April's (S)mall (S)ample (S)ize Review

Okay we get it. It's been hammered into this community all too well. It's been justified (sorry timberlake). It's been mocked and it's been plainly well-explained. If it weren't we'd know that:

-Paul Konerko will hit 80 homers this season - really he will.

-Robinson Cano is the best hitter in the game.

-Livan Hernandez will challenge Tim Lincecum and Roy Halladay for NL Cy Young

Now Kong will hit his dingers, Cano is actually very good and Livan maybe drank an elixir, BUT I'd give 1,000 to 1 odds right now that not 1 of those things above will remain true. Okay maybe not 1,000 to 1. Cano kind of scares me. Of course SSS doesn't erase or soothe the feelings of being 6 games back in the standings. Bet somebody 10 dollars a coin flip. Go down 60 bucks quickly and let them talk about sample size.

Over the next couple weeks I'm sure Cheat and Jim from Sox Machine will lay out in eloquent prose the mistakes of the roster. Things like "why the f*$# don't we have a DH" or "why is Pierre in the leadoff position?" The pieces will all be right of course. SSS however has a different purpose. It's to let us know that 6 games is not the end of the world, not some insurmountable objective. Lord knows the Sox have blown a couple of 6 game leads in recent memory. As before this wasn't created to serve as a new source of enlightenment. We have other rock star posts for that; rather its just a spot to put some quick numbers together for your viewing pleasure.

Record 9-14

RS 92

RA 111

2009 (12-10 101 RS/101 RA)

About 10 runs scored and given up less than last year at this time.



April & YTD numbers

.223/.308/.390 team wOBA .313

.698 OPS (9th in AL)

3.6 (11th in AL)

Yikes. Now we've talked a little about this just being a bit of bad luck. The team's BABIP stands now at .225 with the next closest at .263. I understand the trend can't continue but damn. Remember those coin flips? Waiting for regression to the mean can sometimes be both expensive and frustrating. Yes the team is 2nd in home runs but they're last in doubles. Dead last. I know hitting coaches don't blah blah blah. I don't care. Fire his ass. When the eventual turn around happens "insert name here" gets the credit, until we call for his head next year.

DH- Ummm. I give up and I'm confused.

1B- Konerko .293/.413/.784 wOBA .483. No, that's not a misprint. People his BABIP is .193. 15 walks - 8 ks? Well on his way to a decent last contract. Just not here.

2B- Beckham .235/.315/.321 wOBA .289. Gordon, where is the power?

SS- Alexei .221/.231/.312 wOBA .242. Another April + more struggles = promotion to the leadoff spot for lefties?

3B- Teabag .250/.357/.417 wOBA .340. Whew. That was close. Admit it you were scared as hell. 28.3 LD%

CF- Rios .277/.326/.470 wOBA .357. 5 swings. That's all it took. Remember that mumbo jumbo? Well Sox Machine showed us it was a lot more than that. Rios seems motivated and focused.

RF-Quentin .187/.319/.413 wOBA .323. Oh superman. I feel like Samuel Jackson killing his old partner Deniro in Jackie Brown. "What happened to you man? You used to be beautiful." The ring leader in low BABIP. Try .169 on for size. At the end of the month, he showed signs of life. I'm confident Q will be fine overall but 08 seems like a lifetime ago.

LF/DH-Pierre .193/.260/.193 wOBA .226. Did you ever think you would miss Pods?

C- AJ .169/.229/.200 wOBA .203. Somehow AJ managed to do WORSE than Pierre's month. Flowers waits in the wings and, with all this 10-5 talk, people dare to dream. Who the hell would trade for him? AJ's numbers will turn around but until they do, we have the great Donny Lucy (wOBA .509).

DH-LF-RF- A Jones .259/.394/.630 wOBA .447. Jim Thome? Seriously more than a nice surprise. The pleasant aroma of a chicken pot pie. Lots of Ks but we relish the power and he's paid for his contract 4 or 5 times already.

Bench- Kotsay, Visquel, Nix - Literally. Bench them. Nothing to see here move on. Kotsay has been bad (.497 OPS) and probably has taken more abuse than warranted in terms of the failures of the early season. Omar has no business ever hitting at the top of the lineup.

In all honesty, if Jones remains a real major league hitter, the lineup will probably have a good month in May. That doesn't mean they couldn't use another bat but it would be nice if your expected ones got going. A trade is unlikely before June anyway.



Team ERA 4.57 (10th in AL)/ FIP 3.81 (2nd in AL)

K/9- 7.99 very good.

B/9- 4.3 not very good

HR/9- .70 1st in AL

Can the pitching in April be summed up with 2 words? Walks and defense. Why walks first? A team that leads its league in strikeouts and limits HR is a good bet for a stellar ERA. Yes, defense can do you in, but that's the point of strikeouts. Give free passes and pair that up with the worse LOB% (66%) in the AL and you end up with a 4.57 ERA.

Starting staff

           ERA      FIP      K/9    BB/9
Danks     1.55     2.81     8.07    1.86
Floyd     6.39     3.69     7.86    3.69
Buehrle   4.68     3.91     3.58    2.48
Garcia    5.87     5.69     5.48    9.70
Peavy     7.85     5.77     6.91    6.28

Danks- Gee John why not tell us what you really think about not signing a long term deal yet. All factors above average. If you look at his career arc it's been steady with the only bump being the 2nd half circulation problem which raised a few eyebrows. Still early but remember the debate on Danks progression?

Floyd- Well my pick for the best year has started a bit rough. A .369 BABIP against will do that to you. No worries. A few less walks would be nice but Floyd's numbers will soon correct themselves

Buehrle- Screw you Mark. You are the reason we feel the way we do. I mean 6-0 shut out to start the season and then the rest of April. Ks are down and walks are up. Oddly enough his FIP is "lower" than his ERA. That never happens.

Garcia- Ugly peripheral numbers but aided by a .216 BABIP. The Sox had a very good chance to win 3 of his 4 starts but he hasn't had much run support. Watch that 1.57 hr/9, it's not warm yet. I still feel 10x better about Garcia than Colon at this time, even if Colon's results were slightly prettier. Fine as a five.

Peavy- Oh boy. Well one of these kids has not done much right at all. He has almost as many walks as ks. That's fine if you're a knuckleballer but you're Jake freaking Peavy. Why couldn't he save those final 3 games of last year? We'll give him a mulligan for April but he has to shape up. The Sox have zero chance without him producing. Somewhere the central division foes laugh.

The Big 5

             ERA    FIP      K/9   BB/9     LOB%
Jenks       5.00   1.97    14.00   6.00    70.6%
Thornton    3.09   0.77    13.89   1.54    63.6%
Putz        3.52   2.43    14.09   2.35    81.4% 
Santos      0.00   1.93    11.42   4.15     100% 
Linebrink   1.13   1.46    12.38   3.38    83.3%

By the time I went to press (always wanted to say that) Linebrink was not Linebrink. This is April folks.

Look at the FIPs and Ks per 9. Easy to see why Ozzie is excited about the bullpen. Jenks has a .492 BABIP against so scary 9ths aside he's shown very good stuff. Leads should be safe with this group moving forward, even though they have had a bit of trouble early on. Thornton pitches a lot. I applaud that. I LOVE SERGIO SANTOS. Putz seems to have rebounded.

The rest

Pena- ERA 4.22/FIP 4.86- Been sort of forced into the extended role. 2nd to Thornton in relief innings. Tony is still maddening as he has all the tools for dominance but never seems to get there. 6.75 bb/9 tends to do that.

R Williams- ERA 4.66/FIP 5.56- Speaking of walks. 13.03 per 9. Not a fan. Ozzie won't be either if he continues walking the bases loaded.

Overall a very good bullpen. If the starting staff can get on a roll, pitching will be very fun to watch.



All these numbers are subject to classic SSS and wild swings but there is a reason the pitching staff has the highest positive margin between real ERA and FIP (.75)

Defense efficiency was .701. Solid in the middle of the AL. You can't tell anything from UZR for a predictive nature but again there is value in knowing the results.

-7.8 UZR (last in AL)

-12.1 UZR (next to last)

Noteworthy: Rios is really good (2.1) and Quentin is really bad (-3.4). In fact Q has looked downright scary out there and I'm concerned he honestly will hurt himself. I'd change my opinion and demand he dh but that would put Pierre more in the field. Beckham (1.9) seems to be adjusting nicely and not letting his struggles at the plate carry over to the field. Teahen is predictably bad (-2.8). He cannot play 3b for 3 years. He may not want to hear it but the best solution is moving Teabag to RF, Jones in left and trading for a defensive 3b. I know the staff would like it. Okay I'll wake up now.


Team Base Running

Per BP the team’s Equivalent Base Running Runs (EqBrr)

The White Sox rank 10th with an aggregate score of .5.

As promised, more running. The Sox swiped 26 bases. 1st in the AL besting the Rays. They were cut down 9 times for a 74% success rate. I can live with that, especially if the team refuses to hit more doubles. Looks like Rios prefers the 50 stolen bases instead.

Team leader is Quentin (+1.2). Am I the only one that noticed that he actually does look good on the bases? Alexei (1.0)

Team anchors Pierre (-1.0). In all fairness caught steals really hurt your score but it's been mentioned before Pierre looks a step slow.


Well those are the quick highlights. Disappointing start. Kenwo even managed to shut me up for a bit. My grade would be a D+. Free free to add your own observations. This would all be worse if the Twins had not cooled down a bit, but for some strange reason everyone ignores the Tigers.

Another thing, look at the schedules. The Twins May and June I think is a bit tougher than the Sox and Detroit's May is brutal. An opportunity is there. At least to win the "within" 3 games back poll.

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