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Frater Perdurabo
09-08-2004, 04:32 PM
I have a theory on walks. Before you burn me at the stake, please wade through my mangled diction and read carefully what I write.

Walks are overrated. There. I said it. Look at Oakland. They take plenty of walks. They make the playoffs. Once there, they can't advance. Why? Playoff teams don't have pitchers who give up tons of walks.

Oakland's offense feasts on bad pitching. They take plenty of walks and get lots of guys on base during the regular season. Less than stellar opposing pitchers get rattled upon walking two guys on base, lose their focus and then give up a three-run double or another walk, followed by a two-run single. Oakland scores. Oakland wins.

In the playoffs, Oakland hitters try to take their walks. But guess what. Playoff pitchers don't give up walks, they don't get rattled and they don't let Oakland score runs off of them. Oakland loses in the playoffs.

Ozzie is right about Oakland. The biggest reason they have success is their starting pitching.

My point? I don't care what kind of offense the Sox have. Of course I would prefer they get on base because the more base runners you have, the more runs you have the opportunity to score. But I don't care if the Sox get baserunners from taking walks (like Frank has done for his entire career) or getting hits (like Rowand has done for the past few months). What I would like is for their hitters to be professionals and to have a professional approach. Part of that is not swinging at bad pitches. Another part is shortening one's swing and hitting to the opposite field. Another important (and underrated) skill is learning to foul off marginal strikes (strikes that will get you out, but that one can't drive for a decent hit) when one already has two strikes. This forces the opposing pitcher to throw a good pitch and wears out the opposing pitcher.

Crede, Valentin and LTP are not "bad" because they don't take walks. They are "bad" because they aren't patient at the plate and they always seem to be swinging for the five-run homer. They need to learn to not swing at bad pitches (this alone will lead to more walks) AND they need to shorten their swings in order to go to the opposite field AND they need to learn to foul off marginal strikes when they have two strikes.

The single most important thing the Sox must do is build an ironclad starting rotation...like Oakland or the Cubs or the late 90s Yankees. As for the offense, they must be smarter. If that means getting different players because the ones they have now refuse to act smarter at the plate, then so be it.

Frater Perdurabo
09-08-2004, 04:36 PM
It's like that TV commercial for a bank. One guy tells the other guy, "You don't want free checking...... you want a great bank that also offers free checking."

The Sox don't need more walks, they need smarter hitters who by virtue of their plate intelligence will walk more.

jeremyb1
09-08-2004, 06:15 PM
Walks are overrated. There. I said it. Look at Oakland. They take plenty of walks. They make the playoffs. Once there, they can't advance. Why? Playoff teams don't have pitchers who give up tons of walks.

This isn't a new argument, it's been made by Joe Morgan and other traditionalist national broadcasters for a long time. There's a huge problem though: it's incontrovertably false. The A's have drawn a lot of walks in the playoffs and they've scored a lot of runs in the playoffs.

MarkEdward
09-08-2004, 06:16 PM
I have a theory on walks. Before you burn me at the stake, please wade through my mangled diction and read carefully what I write.
Walks are overrated. There. I said it. Look at Oakland. They take plenty of walks. They make the playoffs. Once there, they can't advance. Why? Playoff teams don't have pitchers who give up tons of walks.Oakland usually scores more runs per game in the playoffs than they do in the regular season (don't know if that was true in 2003), so the offense rarely slumps in the post-season.

Oakland's offense feasts on bad pitching. They take plenty of walks and get lots of guys on base during the regular season. Less than stellar opposing pitchers get rattled upon walking two guys on base, lose their focus and then give up a three-run double or another walk, followed by a two-run single. Oakland scores. Oakland wins.Few things:
1) I'd need to see more evidence to show the A's struggle against good-great pitching. Remember, they've been playing (and winning) in baseball's best division for the past six years. They've not been competing against bad teams.
2) The Yankees consistently lead the AL in walks, yet they seem to do well in the playoffs.
3) In the past few years, the A's top hitters (like Chavez, Tejada, and Dye) haven't been known as walk machines (Chavez's 2004 being a big exception).

Ozzie is right about Oakland. The biggest reason they have success is their starting pitching.And strong defense and a decent offensive core.

My point? I don't care what kind of offense the Sox have. Of course I would prefer they get on base because the more base runners you have, the more runs you have the opportunity to score. But I don't care if the Sox get baserunners from taking walks (like Frank has done for his entire career) or getting hits (like Rowand has done for the past few months).It's difficult to maintain a high OBP through strictly hitting. That's why teams need to walk- get more runners on base.

What I would like is for their hitters to be professionals and to have a professional approach.I'd argue that the A's are very professional players. They usually lead the AL in pitches seen per plate appearance (as are the Sox, coincidenrtally).

Part of that is not swinging at bad pitches. Another part is shortening one's swing and hitting to the opposite field. Another important (and underrated) skill is learning to foul off marginal strikes (strikes that will get you out, but that one can't drive for a decent hit) when one already has two strikes. This forces the opposing pitcher to throw a good pitch and wears out the opposing pitcher.Watch a Scott Hatteberg or Eric Chavez AB- they're great at doing this kind of stuff.

Tragg
09-08-2004, 07:24 PM
You're right- a lot of players and teams feast off of bad pitching (ahem ahem; we know one quite well).
That's not unique to walks; free swingers hit bad pitching as well

The question is which can best adapt to good pitching. I say those with plate discipline.

pudge
09-08-2004, 07:40 PM
So let me get this straight, your basic argument is that they're not successful because they only GET to the post-season?? Um, that's a helluva lot more successful then our free-swinging chisox.

Here's the whole point: Patient hitters are BETTER hitters. A week ago I mentioned that Oakland had SEVEN regular players batting .280 or higher, while the Sox only had TWO.

Your what hurts?

MRKARNO
09-08-2004, 07:46 PM
My theory about Oakland is that they just have been unlucky and have been on the wrong side of some freakish stuff (Jeter's flip, catch in the stands, baserunning craziness last year). There is definately a correlation between high OBP and scoring runs and some players are especially good at drawing walks.

Flight #24
09-08-2004, 10:29 PM
So let me get this straight, your basic argument is that they're not successful because they only GET to the post-season?? Um, that's a helluva lot more successful then our free-swinging chisox.

Here's the whole point: Patient hitters are BETTER hitters. A week ago I mentioned that Oakland had SEVEN regular players batting .280 or higher, while the Sox only had TWO.

Your what hurts?For the record:

Oakland
2002: 800R (9th in MLB), 2003: 768R(14th), 2004:702R(11th)

Sox
2002: 856R (3d in MLB), 2003: 791R(12th), 2004: 726R(6th)

Oakland
2002: .339OBP, 2003: .327, 2004: .347

Sox
2002 OBP: .338, 2003: .331, 2004: .334


So the Sox have not only been a better scoring team than the A's, they've actually been as good in getting on base (until this year....but that OBP changes a lot with Frank & Maggs playing instead of Timo/Borchard/Gload).

The A's have won because they have great pitching. Kudos to them for that, but it's not because they have some magically better offense due to an amazing OBP. The Sox O with Frank & Maggs is as good or better.

pudge
09-08-2004, 11:19 PM
For the record:


The A's have won because they have great pitching. Kudos to them for that, but it's not because they have some magically better offense due to an amazing OBP. The Sox O with Frank & Maggs is as good or better.
Once again, you are so wrong it hurts.... Because a team like the Sox that mashes the ball and never takes a walk will score 13 runs one night and zero runs the next two. So in the end, sure, we have what appears it be a productive offense, when in fact it is not.

Does the A's pitching help them? Of course it does. But they have also wisely complimented that staff with a team that can hit any pitcher on any night on a consistent basis.

And the Sox? They run into some decent pitching on a West coast swing and they go 1-13. They run into a crafty lefty like Kenny Rogers who paints the corners and entices them to swing at bad pitches, and they look like garbage.

The 2003 Sox had just as many pitching horses as the A's (minus the Foulke for Koch debacle). The 2003 Sox lost because the streaky offense went into unproductive funks.

batmanZoSo
09-08-2004, 11:38 PM
I have a theory on walks. Before you burn me at the stake, please wade through my mangled diction and read carefully what I write.

Walks are overrated. There. I said it. Look at Oakland. They take plenty of walks. They make the playoffs. Once there, they can't advance. Why? Playoff teams don't have pitchers who give up tons of walks.

Oakland's offense feasts on bad pitching. They take plenty of walks and get lots of guys on base during the regular season. Less than stellar opposing pitchers get rattled upon walking two guys on base, lose their focus and then give up a three-run double or another walk, followed by a two-run single. Oakland scores. Oakland wins.

In the playoffs, Oakland hitters try to take their walks. But guess what. Playoff pitchers don't give up walks, they don't get rattled and they don't let Oakland score runs off of them. Oakland loses in the playoffs.

Ozzie is right about Oakland. The biggest reason they have success is their starting pitching.

My point? I don't care what kind of offense the Sox have. Of course I would prefer they get on base because the more base runners you have, the more runs you have the opportunity to score. But I don't care if the Sox get baserunners from taking walks (like Frank has done for his entire career) or getting hits (like Rowand has done for the past few months). What I would like is for their hitters to be professionals and to have a professional approach. Part of that is not swinging at bad pitches. Another part is shortening one's swing and hitting to the opposite field. Another important (and underrated) skill is learning to foul off marginal strikes (strikes that will get you out, but that one can't drive for a decent hit) when one already has two strikes. This forces the opposing pitcher to throw a good pitch and wears out the opposing pitcher.

Crede, Valentin and LTP are not "bad" because they don't take walks. They are "bad" because they aren't patient at the plate and they always seem to be swinging for the five-run homer. They need to learn to not swing at bad pitches (this alone will lead to more walks) AND they need to shorten their swings in order to go to the opposite field AND they need to learn to foul off marginal strikes when they have two strikes.

The single most important thing the Sox must do is build an ironclad starting rotation...like Oakland or the Cubs or the late 90s Yankees. As for the offense, they must be smarter. If that means getting different players because the ones they have now refuse to act smarter at the plate, then so be it.
First of all I really don't think the A's don't really walk that much anymore if I'm not mistaken. That whole thing was basically based off Jason Giambi beign a good patient hitter. And he's not there anymore. When Tejada was around it didn't matter because he walks about as much as Lee and even in his MVP season his OBP was .354. I don't know who else they've had who's been a really patient hitter. They've never had anything even resembling a leadoff man, so I don't know.

But as for the walks argument, I disagree that they're overrated. While it's not so much that you NEED walks, it's the byproducts. For one, an AB that ends up in a walk will probably last a good 7-8 pitches or more. I don't need to explain why that's a plus. Also, like you said, smart hitters are the ones who walk and you can't have too many smart hitters in your lineup.

All I know is that Ozzie and anyone else who's said it is right--the A's win because of pitching. That's why I say we let Maggs, Konerko and Valentin go, get a few cheap grinders as replacements (it's not like those three are the only guys with power), and get another Garcia quality starter and two great bullpen guys.

Buehrle, Garcia, Garcia, Contreras and Garland with a great bullpen is gonna get you to the playoffs. Say all you want about home run swings and corpseball...great pitching will prove itself over 162 games. Sure we've been inconsistent at hitting basically since 01, but we've been expecting a repeat of 2000 and it's not gonna happen. That was a one time deal. We're close to having a great rotation and that's all it takes. Get that done first, then worry about guys with high OBPs and s###.

Flight #24
09-09-2004, 12:41 AM
Once again, you are so wrong it hurts.... Because a team like the Sox that mashes the ball and never takes a walk will score 13 runs one night and zero runs the next two. So in the end, sure, we have what appears it be a productive offense, when in fact it is not.

Does the A's pitching help them? Of course it does. But they have also wisely complimented that staff with a team that can hit any pitcher on any night on a consistent basis.

And the Sox? They run into some decent pitching on a West coast swing and they go 1-13. They run into a crafty lefty like Kenny Rogers who paints the corners and entices them to swing at bad pitches, and they look like garbage.

The 2003 Sox had just as many pitching horses as the A's (minus the Foulke for Koch debacle). The 2003 Sox lost because the streaky offense went into unproductive funks.
If it hurts that bad try Advil, or maybe research.

You've got a nice theory there, too bad it's not supported by fact.

Let's ignore that fact that the A's O is supposedly better because it's based on the more consistent OBP rather than the less consistent SLG. We'll ignore that because the Sox have been pretty equal to the A's in OBP, but that wouldn't support your argument that they have "streaky, unproductive" hitters compared to the A's that can "hit any pitcher on any night".

Your premise says that the Sox should have a lot of games in which they score a ton and a lot in which they score little to nothing (i.e. "streaky"), whereas the A's should have more consistency in their game to game scoring.

According to ESPN, in 2003, the A's had 63 games in which they scored 3 or fewer runs (Sox had 61). They had 62 games in which they scored 4-6 runs (Sox had 54). They had 37 games in which they scored 7 or more runs (Sox had 47).

So to recap, the Sox had FEWER games in which they struggled to score. They did have fewer games in which they scored 4-6 runs, but that's only because they scored more than 7 runs in those games.

Once again: The A's pitching staff is why they've been so consistently good, it's not because they've got some magical offensive philosophy that's made them impervious to scoring slumps relative to the Sox.

Tragg
09-09-2004, 12:53 AM
If it hurts that bad try Advil, or maybe research.

You've got a nice theory there, too bad it's not supported by fact.

Let's ignore that fact that the A's O is supposedly better because it's based on the more consistent OBP rather than the less consistent SLG. We'll ignore that because the Sox have been pretty equal to the A's in OBP, but that wouldn't support your argument that they have "streaky, unproductive" hitters compared to the A's that can "hit any pitcher on any night".

Your premise says that the Sox should have a lot of games in which they score a ton and a lot in which they score little to nothing (i.e. "streaky"), whereas the A's should have more consistency in their game to game scoring.

According to ESPN, in 2003, the A's had 63 games in which they scored 3 or fewer runs (Sox had 61). They had 62 games in which they scored 4-6 runs (Sox had 54). They had 37 games in which they scored 7 or more runs (Sox had 47).

So to recap, the Sox had FEWER games in which they struggled to score. They did have fewer games in which they scored 4-6 runs, but that's only because they scored more than 7 runs in those games.

Once again: The A's pitching staff is why they've been so consistently good, it's not because they've got some magical offensive philosophy that's made them impervious to scoring slumps relative to the Sox.Admittedly not based on research but I think our O should be better because we have more top flight hitters than they do. Getting a few OBP guys in there would make our O killer.

Let me put it this way---they are near the bottom in HRs but their offensive numbers, per your research are comparable to ours. I think power is important- critical really; but combine some OBP with power and you have a great O. That's why Frank is such a great, great hitter---he does both.

ma-gaga
09-09-2004, 01:40 AM
It's the classic "the A's are overrated" arguments.

They have had a $46MM payroll for the last 4 years and have made the playoffs in each of them. B.Beane is on record of saying that he'd love to field a team of "5 tool players" but they cost too much. $46MM in payroll. It hurts my head to think that they have been a better team the last 4 years compared to the Dodgers/Baltimore/Rangers for half the cost.

The A's have done an amazing job of putting together a cost-effective team. Regardless of OBP, or pitching and defense. They've just been a solid team. It's too bad that they haven't been able to close out anyone. Maybe this will be their year.

jabrch
09-09-2004, 02:34 AM
Take out the freakish happening of 3 SPs developing CY Young calibre talent all at the exact same time and having 5 years of near perfect health, and the As are not the same team they are. I also agree that the Oakland team is built to succeed against bad pitching, but will struggle against top tier pitching. Now Beane says that the playoffs are a matter of luck - who is hot and who is not, but I don't buy that. Some teams are built to be able to hit great pitching, others are not.

That said, I am very envious of their successes.

Frater Perdurabo
09-09-2004, 09:53 AM
I too am envious of their success. However, those who have pointed to the Sox having similar (or in some cases better) offensive numbers to the A's only prove my point! The A's have made the playoffs with similar offensive output -- in a stronger division -- compared to the Sox.

So what's the difference?

The A's have better pitching! That's why I'm saying Beane and Moneyball and taking walks all are overrated! Their offensive results are comparable to the Sox! They just do it cheaper.

Jeremy (and other FOB), Oakland hasn't advanced in the playoffs precisely because they lose more than they win the playoffs. They lose in the playoffs because they don't score more runs than their opponents in the majority of their playoff games. I'm not trying to be a smart aleck, but It's really quite simple. I don't care if their scoring average is higher in playoff games than regular season games. The bottom line is that they are outscored in more games than they outscore their playoff opponents. Their vaunted Moneyball offense, based on statistics and analysis, is overrated because they haven't made the World Series. Their vaunted Moneyball offense historically is not as good as the Sox (this year being the exception with Maggs and Frank out). So what gives? Pitching.

I'll say it again. I don't care how the Sox win. I just want them to win the World Series. The time-tested, battle-hardened, incontrovertable way to win the Series is to have dominant starting pitching! Dominant starting pitching plus a good offense plus a good defense equals a championship team. That's why I agree with PHG and Lip and others, and "old school" guys like Joe Morgan and most other former professional baseball players, coaches and scouts that PITCHING is the key.

Name the last time a team with a crappy or even average starting rotation won the World Series. Mark Twain said there are three types of lies: "Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics." Now think about Vince Lombardi's famous words and apply it this way: the only statistic that matters is your won-lost record, and if you win the World Series.

As soon as a Beane-esque team uses a walk-oriented offense to overcome its own crappy or average starting rotation to win the Series, I'll eat my computer monitor.

pudge
09-09-2004, 12:52 PM
If it hurts that bad try Advil, or maybe research.

You've got a nice theory there, too bad it's not supported by fact.


You just went through all that trouble to point out numbers for a team that had a LOWER OBP than the Sox!! Oakland was NOT a "Moneyball" OBP team last year, yes they obviously won with their pitching. What pains me (and this requires Advil) is that people seem to think this White Sox offense is acceptable, which it simply is not... Interestingly enough, the 2003 and 2004 Sox are almost identical in team OBP... (.331 last year, .333 this year, ranked 17th in MLB)... Now let's take a look at the teams that are high in OBP... of the top 10, 7 of them are serious playoff contenders... one of them is Colorado, a team that is usually up there because of Coors... Cleveland and Baltimore are the other two non-playoff leaders...

The point is, high OBP means opposing pitchers have to face more batters, throw more pitches, and, most obvious of all, gives the team more chances to score.

A White Sox team with a .350 OBP in 2003 would have won the division. JMO.

Flight #24
09-09-2004, 12:59 PM
You just went through all that trouble to point out numbers for a team that had a LOWER OBP than the Sox!! Oakland was NOT a "Moneyball" OBP team last year, yes they obviously won with their pitching. What pains me (and this requires Advil) is that people seem to think this White Sox offense is acceptable, which it simply is not... Interestingly enough, the 2003 and 2004 Sox are almost identical in team OBP... (.331 last year, .333 this year, ranked 17th in MLB)... Now let's take a look at the teams that are high in OBP... of the top 10, 7 of them are serious playoff contenders... one of them is Colorado, a team that is usually up there because of Coors... Cleveland and Baltimore are the other two non-playoff leaders...

The point is, high OBP means opposing pitchers have to face more batters, throw more pitches, and, most obvious of all, gives the team more chances to score.

A White Sox team with a .350 OBP in 2003 would have won the division. JMO.
Maybe we were answering different questions then. The original point of this thread (and what I was responding to) was that Oakland's success is not based on their having a high OBP offense, it's based on their having great pitching. The proof of that is that another team with similar or better OBP & R and similar consistency in offensive output was not as successful. The difference is the pitching.

If your point was that the Sox O would have been better with a higher OBP, I wouldn't argue that. But that didn't seem to be what you were addressing, and my point still stands, that the A's success is due more to their collection of starters who have all been great and cheap at the same time than it is to their offensive philosophy.

Frater Perdurabo
09-09-2004, 01:12 PM
Maybe we were answering different questions then. The original point of this thread (and what I was responding to) was that Oakland's success is not based on their having a high OBP offense, it's based on their having great pitching. The proof of that is that another team with similar or better OBP & R and similar consistency in offensive output was not as successful. The difference is the pitching.

If your point was that the Sox O would have been better with a higher OBP, I wouldn't argue that. But that didn't seem to be what you were addressing, and my point still stands, that the A's success is due more to their collection of starters who have all been great and cheap at the same time than it is to their offensive philosophy.

Flight #24, as usual, hits the nail right on the head.

hold2dibber
09-09-2004, 01:13 PM
I too am envious of their success. However, those who have pointed to the Sox having similar (or in some cases better) offensive numbers to the A's only prove my point! The A's have made the playoffs with similar offensive output -- in a stronger division -- compared to the Sox.

So what's the difference?

The A's have better pitching! That's why I'm saying Beane and Moneyball and taking walks all are overrated! Their offensive results are comparable to the Sox! They just do it cheaper.

Jeremy (and other FOB), Oakland hasn't advanced in the playoffs precisely because they lose more than they win the playoffs. They lose in the playoffs because they don't score more runs than their opponents in the majority of their playoff games. I'm not trying to be a smart aleck, but It's really quite simple. I don't care if their scoring average is higher in playoff games than regular season games. The bottom line is that they are outscored in more games than they outscore their playoff opponents. Their vaunted Moneyball offense, based on statistics and analysis, is overrated because they haven't made the World Series. Their vaunted Moneyball offense historically is not as good as the Sox (this year being the exception with Maggs and Frank out). So what gives? Pitching.

I'll say it again. I don't care how the Sox win. I just want them to win the World Series. The time-tested, battle-hardened, incontrovertable way to win the Series is to have dominant starting pitching! Dominant starting pitching plus a good offense plus a good defense equals a championship team. That's why I agree with PHG and Lip and others, and "old school" guys like Joe Morgan and most other former professional baseball players, coaches and scouts that PITCHING is the key.

Name the last time a team with a crappy or even average starting rotation won the World Series. Mark Twain said there are three types of lies: "Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics." Now think about Vince Lombardi's famous words and apply it this way: the only statistic that matters is your won-lost record, and if you win the World Series.

As soon as a Beane-esque team uses a walk-oriented offense to overcome its own crappy or average starting rotation to win the Series, I'll eat my computer monitor.
I don't think that anyone would contend that a high OBP/walk-oriented offense can overcome crappy/average starting pitching. The point is that offenses with a high OBP generally are better than offenses without a high OBP. I also suspect (but haven't taken the time to research it) that you can build comparable offenses (i.e., the Sox and A's over the last few years) for less money if you concentrate on OBP more than on power (because power hitters tend to command more $).

balke
09-09-2004, 01:21 PM
Maybe we were answering different questions then. The original point of this thread (and what I was responding to) was that Oakland's success is not based on their having a high OBP offense, it's based on their having great pitching. The proof of that is that another team with similar or better OBP & R and similar consistency in offensive output was not as successful. The difference is the pitching.

If your point was that the Sox O would have been better with a higher OBP, I wouldn't argue that. But that didn't seem to be what you were addressing, and my point still stands, that the A's success is due more to their collection of starters who have all been great and cheap at the same time than it is to their offensive philosophy.
Overall, their bullpen was better too. Before Frank and maggs went down, we had a better record. We scored more runs too. I think Oakland ball is boring. I like having hitters on our team you can root for. All-star caliburs like Frank Maggs (especially) or even PK and Clee make the games fun. I liked Watching Olivo when he was here too.

If Beane lovers on this board were Oakland fans, they'd be whining all day for Beane to spend more on a great slugger or two.

Frater Perdurabo
09-09-2004, 01:30 PM
I don't think that anyone would contend that a high OBP/walk-oriented offense can overcome crappy/average starting pitching. The point is that offenses with a high OBP generally are better than offenses without a high OBP. I also suspect (but haven't taken the time to research it) that you can build comparable offenses (i.e., the Sox and A's over the last few years) for less money if you concentrate on OBP more than on power (because power hitters tend to command more $).

I don't disagree. I personally would like to see more OBP in the Sox lineup.

My point is, as you have said so well yourself, that it doesn't matter what kind of offense the Sox have if their starting rotation blows. Kenny needs to concentrate on getting the starting staff in order. No holes. 6 good, solid starters would be even better, because the sixth starter will be needed when the injury bug inevitably bites, or when one of the top 5 melts down in a given game (Contreras on Tuesday night, for example).

I went to a Sox-Red Sox day game in early 92 when Charlie Hough couldn't find the strike zone and was replaced by Wilson Alvarez very early in the game. Alvarez pitched well and the Sox came back and won.

The Sox need 5 solid starters (they have 3 - Buehrle, Garcia, Contreras) plus another guy who can spot start and pitch long relief who is also capable of starting on many other teams. As PHG has said, Garland could be the #5 or he could be the #6. So the Sox still need 2 more starters. There's no point in KW fretting over the offense until the Sox get their pitching staff in order. Starting pitching should always be the #1 priority for any team that doesn't win the World Series.

pudge
09-09-2004, 01:51 PM
Maybe we were answering different questions then. The original point of this thread (and what I was responding to) was that Oakland's success is not based on their having a high OBP offense, it's based on their having great pitching. The proof of that is that another team with similar or better OBP & R and similar consistency in offensive output was not as successful. The difference is the pitching.


Well, I just don't think the 2003 A's are a good example. I respect this year's A's lineup a bit more... as I said before, having 7 regulars batting over .280 is better to me than what the Crap Sox put on the field this season, with or without Frank & Maggs. As a quick and dirty example, the A's have been shutout only twice this season, while the Sox have been shutout SEVEN TIMES.

Hey, I fully admit pitching is baseball. It is first and foremost the most important thing. But I really do feel the Sox organization has poo-pooed OBP and become enamored with a team that can hit homers.

jeremyb1
09-09-2004, 02:00 PM
For the record:

Oakland
2002: 800R (9th in MLB), 2003: 768R(14th), 2004:702R(11th)

Sox
2002: 856R (3d in MLB), 2003: 791R(12th), 2004: 726R(6th)

Oakland
2002: .339OBP, 2003: .327, 2004: .347

Sox
2002 OBP: .338, 2003: .331, 2004: .334


So the Sox have not only been a better scoring team than the A's, they've actually been as good in getting on base (until this year....but that OBP changes a lot with Frank & Maggs playing instead of Timo/Borchard/Gload).

The A's have won because they have great pitching. Kudos to them for that, but it's not because they have some magically better offense due to an amazing OBP. The Sox O with Frank & Maggs is as good or better.

You're looking at the question totally wrong Flight. No one accurately argues the A's are good because OBP allows them to have the best offense in the majors year in and year out. They argue that OBP allows them to assemble a competent offense at a lower price since the market undervalues OBP. The A's are in the middle of the pack in the majors every year in your numbers. If they were closer to last (which you can certainly argue they might be with such a low payroll if they didn't construct their roster so effectively) then they wouldn't make the playoffs every season.

Flight #24
09-09-2004, 02:02 PM
Well, I just don't think the 2003 A's are a good example. I respect this year's A's lineup a bit more... as I said before, having 7 regulars batting over .280 is better to me than what the Crap Sox put on the field this season, with or without Frank & Maggs. As a quick and dirty example, the A's have been shutout only twice this season, while the Sox have been shutout SEVEN TIMES.

Hey, I fully admit pitching is baseball. It is first and foremost the most important thing. But I really do feel the Sox organization has poo-pooed OBP and become enamored with a team that can hit homers.
Maybe we'll have to agree to disagree, but this year is more the abberation comparing the last 3. 02 & 03 were more similar in their stats.

As for the Sox and Sox management, I'm 99% sure that KW and Ozzie have both come out and specifically mentioned OBP as something this team needs, so I'm not sure where you get your commend on the Sox organizational philosophy. Additionally, of those 7 shutouts, 5 happened without Frank & Maggs, another testament to the dramatic difference their absence had on the team. Let's remember that those same "Crap Sox" were either leading or a close second in scoring in MLB prior to the injuries. Not exactly a team lacking in offense if healthy.

Flight #24
09-09-2004, 02:14 PM
You're looking at the question totally wrong Flight. No one accurately argues the A's are good because OBP allows them to have the best offense in the majors year in and year out. They argue that OBP allows them to assemble a competent offense at a lower price since the market undervalues OBP. The A's are in the middle of the pack in the majors every year in your numbers. If they were closer to last (which you can certainly argue they might be with such a low payroll if they didn't construct their roster so effectively) then they wouldn't make the playoffs every season.
First of all, the question I was addressing was exactly that the A's offense was superior to the Sox, no mention of cost was involved.

Secondly, the point of the thread was that the A's are successful primarily because of their excellent, cheap pitching. They are able to get by with an average offense, but there is some speculation that that is what's prevented them from advancing in the playoffs - that they have an offense that they get by with. That's not contradictory to what youre' saying, but you'r interpreting it differently, that they're able to succeed BECAUSE they can put together an average offense whereas I think they're able to succeed DESPITE having an average offense.

As for payroll: The A's are paying their offense approximately 35mil, the Sox approximately 45mil. And at that, the Sox are actually even with the A's despite not having their 2 best hitters for over half of the season to date. That would tell me that the 10mil difference was money relatively well spent since if Maggs and Frank were around, our R totals would be a lot higher and we'd likely be in first.

pudge
09-09-2004, 03:09 PM
Not exactly a team lacking in offense if healthy.
Well we definitely have to agree to disagree if you think this Sox team would be in first place, or anywhere near first place, with a healthy Frank and Maggs. Frankly, I don't think it's made much of a difference... maybe two or three games in the standings. Crede has gotten worse as the season has moved on, Valentin has been awful for 40 games, Konerko cooled off dramatically. Last year's team was healthy and managed to rank an impressive 12th in runs scored.

As for KW and Ozzie suddenly preaching OBP, all I can say is it's about damn time. My point was this organization has had a flaw in its thinking for several seasons.

Flight #24
09-09-2004, 04:06 PM
Well we definitely have to agree to disagree if you think this Sox team would be in first place, or anywhere near first place, with a healthy Frank and Maggs. Frankly, I don't think it's made much of a difference... maybe two or three games in the standings. Crede has gotten worse as the season has moved on, Valentin has been awful for 40 games, Konerko cooled off dramatically. Last year's team was healthy and managed to rank an impressive 12th in runs scored.

As for KW and Ozzie suddenly preaching OBP, all I can say is it's about damn time. My point was this organization has had a flaw in its thinking for several seasons.
It's not that complicated. Since the break, 15 games they've lost by 1 or 2 runs. Swap in Maggs & Frank instead of Timo/Gload/Borchard, and I think it's hard to argue that they wouldn't at least win half of those, which would put them .5-1.5 out. And that's being very conservative, since the impact of those 2 guys in the lineup would carry over to the other guys (i.e Koney & Valentin hitting lower in the order and with more guys on base). It also doesn't factor in that KW would have had assets in Rauch/Majewski to use to improve in other areas (bullpen, 5th starter) rather than trading for Everett.

Unless you want to argue that those 2 guys don't add up to at least a run every other game or the always popular "something else would have happened, because it did last year".

Ozzie+Rowand+the improvements in Konerko+Uribe (over Harris/Alomar) more than offset the reduction in Crede's performance.

balke
09-09-2004, 04:29 PM
Well we definitely have to agree to disagree if you think this Sox team would be in first place, or anywhere near first place, with a healthy Frank and Maggs. Frankly, I don't think it's made much of a difference... maybe two or three games in the standings.About the dumbest post I've read all season. Considering Frank carried this team on his back while Maggs was out, and still kept us in first. plus the afore mentioned "would've picked up a bullpen guy" argument, or even a 5th starter. Doesn't this statement directly interfere with your On-base Pct% / Oakland rules argument? Seeing how Frank and Maggs led the team with a .390 and .380 OBP last season, I think it would.

We played .600 ball fully healthy w/ no 5th starter.
No way we would've been swept in the last series we had w/ Twinks. Probably wouldn't have gone through the 4-man rotation disaster.

Take man-ram and Ortiz out of Boston, tell me they are that close to New York. Or take A-rod and Sheff out of NY, and tell me Boston doesn't have the lead. Take Durazo and Hatteburg out of Oakland, and tell me Anaheim isn't in 1st right now. IN FACT, keep Anderson and Glaus healthy all season, and tell me they aren't in 1st right now anyhow!

you make-a mi so maad :angry:

Jerome
09-09-2004, 04:30 PM
It's the classic "the A's are overrated" arguments.

They have had a $46MM payroll for the last 4 years and have made the playoffs in each of them. B.Beane is on record of saying that he'd love to field a team of "5 tool players" but they cost too much. $46MM in payroll. It hurts my head to think that they have been a better team the last 4 years compared to the Dodgers/Baltimore/Rangers for half the cost.

The A's have done an amazing job of putting together a cost-effective team. Regardless of OBP, or pitching and defense. They've just been a solid team. It's too bad that they haven't been able to close out anyone. Maybe this will be their year.



BINGO! Do you think Billy Beane would give a crap about OBP if he had a high payroll to work with?


The reason they have choked in the playoffs is that their starting pitching has choked. I don't have the exact stats but I remember it from moneyball.

Ozzie, Hawk, Joe Morgan, are all morons. They (especially Hawk) are jealous that BB can put together a much better team for 45 million than KW can for 60.

Before you go out and bash the A's, take a look at what their payroll is and see how much more efficient BB is than any other GM in baseball. The only other team that comes close to him is the Twins.


Now that KW's free-swinging grinders have been eliminated early AGAIN, I can start cheering for my second favorite team. (Who spend way less money and are in first in a much tougher division). Go A's!

jeremyb1
09-09-2004, 04:34 PM
First of all, the question I was addressing was exactly that the A's offense was superior to the Sox, no mention of cost was involved.

Secondly, the point of the thread was that the A's are successful primarily because of their excellent, cheap pitching. They are able to get by with an average offense, but there is some speculation that that is what's prevented them from advancing in the playoffs - that they have an offense that they get by with. That's not contradictory to what youre' saying, but you'r interpreting it differently, that they're able to succeed BECAUSE they can put together an average offense whereas I think they're able to succeed DESPITE having an average offense.

Well I think we're talking about a team that's devoted most of their resources to pitching and defense. Zito, Mulder, Hudson, and Redman constitute 17 million (or close to a third) of a 57 million payroll this season. Zito, Mulder, and Blanton were all first round picks and Zito and Mulder were chosen at the top of the first round. The A's emphasize pitching and then assembling a solid offense by exploiting areas such as OBP that are undervalued in the market. I think they've accomplished that. If you ask me finishing 9th in the AL in runs scored is better than average in fact.

As for payroll: The A's are paying their offense approximately 35mil, the Sox approximately 45mil. And at that, the Sox are actually even with the A's despite not having their 2 best hitters for over half of the season to date. That would tell me that the 10mil difference was money relatively well spent since if Maggs and Frank were around, our R totals would be a lot higher and we'd likely be in first.

I don't really understand why we're comparing the A's offense to the White Sox. In fact I have no clue why this thread is in the White Sox forum, it seems completely unrelated to the team. I guess I still don't understand what this thread has mutated into. I don't think the White Sox having a good offense and the A's assembly of their offense being good are mutually exclusive.

MarkEdward
09-09-2004, 04:57 PM
Just a note on Oakland's offense...

You can't use basic metrics like runs scored and team batting average in order to evaluate the A's offense. They play in one of the best pitchers' parks in the league. Using park-adjusted numbers (like EQA), the A's are a better-than-average hitting team. Oakland currently has a .265 team EQA, the Sox are at .260. They have above average hitters at all but two positions (2B and RF). And they're doing this with one of the one of the best defenses in baseball (2nd in defensive efficiency).

Mulder, Hudson, and Zito have been great, but guys like Tejada, Chavez, Giambi, and Kotsay have helped too.

Flight #24
09-09-2004, 06:57 PM
I don't really understand why we're comparing the A's offense to the White Sox. In fact I have no clue why this thread is in the White Sox forum, it seems completely unrelated to the team. I guess I still don't understand what this thread has mutated into. I don't think the White Sox having a good offense and the A's assembly of their offense being good are mutually exclusive.
Well, the thread started by saying that contrary to popular opinion, the A's are NOT winning because their offensive philosophy makes them somehow a better offensive team than other offensive philosophies, but because they have great pitching. It then quickly devolved into someone saying the Sox O should be more like the As and that they have a better, more consistent O, which is simply not the case (at least not if the Sox are healthy).

Flight #24
09-09-2004, 06:59 PM
Just a note on Oakland's offense...

You can't use basic metrics like runs scored and team batting average in order to evaluate the A's offense. They play in one of the best pitchers' parks in the league. Using park-adjusted numbers (like EQA), the A's are a better-than-average hitting team. Oakland currently has a .265 team EQA, the Sox are at .260. They have above average hitters at all but two positions (2B and RF). And they're doing this with one of the one of the best defenses in baseball (2nd in defensive efficiency).

Mulder, Hudson, and Zito have been great, but guys like Tejada, Chavez, Giambi, and Kotsay have helped too.
I can only say that comparing Sox stats collected primarily without the 2 top hitters to the A's is not exactly fair. I'd bet that if they were healthy, you'd be looking at the Sox having only 2-3 positions that are below their positional average from an OPS perspective (2B, 3B, C).

jeremyb1
09-09-2004, 07:06 PM
Well, the thread started by saying that contrary to popular opinion, the A's are NOT winning because their offensive philosophy makes them somehow a better offensive team than other offensive philosophies, but because they have great pitching. It then quickly devolved into someone saying the Sox O should be more like the As and that they have a better, more consistent O, which is simply not the case (at least not if the Sox are healthy).

Oh. Well I don't know why everything has to always turn into KW vs. BB. I didn't interpret the first post to be about Oakland's pitching vs. offense as much as the value of walks and Oakland's performance in the regular season compared to the playoffs.

pudge
09-09-2004, 07:37 PM
Take man-ram and Ortiz out of Boston, tell me they are that close to New York. Or take A-rod and Sheff out of NY, and tell me Boston doesn't have the lead. Take Durazo and Hatteburg out of Oakland, and tell me Anaheim isn't in 1st right now. IN FACT, keep Anderson and Glaus healthy all season, and tell me they aren't in 1st right now anyhow!

you make-a mi so maad :angry:
I think I make you mad because it's the painful truth... The White Sox can't hold the A's or Angels jock strap, whether they are at full health or not... their SS is BRUTAL, their 3B is AWFUL... Their firstbasman is the king of grounding into double plays... They have HUGE holes in their lineup that those other teams don't have...

2003... nobody got hurt then, did they? And the Sox acquired that extra pen help you're talking about in Scott Sullivan... wow that all made a huge difference!

I'm sorry gang, I went into this season with a TON of optimism. I am done, done, done. This team is utter garbage. I cannot be convinced that Frank and/or Maggs would have helped us win the division, which now appears that it will take 93+ wins...

batmanZoSo
09-09-2004, 07:42 PM
I too am envious of their success. However, those who have pointed to the Sox having similar (or in some cases better) offensive numbers to the A's only prove my point! The A's have made the playoffs with similar offensive output -- in a stronger division -- compared to the Sox.

So what's the difference?

The A's have better pitching! That's why I'm saying Beane and Moneyball and taking walks all are overrated! Their offensive results are comparable to the Sox! They just do it cheaper.

Jeremy (and other FOB), Oakland hasn't advanced in the playoffs precisely because they lose more than they win the playoffs. They lose in the playoffs because they don't score more runs than their opponents in the majority of their playoff games. I'm not trying to be a smart aleck, but It's really quite simple. I don't care if their scoring average is higher in playoff games than regular season games. The bottom line is that they are outscored in more games than they outscore their playoff opponents. Their vaunted Moneyball offense, based on statistics and analysis, is overrated because they haven't made the World Series. Their vaunted Moneyball offense historically is not as good as the Sox (this year being the exception with Maggs and Frank out). So what gives? Pitching.

I'll say it again. I don't care how the Sox win. I just want them to win the World Series. The time-tested, battle-hardened, incontrovertable way to win the Series is to have dominant starting pitching! Dominant starting pitching plus a good offense plus a good defense equals a championship team. That's why I agree with PHG and Lip and others, and "old school" guys like Joe Morgan and most other former professional baseball players, coaches and scouts that PITCHING is the key.

Name the last time a team with a crappy or even average starting rotation won the World Series. Mark Twain said there are three types of lies: "Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics." Now think about Vince Lombardi's famous words and apply it this way: the only statistic that matters is your won-lost record, and if you win the World Series.

As soon as a Beane-esque team uses a walk-oriented offense to overcome its own crappy or average starting rotation to win the Series, I'll eat my computer monitor.
The last and only I can think of--the 01 Dbacks. One through five their rotation was average at best. But they were able to overcome it because they had probably the two best pitchers in the game (Johnson and Schilling) at the height of their greatness at the same time, going back to back days. And it took them the distance in just about every series, but the two aces were enough. Of course I think Anderson and Batista pitched relatively well and gave them a chance the majority of their starts. But talent-wise, the rotation was tremendously top heavy. That's about it...usually if you win the world series you have four really good starters.

MarkEdward
09-10-2004, 03:25 AM
I can only say that comparing Sox stats collected primarily without the 2 top hitters to the A's is not exactly fair. I'd bet that if they were healthy, you'd be looking at the Sox having only 2-3 positions that are below their positional average from an OPS perspective (2B, 3B, C).
I wasn't trying to compare the two teams- I just wanted to point out that the A's 2004 success has come from things aside from their starting pitchers.

hold2dibber
09-10-2004, 07:44 AM
The last and only I can think of--the 01 Dbacks. One through five their rotation was average at best. But they were able to overcome it because they had probably the two best pitchers in the game (Johnson and Schilling) at the height of their greatness at the same time, going back to back days. And it took them the distance in just about every series, but the two aces were enough. Of course I think Anderson and Batista pitched relatively well and gave them a chance the majority of their starts. But talent-wise, the rotation was tremendously top heavy. That's about it...usually if you win the world series you have four really good starters.
I don't think you can say the D-Backs rotation was only average when they had the two best pitchers on earth that season - they won because of their starting pitching. I think a better example is the Angels in '02. Who were their starters? Lackey? Sele? Washburn? Appier? Not exactly a collection of Cy Young award winners. Actually, a collection of no. 3-type starters, IMHO.

Frater Perdurabo
09-10-2004, 10:17 AM
I don't think you can say the D-Backs rotation was only average when they had the two best pitchers on earth that season - they won because of their starting pitching. I think a better example is the Angels in '02. Who were their starters? Lackey? Sele? Washburn? Appier? Not exactly a collection of Cy Young award winners. Actually, a collection of no. 3-type starters, IMHO.

IIRC, didn't Schilling and Johnson pitch in all the of the four Diamondback wins in that series? Didn't Johnson close the final game in relief of Schilling, ONE DAY after starting a game the team won?

The 02 Angels pitching staff was better THAT YEAR than we now realize.

So, my point stands. A team with a mediocre staff can not and will not win the Series. Oakland has a greater than zero chance as long as their rotation remains intact and continues to perform they way they have for several years. Fretting over offensive numbers is pointless, ultimately, unless the Sox have a strong or stellar rotation, #1-#6.

balke
09-10-2004, 11:39 AM
I think I make you mad because it's the painful truth... The White Sox can't hold the A's or Angels jock strap, whether they are at full health or not... their SS is BRUTAL, their 3B is AWFUL... Their firstbasman is the king of grounding into double plays... They have HUGE holes in their lineup that those other teams don't have...

2003... nobody got hurt then, did they? And the Sox acquired that extra pen help you're talking about in Scott Sullivan... wow that all made a huge difference!

I'm sorry gang, I went into this season with a TON of optimism. I am done, done, done. This team is utter garbage. I cannot be convinced that Frank and/or Maggs would have helped us win the division, which now appears that it will take 93+ wins...
That's not fair, PK jimenez, Koch and Everett's range in center should count as injuries in themselves. Plus this years team has Uribe, not Graffanino, and younger players coming into the season with more experience. This years team was a definite upgrade from last years. WE came in with a bullpen about as good as last years, better D, and have found an all-star calibur Rowand. I believe Frank played with a strained bicep last season. Forgive me if that's wrong, but I think that's why when he hit that big homerun in Minnesota, everyone freaked out, cause he was semi-slumping til then.

Let's not forget Shoney being great til his run of injuries this season or person being out for the year!!! But I can't argue you into faith. YOu don't think they can hang with a .538 Minnesota with garcia contreres Buerhle Garland and a healthy shoney in the 5-spot... that's fine.

JRIG
09-10-2004, 11:54 AM
Let's not forget Shoney being great til his run of injuries this season or person being out for the year!!! But I can't argue you into faith. YOu don't think they can hang with a .538 Minnesota with garcia contreres Buerhle Garland and a healthy shoney in the 5-spot... that's fine.
You and I have very different definitions of the word "great." Schoeneweis' had one start from the end of May until the beginning of August where he gave up fewer than 4 ER.

pudge
09-10-2004, 01:07 PM
That's not fair, PK jimenez, Koch and Everett's range in center should count as injuries in themselves. Plus this years team has Uribe, not Graffanino, and younger players coming into the season with more experience. This years team was a definite upgrade from last years. WE came in with a bullpen about as good as last years, better D, and have found an all-star calibur Rowand. I believe Frank played with a strained bicep last season. Forgive me if that's wrong, but I think that's why when he hit that big homerun in Minnesota, everyone freaked out, cause he was semi-slumping til then.

Let's not forget Shoney being great til his run of injuries this season or person being out for the year!!! But I can't argue you into faith. YOu don't think they can hang with a .538 Minnesota with garcia contreres Buerhle Garland and a healthy shoney in the 5-spot... that's fine.
You seriously think this year's team is better than the '03 team? I think you are out of your mind. We lost a huge arm in Gordon, and Politte has not come close to making up for it... Graffy was a much more steady player than friggin Uribe. The top 3 was amazing, with Loaiza having an insane season. But it's certainly okay for us to disagree. There is no way I believe the '04 Sox were equipped for 93 wins, which is likely what it will take now to win the Central. I thought we might get lucky and win this division with 86-90 wins.

pudge
09-10-2004, 01:17 PM
The 02 Angels pitching staff was better THAT YEAR than we now realize.

So, my point stands. A team with a mediocre staff can not and will not win the Series. Oakland has a greater than zero chance as long as their rotation remains intact and continues to perform they way they have for several years. Fretting over offensive numbers is pointless, ultimately, unless the Sox have a strong or stellar rotation, #1-#6.
It's interesting to note, though, that the '02 Angels had SEVEN regulars batting .283 or higher (and that doesn't include Glaus at .250 with 30 bombs). The point is, you CAN win it all with a less-than-great rotation *if* you have a solid lineup and a great bullpen, as the Angels had... The Sox have neither. And frankly, the odds of landing a great 1-3 rotation is not very good. Which is why so many of us want to see a better lineup and, hopefully, a better pen.