, 06:10 PM
Originally posted by jeremyb1
I've become convinced that analysts opinion's on defense are the worst aspect of old school, "traditional" evaluations. Way too much weight is given to errors since range is such a huge part of the picture. A shortstop will on average record somewhere in the ballpark of 200 put outs in a season. A guy with 30 errors is considered an awful shortstop and a guy with 15 is a great one. Range will often account for a lot more than 15 outs difference between a guy with good range and a guy with mediocre to poor range. A lot of people tend to focus on how good a guy looks making a play when that has nothing to do with it. If you take bad routes but you're fast and get to more balls to a guy with average speed that takes great routes, you're making more outs. It's hard to see range so it is more or less just dismissed. There's a huge seperation between guys actual fielding ability and their reputations. Once someone, somewhere pegs you with the reputation as a good or bad fielder everyone else just seems to take it as true for years. How else can you explain Jeter having a reputation as a good fielder?

Totally agree with you jeremy. Range and Zone Rating is a lot more important than fielding percentage. Valentin makes up for his errors by having great range. Juan Uribe is an incredible shortstop defensively and a not bad second basemen either (just look at his range factor). Our team defense really isn't bad at all. Crede is great at third, Uribe is great anywhere, Valentin errs, but makes up for it with his range, Harris isn't bad, Konerko is awful, but doesn't err. Olivo is great at catcher and Alomar is ok, but can't throw anyone out anymore, which is a big problem. We have great D in right with Maggs and mediocre D in center with Rowand and good D with Timo and bad D in left with Lee. But overall we're above average.

And the fact that Jeter is considered a good fielder is a joke. He has been last or close to last in the league in Zone Rating and Range factor over the past few years.

kevingrt
05-12-2004, 06:10 PM
Your probably right Pudge. He probably has an intern read his e-mail or something