White Sox

Comparing Geovany Soto to A.J. Pierzynski


Comparing Geovany Soto to A.J. Pierzynski

When Tony Andracki and I rolled out our Chicago All-Decade Team for 2000-2011, we figured there would be plenty of people who wouldn't agree with our decision to put Geovany Soto behind the plate over A.J. Pierzynski. Today on Chicago Tribune Live, David Kaplan, along with Fred Mitchell, Bob Foltman and Jason Goch, debated our list -- specifically, our inclusion of Soto over Pierzynski:

Mitchell's note that Pierzynski's intangibles shouldn't be overlooked is certainly fair. There's no position in baseball at which "intangibles" are more important than catcher. Plus, Pierzynski has a fine track record working with pitchers, and everyone who's thrown to him has been complimentary.

Pierzynski has won a World Series with the White Sox and has endeared himself to the fanbase, both of which count for something. But Soto still wins out, albeit narrowly.

If we're looking at three categories for evaluation, Soto wins two: offense and defense. Pierzynski easily wins the category we can't measure -- intangibles.

But offensively, Soto has been superior to Pierzysnki despite the up-and-down nature of his four full seasons in the majors. In those four years, Soto has a .254 batting average, but that's nowhere near as important as his .347 on-base percentage. His OPS over that span sits at .798, which is very good for a catcher.

In Pierzynski's seven years with the White Sox, he owns a .279 batting average. But that shouldn't be of much concern -- his .317 on-base percentage is a full 30 points lower than that of Soto. And his .730 OPS also pales in comparison.

By OPS, Soto rates above average (108), while Pierzynski rates below-average (90) offensively. So Soto wins that category.

And defensively, Soto rates better than Pierzynski. In 2011, Soto was a top 25 defensive catcher, while Pierzynski rated as the fourth-worst in baseball. While putting a value on catcher defense is still a work in progress for the statistical community, Matt Klaassen's ratings currently stand as the best we have.

Granted much of Pierzynski's lack of defensive value comes from his struggles throwing out runners, some of which isn't his fault thanks to the slow deliveries of, say, Gavin Floyd. But he rates as below-average in terms of passed balls and wild pitches, whereas Soto is above average in that category. So, using this analysis, Soto bests Pierzynski defensively.

And now we reach the subject of intangibles. This is what it comes down to: We can't place a value on intangibles, but they are important for a catcher. But because Soto won the two tangible categories, intangibles don't count as a tiebreaker.

Thus, we went with Soto over Pierzysnki. If you value Pierzynski's intangibles over Soto's offense and defense, that's a perfectly fine argument to make. Maybe that is the case. It's hard to know that, though it's an argument both of us can accept.

So that's our rebuttal to this SotoPierzynski debate. Feel free to drop either of us a line on twitter @TonyAndracki23 or @JJStankevitz and we can elaborate further, or post in the comments below and we'll get back to you.

And check back with us next week for our all-decade team for the 1990s!

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 1


White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 1

We asked you to ask us anything about the White Sox and you delivered in a big way. We got so many questions, we had to do two different podcasts! Among the questions here in Part 1: should the White Sox send Yoan Moncada to Triple-A? What players will be traded before the deadline? Who are some sleeper prospects in the minors? Will Jordan Stephens be called up before Michael Kopech? Should Juan Uribe be a team ambassador? What's our all-time White Sox team from 2000 to the present and many more.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Rick Hahn says 'there will be many' promotions for White Sox prospects this week


Rick Hahn says 'there will be many' promotions for White Sox prospects this week

The White Sox have a number of highly-rated prospects performing well in the minors and some of them will be on the move within the system in a matter of days.

General manager Rick Hahn talked to reporters ahead of Monday night's White Sox game in Cleveland, a 6-2 loss, and gave the news. Well, sort of.

He didn't include names, but he did say that "there will be many" promotions after the minor league all-star games for Double-A and both Single-A teams take place on Tuesday.

Hahn added that Chris Getz, the White Sox player development director, will address the media before the White Sox host Oakland on Thursday about the moves.

If the all-star games are a reason to wait, it's safe to think some of the players involved will be playing in those games. So who could be on the move?

Double-A Birmingham has six all-stars: Eloy Jimenez, Zack Collins, Seby Zavala, Danny Mendick, Dane Dunning and Ian Hamilton. Jimenez is the name everyone wants to see on the move. He has torched the Southern League since getting off to a late start to the season due to injury. Hahn was asked about Jimenez, but didn't tip his hand as to whether he would be one of the promotions.

Dunning has been good in Double-A (2.78 ERA, 65 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings), but was already promoted this season so he may not be on the move again.

Single-A Winston-Salem has five all-stars: Dylan Cease, Luis Alexander Basabe, Joel Booker, Bernardo Flores and Matt Foster. Cease, 22, could be due for a promotion with a 2.89 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings. There's also that outfield logjam the Dash, which won the first-half division title, have had all season.

Other than Basabe and Booker, Blake Rutherford and Alex Call are also noteworthy prospects being forced to split time in the Dash's outfield. If Jimenez is moving up to Triple-A, one or two names from this group could be on the move to take his spot in Birmingham.

This would especially make sense if highly-touted outfield prospect Luis Robert, who was supposed to be in Single-A Kannapolis for a short period before joining the Dash, is ready to move up as planned. Robert is hitting .289/.360/.400 in 13 games with the Intimidators.

Birmingham, Winston-Salem and Kannapolis were all off Monday. The various all-star games will take place Tuesday and the three teams will be off again Wednesday. The promotions could be announced Thursday ahead of Getz's scheduled media availability.