White Sox

Fabian talks scouting, sabermetrics and more


Fabian talks scouting, sabermetrics and more

On Tuesday, White Sox director of baseball operations Dan Fabian chatted with a few bloggers about a wide array of topics ranging from the relationship between sabermetrics and scouting to trade rumors. U-God at South Side Sox transcribed the entire conference call, which is well worth a read. Below are a few highlights.

Fabian passed on answering a question from Jim Margalus (also of South Side Sox) asking about the feelings of the "previous regime" -- Ozzie Guillen, Joey Cora, etc. -- toward sabermetrics. "I just want to look forward to 2012," Fabian said. "We're going forward and we're happy with where things are set up right now."

That doesn't mean Fabian was unhappy with the way things were set up in terms of stats under Guillen, although it was apparent he and his coaching staff weren't too in to the idea of statistical analysis. It was, at the least, an interesting non-answer.

Fabian was much more open to discussing Kenny Williams' strategy in balancing scouting and numbers, though.

"Kenny's very straightforward that he's going to look at the scouting report first, but at the same time I know that he'll also look at the statistical information," Fabian explained. "We have discussions about various profiles we like to see, things that have evolved over the years.

"There are always two sides to the coin and I think we've always been more in the middle and there seems to have been more of a correction in the industry towards the middle at this point. It got very stat-heavy for a while there and I think everybody's realized you need both pieces there."

The stats vs. scouting debate that was brought about by Moneyball (a decade ago with the book) seems to have ended with both sides finding a middle ground, although you'll still find some stuck-in-their-ways person arguing for one side or the other. Fact is, Kenny Williams is like most other general managers in baseball -- he looks at both sides.

He has more of a scouting background, so naturally he uses numbers to back up scouting reports. That's fine, just as using scouting reports to back up numbers is fine. The White Sox, as an organization, use advanced stats. Like Rick Hahn said at SoxFest, "Yeah, it's like we don't like puppy dogs, chocolate and Christmas. Everybody likes those things."

Finally, Fabian mentioned how, before the trade deadline, he and his staff will put together a list of players for the Sox to target. I followed that question up by asking him if those rough lists ever get leaked out and create the rampant trade rumors we see during the midseason and offseason.

"I wouldn't think any of them come out of our information" Fabian said. "We're very tight-lipped and closed with what we have, so I think that very rarely do we see players that we're discussing come out. Honestly, things do come out from trades, but we keep it in a pretty small group and we feel pretty good when we do things and there wasn't a lot of feelings out in the world that this is what we were doing. We don't want to get things ruined by having information get out before it's ready."

This pretty much fits the bill with the Williams era in Chicago -- the White Sox rarely follow through on rumored deals. Most everything the team has done has seemingly come out of thin air, from the Sergio Santos trade to the Jim Thome deal five years ago.

But perhaps other teams allow names from those preliminary lists to leak, thus creating some of the bevy of trade rumors that rarely come to fruition. Just a thought.

White Sox Talk Podcast: The all-request, whatever's on your mind episode


White Sox Talk Podcast: The all-request, whatever's on your mind episode

In this special bonus episode, we opened up the podcast to our favorite people: you the White Sox fan!

You asked the questions and we answered them!

Who will be the White Sox closer in 2020? Can Avi Garcia be an effective #2 hitter? Who will be the Nicky Delmonico of 2018? Who has been the biggest surprise at spring training?  There are questions about Adam Engel, Ryan Cordell, Carson Fulmer, Yoan Moncada, as well as Roger Bossard, Mike Ditka and Rocky Biddle.

We also give away a signed Freddy Garcia baseball from 2005.   

Take a listen here or in the embedded playlist below.

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Toronto Blue Jays?


White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Toronto Blue Jays?

As the 2018 season nears and the White Sox get ready to take on the rest of the American League, we're taking a team-by-team look at all 14 of their opponents.

What’s there to know about the Toronto Blue Jays?

They seem to have missed their window.

Living on a lighted stage approaches the unreal, they say. And it did there for the Jays for a while, too, as they made back-to-back trips to the American League Championship Series. Those teams were fun. They hit a lot of homers. They flipped a lot of bats. We all got to watch Geddy Lee keep score on national TV. Good times.

Well, the good times haven’t lasted, and the Jays again seem to be on the outside looking in of an AL East race that figures to feature the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox and no one else.

Jays fans have had to say a farewell to kings in the past two offseasons, with two of the biggest engines of those ALCS teams, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, no longer with the team. Encarnacion is entering Year 2 with the Cleveland Indians. Jose Bautista would like to be a working man, but he’s still watching the tumbleweeds roll by on the deserted plains of this offseason’s free-agent market.

Sure, Josh Donaldson is still around, a modern-day warrior with a mean, mean stride and a mean, mean swing, too. The same can be said for Justin Smoak, who teamed with Donaldson to mash a combined 71 homers last season. But are the dipped numbers of Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins and the increasing ages of Russell Martin, Kendrys Morales and Curtis Granderson giving anyone in the Great White North great confidence in this lineup? Even the two imports from the St. Louis Cardinals, Randal Grichuk and Aledmys Diaz, couldn’t reach base at a .300 clip last season.

The best news for the Jays might be what’s going on 60 feet, six inches away from home plate — excuse me, 18.4404 metres from home plate. Marcus Stroman might start the campaign on the disabled list, but he’s still really good after posting a 3.09 ERA last season. J.A. Happ was good last year. Marco Estrada was OK. And the Jays added Jaime Garcia this offseason, who isn’t a blockbuster newcomer, but he managed 129 strikeouts in 157 innings last season while pitching for three different teams.

Is any of that enough for the Jays to compete this season? To get closer to the heart of the AL East race? No probably not, but it’s really up to you to decide. And remember that if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

I’m out of applicable Rush lyrics, so let’s just move this along.

2017 record: 76-86, fourth place in AL East

Offseason additions: Curtis Granderson, Randal Grichuk, Aledmys Diaz, Yangervis Solarte, Jaime Garcia, Seung hwan Oh, Tyler Clippard, John Axford

Offseason departures: Jose Bautista, Miguel Montero, Darwin Barney, Dominic Leone

X-factor: The Jays had one of baseball's better closers last season in Roberto Osuna. He's had that job for a while now and has racked up 95 saves in his three big league seasons, including 36 and 39 in 2016 and 2017, respectively. His ERA was a career-high 3.38 last season, but he finished more games than any other pitcher in baseball and struck out a career-high 83 batters in 64 innings.

Projected lineup:

1. Curtis Granderson, LF
2. Devon Travis, 2B
3. Josh Donaldson, 3B
4. Justin Smoak, 1B
5. Russell Martin, C
6. Kendrys Morales, DH
7. Randal Grichuk, RF
8. Kevin Pillar, CF
9. Aledmys Diaz, SS

Projected rotation:

1. Marcus Stroman
2. J.A. Happ
3. Aaron Sanchez
4. Marco Estrada
5. Jaime Garcia

Prediction: Fourth place in AL East, no playoffs

Catch up on the AL:

Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays

Catch up on the NL:

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants