PDA

View Full Version : Small Ball in a Launching Pad?


SoxFan48
12-23-2004, 09:32 AM
The Cell is a launching pad thanks to the remodeling efforts. Are the Sox going to be competitive with a bunch of low OBP and low SLG supported by a competent but hardly great starting rotation (ERAs in the 4's are solid but hardly all star material)? Trading Konerko at this point would take away the only 30 plus HR, 100 RBI, .900 OPS player on the team. Signing a midget like Eckstein who certainly has one of the worst arms of any shortstop in baseball along with hitting peripherals on the low end is a mistake. Our team must take advantage of our home park as it is.

Kuzman
12-23-2004, 09:39 AM
its worked the last 3 years hasnt it?

welcome aboard atleast.

soxnut
12-23-2004, 09:41 AM
If USCF is truly a launching pad, then anyone on the Sox is going to be able hit it out anyway. But, the whole problem all along with this team since 2000 was that it could not manufacture runs and was awful at suational hitting.

This team always seemed to have the mentalilty that it could slug it's way out of it's doldrums. It failed to do so. Now, this rebuilt team will actually have to THINK, and have a better approach at the plate, which is real baseball.

veeter
12-23-2004, 09:46 AM
First of all, that midget has a ring. Eckstein is a proven winner and big contributor. The Twins have been small balling our butts around the last few years haven't they? The change is due and welcomed. On Konerko, trading him would be huge mistake. But don't take a goofy writer's word on this. Rogers is just filling space. I agree an extension should be offered but trading him before Paulie has a chance to sign one would be foolish.

Troupis
12-23-2004, 09:52 AM
I was ready to open up a can on this thread, but it does have some validity. I am equally scared that an overhaul, especially in this park, could be a huge risk.

We are all very quick to say that the big bat approach didn't work but we are quick to forget that last year our problem was we lost 2 of our big bats. I don't know if it was our approach that was broken so much as our players.

We have no clue how this new approach is going to work, but I'm sure come April and May we'll know whether this thread is brilliant or whether Ozzie is.

zach074
12-23-2004, 09:54 AM
We rely on the home run way to much with some speed and good contact hitters we will be able to manufacture more run. Our pitching staff is mainly ground ball pitchers so i don't see any problems with them giving up to many home runs.

Shingotime!!
12-23-2004, 09:54 AM
How bout this, we play our other half of games OUTSIDE the cell.

veeter
12-23-2004, 10:19 AM
An old cliche plays a huge roll in the White Sox new style. Speed doesn't slump. If Pods can steal 70 bags while hitting .244 how many can he steal if he hits .265? I feel the new personnel/ rotation will eliminate the dreadful west coast trips to Oakland and Anaheim. It should also cut short long losing streaks like they had last year at the end of July and early August. Adding Eckstein would help as well, although I have not given up on Willie. The 2004 season would have been different with a healthy Maggs and Frank but I think they still would have finished 2nd. Here's to 2005 being one of putting pressure on defenses and winning a lot of 4 to 1 games !!!

JRIG
12-23-2004, 10:29 AM
An old cliche plays a huge roll in the White Sox new style. Speed doesn't slump. If Pods can steal 70 bags while hitting .244 how many can he steal if he hits .265?
Well, in 2003 he hit more than .300 and stole 48 bases.

Troupis
12-23-2004, 10:34 AM
An old cliche plays a huge roll in the White Sox new style. Speed doesn't slump.
I think the Twins have an old cliche too...

"Anything you can do I can do better."

Mainly speed, defense, clutch hitting, winning in September and ace pitching.

soxfan26
12-23-2004, 10:48 AM
I think the Twins have an old cliche too...

"Anything you can do I can do better."

Mainly speed, defense, clutch hitting, winning in September and ace pitching.So your point here is that the Sox shouldn't try? In your other post you point to injuries as the reason why a lineup of sluggers slumped last season. What then were the reasons that a similar lineup failed in 2003, 2002 & 2001?

The Sox are at least trying to add some of the elements we all know have been missing over the last few years. So far they have traded Lee for speed & pitching. They then added more pitching with the savings from Lee.

SoxFan48
12-23-2004, 10:48 AM
The statistical work of Bill James has demonstrated that there is no such thing as "clutch" hitting, that the sacrifice bunt lowers the probability of a run being produced, that a stealing bases works only if successful 2/3 of the time. Pod does meet that criteria but a .313 OBP proves the old saw that you cannot steal first base.

The two most important percentages in offense are OBP and SLG averages. Are the offensive moves made this offseason likely to improve either one of these metrics?

TornLabrum
12-23-2004, 10:49 AM
My biggest fear is that KW has ****ed it up again and gone overboard in terms of speed to the detriment of guys who can drive in 3 runs in one shot. Offense needs balance, and I still see a bunch of guys who struggle to hit .250 in this lineup and others whose OBP barely breaks .300.

The idea is to balance the offense. Find guys with high OBPs to compliment the guys who can slug. I don't know if that's Kenny's plan or not. The Konerko trade rumors could be an indication that once again KW just doesn't get it.

HITMEN OF 77
12-23-2004, 11:35 AM
No Konerko = No playoffs for the Sox.

SoxxoS
12-23-2004, 11:38 AM
We play 81 games away from the Cell for one. For two, it's not how many home runs, it's when you hit them. Getting the first two guys on, Podsednik bunting them over, and Eckstein singling them in counts (and should happen more often) than the 2 run dong.

Frater Perdurabo
12-23-2004, 11:40 AM
Also, stronger pitching results in fewer runs for the opposing team, meaning you don't have to score as many to win. Winning 2-1 is just as good as winning 9-6.

ewokpelts
12-23-2004, 11:40 AM
The statistical work of Bill James has demonstrated that there is no such thing as "clutch" hitting, that the sacrifice bunt lowers the probability of a run being produced, that a stealing bases works only if successful 2/3 of the time. Pod does meet that criteria but a .313 OBP proves the old saw that you cannot steal first base.

The two most important percentages in offense are OBP and SLG averages. Are the offensive moves made this offseason likely to improve either one of these metrics?What James discounts, same as Billy Beane, is the intangibles created from stolen bases and bunts. Baseball is as much a mental game as a physical one. A stolen base takes the pitcher out of his element. He's forced to watch the runner instead of teh batter. The catcher has to be ready for any situation. They are both distracted from thier main goal, getting the batter out. The bunt again forec the pitcher to beome a fielder. A bunt may take an out away, but it can create a momentum. I remember a couple of Robbie Alomar's bunts. Most of them he hit safely in. And the ones that didnt work still sent a message to the pitcher: wach your back...I'm on your ass...

I think James and Beane are full of cork....if the bunt and stolen bases were so bad, then why have they been an near constant in the game...?
Gene

Frater Perdurabo
12-23-2004, 11:46 AM
Furthermore, when its 40 degrees, swinging for the fences combined with the Cell's "jet stream" or "suction" turns what may have been a routine flyout into a warning track flyout. Big difference there.

But, with more players who are willing to shorten their swings and hit to the opposite field, they will manufacture runs one or two at a time.

In fact, there may be more multi-run homers than in years past because, guess what, more guys may be on base this year! There might be fewer Sox home runs overall but 2 and 3-run blasts could make up a larger percentage of the Sox HR totals, yielding either the same number of runs, or perhaps even more runs (when combined with the ability to manufacture runs), over the course of the season.

SoxFan48
12-23-2004, 11:49 AM
Baseball people, baseball writers, baseball fans all like simple truths--speed and defense wins, pitching is 90% of the game and so forth...It is one thing to asset a proposition--sacrifice bunts and stealing bases helps win games and another to prove it. What James contributed to baseball thinking was a statistical analysis that went behind the conventional wisdom and looked at what actually had happened in every baseball game since the year 1900 when the sacrifice bunt was used. And the fact that emerged is that the sacrifice lower the probability of scoring a run.

Peter Gammons says Bill James will one day be in the Hall of Fame and he should be. He revolutionized how we think about baseball truths. Go back and read his old Baseball Abstracts. They are the best primer on baseball available.

Frater Perdurabo
12-23-2004, 11:51 AM
What James discounts, same as Billy Beane, is the intangibles created from stolen bases and bunts. Baseball is as much a mental game as a physical one. A stolen base takes the pitcher out of his element. He's forced to watch the runner instead of teh batter. The catcher has to be ready for any situation. They are both distracted from thier main goal, getting the batter out. The bunt again forec the pitcher to beome a fielder. A bunt may take an out away, but it can create a momentum. I remember a couple of Robbie Alomar's bunts. Most of them he hit safely in. And the ones that didnt work still sent a message to the pitcher: wach your back...I'm on your ass...


I agree. I rattled pitcher is more likely to serve up a "mistake" pitch or a fastball. The great ones like Clemens, Maddux, etc. don't get rattled easily, but then again, the Sox won't be facing them every day! In fact, simply by reversing their woeful record against rookie pitchers who they face for the first time, the Sox conceivably could win 5-6 games this year that they would have lost in years past simply by making the rookie pitchers nervous.

batmanZoSo
12-23-2004, 11:51 AM
The Cell is a launching pad thanks to the remodeling efforts. Are the Sox going to be competitive with a bunch of low OBP and low SLG supported by a competent but hardly great starting rotation (ERAs in the 4's are solid but hardly all star material)? Trading Konerko at this point would take away the only 30 plus HR, 100 RBI, .900 OPS player on the team. Signing a midget like Eckstein who certainly has one of the worst arms of any shortstop in baseball along with hitting peripherals on the low end is a mistake. Our team must take advantage of our home park as it is.
Even if we do get Eckstein, our lineup looks like this when healthy. Remember we haven't traded Konerko yet.

Podsednick
Eckstein
Thomas
Konerko
Dye
Rowand
Uribe
Crede
Davis

3-8 is going to hit 20 homers. Potentially 24-25 a piece. This is not a small ball team, we just have that ability at the top, which is all I ever wanted personally.

So if you factor that in, plus a much improved rotation and bullpen from last year, in theory we should be an improved team.

The whole small ball argument is overblown by people who take it to extremes. Those who demanded more small ball just wanted a few guys like that so we can be balanced.

oeo
12-23-2004, 11:58 AM
Wasn't it the Twins last year that swept us in July at the "launching pad" with their small ball approach? I went to the second game and I don't think the Twins hit one homerun, but they were so exciting to watch.

duke of dorwood
12-23-2004, 11:59 AM
I agree. I rattled pitcher is more likely to serve up a "mistake" pitch or a fastball. The great ones like Clemens, Maddux, etc. don't get rattled easily, but then again, the Sox won't be facing them every day! In fact, simply by reversing their woeful record against rookie pitchers who they face for the first time, the Sox conceivably could win 5-6 games this year that they would have lost in years past simply by making the rookie pitchers nervous.
Last time I looked-we dont have Clemens. Maddox etc on this team. The point is that the ability to come back from defecits will rattle the pitchers we have.

Frater Perdurabo
12-23-2004, 12:01 PM
Baseball people, baseball writers, baseball fans all like simple truths--speed and defense wins, pitching is 90% of the game and so forth...It is one thing to asset a proposition--sacrifice bunts and stealing bases helps win games and another to prove it. What James contributed to baseball thinking was a statistical analysis that went behind the conventional wisdom and looked at what actually had happened in every baseball game since the year 1900 when the sacrifice bunt was used. And the fact that emerged is that the sacrifice lower the probability of scoring a run.

Peter Gammons says Bill James will one day be in the Hall of Fame and he should be. He revolutionized how we think about baseball truths. Go back and read his old Baseball Abstracts. They are the best primer on baseball available.

It's not the number of times you use the sacrifice bunt, it's when you use it. Using the sac bunt when the infield is at double-play depth is borderline genius and threatening to use it gives the pitcher and defense something more to think about. If the defense suspects a sac bunt with a man on first and less than two outs, they may decide not to play at double-play depth. That makes it more likely that a ground ball will get to the outfield, socring a run and allowing the hitter to advance to second base on the throw to the plate, or getting runners on second and third and less than two outs.

Also, "small ball" isn't just the sacrifice bunt. Often it's the hit-and-run. Sometimes its just taking pitches and fouling them off to wear out the starter to get to the inferior bullpen pitcher. Sometimes its stealing third and then hitting a sac fly to bring in the run to take the lead.

When you don't even threaten the ability to use these small-ball plays, it easy for the pitcher and defense to focus entirely on getting the batter out. Advantage: pitcher. When the pitcher and defense are distracted, they are more likely to make a mistake. Advantage: hitter.

Sacrifice bunts aren't the answer, but having the ability to execute a successful sac bunt at the right time may mean the difference between a win and a loss, and a division title and second place.

Frater Perdurabo
12-23-2004, 12:10 PM
Last time I looked-we dont have Clemens. Maddox etc on this team. The point is that the ability to come back from defecits will rattle the pitchers we have.

The point is that Sox starters are better 1-5 now than anyone else in the division. Most AL teams don't play small ball. Demonstrating the ability and willingness to execute small ball, while retaining the ability to hit home runs, will make the Sox able to score runs in more ways than years past. It's a multidimensional offensive attack that I like to call "Thunder and Lightning." Meanwhile, their rotation will give up fewer runs overall while the bullpen will hold more leads and allow the Sox to climb back into games in which they fall behind early.

Barring major injuries, I'm willing to wager one of Voodoo's pizzas that the 2005 White Sox will win more games than 2004's version. Anyone want to take me up on this? Either way, Voodoo wins. :cool:

Norberto7
12-23-2004, 12:30 PM
If USCF is truly a launching pad, then anyone on the Sox is going to be able hit it out anyway. But, the whole problem all along with this team since 2000 was that it could not manufacture runs and was awful at suational hitting.

This team always seemed to have the mentalilty that it could slug it's way out of it's doldrums. It failed to do so. Now, this rebuilt team will actually have to THINK, and have a better approach at the plate, which is real baseball.
Haha, it seemed to work just enough times so they thought it could happen anytime....more often than not, though, we know it didn't...

Jabroni
12-23-2004, 12:31 PM
What James discounts, same as Billy Beane, is the intangibles created from stolen bases and bunts. Baseball is as much a mental game as a physical one. A stolen base takes the pitcher out of his element. He's forced to watch the runner instead of teh batter. The catcher has to be ready for any situation. They are both distracted from thier main goal, getting the batter out. The bunt again forec the pitcher to beome a fielder. A bunt may take an out away, but it can create a momentum. I remember a couple of Robbie Alomar's bunts. Most of them he hit safely in. And the ones that didnt work still sent a message to the pitcher: wach your back...I'm on your ass...

I think James and Beane are full of cork....if the bunt and stolen bases were so bad, then why have they been an near constant in the game...?
GeneGreat points! :thumbsup:

Lip Man 1
12-23-2004, 12:35 PM
We don't have enough information as to whether or not Comiskey Park is a 'launching pad' or not.

We saw how it played last year but does that guarantee it'll play that way this year? No one yet knows....the weather is such an important part of balls flying out.

Another year or two is needed before anyone can accurately say for sure.

Lip

BRDSR
12-23-2004, 12:54 PM
What James discounts, same as Billy Beane, is the intangibles created from stolen bases and bunts.
The other thing it fails to take into account is that when you steal a base you can effectively add a base to your slugging percentage, which is of course the most important statistic in their system. Add 70 bases to Pods slugging percentage and he starts to look like a much valuable player in the Beane/James book of baseball.

Frater Perdurabo
12-23-2004, 01:01 PM
The other thing it fails to take into account is that when you steal a base you can effectively add a base to your slugging percentage, which is of course the most important statistic in their system. Add 70 bases to Pods slugging percentage and he starts to look like a much valuable player in the Beane/James book of baseball.

I was thinking this very same thing. What if Podsednik hit 70 doubles and stole zero bases? What would his slugging percentage be then? There's always more than one way to skin a cat, so they say.

SoxFan48
12-23-2004, 03:35 PM
Answer: When you are thrown out trying to steal. Pod stole 70 bases out of 83 chances, a very good percentage. But the second you drop below 2/3 success rate, your stolen bases are beginning to hurt your team and that is a fact.

SoxxoS
12-23-2004, 03:51 PM
Answer: When you are thrown out trying to steal. Pod stole 70 bases out of 83 chances, a very good percentage. But the second you drop below 2/3 success rate, your stolen bases are beginning to hurt your team and that is a fact.
Well he didn't so we have nothing to worry about.

Mohoney
12-23-2004, 05:38 PM
Well he didn't so we have nothing to worry about.
Exactly. Let's give 30+ attempts to Rowand and 50+ attempts (please do this!) to Willie while we're at it.

Let's raise our total attempts up from 129 and see how we do.

cburns
12-23-2004, 06:41 PM
Willie doesn't have the ability to steal 50 bases. He has the speed, but I don't know if he has the ability...Rowand on the other hand looks like he has the ability to steal lots of bases.

lths06
12-23-2004, 06:51 PM
Hey - since the Sox are going to be hitting a lot less home runs next season, how about we use the fireworks every time we do a drag bunt for a single?

http://re2.mm-b.yimg.com/image/661354688 (http://rds.yahoo.com/S=96062857/K=jerry+reinsdorf/v=2/SID=e/l=II/R=5/SS=i/OID=5c9b0f1855b2433c/SIG=1gqqg4rfa/EXP=1103932110/*-http%3A//images.search.yahoo.com/search/images/view?back=http%3A%2F%2Fimages.search.yahoo.com%2Fs earch%2Fimages%3Fp%3Djerry%2Breinsdorf%26fr%3DFP-tab-img-t%26toggle%3D1%26ei%3DUTF-8&h=123&w=100&imgcurl=images.suntimes.com%2Fimages3%2Fphotos%2Fr einsdorf.jpg&imgurl=images.suntimes.com%2Fimages3%2Fphotos%2Fre insdorf.jpg&size=9.7kB&name=reinsdorf.jpg&rcurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.suntimes.com%2Fsavage%2Ftal k%2Fterry30.html&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.suntimes.com%2Fsavage%2Ftalk %2Fterry30.html&p=jerry+reinsdorf&type=jpeg&no=5&tt=42)

No way! Less fireworks equals more money for me. Why do you think I'm going after pitching and getting rid of my power hitters?

Mohoney
12-23-2004, 06:52 PM
Willie doesn't have the ability to steal 50 bases. He has the speed, but I don't know if he has the ability...Rowand on the other hand looks like he has the ability to steal lots of bases.
I'm talking about attempts, not actual steals. With Willie's speed, there is no reason why he should'nt have more than 50 attempts.

I wholeheartedly agree that 50+ stolen bases for Willie is an unimaginable stretch. I just want significantly more than 26 attempts, and preferably 50.

Same for Rowand. I want more than 22 attempts from him.

I want this team to have more attempts than any other team in the AL, after talking about how much "Ozzieball" they're going to play.

surfdudes
12-23-2004, 07:22 PM
Answer: When you are thrown out trying to steal. Pod stole 70 bases out of 83 chances, a very good percentage. But the second you drop below 2/3 success rate, your stolen bases are beginning to hurt your team and that is a fact.
In that case so are GIDP's because you can't / won't hit to the right side, or, you are slow. What happens to Konerkos slugging % if we subtract from it the number of times he killed an inning? What about when a runner is savvy enough to induce a throw from an outfeilder, thus enabling his teammate to take the extra base?
What about the contact hitter who is so dangerous with RISP 2 outs that the outfield plays deep, conceding the short fly single because they dont want to get scorched for 2 runs?

James had his head too far in the numbers and never played nor watched the game enough. Helpful stats, but only when balanced with other criteria; including gamesmanship, old school "feel" and a little luck......

johnny_mostil
12-23-2004, 07:38 PM
What James discounts, same as Billy Beane, is the intangibles created from stolen bases and bunts. Baseball is as much a mental game as a physical one. A stolen base takes the pitcher out of his element.
Did you actually read any of his books? Bill James didn't just decide that SB were useless, he showed that runs strongly correlate with wins and that SBs don't strongly correlate with runs. James didn't actually like that result at all; he absolutely stated he prefers the running game to wall-to-wall sluggers.

SBs and bunts are playing for one run, simply because you are risking or consuming outs. There is nothing wrong with playing for one run when you are sure that one run will make a real difference. The problem is, as Earl Weaver said, if you play for one run, that's all you'll get, and most actual games are won by big innings with ugly crooked numbers.