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.
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.