There really is no avoiding it. The adage of any ballplayer being in the best shape of his life is, perhaps, older than telling someone to wait ten minutes if they express distaste for the weather in Chicago. Initially I considered a roundup of fluffier-than-fluffy Spring Training quotes and stories, but the deluge of boring and banal was significant enough to shift my focus within minutes. Don't get me wrong; February is a fine time to ramp up optimistic speculation, especially with the White Sox team we will surely enjoy during 2011. For the most part, though, I'll leave the day-to-day (and hour-to-hour, really) Spring Training updates to current thread-goers and Twitter connoisseurs. Having said that, to borrow heavily from Larry David, we'll start with some Sox-centric stories of relative interest.
- Buehrle's retirement horse isn't dead, so we'll just beat it some more. Chuck Garfien talks with Buehrle about that and more.
- Scott Merkin assuages our hunger for updates. Though I've never set foot in the clubhouse, I particularly do not enjoy hearing that Ozzie manages by "gut feeling."
- Adam Dunn looks forward to the pressure of adjusting to both hitting in cold weather and his role as a DH.
- While The Dugout takes on the Buehrle/Vick situation with some humor, the Mariners segment is killer.
Alright, now to the meat of the links.
- From The Hardball Times, the all-minimum wage MLB team. A couple things: I think that is a heap of optimistic projection for most, if not all, of the players mentioned. The exercise doesn't seem to take any sort of adjustment by opposing pitchers or hitters into account. Those projected wins are insane! Also, the author, Brad Johnson, sets the minimum bar at one game played at the major-league level; that seems a tad low, though it was his article, not mine. Lastly, I was surprised by the depressed wOBA across the majors in 2010 (.318 in the NL, .324 for the AL).
- Related to that decline in wOBA, 2010 may not have been the Year of the Pitcher, but it was the Year of the Pitching Performance (via Fangraphs).
- Also from Fangraphs, and not meant to step on U-God's toes, Gordon Beckham stacks up well against other AL Central second basemen.
- Sorry, U-God, can't help myself: here's the positional battle tracker for the AL Central, too.
- Oh, the middle-of-the-order protection that Dunn brings to the table? Let's put it to bed for good; it doesn't exist. (h/t Chiburb)
- A good summary of the Twins' offseason. If you're one of those dreaded 'Chicago fans,' here's your damn North Siders article of the same nature. Jarek Wysocki would not be proud.
- Tangotiger does a study on the reliability of projection systems. Chone wins (kind of)! It's more in-depth than I can really expand upon, but I will say I was fairly surprised by the accuracy of all involved.
- Also from the department of numbers I think you should see, here's a look at success rates of top prospects, 1990-2003. It's a fantastic piece; I posit that there exists an inverse relationship between the quality of a ballclub and the quality of articles about said ballclub. Except in Chicago.
- Finally, any iPad users out there? This app is so good looking. Buy it, use it, and impress us all at the meet-up.