White Sox

Finally, rotation's turn to take hit in value survey

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Finally, rotation's turn to take hit in value survey

Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011Posted: 9:35 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com White Sox InsiderFollow @CSNChi_Beatnik
With thousands of measurements in baseball, from wins and batting average to FIP and OPS, but none of those measures take into account the actual value a player brings to a team. Isn't someone who hits 20 home runs but makes just 500,000 a better value than someone who also clocks 20 but makes 10 million? Every 10 games this season, CSNChicago will run a value survey that details just what the Chicago White Sox are getting for their money a report more essential than ever, given the team-record payroll. At game 150, this is the last in-season survey of 2011, and the results wont be pretty. Going 2-8 over the past 10 and in the process getting eliminated from playoff contention is one thing, but how the White Sox lost eight of 10 is the issue. The starting rotation has been the strongest aspect of the ballclub, but with rare exception has completely collapsed in the stretch.
What follows is a survey that you won't find anywhere else in the baseball world, a snapshot that attempts to marry actual costs of players against the value they provide the team on the field. Arguably, this player value trumps any you'd find on the back of a baseball card. Using raw WAR (Wins Above Replacement) data from FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference and prorated salary tells us which side of the ledger player or management is benefiting more from each players performance. A plus figure means the player has provided more value than hes been paid, a negative one means hes provided less. White Sox Bargains Players who are providing value on top of what they are costing the team in salary. (Last survey standing in parenthesis, a negative number indicates the player was on the "busts" list and a plain - meaning the player did not appear in the last survey.)

1. Alexei Ramirez, ss, 11,820,935 (1)
2. Phil Humber, sp, 11,319,084 (2)
3. Carlos Quentin, of, 7,139,908 (3)
4. Alejandro De Aza, of, 6,969,972 (9)
5. Brent Lillibridge, of-if, 5,957,508 (4)
6. Chris Sale, rp, 5,595,350 (5)
7. Gavin Floyd, sp, 5,234,070 (7)
8. Sergio Santos, rp, 5,077,229 (6)
9. Edwin Jackson, sp, 4,044,609 (11)
10. Gordon Beckham, 2b, 3,937,210 (14)
11. Jesse Crain, rp, 2,911,190 (12)
12. Paul Konerko, 1b, 2,449,784 (8)
13. John Danks, sp, 2,429,200 (10)
14. A.J. Pierzynski, c, 2,400,045 (13)
15. Zach Stewart, p, 1,944,085 (15)
16. Brent Morel, 3b, 1,765,037 (-16)
17. Tyler Flowers, c, 748,559 (16)
18. Dayan Viciedo, of-if, 677,593 (18)
19. Dylan Axelrod, p, 529,892 (-)
20. Jeff Gray, rp, 376,631 (20)
21. Addison Reed, rp, 334,176 (-18)
22. Ramon Castro, c, 276,309 (19)
23. Hector Santiago, rp, 227,204 (22)
24. Eduardo Escobar, if, 32,425 (-14)

In a development that bodes well for the 2012 White Sox, several callups have worked their way into the black, bringing the total tally to 24 of 42 players posting a profit for the White Sox. And De Aza continues a mercurial move toward the top of the value list, jumping from ninth to fourth overall and threatening to bypass seasonlong No. 2 batter Quentin before September expires.

White Sox Busts Players who value cannot offset what they are costing the team in salary. (Last survey standing in parenthesis, a "" means the player was on the "bargains" list and a plain - meaning the player did not appear in the last survey.)

1. Adam Dunn, dh, -21,540,699 (1)
2. Alex Rios, of, -18,318,097 (2)
3. Jake Peavy, sp, -7,926,808 (3)
4. Mark Teahen, if-of, -4,856,093 (4)
5. Omar Vizquel, if, -4,261,243 (5)
6. Mark Buehrle, sp, -2,043,065 (17)
7. Juan Pierre, of, -1,944,498 (6)
8. Tony Pena, rp, -1,716,459 (7)
9. Matt Thornton, rp, -1,564,563 (12)
10. Lastings Milledge, of, -1,492,442 (9)
11. Brian Bruney, rp, -1,409,542 (8)
12. Dallas McPherson, 1b-3b, -1,044,859 (10)
13. Will Ohman, rp, -645,280 (15)
14. Jason Frasor, rp, -564,524 (11)
15. Shane Lindsay, rp, -482,789 (13)
16. Lucas Harrell, rp, -261,543 (17)
17. Donny Lucy, c, -155,868 (19)
18. Josh Kinney, rp, -66,515 (21)

Approaching 40 million in combined lost value, Dunn and Rios remain 1-2 at the top of bum values, well outpacing the other 16 poor White Sox values combined. In an alarming development given his need for a new contract, Buehrles September swoon has thrust him from a good value (17th on the team in the last survey) to the sixth-worst value on the club.

White Sox Added Value Over the past 10 games, here are the White Sox who have increased their value to the team (players who were not active with the team over the past 10 games are not included in this list).

1. Alejandro De Aza, of, 2,747,522 (1)
2. Brent Morel, 3b, 2,032,277 (-9)
3. Gordon Beckham, 2b, 1,733,013 (-10)
4. Juan Pierre, of, 1,425,709 (-6)
5. Phil Humber, sp, 967,684 (2)
6. Alexei Ramirez, ss, 583,242 (6)
7. Dylan Axelrod, p, 529,892 (-)
8. Addison Reed, rp, 504,065 (-12)
9. Gavin Floyd, sp, 453,512 (8)
10. Eduardo Escobar, if, 378,025 (-11)
11. Jason Frasor, rp, 320,631 (16)
12. Shane Lindsay, rp, 300,704 (-5)
13. Zach Stewart, p, 199,821 (4)
14. Sergio Santos, rp, 144,218 (-4)
15. Chris Sale, rp, 12,948 (11)
16. A.J. Pierzynski, c, 12,277 (-3)

De Aza has completed a near-unprecedented three straight weeks atop the increasing value list, continuing to provide profit for the Pale Hose and stake his claim on a starting outfielder job in 2012. He could be joined on the 2012 roster by Reed, whos been golden since a rough, nerve-wracked first outing earlier this month in Detroit.
White Sox Lost Value Over the past 10 games, here are the White Sox who have decreased their value to the team. (players who were not active with the team over the past 10 games are not included in this list).

1. Alex Rios, of, -2,929,765 (2)
2. Mark Buehrle, sp, -2,925,662 (7)
3. Paul Konerko, 1b, -1,881,386 (14)
4. Jake Peavy, sp, -1,734,886 (9)
5. John Danks, sp, -1,587,086 (7)
6. Adam Dunn, dh, -1,041,579 (1)
7. Carlos Quentin, of, -844,195 (-)
8. Matt Thornton, rp, -743,127 (3)
9. Tyler Flowers, c, -624,513 (14)
10. Omar Vizquel, if, -487,658 (8)
11. Will Ohman, rp, -310,018 (13)
12. Dayan Viciedo, of-if, -141,992 (10)
13. Josh Kinney, rp, -116,794 (13)
14. Jesse Crain, rp, -68,156 (12)
15. Donny Lucy, c, -27,769 (15)

Rios is making a late run at Dunn for the very worst value on the White Sox, a task made more difficult by him continuing to play (and falter) while Dunn is largely inactive. Peavy ended his season on a sour note, and will only continue to lose value while inactive, meaning hell drop another 1.5 million by seasons end.

Overall, players made a modest gain of 905,681 in value and stand at 9,438,514 in the hole for the entire season. At this point, there is no way for the Chicago offense to break even in 2011. Pitchers took a hit in this last survey, dropping 3,881,314 in value but retaining 23,341,631 in overall value on the season.

The White Sox remain in the black on the year, at 13,903,117, a drop of 3,881,313 from the 140-game mark.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Volstad, Santiago show capability as rotation alternatives, but White Sox still have starting-pitching mystery this weekend

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USA TODAY

Volstad, Santiago show capability as rotation alternatives, but White Sox still have starting-pitching mystery this weekend

Chris Volstad and Hector Santiago combined for one of the best outings by a White Sox starting pitcher this season.

These weren’t the names anyone expected to fit that description when the season began. But with struggles all around from James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, here the White Sox sit as they approach the one-month mark of the 2018 campaign.

Reynaldo Lopez has been excellent, no doubt about it, and Fulmer has turned in a couple nice outings, including in Monday’s win over the visiting Seattle Mariners. But against that same M’s lineup Tuesday afternoon, Volstad — who lasted 4.1 innings in a 1-0 loss — became the first White Sox starter this season not to issue a walk.

It was an important outing for Volstad, as well as for Santiago, who followed him up with 3.1 shutout innings of his own. The duo showed they’re both capable of serving as reliable fill-ins in a White Sox rotation that got a hole punched in it Monday, when Gonzalez went to the disabled list.

Shields, Giolito, Lopez, Fulmer. Those guys aren’t going anywhere. But should Gonzalez remain on the DL for an extended period of time, it doesn’t seem as if the White Sox need to be searching for options.

“Volstad and Hector both did a nice job. I thought they gave us plenty of outs, they gave us plenty of opportunity,” manager Rick Renteria said after Tuesday’s game.

But that doesn’t mean the South Siders are out of the starting-pitching woods for the remainder of this week. Shields will go in Wednesday’s finale with the Mariners. Giolito and Lopez are set to pitch in the first two games of a five-game road series against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

But Saturday presents a mystery, one that doesn’t seem to have an easy answer.

Thanks to that opening-weekend snow-out, there’s a doubleheader Saturday, and while Fulmer is in line to start one of those games, who will start the other? The White Sox will get a 26th man for that day, and that spot is typically given to a spot starter brought up from Triple-A. But given the White Sox current situation on the 40-man roster, there aren’t many options, meaning a player might need to be outrighted in order to make room for a spot starter.

Let’s get this out of the way first: It seems unlikely that Michael Kopech will make his major league debut in a spot start during an April doubleheader in Kansas City. Yes, Kopech has been good in his three starts with Charlotte, sporting a 2.40 ERA with 21 strikeouts. But he’s got just six total starts at the Triple-A level, and the White Sox have made it abundantly clear throughout the last several months that the necessities of the big league team during this rebuilding season and Kopech’s readiness for the majors are independent of one another.

It makes no sense to potentially cut short Kopech’s development at the Triple-A level because the big league rotation needs a spot starter.

The options, however, are limited.

Of the seven players who have started games for the Knights this season, two are on the big league roster right now (Volstad and Chris Beck), one is Kopech and one has a 9.75 ERA (T.J. House). One is on the 40-man roster, Ricardo Pinto, who made his first start at Charlotte on Tuesday. Pinto, though, would be on short rest Saturday.

The other two are Dylan Covey, who turned in a 7.71 ERA with the White Sox last season, and Donn Roach, who has made two career major league starts, most recently giving up four runs in 3.1 innings in a spot start for the Cubs in 2015. Covey and Roach have 2.95 and 1.88 ERAs at Charlotte, respectively. But the White Sox would need to make room on the 40-man roster to bring either up, even just for a day.

While it would be on “short rest,” perhaps the most logical option is just to start Volstad or Santiago on Saturday and start the other on Sunday. Tuesday, Volstad threw 66 pitches and Santiago threw 59 pitches, neither total approaching the qualification of a heavy workload, especially considering both veterans have plenty of starting experience under their belts.

Renteria talked about how well it worked using both guys in tandem Tuesday, but he might have to split them up to staff his rotation this weekend. It would also eliminate the need to remove someone from the 40-man roster. The White Sox could just bring up another bullpen arm as the 26th man, someone like Juan Minaya, who was on the Opening Day roster.

Renteria has already shown willingness to use his pitchers outside of the traditional “every fifth day” strategy. Shields and Fulmer both pitched in back-to-back games just last week. And Fulmer’s turn was moved up when Gonzalez went on the DL, pressing him into his third appearance in six days Monday.

The mystery likely won’t be solved, at least publicly, anytime soon. We’ll likely have to wait a few days to know for sure. Until then, it’s a guessing game.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Trayce Thompson - 'This is home'

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Trayce Thompson - 'This is home'

Drafted by the White Sox in 2009, Trayce Thompson never wanted to play for another team but the White Sox. 

All that changed in 2015 when he was dealt to the Dodgers in the Todd Frazier trade. Now back with the White Sox, Thompson talks with Chuck Garfien about the trials and tribulations of the last few years, the whirlwind of being on 4 teams in the last 4 weeks, how the White Sox threw him a lifeline bringing him back, how he wants to make the best of this new opportunity and more. 

Take a listen here or in the embedded player below.