Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Comp Post

The White Sox signed Konerko to 5 year $60 million deal that is a great PR move for the club. Whether it will turn out to be a great baseball move is yet to be determined.

Konerko will turn 30 in March, so the Sox will have him for his age 30 through 34 seasons. According to Baseball Reference, players similar to Konerko through age 29 include Kent Hrbek, Jason Thompson, Fred McGriff, the Big Klu, Bobby Thomson, Carlos Delgado, Jack Clark, Lee May.

The comps aren't bad as some players did extremely well after age 29. The one thing you do notice is that the OPS+ of most of the players do decline sharply by age 34. The notable exceptions are Jack Clark who had an OPS+ of 167 at age 34 and Carlos Delgado who just put up a 161 OPS+ at age 33.

The five year average OPS+ of each player listed:

Hrbek: 117
J. Thompson: 102 (2 years; done at age 31)
McGriff: 122 (and solid seasons after age 34)
Kluzewski: 114 (tailed off quickly in after age 31 season)
B. Thomson: 92 (had solid age 34 year with Cubs, OPS+ 116)
Delgado: 151 (4 years through age 33 season)
Clark: 148
May: 113 (league average by age 34)

Paulie has had an OPS+ over 120 four of the last five seasons. His comps suggest that he can very well continue to produce these types of numbers over the next couple of years. It's more likely than not he will have a noticeable decline in his numbers by the end of his contract. But some players have continued to produce well after age 34. And we also need to keep in mind that many of these comps are from eras where players had radically different lifestyles and training habits (meaning they felt like I do at age 32).

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Big Trade

I guess I need to revise the table below. I have no problem dealing Rowand for Thome. What other position would the Sox be looking to fill? The only need is 1B/DH and Thome fills that role and brings much needed power from the left side. The only question that remains are the names of the two prospects that are being sent to Philly. I think you can send either Haigwood or Gonzalez, but not both, and come out ahead in the trade.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Salary Table

This is a little rough right now, but quite frankly, I can't waste any more time trying to pretty this thing up. Not a lot of analysis has gone into this other than assuming Rowand and Vizciano will not be playing for the Sox next year, and Paulie will. I think Rowand will be traded, Hernandez should be kept over Vizciano, and would like to see Paulie back at $13M/per year.

Now Konoerko doesn't put up the type of numbers to justify that amount of money. Although I happen to think they will in fact improve as his walk rate went up dramatically and he has a very simple swing that I think will age well. Even still, Ithink the Sox would be able to get more for their money by not signing him for $13m, but the "fan" in me wants see Paulie in a Sox uniform next year. Anything over that amount and the Sox will have to let him walk. I hope it doesn't come to that.

Salaries in RED are my best guess at the final free agent/arbitration numbers. I think the table shows that Sox do have some flexibilty to trade some salaries and fill some holes. The main thing missing from the roster below is a dependable backup for Uribe.


Position PlayersDH/BenchRotationBullpen
Pierzynski c
Thomas DH
Buehrle lhp
Jenks rhp
Konerko 1b
Borchard of
Contreras rhp
Hermanson rhp
Iguchi 2b
Ozuna if
Garland rhp
Cotts lhp
Crede 3b
Harris if
Garcia rhp
Politte rhp
Uribe ss
Widger c
McCarthy rhp
Marte lhp
Podesdnik lf
Gload DH
Hernandez rhp
Anderson cf
Dye rf

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

It Wasn't That Close

A lot has been made about the World Series being one of the closest sweeps in history. That's a somewhat fair assessment as all the games were close, but if you dig deeper into the stats you can see that the White Sox clearly outplayed the Astros.

The Sox cranked out 15 more hits in the 4 games and had 5 more extra base hits, including 3 more homers (4 if you don't count LaneƂ’s bogus home run). Sox batters hit the ball well, putting up a line of:


This was a much better line than what they posted in the regular season and came against the top pitching staff in the National League.

The Astros hit:


With that line, its surprising that they were able to score as many runs as they did (14). Just imagine what the 'Stros line would have been had the Sox not handed out 12 walks in Game 3.

The Sox championship has been compared to the Yanks sweep of the Phillies in 1950. There are similarities including the 6 run differential in total runs scored. Like the 2005 version of the Series, the Yanks also won Games 2 and 3 in the last inning. It featured on extra inning game (game 2 instead of game 3) and one 1-0 game (game 1 instead of game 4). The main difference is how the series ended with the Yanks taking Game 4 easily 5-2.

But looking at the hitting lines suggest the 1950 series was played a bit more evenly with the Yanks hitting 222/295/304 and the Phils 203/250/266.

I think we all remember the many scoring opportunities the Astros failed to take advantage of throughout the series and that leads you to believe the every game could have gone either way. But we often forget that the winning team also failed to take advantage of scoring opportunities. Numerous times the Sox failed to get key hits that would have put a game away. Fortunatelytely, in this series these missed opportunities evened out and the better team came out on top.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Last off-season the White Sox and Brewers turned a lot of heads by swapping outfielders. It was a questionable move by the White Sox at the time although I offered tepid support. No doubt, the Brewers got the best player in the deal. But the Sox got a useful outfielder who could take over the leadoff spot, a workhorse reliever, and most importantly, were able to dump salary. The salary dump gave Kenny Williams the payroll flexibility to make a number of other acquisitions that included signing El Duque, AJ, and Iguchi. My only question at the time was whether Williams could have gotten more for Lee, but I had no problem with the basic premise of trading him.

Looking back, this was the trade, a very bold one, that laid the groundwork for the 2005 Championship team. Williams must have known he was going to be criticized for this move and he was. Podsednik was being called “overrated” by every pundit across the blogosphere. William's reputation took another hit.

One season later I think it is safe to say that one of the outfielders traded was over-rated. Surprisingly, that player is “El Caballo” himself, Carlos Lee - not Scott Podsednik.

As I said, I’m not going to argue Pods is a more valuable player than Lee. But without a doubt, Pods has more value at $800,000 than Lee does for $8,000,000. Lee, a power hitter, has only one season where he slugged more than .500 (2004 in homer friendly US Cellular), has never cracked a .900 OPS, and this year, dubbed a “breakout year” by some, had an OPS of .811. His final 2005 line was:


That’s certainly not a bad line, but it's not much better than what Brady Clark, Lee’s Brewer teammate, put up for a bargain $1.1 million:


And his other Brewer teammate and outfielder, Geoff Jenkins ($7.3M) had a much better line:


As for Pods, his line for 2005:


Obviously, his OBP out of the leadoff spot was what he brought to the White Sox. It is not even great, but as a team the Sox only got on base 32% of the time, so his numbers out of the leadoff spot were critical to the Sox offense.

So what have we proven? Carlos Lee is a good hitter. But he’s certainly not an elite hitter, and at age 29, probably won’t turn into one. He is overpaid and the Sox were wise in moving him.

But now, through no fault his own, Lee has progressed firmly into over-rated territory. This year Lee was one of three NL Outfielders awarded the Silver Slugger. Lee has to be one of the worst outfielders to ever win this award. It's pretty hard to believe they gave it to him as he has the 27th highest OPS among outfielders in the majors. Even in a down year in the NL, there is no way he should have won this ahead of any of the following candidates:

Jason Bay (OPS 961 – should have won)
Ken Griffey Jr. (947)
Lance Berkman (934)
Adam Dunn (927)
Jim Edmonds (918)
Brian Giles (905 in Petco)
Geoff Jenkins (888)
Bobby Abreu (879)
Cliff Floyd (863)
Jose Guillen (817 in RFK Stadium)

In fact, since 1980 when MLB began awarding the Silver Slugger, I only found two NL outfield winners with a lower OPS than Carlos Lee. In 1981, Dusty Baker won with an OPS of 808 and in 1986 Dave Parker won with an OPS of 807. But both of these players had a higher OPS+, which takes into account the run scoring environment as well as park factors. Baker had an OPS+ of 133, Parker 117, and Carlos Lee had an OPS+ of 110. That's not much better tha league average (100).

I rooted for “El Caballo” when he was on the White Sox and I hope he continues to do well with the Brewers. But the myth that he is one of the games elite hitters needs to be put to rest.