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View Full Version : Rating the players of the past 30 years


A. Cavatica
05-23-2006, 11:57 PM
Here are the best players I've seen at each starting position in the three decades I've been following the team. Discuss.

Catcher: (1) Fisk, (2) Pierzynski, (3) Karkovice. No obvious fourth catcher; Alomar wasn't very good, but the Sox went through a lot of catchers who were even worse.

First: (1) Thomas, (2) Konerko, (3) Walker. (I'm not picking a DH so we don't have to debate where Thome would rank after two great months.) Frank used to be pretty nimble, although he could never throw; his bat made up for everything.

Second: (1) Iguchi, (2) Bernazard, (3) Durham. Few remember Bernazard, but he was great at turning the DP and he had some pop in his bat. He was a much better player than Julio Cruz, who couldn't hit.

Short: (1) Uribe, (2) Valentin, (3) Guillen. Wow, what a weak position this has been. Uribe hits for one month a year, Valentin couldn't make the routine plays, and Guillen was the ultimate rally killer. At least Uribe and Guillen were stellar fielders.

Third: (1) Ventura, (2) Crede, (3) Soderholm. Who's fourth? Vance Law?

Left: (1) Raines, (2) Belle, (3) Lee. Raines, even late in his career, was a dynamite leadoff man. Belle hit 79 home runs and 93 doubles in two seasons and we were all glad to see him go! Lee was Mr. Consistency.

Center: (1) Lemon, (2) Rowand, (3) Law. Lemon was basically the only standout in the late 1970s. Law beats out Lance Johnson on the basis of his 77-steal leadoff performance for the 1983 team, but I rate Rowand ahead of both of them.

Right: (1) Baines, (2) Ordonez, (3) Dye.

Pitcher: (1) Hoyt, (2) McDowell, (3) Buehrle, (4) Contreras, (5) Bannister, (6) Fernandez, (7) Burns. Next three spots come from among Garcia, Dotson, Loaiza, Garland, Alvarez, Kravec.

Tragg
05-24-2006, 12:25 AM
I like your list. I added a reliever category. I'm gonna give some love to the 1990 Sox, the team that I think set us up for the next 16 years and counting:

Catcher: (1) Fisk, (2) Pierzynski, (3) Karkovice. Agree

First: (1) Thomas, (2) Konerko, (3) Walker. Agree

Second: (1) Iguchi, (2) Durham. Didn't we trade Bernazard for Julio Cruz?

Short: (1) Uribe, (2) Guillen.

Third: (1) Ventura, (2) Crede, (3) Solderholm? Norton? Milkman? Law? Morrison? Sabo?

Left: (1) Raines - great lead-off hitter, (2) Belle, (3) Lee. Honorable mention to Ivan Calderon

Center: (1) Lemon, (2) Rowand, (3) Law. Johnson wasn't much of a hitter

Right: (1) Baines, (2) Ordonez, (3) Dye. Agree

Pitcher: (1) Hoyt, (2) Buehrle (3) McDowell, (4) Contreras, (5) Tie: 1983 trio of Burns, Dotson, Bannister, (6) Tie: 1993 duo of Alvarez and Fernandez, (7) Tie: 2004 Duo of Freddie and Garland; (8) 1990 trio of Melido Perez, Eric King and Greg Hibbard

Reliever: (1)Thigpen (2)Jenks (3)Hernandez (4)Hermanson (5)Barojas (6)Marte (7)Foulke (8)Radinsky (9)Politte

A. Cavatica
05-24-2006, 09:45 PM
So you agree with all my #1-2-3 rankings except you'd take Durham over Bernazard/Cruz, Guillen over Valentin, and Buehrle over McDowell? Those were all tough choices.

At second the choice was between offense (Durham), defense (Cruz) and a nice balance (Bernazard).

At short the choice was between offense (Valentin) and defense (Guillen). Valentin would make errors, but he had good range and a good arm. All I remember of Ozzie the hitter is swinging at pitches way out of the zone and getting picked off.

Buehrle vs. McDowell is an interesting call. McDowell had two 20-win seasons, a Cy Young, and a season high of 191 strikeouts. But Buehrle is incredibly consistent; he reminds me of a lefthanded LaMarr Hoyt. I'll stick with McDowell, but there's no shame in being third in this group.

With regards to the other starters, after the ones I named you're dealing with one-season wonders (Garland, Loaiza, Dotson, King) and worse (Perez, Hibbard). Garcia and Alvarez are probably better than those guys.

Among relievers, you kind of have to give Thigpen the nod because of the 57-save season, but that was the only year when I actually trusted him on the mound. Hernandez outranks Jenks because he did it for a lot longer. And I think you've way underrated Foulke: I'd take him third, Jenks fourth, Barojas fifth. And don't forget "Bullet" Bob James and Bobby Howry...

Dan Mega
05-25-2006, 12:56 AM
And don't forget "Bullet" Bob James and Bobby Howry...

I'd take Politte or Cotts...even Schoenwhine, over gascan any day of the week.

Mohoney
05-25-2006, 01:11 AM
But Buehrle is incredibly consistent; he reminds me of a lefthanded LaMarr Hoyt.

He reminds me of Tom Glavine, with less pure stuff, but just as durable.

Tragg
05-25-2006, 03:37 PM
He reminds me of Tom Glavine, with less pure stuff, but just as durable. I'm biased, but I think he's better; Glavine got an extra 3 inches on the outside corner consistently with the braves (until the playoffs); Maddux benefitted from that as well.

SOXBOY
05-25-2006, 03:47 PM
Chet Lemon my favorite SOX player EVER.

Tragg
05-25-2006, 03:48 PM
So you agree with all my #1-2-3 rankings except you'd take Durham over Bernazard/Cruz, Guillen over Valentin, and Buehrle over McDowell? Those were all tough choices. I guess so; some of them I am not real happy with (Walker, e.g.) but I can't find a better choice.


At short the choice was between offense (Valentin) and defense (Guillen). Valentin would make errors, but he had good range and a good arm. All I remember of Ozzie the hitter is swinging at pitches way out of the zone and getting picked off. If Valentin were a good offensive player (not just better than Ozzie) , I might go with him; but Oz played excellent D for a long time.

Buehrle vs. McDowell is an interesting call. McDowell had two 20-win seasons, a Cy Young, and a season high of 191 strikeouts. But Buehrle is incredibly consistent; he reminds me of a lefthanded LaMarr Hoyt. I'll stick with McDowell, but there's no shame in being third in this group.. MB has more staying power and pitched on the WS team. I give extra points for certain years, especially 2005. LaMarr was just amazing in 1983...gotta put him on top.

With regards to the other starters, after the ones I named you're dealing with one-season wonders (Garland, Loaiza, Dotson, King) and worse (Perez, Hibbard). Garcia and Alvarez are probably better than those guys. Yea, but you could argue that Garcia and Contreras are one hit wonders too. And the early 80s pitchers like Burns didn't last that long either. I grouped a lot of them together for that reason. Guys like King and Hibbard aren't championship caliber pitchers...but they did pull us from the 70 win doldrums of the late 1980s to a 90 win team and we've basically stayed above average since then. One reason they were one hit is that Schueler didn't protect them in the expansion draft, dumped them quickly, etc.

Among relievers, you kind of have to give Thigpen the nod because of the 57-save season, but that was the only year when I actually trusted him on the mound. Hernandez outranks Jenks because he did it for a lot longer. And I think you've way underrated Foulke: I'd take him third, Jenks fourth, Barojas fifth. And don't forget "Bullet" Bob James and Bobby Howry... Ha - Bob James. I put Foulke low because I was thinking that we didn't really accomplish that much with him - but we did - we won a division, so I probably put him too low. BUt I can't put him ahead of Jenks or Thigpen. I could put him ahead of Hernandez (speaking of someone I was never comfortable with). I seriously considered putting Karchner on the list, for his heroic pitching in the aftermath of White Flag (the best pitching he did in his career) and for getting Garland in here....but I figured I'd be laughed off of WSI.

How about adding manager: (1) Ozzie,(2) Larusa, (3)Torborg, (4) Manuel, (5)Fergosi, (6)Lamont, (999)Bevington....did I forget anyone?

miker
05-25-2006, 03:49 PM
Nice list and since comparing different eras is like comparing apples to oranges, no need to argue with any of the choices.

A. Cavatica
05-25-2006, 08:17 PM
I guess so; some of them I am not real happy with (Walker, e.g.) but I can't find a better choice.

Paciorek would have been my fourth.

I put Foulke low because I was thinking that we didn't really accomplish that much with him - but we did - we won a division, so I probably put him too low. BUt I can't put him ahead of Jenks or Thigpen.

The reason I have him ahead of Jenks is he was consistently good for several years in a row, though of course he had a few slumps. (The ALDS series vs Seattle still hurts.) Jenks has been better than Thigpen but hasn't even done it for a full year yet.

How about adding manager: (1) Ozzie,(2) Larusa, (3)Torborg, (4) Manuel, (5)Fergosi, (6)Lamont, (999)Bevington....did I forget anyone?

I agree, maybe swapping 5 and 6.

santo=dorf
05-25-2006, 08:29 PM
Why is Thigpen so overrated? :?: I don't remember too much about the guy, but I remember hearing that he always made it interesting. Outside of his 57 save season, he only had one great year.

As much as I don't like the guy, Foulke was far and away the better pitcher when he was with the Sox. Foulke had 5 seasons where his WHIP was <1.088. Thigpen had one season with a WHIP that low, with his second best being 1.291. :?:

Bucky F. Dent
05-25-2006, 08:54 PM
C - Fisk
1b - Thomas
2b - Jorge Orta
ss - Guillen
3b - Ventura
lf - Lee
cf - Lemon
rf - Baines
sp - Buehrle
rp - Thigpen

The thing that stood out as I thought about this was the fact that a team that had a pretty shallow talent pool throughout the infield really had a strong group of first basemen: Thomas, Konerko, Walker, Spencer, Pacioreck, Squires.

santo=dorf
05-25-2006, 09:33 PM
Foulke White Sox career: 446 IP, 2.87 ERA, .991 WHIP, 425 K's, 8.58 K/9, 100 saves
Thigpen White Sox career: 541.7 IP, 3.26 ERA, 1.34 WHIP :o: , 362 K's, 6.01 K/9, 201 saves

Roberto Hernandez White Sox career: 404.7 IP, 3.36 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 493 K's, 11.0 K/9, 192 saves

Thigpen worshipers, please explain how Bobby was a better reliever than Foulke over their respective White Sox careers.

A. Cavatica
05-25-2006, 10:42 PM
The thing that stood out as I thought about this was the fact that a team that had a pretty shallow talent pool throughout the infield really had a strong group of first basemen: Thomas, Konerko, Walker, Spencer, Pacioreck, Squires.

This is the DH effect. Thomas & Konerko played together, as did Paciorek/Walker/Squires. Without the DH, these guys don't all get playing time.

Interesting call on Orta, by the way. He was certainly the best hitter we've had at 2B but a weak glove. You really think he was better than Iguchi?

Tragg
05-25-2006, 10:45 PM
Foulke White Sox career: 446 IP, 2.87 ERA, .991 WHIP, 425 K's, 8.58 K/9, 100 saves
Thigpen White Sox career: 541.7 IP, 3.26 ERA, 1.34 WHIP :o: , 362 K's, 6.01 K/9, 201 saves


I wouldn't call it worshipping but....twice as many saves and a ML record.

A. Cavatica
05-25-2006, 10:54 PM
Thigpen worshipers, please explain how Bobby was a better reliever than Foulke over their respective White Sox careers.

I'm far from a Thigpen worshiper. I put him #1 because of the one great season, where he was automatic, and the career save total.

Foulke never had a defining year like that, and he was a bit of a whiner, but his numbers were better. Upon review I'd move him up to #2. Hey, Tragg had him seventh.

Hernandez' WHIP was surprisingly bad. On the other hand, his ERA was decent, and he had the best K rate and save rate. Most years I had more confidence in Roberto than I did iin Bobby.

santo=dorf
05-25-2006, 10:55 PM
I wouldn't call it worshipping but....twice as many saves and a ML record.
Foulke wasn't in the closer's role as long a Thigpen, and the save is a very, very misleading stat. Having a bunch of saves doesn't make you a good pitcher.

:bkoch:
"he's not joking man. I had a ML record for double digits wins and 40 saves in a season."

Let's just ignore how batters hit against them and how many runs they gave up.

Tragg
05-25-2006, 11:22 PM
Foulke wasn't in the closer's role as long a Thigpen, and the save is a very, very misleading stat. Having a bunch of saves doesn't make you a good pitcher.

I understand the weakness of the save stat. However, I find ERAs, particularly in closers, ridiculously misleading. It's not a bottom line stat; WHIP isn't bottom line either, but better. What would be meaningful would be holds, failed to hold and blown saves of each. The best would be % of inherited runners allowed to score.
Nevertheless, in White Sox landscape, I find Thigpen a more important figure. Not only did he set a record, he did it in 1990, an important year for this club...it started a long string of, for the most part, above average teams at worst.
Foulke took over the closer's role in mid 2000, we won a division and we did nothing else with him. Not his fault; also not his fault that Manuel demoted him, but it happened, and it lowered his value to the Sox. Foulke's relatively unimportance is why I had him below Thigpen, Barojas, Hernandez and 2 closers from last year; also Marte because Marte pitched well for more years. (but I don't disagree that Foulke is a better pitcher than most, if not all, of them).

santo=dorf
05-26-2006, 06:15 AM
I understand the weakness of the save stat. However, I find ERAs, particularly in closers, ridiculously misleading. It's not a bottom line stat; WHIP isn't bottom line either, but better. What would be meaningful would be holds, failed to hold and blown saves of each. The best would be % of inherited runners allowed to score.
Nevertheless, in White Sox landscape, I find Thigpen a more important figure. Not only did he set a record, he did it in 1990, an important year for this club...it started a long string of, for the most part, above average teams at worst.
How is an ERA is misleading for a reliever? Most of the time they start off an inning so it's not like they're throwing gas on a fire. It's the middle relievers whose ERA's can be misleading.
Holds (not even an official stat, and hasn't didn't start to become tracked until 1999) is the worst stat in baseball because you can get a hold for recording just one out. You can also get a hold and loss in the same game (you recrod an out but leave a mess behind.) Save % is misleading for guys who aren't always in the closer's role because a guy could come in with the bases loaded and no outs in a 1 run game, give up a sac fly, and get charged with a blown save.
With the White Sox, Foulke inherited 143 runners and allowed 32 to score for a 22.4% allowed to score.
I'm looking all over the net for older pitchers' % of inherited runners to score, but can't find anything for Thigpen.

Tragg
05-26-2006, 10:21 AM
How is an ERA is misleading for a reliever? Come in with the bases loaded and 2 outs, give up 2 hits and walk a batter, allow three runs to score, and then get an out, and your ERA is 0.00

Come in and pitch one bad inning, allow 6 runs; then in your next 8 appearances you pitch flawlessly and allow 0 runs. Your ERA is 6.00.

santo=dorf
05-26-2006, 05:50 PM
Come in with the bases loaded and 2 outs, give up 2 hits and walk a batter, allow three runs to score, and then get an out, and your ERA is 0.00

Come in and pitch one bad inning, allow 6 runs; then in your next 8 appearances you pitch flawlessly and allow 0 runs. Your ERA is 6.00.
I meant to say "closers." The end of my sentence sounds wierd by saying middle relievers' ERA's can be misleading after just asking how a reliever's ERA can be misleading. :wink: