Spare Parts: The White Sox’s injury prevention work starts now

Baseball Prospectus tracks injuries — the amount, the types, the days and production missed — in its super-helpful Injured List Ledger, and only three teams lost more projected WARP to prolonged absences than the White Sox.

Maybe that number would be dispiriting enough, but what the ledger doesn’t capture is how those players got hurt, how poorly they played through pain, and whether the team could’ve done anything different. Watching so many White Sox players unable to perform basic baseball functions like running hard in short bursts, holding onto a bat with both hands or stepping into a swing without falling down made it hard to see any kind of postseason potential. All of their hopes rested on an equally pitiful AL Central until the Cleveland Guardians put the Sox out of their misery in mid-September.

So here’s a James Fegan article about Goldy Simmons, the White Sox’s strength and conditioning coach who spent his first season behind the curve thanks to the lockout. He and the organization never figured out a way to make up the ground, so they’re not going to be able to earn any benefit of the doubt in quotes alone.

The good news is that the ability to coordinate with players over the course of a winter automatically means that this offseason will be different than the last. Among the few specifics Simmons shared, this one stands out for how it doesn’t seem like it should stand out:

This is the first offseason the White Sox will be using the BridgeAthletic system for monitoring player workouts and training activity. For players working directly under Simmons in Arizona, and for a lot of players who can track their workouts from afar, it will maintain a log of their progress toward establishing “an aerobic base,” as he puts it, in the early months of the offseason before more baseball-specific movement right before spring training. What isn’t directly entered in the system is tracked through the communication Simmons is allowed to have this winter.

“We will have a better snapshot of where individuals are, what they need, what they didn’t do, which is most important to make sure that they have adequate progressions going through spring training conditioning programs,” Simmons said. “Whereas last year, it was kind of a crapshoot.”

But it’s probably worth waiting until a little longer into the offseason to see if the Sox make any staffing changes independent or in conjunction with their new manager, whoever that guy may be.

Spare Parts

Speaking of conditioning, Lucas Giolito goes into detail about how he’s starting what he hopes will be a rebound from his 2022 season, which he described by using the word “suck” in various forms dozens of time.

Carlos Collazo’s review of the White Sox’s most recent draft class after their professional debuts shows that gratification will be delayed, because the most exciting write-ups involved first-rounder Noah Schultz and second-rounder Peyton Pallette, neither of whom pitched in a competitive environment thus far.

Best Secondary Pitch: Both Schultz (1) and Pallette (2) have breaking balls that are thrown in the 3,000 rpm range. When Pallette was healthy he used the curveball to generate whiffs at a 44% rate and the pitch looked like one of the better breaking balls in the college class. Schultz is still adding power to his breaking ball, but his exceptional feel to land the pitch and manipulate its shape should allow it to consistently play up and get him ahead in counts.

The guaranteed megacontract often inspires fear about how much a player will be overpaid for past performance when he’s no longer physically capable of delivering those kinds of results. For somebody like Bryce Harper, who had no say in where he spent the first eight years of his career, the ability to choose an employer might make the first half of that deal better than anybody imagined.

For those who prefer October baseball to more closely resemble the regular season, this postseason has been rather refreshing, because starting pitchers have carried more of the workload. That said, even the starters are averaging 95 mph this October, so the environment still looks incredibly punishing for hitters.

The Offseason Plan Project launches Friday morning, and this summary of the decision that await the White Sox after the World Series serves as a good warmup.

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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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upnorthsox

I go back to management and who thought it would be a good idea to change training staff during a lockout? I mean big F’n duh!

DuhSox

Hey, leave me out of this!

chipporter

relative?

DuhSox

Uncle

karkovice squad

The previous training staff had already overseen a disastrous set of soft tissue injuries before getting fired. It beggars belief that they’d have been healthier without the change.

If there’s a silver lining here it’s that 2022’s injuries might just have been a parting gift.

As Cirensica

That said, even the starters are averaging 95 mph this October, so the environment still looks incredibly punishing for hitters.

Hitting homers during the post season is never more important. In this post season, the team that have hit more homers are 20-5. So the f@#!k the homers comment is dumber by the minute.

knoxfire30

Cant wait for spring talk of Gio being bulked up to handle a bigger load and Moncada feeling great gonna steal 30-35 bases and other stupid ass stuff like that.

I will never forgive the sox for not signing Harper, no one would of gone along with a tear down rebuild plan if they knew they were clearly the decks to add just one 70mil level free agent.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I’d actually expect to see a sleeker Giolito next season. The bulking up thing didn’t seem to work this past season.

knoxfire30

yea that was sarcasm on the gio and yoyo comments

Right Size Wrong Shape

Sorry. Whoosh.

I expect Giolito to figure out where to hide the industrial grade adhesive like the Astros do.

dwjm3

It was such a unique opportunity. A hitter with that level of talent coming into free agency with a lot of his prime left

PauliePaulie

David Stearns could be available in the not too distant future.

mikeschach

And actually has low budget/good team bona-fides

To Err is Herrmann

I’m a little worried about Goldy’s having the players hold off on “baseball-specific movement” until close to spring training. They seemed to have held off on baseball-specific movement much of the 2022 season.

Chris

The training staff needs to be evaluated from the top, down!!!! The lockout cannot be used as an excuse. The other 29 teams had the same “lockout” issue and they did not have the problems this organization had!!!!

The was and still is a huge question mark this training staff. They deserve all the scrutiny at this point. Changes need to be explored, cause what they are prescribing did not work!!!!

chipporter

“…White Sox players unable to perform basic baseball functions like running hard in short burstsholding onto a bat with both hands or …’

That’s just about enough of that please…I need some tums now

upnorthsox

Unable to perform basic baseball functions, this is your 2022 Chicago White Sox.

Last edited 1 month ago by upnorthsox
chipporter

Unable to perform basic baseball functions, this is your Chicago White Sox.

I’ve made it less attached to a specific timeframe. We could us it to to replace, Change The Game!

White Sox, UPBBF!

Sounds almost like swearing in Polish.

Last edited 1 month ago by chipporter
upnorthsox

Indeed, it’s an evergreen.