Podcast: Eloy Jimenez, Right Fielder?

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Record Date: 1/29/2023

Rundown:

  • Eloy Jimenez is getting ready to play right field. Is this a good idea? Josh and Jim explore the possible outcomes of how Jimenez finds him playing a new corner. With the White Sox recent health luck, maybe everyone should prepare for this possibility.
  • There’s a little White Sox trade rumor involving Kansas City’s Nicky Lopez. Josh and Jim explain why they give that idea a thumbs down.
  • Finally, we remember Gary Peters, who passed away last week, and how his White Sox career and the 1963-65 teams are overlooked.
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RayHerbert

I loved that ’60s pitching staff–Peters, Horlen, Pizarro and Ray Herbert. Tommy John made his Sox debut in “65. The bullpen wasn’t too shabby either–Hoyt Wilhelm, Bob Locker and Wilbur Wood was just getting started in ’67 (although he cost us Pizarro. I was just getting started in ’64, but that ’67 team lost in the last week–all they had to do was beat the Senators and the Athletics. That was heartbreaking

knoxfire30

Does Oscar Colas meet the draft pick compensation requirement if he has a big year and starts the season on the roster??? I think you have to be on a couple top 100 lists or something like that. Julio Rodriguez winning ROY got the Mariners a 1st round pick but I think you just have to finish within the top few spots to get some form of compensation back… wonder if that plays into the sox thinking on having him start the year with the big club.

jorgefabregas

Yeah. You have to be on at least two of the preseason lists on Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, and ESPN. Not sure if the ESPN list is out yet, but he qualified by being on the Pipeline and Baseball America lists.

Have to finish first in ROY voting or top 3 in MVP.

Last edited 1 year ago by jorgefabregas
jorgefabregas

If he signed a contract extension before the season, the White Sox would not be eligible for draft compensation if he won ROY.

upnorthsox

Bo Jackson is/was a Reinsdorf favorite and whoever is a JR fav gets honors. It sums up the Sox dilemma to a tee.

jorgefabregas

At the Athletic, Keith Law continues to be the highest on Colson Montgomery of any of the big prospect rankers, ranking him 25th. No other White Sox prospects on his top 100.

Wayne

Interested to see his Chat and tomorrows “just missed” list from Law.

dongutteridge

Yes, that’s great to see. Actually, all of the assessments I’ve been reading on him have been glowing so it looks like Sox are gonna hit a home run on this one!

Speaking of Law, he’s been loving Cleveland’s huge load of high end prospects these past few years. If these guys even come close to those projections it’s hard to imagine the Sox finishing ahead of them in this decade.

jorgefabregas

In our mental estimation of each team in the division, I think most of us have been leaving out the idea that Cleveland had the youngest set of position players AND pitchers last year, so on the whole they should be better, even before accounting for their off-season additions.

GrinnellSteve

The converse of that thought is that often young players have some sort of retrenching period. Development is frequently not linear. And then there are the Gordon Beckham types who peak early and never look that good again. Let’s hope Cleveland has Jose Ramirez and 25 Gordon Beckhams.

dongutteridge

Right. In addition to the young talent that led them to nearly knock off the Yankees in the playoffs they have about a dozen serious prospects, mostly in the high minors, including 4 nearly-ready starting pitchers, top 100 infielders and outfielders and a catcher.

gibby32

Every time there was a half-way decent young player, particularly for the White Sox, Hawk would say “he’s only going to get better.” About 25% of them did.

ChiTownMax25

It’s almost as if talent evaluators care more about stats that translate well from Minors to Majors (K/BB ratio which Colson does well) than ones that don’t (BABIP, like Sosa/Colas).

a-t

Colás’ BABIP is largely driven from him vaporizing the ball into play, which very much does matter and translate

dongutteridge

This is why I’m so angry at this ownership. They refuse to run a baseball team the way that I would and that I, and many others, think is smart. This is from Keith Law’s chat (referring to the Dodgers):

They are the model franchise right now when it comes to scouting and player development. They draft exceptionally well, they do have good pro scouts and use them well as part of their process, they have a strong international group, and I don’t think any team improves players as consistently as they do. And all that stuff I just mentioned? ANY team could do it. That’s not a budget issue. It’s a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to any MLB team payroll. The Rays do it too, and they couldn’t be further from the Dodgers in top-line revenue. If you handed me the reins of any MLB team right now, the first thing I’d do is staff up in those areas. Hiring scouts and player dev folks is cheap and offers a strong ROI if you just find one or two more players per year to help the big-league club. (No slight against R&D folks, but most teams have staffed that up already.)

HallofFrank

I’m surprised Bryan Ramos isn’t there. Didn’t a previous Law list include Ramos on a “just missed” for the top 60 prospects? He was effectively a top-80 prospect or so then. Am I misremembering? Or was that a different list? Or did Ramos do poorly enough in the second half to warrant dropping out?

a-t

Might be that he just didn’t impress enough as some others. He struggled a little in his 3 weeks of Project Birmingham, and that was scouted heavily for convenience of seeing nearly all of the Sox’ relevant hitting prospects in one place. Montgomery looked gassed there, for instance, which isn’t unusual for a guy in his first full season. Law is more forgiving for that fatigue than others.

He’s probably just outside Law’s top 100, FG said they’ll have him on it near the back end. I wouldn’t be too worked up over it. The difference between no. 75 and no. 125, Ramos’ range, is far less than that between no. 20 and no. 70.

jorgefabregas

Giolito number 2 on the list of pitchers who underperformed their xERA. https://fantasy.fangraphs.com/2022-review-pitcher-xera-underperformers/
A BABIP 60 points higher than his career average seems to be the culprit. He had an expected batting average against of .249 and an actual batting average against of .272.

texag10

Looking at his heat maps on baseball savant it just looks like he had no feel for the changeup and slider last year.

Bonus Baby

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but if the only other option in RF against LHP is Eloy, play Leury out there. No question at all:

1) There can’t be any reasonable doubt that Leury would be a better defender (and that’s just from looking at advanced defensive metrics where Eloy played LF, I hadn’t known before that Eloy is likely to have literally the worst arm in all of baseball among right fielders).

2) Leury’s career wRC+ against LHP is 10 points higher than against RHP. All of the models project his wRC+/OPS+ to be between 72 and 83. Yes, that’s bad, but it should be 5+ points higher against LHP at least.

3) Y’all just had a conversation about whether to take the over/under on Eloy playing 25 games in RF, and the discussion was not based on how good his arm is, or whether they’ll need him that much out there, or anything like that — it was how many games Eloy can survive before being injured. And I agree, that is the most likely limiting factor, which really should tell everyone that there is no reason to ever play him out there.

4) Steamer projects Eloy for a 133 wRC+ next year in 141 games. Keep him out of the OF, and tell him not to run hard on ground outs, and that seems plenty likely to me. Given his 167 wRC+ in the second half of 2022, I really think he’s easily capable of a whole year at more like 140-150 wRC+. Getting him injured not only reduces the games they’d have his bat in the lineup, but it could really mess with his rhythm and hitting even in games he’s playing. This is just an enormous factor in the team’s potential success this year.

5) It’s not as if putting Leury in RF means you’ll trade his bat for Eloy’s in the lineup that day. It means that you’re trading Leury’s bat for whoever they play at DH. And who will that be against LHP? Maybe Yaz I guess. Are there any other realistic options? But then we’re putting Seby’s bat in the lineup, and he may have a far less magical year offensively this year.

I’d be OK with giving Sheets some more looks against LHP to see if he can figure it out, but if that’s unacceptable, then Leury in RF is just a far better option for the team overall.

Of course, they should moot all this by trading for a real 4th OF.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bonus Baby
Augusto Barojas

The only splits on Colas I could find was 14 hits in 35 AB vs LHP, which is obviously a small sample size but is pretty good, and suggests he might be able to hit them eventually. But even if he struggles and doesn’t hit LHP well, his upside potential has to be higher than Leury.

I’d go with Colas in RF all year, no platoon, come hell or high water. I wouldn’t want to ruin his confidence if he hits like Kelenic or something, but he would have to be god-awful to not play, imo. The front office has done so little to give them any real chance to compete, they aren’t going to win anyway and don’t really have better options. I’d rather watch Colas struggle in RF all year and give him a chance to learn and develop than see Leury. At least Colas has a future. That Leury might be one of their better options in RF vs LHP if Colas were in the minors shows how utterly pitiful this organization is.

Bonus Baby

Don’t disagree. If Colas is doing all right, and none of the 3 starting outfielders are injured, then they should play as much as possible — though I imagine they’ll need some days off here and there.

a-t

It’s possible that Colás does hit lefties decently well, but 38 PA (35 AB + 3 BB) is a minuscule sample size, especially for platoon splits, which usually need a few full seasons to stabilize. A very mild encouraging sign.

They really badly need a 4th OF. Unfortunate for the org that Payton’s in NPB now, bc they’re so damn shallow.

Augusto Barojas

I never understood why they didn’t give that dude a chance. His AAA numbers were very good. Only got 60 mlb at bats with 2 teams. Payton is another guy I’d rather see than Leury.

Oh well, this is almost as pointless as rooting for the Bears anytime in the past 15 years. I’m holding out for the billboards, they give me hope, lol.

a-t

Team’s not gonna be sold until Jerry dies unfortunately. As he sees it, that $$ goes to his kids etc anyways, and if it’s sold after they inherit it when he kicks the bucket, they don’t have to pay a big chunk of capital gains tax, about 25% of the sale. Jerry the tax attorney will operate as such right up until he’s in the ground.

FishSox

While I can get behind your premise of play him all year, I don’t think it necessarily ruins some ones confidence to send them back down if it’s obvious that there’s holes that need to be worked on.

steelydan52

I will hold my breath with Eloy in the OF partly because of his lack of D but I will mostly hold my breath because he gets hurt rather easily. I don’t mind if his pride is hurt as long as he hits and stays healthy.

cmansoxfan

I want to thank you for your well researched segment on Gary Peters and the ’63-’65 underappreciated Sox teams. I began my longtime agonizing fandom with these teams and they are the reason I became a Sox fan over the Cubs (Cubs were horrible in the same period). The Sox even were clearly the more popular and better attended team in town at the time which is an entirely separate historical discussion (read the excellent Chili Dog MVP). Great pitching staff, very little power, and a lot of 2-1, 3-2, and 4-3 games. I loved good old #8 Pete Ward who was a very good player until he got hurt in ’65. Where was the wild card when you needed it? Thanks for the memories for us old timers.

asinwreck

Cosign on the suggestion for the White Sox to develop a Hall of Fame in the park. This is an original American League franchise with plenty of opportunities to develop rich narratives about the players, the managers (shouldn’t fans born in the 21st century learn about Al Lopez?), the stellar pitching of the 60s, the surprising power of ’72 and ’77, and contextualize several players WHO MADE THE HALL OF FAME within their teams and their times.

Luis Aparicio is 88 years old. As oldest members of the Hall of Fame go, he’s 3 years younger than the eldest (Willie Mays). I don’t think he’s traveling anymore, but wouldn’t it be great for a Sox Hall of Fame to have exhibits about the teams in the late 50s and early 60s that gave current fans an idea of how exciting Aparicio was on the bases and in the field? While he’s still alive to at least hear how he’s appreciated?

You can repeat that with the 1970s and Wilbur Wood. Wood’s 81. We already lost Dick Allen, and the opportunities to remember the remarkable performers of the early 70s while they are still alive aren’t infinite. We’ve seen how quickly we’ve lost the great performers of the 1960s. Why waste this rich history?

Reinsdorf pushed Harold Baines through to the Hall of Fame. It would be great if he had much interest in what the organization did before he became owner.

Jim Margalus

They used to have a museum on the 100 level, kinda where the big White Sox team store is now if I remember correctly (first base side, near the dugout). It kinda served the purpose before, but now there’s nothing

asinwreck

Yes. Such a weird decision. The Wilpon-era Mets did a much better job of using their park to celebrate team history, and that franchise is only 60 years old.

You’d figure Jerry would want to raise visibility of what life was like under the reserve clause.

Joliet Orange Sox

I’m not sure why anyone would remember Wilbur Wood. His best seasons for the Sox were only 11.8 bWAR and 10.7 bWAR. Only one of those numbers is higher than the total position player bWAR produced by last year’s Sox. Sure, both numbers are higher than Aaron Judge’s bWAR last year but did Judge really have that good a year? It’s not like Wilbur Wood was an incredibly unlikely success story that is unforgettable for those who were alive at the time and his efforts contributed a great deal to saving the Sox in Chicago.