Survey: Chicago White Sox 2018 1st Half Grades

Tonight will mark the halfway point of this 2018 season. A good opportunity to think about what has transpired this first half, how you feel about the current team and the future for this franchise, and who you think was the best position player and pitcher for the first 81 games.

Below is the survey form. Submissions will be taken until Sunday, July 1st 8 pm CT as the results will be shared on Monday’s Sox Machine Podcast.

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  • Josh Nelson

    Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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evenyoudorn

Cool idea, thanks.  I gave Tim, Yolmer and Shields As.  Outfield only F.  “No” to all the promotions and trades.  “Over.”

zerobs

I’m with you on the trades and promotions because they go hand-in-hand. I don’t see Kopech getting called up before September because he’s not on the 40-man. There’s only 10 players on the 40-man worth counting on for 2020 so the trade interest in the other 30 is close to nil, but most of them would be useful bench pieces for contenders. For all the trouble Boston has at second base, you’d think they’d offer a B+ prospect for Yolmer.

sgp2204

Does Boston even have a B+ prospect?

PauliePaulie

Most curious to hear how people are grading Renteria. Overall mood toward him SEEMS to have shifted from last season.

seven11

I felt generous giving him a D.

Lurker Laura

I find myself wishing “incomplete” was an option.

joewho112

Given I am not privy to all the stuff he does behind the scenes, I basically just graded him based on the lineup card and bullpen usage. Lineup card is fine, bullpen usage not so much

Patrick Nolan

He gets an F. The only reason to not give him an F would be for the things we can’t see. It’s worth noting that the things we can’t see are things that Robin Ventura was given credit for until 2016, when it became very publicly clear that he was not actually good at them.

Trooper Galactus

There are times when I feel like Renteria is basically Ventura with an appealing personality.

evenyoudorn

…and Robin scratches the last remaining “Strength” off of his job application.

Eagle Bones

…who speaks spanish

seven11

we’d be better off if the players couldn’t understand him.

35Shields

Despite his language skills, I certainly can’t

lil jimmy

I didn’t give any F’s. So that’s something.

Lurker Laura

I came very close on that outfield. Decided, like many of my kid’s teachers this year, to give them one extra point for trying hard.

Greg Nix

Injuries + incompetence = F from me. 

35Shields

Being the worst outfield in baseball earns a solid F from me.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I gave the outfield an F, and I think an F for the team overall. If the worst record in franchise history doesn’t earn an F, I don’t know what does.

Patrick Nolan

They fielded the worst outfield that I’ve ever seen for two whole months. If you couldn’t give this outfield an F, an F is not attainable.

Reindeer Games

yeah, but Daniel Palka is the man, so I bumped it up to a D

Patrick Nolan

Daniel Palka sucks.

Thank you. I know his name and game make us nostalgic for Dan Pasqua, but come on.

Amar

You know F is for fail, right?

asinwreck

Given the record, the sole F for the outfield isn’t too bad. Can the letter grade for the bullpen be changed to a doctor’s note specifying accommodations for bipolar disorder?

lil jimmy

2nd-rder Steele Walker signs w/@whitesox for $2 million (pick 46 value = $1,566,100). Oklahoma OF
So, that’s nice

sgp2204

Very nice. And I’m assuming Madrigal will be coming aboard shortly. 

asinwreck

Yeah, this clearly is a case of coordinated bonuses for the top picks after Oregon State won the CWS yesterday. Does Walker start at Kannapolis or get a chance to just go nuts on Pioneer League pitching?

NDSox12

Maybe a few games in Arizona or Great Falls to get his feet wet (like Gavin Sheets last year), but I assume he’ll spend most of the remainder of the season in Kannapolis.

lil jimmy

Kanny can use the help. They got coal in their stockings with the recent promotions.

lil jimmy

“The Sox have indicated Walker likely starts in Great Falls, but this is not official yet.”

sgp2204

For being someone that’s generally optimistic about the Sox, I feel like I gave out a shocking amount of C’s and below. 

ForsterFTOG

Nothing above a C. Nothing below a D. Could’ve been mostly F’s but I graded on a curve.

Greg Nix

You gave Abreu, Yolmer, and Timmy C’s? Yeesh. Glad you weren’t my teacher. 

Reindeer Games

I gave Abreu a B and said he’s been the best, but I don’t understand how Yolmer deserves anything less than an A.  There’s a curve based on expectations and Yolmer has far exceeded his.  

As Cirensica

Abreu hasn’t actually been that great. I gave him a C, I think. There is a lot of a hoopla about a 0.7 fWAR player among the fan base. I still love Abreu, and I wish him to not be traded, but most of his offensive numbers are down.

Reindeer Games

HIs rough June and bad defense certainly didn’t help

Patrick Nolan

He has a wRC+ of 94. Let’s not hand out ‘A’s for that.

Also, it’s exactly the same as his wRC+ from last year, so I have no idea how you could say that it’s an ‘A’ due to exceeding expectations.

35Shields

I think that going into this season expectations for Yolmer should have been below replicating his best season to date. He was projected to have between 1.0 WAR (Steamer) and 1.4 WAR (ZiPS).

He has replicated that season and is on pace to having two seasons as either an average third baseman (3.3 fWAR in 1.5 seasons) or an under-rated star (5.3 bWAR in 1.5 seasons).

I guess we could quibble over whether he’s exceeded them enough to justify an A instead of a B. But I think it’s definitely fair to say he’s exceeded expectations.

Patrick Nolan

Sure, maybe modestly. I gave him a B largely for the reasons you stated.

evenyoudorn

Noob metrics question, but wRC+ is position adjusted, or not? In the spirit of “things he can control” I don’t penalize Yolmer for being at 3rd instead of second or short and having to slug with Ramirez and Arenado and stuff. Is it possible to know how he’d grade out if at a premium defensive spot?

If this is all N/A for the given stat then please disregard the above.

Alternate comment:
He rounds up to an A because of the good times.

Patrick Nolan

Nope — wRC+ has no position adjustment.

evenyoudorn

Very well, thank you. I think we should DFA Yolmer Sanchez.

Trooper Galactus

Flagged.

Patrick Nolan

You’re on SoxMachine now. The term is “Downvoted” (without actually pushing the ‘Vote Down’ button).

lil jimmy

So, I’m guessing you are the”Lucy” in this version of Peanuts?

lil jimmy

No soup for Yolmer!!!

karkovice squad

I’d rather grade them against the league. Anderson’s probably had the best half but pulls a B because of the competition at SS. Moncada gets a B+ because it’s a thinner position. Yolmer and Abreu end up B/B-.

Amar

I gave them Bs 

Anohito

Harsh but fair. Outfield gets F. Ricky and Moncada get Ds. Overall Sox get D though it should probably be F but there are some redeeming features. I even gave Yolmer a B even though I love him like an A.

Right Size Wrong Shape

D for Moncada seems pretty harsh.

35Shields

Seriously. He’s got ~1 WAR now. Finishing with ~2 WAR seems like a fine rookie season. Not incredible, but it seems like it should at least be a “C – meets expectations”

Anohito

I guess it’s my own personal disappointment in how he was a supposed #1 overall prospect and also what looked like him finding things towards the end of last season. Also his Ks and errors are simply staggering. I still root for him to get it all together of course but for this 1st half it hasn’t been pretty…

Milky✌️

Yeah I went D as well, for those reasons. Maybe it’s harsh given his overall value, but he’s been brutal to watch so far. I invite him to make me eat those words in the second half.

Patrick Nolan

Yeah. I went ‘C’ there.

35Shields

Timmy: A – exceeded mild expectations, best position player
Yolmer: A – exceeded mild expectations
Moncada: B – failed to meet high expectations, met mild expectations
Abreu: B – failed to meet high expectations, bonus points for leadership
Davidson: B – exceeded low expectations

Outfield: F – worst in baseball
Starters: D – would’ve been an F if not for Covey and Rodon making the current rotation fairly watchable, despite not being great
Bullpen: C – Not great overall stats, but solid performances by Fry and Bummer as well as a few potential trade chips.
Catchers: F – either being really bad or cheating is not a recipe for success

Jason.Wade17

White Sox catchers are top 10 in fWar. Sure framing numbers would also knock them down a peg or two, but they have been league average hitting. Hard to see them deserve an F.

35Shields

The Framing numbers knock them down a lot of pegs. They’ve been the worst defensive unit in baseball: -16.3 FRAA. As a unit, they’ve been worth 0.1 WARP.

Add in that one of the catchers, to whom the White Sox have committed over $10m to, is a cheating scumbag and I think that definitely gets you to an F.

evenyoudorn

Ha, scumbag? C’mon now. Quintana, Kopech… I mean, it’s not like he’s Jarrod Dyson. /shudder

35Shields

I’ll admit I’m inconsistent, but it definitely bothers me way more when someone does it while on my team.

Lurker Laura

I think I gave the catchers a D. F for Castillo, C for Smith, D for Narvaez, and there’s your D average.

L2R

Sound logic except that, if the outfield = F, then Castillo has to be F squared. Castillo + Smith + Narvaez has to equal F where catchers = outfield.

Patrick Nolan

In fairness, if Welington Castillo gets an F-squared for getting suspended, Trayce Thompson should get an F-squared for not getting suspended.

KenWo4LiFe

Castillo has been the best of them by far.

Jason.Wade17

Understood, the defensive numbers are bad, if not terrible. However, you seem to weight everyone else on a curve based on expectations. Minus the Castillo suspension, I think they’ve been about as expected and so far hit good enough, which is why I went with C or something (I forget).

Also, I like Bpro’s numbers in a vacuum, but I still think WARP is severely flawed. Maybe some of it’s from lack of knowing their calc’s, but mostly it just doesn’t pass the eye test. Unless of course you believe Gordon Beckham (.09 WARP) is actually more valuable than Moncada (.06 WARP).

L2R

Much of that was provided by Castillo who is no longer here. Grading them against their own abilities would provide decent grades. Grading them on what our young pitchers need, it’s a D or lower. We need a good veteran to help the youth movement.

Lurker Laura

Thanks for the post, Josh. It’s been useful in avoiding work on a Friday 🙂

ParisSox

I avoided the post (but not the comments) because it reminded me of performance reviews, of which I violently detest AND summarily reject.   

ParisSox

Touché

Patrick Nolan

Grades:

Overall: D
Confidence: 3/5
Renteria: F
Best position player: Anderson
Best pitcher: Covey. This was tough due to lower volume but he’s the only one who’s been above-average on a per-start basis

Catchers: D
Abreu: B
Moncada: C
Anderson: A
Sanchez: B
Davidson: B
Outfield: F-
Starting Pitchers: F
Bullpen: C (I put D, but should have put C)
Shields Trade: Yes
Cedeno Trade: No
Abreu Trade: No
Eloy Call-up: Yes
Kopech Call-up: Yes
O/U 30.5 wins: Over
Heavy Spenders: Yes

Patrick Nolan

I have the least conviction in that answer of any of the rest of them. Still, I lean that way because if they aren’t willing to go balls out in free agency, I can’t help but question what the point of all this was.

Amar

Re Covey, it was the low innings total which justified my vote for Shields instead.

Lurker Laura

Unbelievably, I voted for Shields as well.

Milky✌️

If Covey had been doing his thing longer, he’s easily the pick. But yeah, had to go Shields. That’s a thing.

L2R

All in with your picks except the spending part. If they determine that 2019 will better reflect a so-called year 2 rebuild and this year was a set back, then they will simply say that it makes no sense to spend now when it is taking longer to develop the talent.

GrinnellSteve

Despite some hopeful moments, this season has been an asteroid strike. Dinosaurs are dying all around me. I gave it an F. Of course, I had high expectations, but I tried to grade not on a curve but on actual performance.

I gave the outfield an F, the rotation a D, the bullpen a C, the catching a D or F (don’t remember), all the infielders a B, and Ricky a C.

I’ve had a lot of questions about Ricky’s decision making, but I suspect he’s good in the clubhouse.

I said no to the trades, though I think Shields will be dealt at some point. I said yes to the call ups, but the season has been such a disaster that I could see them stashing those guys in Charlotte until September.

Finally, I don’t see a lot of money being spent this winter. I find that more disheartening than anything else about this season. They haven’t learned enough about what they have to know what they need. They haven’t played well enough to make themselves attractive to premium free agents without making gross overpays. They haven’t created a shred of momentum toward igniting the fan base and justifying the added payroll that would come from signing a big name or two.

ParisSox

Save your disheartenement (?) for stuff that actually happened rather than what might not happen.    You’ll live longer.  

lastof12

The only answer I’m sure of is giving myself an F on fan participation. That said, I’m looking forward to the young ‘uns getting called up.

lastof12

Oh, and thanks for doing this Josh.

Amar

I can’t believe I voted Shields as best pitcher. 

lil jimmy

Jace Fry for me. If the plan is to develop the young’ins, they developed the shit out of him.

Marty34

Gave Moncada an F because he does something off the chart awful either at the plate or in the field on a regular basis. He looks alarmingly overmatched at this level.

With the amount of called strikes he takes there’s no way he can be seeing the ball well. I’d like to see him move closer to the plate and open up his stance a bit so he can get a cleaner view of the pitch.

sgp2204

Lol. You’ve got some pretty lofty expectations for a 23 year old if you gave Moncada an F.

jorta

Not sure I have the statistical chops to formally answer. I’m enjoying what I can. I hope they’ll individually put something together by August and still have gas a fair way into September. Shields is the best pitcher. Yolmer ought to be the last all-star subbed in for whomever can’t be there. We might see Kopech to clear the way for Eloy’s rookie-of-the-year bid next season. Eh, why not?

Why yes, you can have some of what I’m smoking. There was actually a sale on the stuff today.