Sunday, June 08, 2003

Currently the White Sox are 27-34, third in the AL Central and 8.5 games back of the Minnesota Twins. Since I have been unable to post since April, there is a lot to talk about. The most obvious question is what went wrong. In this case there is an easy answer, the White Sox offense has been terrible. The White Sox have scored a dismal 3.86 runs per game, the only more inept offenses in baseball are the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

First baseman Paul Konerko and third baseman Joe Crede have been opposing pitchers' best friends. Lee Sinins created a statistic called runs created above average (RCAA) to measure how productive a player is compared to a league average player given the same number of plate appearances. According to RCAA as of June 1, Konerko and Crede are both the worst hitters in baseball at their positions. Sometime Sunday morning I will know if this remains the case. Either way the two have been terrible. They have been so bad that even ESPN has singled them out, rather than simply blaming things on Frank Thomas or Jerry Manuel. That takes work.

It only gets worse. As exceptionally bad as those two have been at the plate there is one position where the White Sox have been even worse: centerfield. White Sox centerfielders have been super-dee-duper blow your mind bad. White Sox centerfielders have a combined .250 on-base percentage and .246 slugging average.

No one player has gotten more than 30% of the playing time in centerfield due to a combination of atrocious hitting, atrocious defense and injuries. In desperation Magglio Ordonez got 14 plate appearances in center and responded with just four lousy singles. The "best" of the centerfielders has been Armando Rios who posted a .320 OBP and .354 SLG in 50 plate appearances. Rios is the example of atrocious defense. Coming into 2003 Rios had just six career games in center, all before a torn ACL last season.

How can the White Sox fix these offensive problems? Right now I would stick with Crede at third and Joe Borchard in center. They are the youngest and most talented options the Sox have at these postions. There is one third base option that has not been explored. That is Cliff Brumbaugh who has played mostly in the outfield for AAA Charlotte. He has a .387/.531 OBP/SLG and could be a helpful bat if Crede struggles through the All-star break.

Konerko I am more worried about. There are whispers that his degenerative hip condition is bothering him. That is the type of issue DL time will not fix. I am not sure what the answer is here but this is not the first time I am looking back at Konerko's contract extension and thinking it was a questionable move.

Blog News: Notice I'm updating. It's nice. I will start doing this on a regular basis next Friday when I'm done with exams and back home in Chicago. And I might be doing some other work writing on the Sox, more on that later. Wish me luck!