Freaky Stat of the Year?

If you are curious why the White Sox have lost 7 of their last 8 games, this might be part of the problem. Until A.J. Pierzynski doubled in the 9th innning today, Chicago hitters had went 61 straight at bats without getting a hit against their oppositions bullpen. This is not a misprint. Let me repeat. 61 official at bats without reaching base against a reliever. Let me repeat. This is not a misprint.

 

One of the best hitting teams in 2006, the White Sox are at the bottom of most offensive stats in the Majors. Batting Average, OBP, doubles, triples. They are number 30. Not only are they last in hits, get this, they are 60 hits behind the second to last Cardinals. (393 to 453) The Sox are next to last in slugging and ribbies. They have been this dismal playing half their games in a park recognized as one of the best places to hit in the league.

Who has the highest batting average of Sox players with over 100 at bats? Darin Erstad, who was batting .264 before he got hurt. Next on this list would be Pierzynski at .248. Did someone hit the button on the way back machine because looking at these stats you would think it’s 1967.

Here’s the more amazing part. The White Sox would have won 7 of their last 8, if the games would have ended after 5 innings. Outside of closer Bobby Jenks, the bullpen has been atrocious during the past month. Try this stat on. White Sox relievers are 2-6 with a 9.06 ERA in their past 22 games.

During the off-season, the White Sox completely remade their bullpen by trading for a bunch of power arms. The Sox had great success over the past 2 years, obtaining flame-throwers Jenks, Matt Thornton, and Mike MacDougal. The idea was to add the high potential/high risk Andrew Sisco, Nick Masset, and David Aardsma to the team and let pitching coach Don Cooper try to work his magic. Well, the rabbit is still in the hat.

Sure it’s nice to call up out of the bully someone who can bring the gas and leave runners stranded, but few are able to do this without walking as many as they strikeout. Facing the White Sox bullpen is like living the life of Borat. You’re looking up at 2 balls before you know it. This is why I don’t rate strikeouts as that important of a category. (More on this topic later this week.)

At the beginning of the year, I thought the Indians bullpen would keep them from winning the division, but so far they have been just good enough to finish out games. I still think their bullpen and manager will keep the Tigers, Twins, and White Sox in the AL Central race, but the White Sox are going to have to kickstart their offense and take advantage of some of their minor league relief pitching or it will be just a 3 team race.

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One of baseball’s best newspaper columnists is the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers. Rogers offered up an interesting deal in the Sunday edition. Send Mark Buerhle and Joe Crede for Alex Rodriguez and Melky Cabrera. Kind of a last ditch shakeup for both teams, with all of the major players potential free agents at the end of the year. I’m curious what Yankee fans think about this one? I could live without Cabrera being part of the deal, instead getting a mid-level pitching prospect, but both teams need some type of shake-up.

4 thoughts on “Freaky Stat of the Year?

  1. 2.  Here is a get to know Joe Crede breakdown.

    He is 29 years old.

    He has a career OPS of .753, with in 2006 it being .828.

    In his career he has been much better during the second half, with an .805 post all break compared to a .710 before it.

    He is considered the best defensive third baseman in the AL, behind only Eric Chavez.

    He has battled back problems and seems to be suffering from them this year, but the same was the case the past 2 years, when he was one of the best overall players at third MLB.

    I’m sure you would make the Abreu versus Dye trade. No way would the Sox do it, as Dye is the better all-around player at this point, plus Abreu’s contract is an albatross.

  2. 5.  If that ARod/MElky – Crede/Buerhle deal happens, I’ll burn down every building within a ten block radius 161st and River. I’m not against trading ARod and Melky, but they can do a hell of a lot better than that.

  3. 8.  When I read that proposed trade, I almost spit out my breakfast. The amazing thing is adding the nugget about “a live arm or two” at the end. The idea was already a joke when he got to “Melky.”

  4. 11.  “One of baseball’s best newspaper columnists, Phil Rogers…”

    that is like saying

    “One of breakfast’s healthier choices, Lucky Charms…”

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Freaky Stat of the Year?

If you are curious why the White Sox have lost 7 of their last 8 games, this might be part of the problem. Until A.J. Pierzynski doubled in the 9th innning today, Chicago hitters had went 61 straight at bats without getting a hit against their oppositions bullpen. This is not a misprint. Let me repeat. 61 official at bats without reaching base against a reliever. Let me repeat. This is not a misprint.

(more…)

8 thoughts on “Freaky Stat of the Year?

  1. 1.  On the deal: Lord, I hope not.

    Buerhle is a nice pitcher- age 28 with a career ERA+ of 124. But Crede is a no-hit, no-glove, past his prime infielder.

    It makes no sense to take a chance on two about-to-be free agents in a going-nowhere year. If the Yankees can’t win with the current squad and decide to blow up the team, it better be for multiple young players around whom a nucleus can be built. Even if A-Rod agrees to the trade and Buerhle signs an extension, the Yankees have now gotten much worse at third base.

    With how thin the White Sox minor leagues are, I don’t see a trade happening, since the Yankees need position player prospects, especially at C and 1B. A struggling right fielder swap of Abreu for Dye might make more sense.

  2. 3.  So Scott, about that missing offense, who is leading the American League in RsBI these days?

    Oh. Really? Well that’s too bad. Um, how about the National League?

    Oh.

    wow.

  3. 4.  Crede’s good with the glove, but he’s no better than Mike Lowell and he can’t hold a candle to Adrian Beltre, whose skills get ignored because the Mariners suck and his contract looked bad when he signed it. Regardless of the fact that he’s not a great hitter, Adrian Beltre makes most 3B look like Marv Thornberry in the field, and Joe Crede is included in that.

    I find myself wondering, since the weight of objective evidence is against you, what exactly is your reasoning for calling strikeouts “not that important”? The best bullpens in the league consistently strike a lot of men out; the relievers who are consistently the best also strike a lot of men out. Strikeout rate in isolation, just like any other stat, is not that useful. But it remains predictive at a better rate than other easily-calculated statistics. The White Sox, with their schitzoid defense — stellar on the left side of the infield, butchers on the right, a lost-a-step former gold glover in Center and a good fielder in right — certainly can’t afford to rely on pitching to contact.

    It’s also worth noting that none of the three men you mentioned — Sisco, Aardsma, Masset — have had exceptionally high strikeout rates for relievers, that one (Masset) has almost no service time in the majors in addition to not particularly inspiring strikeout rates, that another (Sisco) is a nutbag with more control problems than Lindsay Lohan on Quaaludes, and that the third is already a journeyman with gopherball problems as well as less-than-stellar walk rates. They were all gambles, and they all went the wrong way. Unfortunately, the vast majority of relievers are gambles. The ones that turn out well are, more often than not, the ones that miss bats. Sure, because of the nature of relief pitching, one could point to a million guys with low strikeout rates who have a good season here and there. But other than Dan Quisenberry, it hasn’t really been sustained, not by a reliever, not in the free agent era. (At least that I’m aware of.)

  4. 6.  Some will no doubt recall PECOTA’s pre-season prediction that the Sox would win some 75 games or so this year. For most of the season, they’ve been well ahead of that pace. They are now on pace to win 78 games, and their Pythagorean Record has them winning 68. They’ve been well ahead of their PR all season long, but maybe it’s finally catching up with them.

  5. 9.  This is the part of the article I like:

    is it out of the question Sox general manager Ken Williams would package Joe Crede and Mark Buehrle to the Yankees for Rodriguez, outfielder Melky Cabrera and a live arm or two?

    It’s as if the trade is a steal for the Yankees, and that the only hitch would be getting the White Sox to go along with it.

  6. 10.  I agree with the panel on how the trade doesn’t work for the Yankees, unless Cabrera isn’t involved.

    Now let’s not get too far out ahead on the ARod part of it, though.

    ARod has been the target for most New York media and many fans.

    He doesn’t seem to have complete support by many teammates and even his manager.

    He has an enormous contract, which the Yankees might want to finally be rid of.

    Most importantly. If you haven’t noticed, the Yankees have been dismal and making a major move which shakes up the team’s chemistry might be what the Doctor ordered.

    By the way, I think trading Buehrle would piss a lot of White Sox fans, as he is the team’s second most popular player, behind Konerko. Depending on if Clemens ever makes it back and if he is Clemens in his 40’s of the National League or Clemens in his 40’s of the American League, Buerhle would become the best pitcher on the Yankees staff.

    (for some Yankee fans) Buerhle vs Pettitte

    Buerhle turned 29 in March, Pettitte turns 35 in June.
    Over past 4 seasons,Buerhle has started 145 games, Pettitte has pitched 98.
    Career ERA. Pettitte 3.79 Buerhle 3.82
    Career WHIP Pettitte 1.34 Buerhle 1.25

    The only guy I see that could be available to them right now who is in Buerhle’s class is Zambrano, who I don’t think will do a lot for helping the team’s chemistry. Buerhle and Crede are great clubhouse guys.

    Truthfully, I’m not sure I would make the deal, if I’m either team, as there are so many factors which make it difficult to go with, but I did think it was an interesting proposal.

  7. 12.  Also in Buerhle’s favor compared to Pettitte (why do both of these guys’ names seem like typos?): no NL Central stat-padding on his record.

    And 11 — heh. Phil’s okay, but he latches tightly onto some really weird notions now and then, especially around correlation and causality. A few years back he predicated great success for the (pre-’05) White Sox based on the fact that they had three or four starting pitchers who had each pitched an average of 200+ innings over the past several years and all enjoyed ice cream and long walks in that park, or something like that….

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