Mar 052011

Major Changes

This is probably the LEAST changed team in baseball. They won 88 games last year, which put them in the hunt but falling short, and they will be mostly the same team this year. They replaced two players: the 43-year-old Omar Vizquel with 24-year-old Brent Morel (at third) and Mark Kotsay with free agent Adam Dunn at DH. All 11 pitchers that project to be their rotation and bullpen by ESPN were with them last year, though closer Bobby Jenks is gone, as is JJ Putz. They didn’t replace these power arms, relying on guys they already had.

Hitters 2010 B 2011 B

This group projects to be just as good as last year, which wasn’t bad, at all. I actually think they will likely be better: Dunn can hit, and won’t have the negative WAR from trying to play first base. The keystone combo of Beckham and Morel are very young, and everyone is pretty high on them. But this is where the numbers take me, and I am going to leave it at that.

Starters 2010 B 2011 B+

This chart is a bit misleading – all these pitchers were there in 2010, but Freddy Garcia also started 28 games for them, a full rotation spot, while Peavy and Jackson started 28 games BETWEEN them. Still, Peavy pitched as well as Garcia, and Jackson much better. Even adding Garcia’s 2.1 WAR back in this rotation figures to be better, and that is without prorating Jackson’s performance over a full season. Danks is a proven ace and very young, Floyd has done it for three straight years, Beuhrle has been good for a long time, though he struggled in 2010: this is a GOOD rotation, and very stable.

Bullpen 2010 C+ 2011 D+

The White Sox bullpen in 2010 accumulated 39 points of value by my system, and Putz and Jenks between them had 35, meaning the rest of the staff was cumulatively worthless. Thornton, actually, was worth as much as Putz (he is now the closer), but Santos 1.4 bWAR was entirely due to his low ERA, while my metric shows that he didn’t actually pitch all that well. This (the bullpen) appears to be the downfall of the 2011 White Sox, as I don’t see where the quality outings are going to come from. The chart is, of course, missing WAR from Putz & Jenks (1.8 between them)

Overall 2010 B 2011 B- 85-77

I don’t actually see this team competing for the central crown unless the Twins falter, and I think Minnesota will be better than last year. Adding Dunn addresses a big hole, and the kids may pick up the team and make a run, and of course the bullpen can always find itself – it is the most variable part of the game.

Charts

Player Position 2011 2010
A.J. Pierzynski Catcher 1.0 1.2
Paul Konerko First Base 2.9 5.0
Gordon Beckham Second Base 0.2 -0.2
Brent Morel Third Base 1.0 -0.1 Vizquel
Alexei Ramirez Shortstop 2.5 3.2
Juan Pierre Left Field 1.5 2.0
Alex Rios Center Field 0.7 2.8
Carlos Quentin Right Field 0.7 0.1
Adam Dunn Designated Hitter 2.5 -0.9 Kotsay
13.0 13.1

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Mark Buehrle Starting Pitcher 4.1 3.5
Gavin Floyd Starting Pitcher 3.8 3.0
John Danks Starting Pitcher 5.9 4.9
Jake Peavy Starting Pitcher 1.1 0.3
Edwin Jackson Starting Pitcher 1.7 1.8
16.6 13.5

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Chris Sale Relief Pitcher 1.0 1.0
Jesse Crain Relief Pitcher 0.5 0.0
Tony Pena Relief Pitcher 0.0 -0.4
Will Ohman Relief Pitcher 0.5 0.0
Sergio Santos Relief Pitcher 0.5 1.4
Matt Thornton Closer 2.5 2.2
5.0 4.2

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