Following up: Jose Abreu drops a name in quest to stay

As the old saying goes, Jose Abreu’s August excursion to Minneapolis was indeed more fun than a strangled testicle.

Abreu went 5-for-12 with two homers, a double and seven RBIs in the series victory, which keeps his August OPS above 1.000. This resurgence helps relieve some of the apprehension of the White Sox getting too attached to Abreu, because if you can trust Abreu’s account, that’s what’s happening.

‘‘Jerry several times has told me and my family that I am not going to wear a jersey other than a White Sox jersey,’’ Abreu told the Sun-Times through a translator Wednesday. ‘‘I believe him; I believe in his word. And, like I said, I’m very happy with and loyal to this organization. Hopefully everything is going to pan out.’’

Abreu’s ardor for remaining a White Sox is appreciable and worth appreciating, but I guess we should’ve expected it to be contaminated by the White Sox-specific weirdness that has made a mess of previous decision-making processes. Nothing gold can stay and whatnot.

The White Sox aren’t good at goodbye, but they do love themselves a party. On Sox Machine Live, I said I could picture the White Sox making a ceremony of extending Abreu during the final series of the season, so I may as well put that prediction in writing.

* * * * * * * * *

Speaking of parties, if it looked like Lucas Giolito was having himself a grand old time while shutting out the Minnesota Twins, you’d be correct. He mixed business with pleasure while constructing his three-hitter, and it sounds like he’s beginning to trust his place in the game.

“I’m a big caffeine guy,” Giolito said. “Getting my Red Bulls in and kind of bouncing around the dugout. I used to like, all (through) coming up as a kid and in the minor leagues, I would take everything so seriously and I would sit there and think and be on the bench in between innings and I realized: why do that? Why not be myself at all times? And that’s usually dancing around, bouncing around, acting like a you know…acting a little crazy sometimes. I like to stay with myself when I’m out there doing my thing.”

Speaking of his place, here’s where Giolito stands among qualified American League starters:

  • Wins: 14 (t-3rd)
  • ERA: 3.20 (7th)
  • IP: 151.2 (15th)
  • Strikeouts: 194 (6th)
  • bWAR: 5.3 (4th)
  • fWAR: 4.7 (3rd)
  • FIP: 3.10 (4th)
  • WARP: 4.5 (5th)
  • DRA: 3.10 (5th)*

(Deserved Run Average seems like it’s a worthy look when it involves the top of the leaderboard, but the updated column says Reynaldo Lopez’s DRA is 7.02 and Iván Nova’s is 6.80. I had no idea meatball algorithms existed.)

When assessing his chances at Cy Young consideration, Giolito’s kinda like a team that’s only three games out of the second wild card. He can technically close the amount of distance between him and the top of the American League, but he’s going to need some help from the cluster of pitchers in between. The pool of legit Cy Young candidates includes Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, Lance Lynn, Mike Minor and Shane Bieber, and Giolito is missing two starts on the competition due to his early season hamstring injury.

That said, he’s already won. The fact that he’s even in the conversation after his 2018 season makes a previously unthinkable Cy Young quest not worth overthinking.

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Yes to Gialito bouncing around like a kid/himself. Yes to extending Jose. And yes to Skanberg, he’s terrific, indeed.


I can’t imagine the list of guys who went from “worst starter in the league” to “receiving Cy Young award votes” the very next year is a long one.


Yeah, I’m sure the b-ref literate people would know a way to search this, but the one that was halfway close that popped into my head was Steve Avery’s first two (at a younger age obv):
1990= 3-11 with a 5.64 ERA and -1.5 bWAR
1991= 18-8 with a 3.38 ERA and 5.2 bWAR (6th in CY)

karkovice squad

Chris Carpenter 2002, 5.28 ERA and shoulder surgery. Missed 2003. 2004, 3.46 ERA and 15 wins. CY 2005.

karkovice squad

Mark Mulder 2000: 5.44 ERA in 27 starts. 2001: 3.45 ERA, 21 wins, CY runner-up.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Jose Contreras 2004: 5.50 ERA in 31 games. 2005: 3.61 ERA, 27th in MVP voting.

I like a lot of these names…

Right Size Wrong Shape

Guy traded for Contreras, Esteban Loaiza, 2002: 25 starts, 5.71 ERA, 2003: 2.90 ERA, second in Cy Young voting.

lil jimmy

2.90 ERA, how many Kilos is that?


Rick Porcello was bad by bWAR the year before his Cy Young. Not at those levels though.


I’m surprised that nobody remembers how Greg Maddux turned things around from the 1987 to 1988 seasons: In 1987, his first full year in the majors, Maddux went 6-14 with a 5.61 ERA with an -0.4 WAR, before going 18-8 with a 3.18 ERA and a 5.2 WAR the following year. I think Maddux was 15-3 at the all-star break before cooling off a bit in the second half but still finishing with great numbers.

Steve Stone was a Cubs’ broadcaster back then, so I’m not sure why he doesn’t recall this when asked if he’s ever seen anything like Giolito’s turnaround. If Giolito can have even half the type of career Maddux had, the Sox, and us fans, will be very happy.


Jim literally mentioned it 34 minutes before your post…


Maddux didn’t have a good April in ’89 either. I remember my mom watching a game and saying “These guys fall apart after they get married.”

Josh Nelson

Yo, @Patrick Nolan

Can you make sense of DRA?

karkovice squad

It accounts for quality of contact. Lopez both gets hit hard and allows a lot of fly balls. It probably assumes that he should be giving up more dingers.

If you dig into what he’s throwing, his stuff is still almost entirely below average even after his All-Star Break tweaks.

Josh Nelson

So DRA is attempting to measure quality of stuff rather than the results?

karkovice squad

DRA doesn’t directly account for quality of stuff but it does incorporate pitch types and batted ball data.

It just looks like the Statcast data on his stuff backs up what DRA is probably saying about outperforming his contact profile.


I also believe it takes into account quality of batting so beating up on the Tigers every so often doesn’t improve DRA much.

Patrick Nolan

Not at all, and no one else can either. I doubt even the guy running the regression can make sense of it. Jonathan Judge seems to be selling out to improve R^2 at the expense of the metric’s transparency, and numbers like those for Lopez and Nova are objectively wrong (like, no one pitching in the major leagues is THAT bad).

I think that DRA and DRC can be illuminating in some circumstances (e.g. tempering enthusiasm for an obviously lucky hitter like James McCann) but as standalone metrics, they’re impossible to trust, because there’s often no clear explanation as to why they differ from (e.g.) FIP or wRC+, and sometimes the output is simply too insane to put any stock into it.


Pretty obvious that Jose is going to get an offer of 10 years 300 million.


More Carl Skanberg, please.

Papa Giorgio

Where’s the patreon or kickstarter goal to have him on permanent retainer? Sign me up


Tied for first in complete game shutouts too!

Greg Nix

@Jim Margalus Where did you get those DRA stats? I’m seeing 6.80 for Nova and 7.02 for Lopez on their BP player cards.


Gio ranks 15th (MLB) in pwarp (4.45). DRA is 3.1 I think

Patrick Nolan


(Deserved Run Average seems like it’s a worthy look when it involves the top of the leaderboard, but the updated column says Reynaldo Lopez’s DRA is 7.02 and Iván Nova’s is 6.80. I had no idea meatball algorithms existed.)


Good news! Moncada in the lineup tonight, hitting 4th.
Bad news- Skole still in the lineup.


This is the Sox’s M.O. to avoid competing on the open market for free agents. Jose is a FOY friend of Yoan which they will leverage to get him to sign a lowball deal.


Carl Skanberg’s work is most welcome to see here.


I don’t think Lucas will win the comeback player of the year, nor should he. As I understand “comeback,” it implies you’ve been somewhere before. Which is why most of the winners tend to be post-injured.

Lucas is not really “coming back,” he’s just going to a place he’s never been. If it were “most improved,” I think he’d be a near lock. 


He was somewhere before: Palookaville. Or at least he had the bus ticket.

Trooper Galactus

The stated purpose of the award (unbeknownst to me until I looked it up) is to recognize a former star player who returned to form after a year (or more) of injury and/or ineffectiveness. There have, however, been exceptions, and one could see Giolito’s former top prospect status as a reasonable substitute.