The Podsednik Paradox: Introduction

As I started to write a eulogy for the recently departed Scott Podsednik, I matter-of-factly included a reference to the disparities in the White Sox’s records when Podsednik started, and when he didn’t:

  • 2005
    • With Pods: 80-44
    • Without Pods: 19-19
  • 2006
    • With Pods: 75-46
    • Without Pods: 15-26
  • 2007
    • With Pods: 31-25
    • Without Pods: 41-65
  • Total
    • With Pods: 186-115 (.618)
    • Without Pods: 75-110 (.405)

It’s quite a bizarre phenomenon.  Podsednik posted a line of .270/.333/.354 in his White Sox career, during which he was rarely 100 percent, played horsesh-it defense at times (his word, not mine), and proved that speed does indeed slump — and yet the results indicate that the team was far more of a mess without him.
So rather than refer to it as some sort of solid gauge of his worth, I figured I’d try my best to look into it and see what were the real causes for the vast difference in the Sox’s performances.
(Disclaimer: I’m not a scientist, and, like everything else on this site, it’s done in my spare time, so this is going to be seat-of-the-pants research.  Feel free to point out flaws or any ways I could possibly improve it as it goes on.)
I’ll focus mainly on three areas:
No. 1: The replacements. The various dreck that took Podsednik’s place during his slumps and injuries.
No. 2: Opposing pitchers. The Sox have struggled against left-handers for some time now, and with Pods being a lefty, he may have been out for a considerable amount of those losses.
No. 3: Concurrent streaks, slumps and injuries. To see how well Pods timed his time off.
I’m not sure if anything will come of it, but considering we’re smack in the middle of the offseason, it will at least give us something to talk about.

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