Picking up runs on basepaths not a quick fix for White Sox
Rising out of the discussion in the previous thread, I found this salient piece by Dan Fox over at BP. He compares the Baseball Info Solutions baserunning data with that of Baseball Prospectus. Not surprisingly, the White Sox end up near the bottom of each measure.
Complicating the Sox problems, I think they would come out near the bottom of a defensive version of this list -- a list that examines a teams ability to prevent opponents from advancing on the basepaths.
These issues aren't going to change quickly. With Juan Uribe and Josh Crede (purposeful misspelling) tentatively holding down the left side of the infield, the only area to upgrade is LF and CF, which coincidently housed the White Sox best baserunners last season.
Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, AJ Pierzynski, and Jim Thome (the team's 3-6/7 hitters) are all on the wrong side of 30 and locked up for at least 2 more seasons. A marginal improvement from the 5 remaining positions is likely to be offset by the continued deterioration of these old sluggers skills.
Over at SI, Tom Verducci examines how Kevin Towers has been able to build such a consistently excellent (ok, good) bullpen. The guidelines are simple:
- Look for failing starters in other organizations, especially strike-throwers.
- Don't just drop somebody into the eighth inning
- Look for pitchers with deception in their delivery or repertoire
- Stay away from the top end of the reliever free-agent market