White Sox LOOGYs: A five-year headache

Toward the end of his White Sox career, I started feeling a little bit bad for Randy Williams. We all know he was terrible. In fact -- White Sox Outsider 2011 spoiler alert! -- Williams had the highest WHIP in White Sox history among all pitchers who threw 25 innings.

But I couldn't help but empathize for Williams. Maybe it's the recency talking, but Williams took a lot of heat for suffering the same fate of nearly all White Sox LOOGYs since Neal Cotts' pixie dust ran out. He completed the voyage of a South Side Second Lefty, and for those who aren't already overqualified, it's a journey that can only end in shame.

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Williams once played the role of "somebody" for Aaron Poreda. After two good months and two I'm-glad-I-snuck-in-this-flask months, Williams was replaced by another "somebody" in the form of Erick Threets. The somebodies are most often quickly revealed to be nobodies, which tends to happen when major-league GMs try shopping at the Dollar 50 Cents Store. Garbage in, garbage out, as the saying goes.

This time, the Sox actually acquired a true somebody to fill the roster spot behind Matt Thornton. Will Ohman isn't the cat's pajamas, but he has a history of retiring major-league left-handed hitters, and that's a start. He also stands a very reasonable shot at being the best second lefty the Sox had since Cotts. It's the equivalent of climbing Mount Trashmore, but it's a start.

Below, I've ranked the 11 pitchers the White Sox have used with the primary purpose of retiring left-handed hitters in Cotts' wake, and you might be surprised by how well Williams did ... relatively speaking. And best yet, you can rank 'em in this survey, too!

1. Chris Sale (Aug. 2010)

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2010 21 CHW AL 2 1 1.93 21 0 8 4 23.1 15 5 5 2 10 0 32 0 229 1.071 5.8 0.8 3.9 12.3 3.20
1 Season 2 1 1.93 21 0 8 4 23.1 15 5 5 2 10 0 32 0 229 1.071 5.8 0.8 3.9 12.3 3.20

 

Succeeded: Erick Threets

Redeeming points: Sale made Joe Mauer soil himself.

What was his problem? Quickly outgrew his role; he's too good to be second fiddle to any southpaw; his future should be in the rotation at some point.

Succeeded by: Undetermined

Star-divide

2. Clayton Richard (Aug. 2008 - May 2009)

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2008 24 CHW AL 2 5 6.04 13 8 0 0 47.2 61 37 32 5 13 2 29 0 76 1.552 11.5 0.9 2.5 5.5 2.23
2009 25 CHW AL 4 3 4.65 26 14 1 0 89.0 94 50 46 10 37 0 66 3 101 1.472 9.5 1.0 3.7 6.7 1.78
CHW (2 yrs) 6 8 5.14 39 22 1 0 136.2 155 87 78 15 50 2 95 3 91 1.500 10.2 1.0 3.3 6.3 1.90

Succeeded: Boone Logan

Redeeming points: Tough on lefties, but good enough to face righties as long as the game wasn't riding on it; able to work multiple innings.

What was his problem? He was better than a LOOGY from the start; got a second shot at starting and staked a claim in the rotation, first in Chicago, and then in San Diego.

Succeeded by: Aaron Poreda

Star-divide

3. Erick Threets (June 2010 - July 2010; Aug. 2010)

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2010 28 CHW AL 0 0 0.00 11 0 0 12.1 9 1 0 0 3 0 6 0 0.973 6.6 0.0 2.2 4.4 2.00
CHW (1 yr) 0 0 0.00 11 0 0 12.1 9 1 0 0 3 0 6 0 0.973 6.6 0.0 2.2 4.4 2.00

 

Succeeded: Randy Williams

Redeeming points: Aside from committing a three-base error on an errant pickoff throw that resulted in his only unearned run, Threets did everything asked of him.

What was his problem? Health. An arm injury prevented him from replacing Randy Williams earlier in the season, and then a torn UCL ended his White Sox career.

Succeeded by: Will Ohman

Star-divide

4. Boone Logan (April 2006 - May 2006; Sept. 2006 - Aug. 2008; Sept. 2008)

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2006 21 CHW AL 0 0 8.31 21 0 4 1 17.1 21 18 16 2 15 2 15 3 58 2.077 10.9 1.0 7.8 7.8 1.00
2007 22 CHW AL 2 1 4.97 68 0 13 0 50.2 59 30 28 7 20 3 35 0 95 1.559 10.5 1.2 3.6 6.2 1.75
2008 23 CHW AL 2 3 5.95 55 0 12 0 42.1 57 31 28 7 14 3 42 1 77 1.677 12.1 1.5 3.0 8.9 3.00
CHW (3 yrs) 4 4 5.87 144 0 29 1 110.1 137 79 72 16 49 8 92 4 80 1.686 11.2 1.3 4.0 7.5 1.88

Succeeded: Damaso Marte, Andy Sisco, Mike Myers

Redeeming points: Logan had the best stuff of any Sox LOOGY, and he maximized his potential during a 36-game run to start his 2008 season.

What was his problem? He was famously rushed from High-A to the big leagues when he impressed Sox coaches in an open LOOGY audition during spring training, and never fully developed; crashed and burned big-time after that aforementioned 36-game stretch.

Succeeded by: Neal Cotts, Andy Sisco, Mike Myers, Horacio Ramirez

Star-divide

5. Randy Williams (July 2009 - July 2010)

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 33 CHW AL 0 1 4.58 25 0 6 0 17.2 13 9 9 2 12 4 22 3 104 1.415 6.6 1.0 6.1 11.2 1.83
2010 34 CHW AL 0 1 5.40 27 0 2 0 25.0 37 17 15 2 21 6 22 3 82 2.320 13.3 0.7 7.6 7.9 1.05
CHW (2 yrs) 0 2 5.06 52 0 8 0 42.2 50 26 24 4 33 10 44 6 90 1.945 10.5 0.8 7.0 9.3 1.33

 

Succeeded: Aaron Poreda

Redeeming points: Williams succeeded in nine of 10 LOOGY-type situations in 2009, and earned his encore with a scoreless, walk-less spring training.

What was his problem? He showed while he was a journeyman with that franchise-worst WHIP in 2010, thanks in large part to Ozzie Guillen overusing him against righties.

Succeeded by: Erick Threets

Star-divide

6. Aaron Poreda (June 2009 - July 2009)

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 22 CHW AL 1 0 2.45 10 0 5 0 11.0 9 3 3 0 8 1 12 1 197 1.545 7.4 0.0 6.5 9.8 1.50
CHW (1 yr) 1 0 2.45 10 0 5 0 11.0 9 3 3 0 8 1 12 1 197 1.545 7.4 0.0 6.5 9.8 1.50

 

Succeeded: Jimmy Gobble

Redeeming points: Had a great fastball and had strikeout stuff, and picked up the win with a scoreless inning in his only high-leverage appearance in a White Sox uniform; good enough to be a main part in the Jake Peavy trade.

What was his problem? Control, and the lack of a second pitch; as wild as he was in Chicago, he's been way, way worse with the Padres.

Succeeded by: Randy Williams

Star-divide

7. Andy Sisco (April 2007 - May 2007)

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2007 24 CHW AL 0 1 8.36 19 0 6 0 14.0 19 13 13 2 11 0 13 1 57 2.143 12.2 1.3 7.1 8.4 1.18
CHW (1 yr) 0 1 8.36 19 0 6 0 14.0 19 13 13 2 11 0 13 1 57 2.143 12.2 1.3 7.1 8.4 1.18

Succeeded: Boone Logan.

Redeeming points: Sisco had a superficially successful April, and even with his subsequent struggles, he wasn't awful against lefties; comically large.

What was his problem? He cratered in May, and righties posted a .513 OBP against him; never could recover in Charlotte, and then underwent Tommy John surgery; former Royal.

Succeeded by: Boone Logan

Star-divide

8. Jimmy Gobble (May 2009 - July 2009)

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 27 CHW AL 0 0 7.50 12 0 3 0 12.0 14 10 10 3 7 1 10 2 64 1.750 10.5 2.3 5.3 7.5 1.43
CHW (1 yr) 0 0 7.50 12 0 3 0 12.0 14 10 10 3 7 1 10 2 64 1.750 10.5 2.3 5.3 7.5 1.43

 

Succeeded: Clayton Richard

Redeeming points: Lefties only hit .227 off Gobble; comical surname.

What was his problem? He faced more righties than lefties thanks to Guillen's usage of him, and righties were the equivalent of Albert Pujols; also a former Royal.

Succeeded by: Wes Whisler

Star-divide

9. Wes Whisler (June 2009)

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 26 CHW AL 0 0 13.50 3 0 2 0 1.1 0 2 2 0 3 0 2 0 43 2.250 0.0 0.0 20.3 13.5 0.67
1 Season 0 0 13.50 3 0 2 0 1.1 0 2 2 0 3 0 2 0 43 2.250 0.0 0.0 20.3 13.5 0.67

 

 

 

Succeeded: Jimmy Gobble

Redeeming points: Whisler held hitters to a .000 average.

What was his problem? He threw only 11 of his 30 big-league pitches for strikes; the least-talented pitcher of anybody on this list.

Succeeded by: Aaron Poreda

Star-divide

10. Mike Myers (Aug. 2007 - Sept. 2007)

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2007 38 CHW AL 1 0 11.20 17 0 3 0 13.2 21 19 17 3 7 2 6 1 43 2.049 13.8 2.0 4.6 4.0 0.86
CHW (1 yr) 1 0 11.20 17 0 3 0 13.2 21 19 17 3 7 2 6 1 43 2.049 13.8 2.0 4.6 4.0 0.86

 

Succeeded: Boone Logan

Redeeming points: The season was in ashes by the time Myers arrived to the scene; once again, he wasn't awful against lefties (.250 BAA, .250 SLG).

What was his problem? He was at the end of his career; faced as many righties as lefties, and righties murdered him (.452 BAA, 839 SLG). Sound familiar?

Succeeded by: Boone Logan

Star-divide

11. Horacio Ramirez (Aug. 2008 - Sept. 2008)

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP WP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2008 28 CHW AL 0 3 7.62 17 0 3 0 13.0 24 11 11 0 8 1 2 0 1 62 2.462 16.6 0.0 5.5 1.4 0.25
CHW (1 yr) 0 3 7.62 17 0 3 0 13.0 24 11 11 0 8 1 2 0 1 62 2.462 16.6 0.0 5.5 1.4 0.25

Succeeded: Boone Logan

Redeeming points: None.

What was his problem? Most specifically, lefties hit .500/.594/.538 in 33 plate appearances off Ramirez; also a former Royal.

Succeeded by: Clayton Richard

Star-divide

So that's the bad news, and that's why Will Ohman just signed the biggest contract of his life.

The good news is that Ohman is the first real investment the Sox have made in their fight against left-handed hitters. Andy Sisco cost more than anybody, and the Sox only lost the services of Ross Gload, who was a player I liked, but replaceable. It's unprecedented, which may mean Ohman will find a different course than his similarly handed predecessors.

And if nothing else, doesn't this make you appreciate Matt Thornton just a little bit more?

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