Out with the old, down with the new

Harold Baines drops off the Hall of Fame ballot, and another list isn't much kinder to White Sox prospects.

Harold Baines, who had clung tenaciously to the bottom of the Hall of Fame ballot for five years, fell two votes short of making it to No. 6. He amassed just 28 out of 581 votes (4.8 percent), after getting 6.1 percent of the votes the previous year.
At least another White Sox, Tim Raines continued his climb onward and upward, reaching 37.5 percent this season. At this pace, the Cooperstown will have at least one former White Sox first base coach in its hallowed Hall by the end of the decade. Perhaps earlier, if he draft behind the steroid users and slingshot past them when Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens hit the shore.
John Sickels released his list of top 20 White Sox prospects, and Phil Rogers has company. Tyler Flowers ranks in “C” territory, which puts him at No. 18 in a farm system that, as Sickels says, “is not in good condition.” His comment suggests that he might find his true talent level in between 2009 and 2010, but that’s a pretty large range.
Not that it matters much, but I’d still probably give him a C+, at least in a world where Mike Blanke gets that grade. I think Charles Leesman could also stand to improve a half-grade, as I’m willing to weigh his very good Birmingham performance more heavily than his inconsistent stint in Winston-Salem.
On the positive side, Dayan Viciedo has won him over — at least somewhat — thanks to his major-league performance. It’s fun to track his path using Sickels’ comments from 2009, 2010 and 2011 comments are striking:
2009: Wild guess on grade and rating. Scouting reports indicate Angel Villalona type, but who knows?
2010: Cutting him some slack since he was young for Double-A and was pushed fast, but this is a good example of why we need performance data rather than just hype and team propaganda/scouting reports when evaluating players.
2011: I respect the fact that he can hit decently with plate discipline this bad, but I expect that he will be streaky.
Progress! And it’s a good thing Viciedo hasn’t followed in Villalona’s footsteps, because when you Google him, the first result is the headline:

Giants prospect still hopes to beat murder charge

This list probably won’t get much better next year, considering the Sox lost their first-round pick to sign Adam Dunn. However, they have done more with less, and they seem to make trades when they have more, anyway.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Yeah, that grade for Flowers is a little harsh considering his 2006-2009 performances.


I like his ABC grading system. It’s very clear and it puts guys in good perspective considering how many guys from the minors actually stick in the majors.
The Sox set of prospects is sad but true.


A number of our our higher picks have missed significant development time:
2009 1st round – Jared Mitchell (ankle)
2009 1st round supplemental – Josh Phegley (blood disorder)
2009 2nd round – Trayce Thompson (broken finger)
2010 3rd round supplemental – Thomas Royse (Tommy John surgery)
I’m willing to wait on these guys before I enter the jury room.


I guess Sox Machine is just about “ovah”. Wanted to thank you Jom for all the great work since I started following your blog about 18 months ago. It has been a great site and I will miss it.
I’ve been reading your posts on SSS — and will continue to keep track. I think the other guys writing on SSS are fine, though the thing I really liked about SM was that it was quality over quantity. I was happy there wasn’t a new post every day — especially in the slow period of the off-season.
The other thing I will sincerely miss is SM’s consistency in terms of point of view. It felt that Sox Machine was one, long, ongoing and damned interesting dialogue or discussion. I certainly learned a lot from you about the game, stats, etc. — ditto to many of the posters to the site — even some I didn’t always agree with.
But progress is progress I guess and I wish you all the future success.


Sox Machine > Not paid
SSS > Paid
To paraphrase Sox broadcaster Darren Jackson “This choice isn’t exactly rocket surgery.”
Many thanks, Jim.
And be well.


When the sports writers decided not to vote in Nellie Fox is when I came to the conclusion that they all a bunch of f&*^kin idiots and the Hall of Fame is nothing but a farce. Harold Baines is one of the best clutch hitters ever and I can’t understand how someone who is around baseball everyday can’t see that.


Jim – I will miss Sox Machine very much. Thanks for providing us with more great commentary and detail on the Sox than anyone.
What I find difficult on SSS is the quantity of comments. It’s humongous!!


Good article on the Ohman to Sale effect on SSS. I sifted through the comments below the article on SSS, which became a prime example of why I have not and will not bother posting there. After Jim’s article, there was about two dozen posts related to some “night out with the boys” that the SSSers participated in. Clearly it had nothing to do with me or the article and was both alienating and a waste of time. Trying to pick up the actual comments on the story itself was fragmented and difficult — and it just didn’t seem all that important to anyone.
I remember one of the SSS people boasting about how friendships have been formed on that site. I’m all for that and actually, I think it’s pretty cool. But it would be much cooler if all that insider “when’s the next outing” stuff were relegated to someone’s Facebook account rather than cluttering up an already busy and overloaded site.
An any rate, I’ve said my piece and then some on the subject and, the bottom line is that Jim deserves just compensation for his time and his insights. I only wish that could have happened within the confines of Sox Machine. I wouldn’t have cared about banner ads and such — they are easily ignored. But the personal chatter on SSS isn’t.