Spare Parts: White Sox ratings rebounding

If you think the White Sox are more watchable this season, you have company across Chicagoland.

White Sox’ TV ratings are back to starting with a “1.”

That doesn’t sound like anything worth writing about, but after spending 2016 (0.95) and 2017 (0.88) on the wrong side of a rounding error before plummeting further with the team’s record last season at 0.68. They were the only team with an average rating below 1.00 last season, so that’s why that number holds some special meaning.

NBC Sports Chicago hopes this has some stickiness, because with the Cubs departing for their own network after the season, the network won’t be the default channel for anybody wanting to watch summer baseball, or play it in their establishments. The White Sox are doing a decent job getting fans to tune in on their own merit, even if the tough part — whether you’re talking about the 2019 schedule or the arc of the rebuild — is only just beginning.

Spare Parts

Lucas Giolito leads the way on Mike Petriello’s list of the pitchers who made the biggest jumps, but while the leading explanations are simple for Minnesota’s Martin Pérez (a new cutter) or old friend Frankie Montas (a new splitter), Giolito simply gets “so many reasons.”

For those who hadn’t followed Giolito’s winding path to the majors, Michael Baumann of The Ringer sums it up nicely.

Marcus Stroman has been on the front of mind for some White Sox fans who want Rick Hahn to show he’s serious about upgrading the rotation. Here’s what the state of Stroman’s game looks like this season, and why it should work for most teams.

Ken Rosenthal isn’t the first to lament the lack of balls in play or suggest Major League Baseball should deaden the major-league baseball, but he makes a good point that the league might react differently to the surge in power if Christian Yelich or somebody else threatened the single-season home run record. Instead, the spike in homers has been fairly well distributed, making it hard to target distaste or backlash.

Ohtani isn’t pitching due to Tommy John surgery, so he isn’t the object of fascination among baseball fans he once was. That said, becoming the first Japanese player to hit for the cycle and raising his line to All-Star level (although it’s short on playing time) will go a long way toward restoring the excitement.

And finally, Aaron Gleeman on Twitter has found a few different ways to sum up the depth of the Twins’ attack:

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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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roke1960

The Twins have some serious regression coming. There is no way they can keep up that pace offensively. Plus, Odorizzi is due for a drop-off, and their bullpen is showing some serious issues lately. But with that lead and no one capable of really pushing them, they look like a lock for the playoffs.
For the first time in many, many years, the Sox are really fun to watch. They are certainly going to put a dent in the Cubs stranglehold on the city very soon.

Gutteridge70

On all fronts… hope so

Josh Nelson

In the last two days we just saw the St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup, and the Toronto Raptors win the NBA Finals.

I put $5 on the Minnesota Twins to win the World Series because I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a weird year in sports.

35Shields

And the Patriots won the Super Bowl! Who would have predicted that?

melidoperez

153     110
114     106
128     99
128     113
100     103
107     98
120     84
145     130
184     118

wRC+ of the Twins with most plate appearances this year. Their career mark on the right. So basically Marwin Gonzalez is 3% lower than career mark and the other 8 are above their career average by around 27% per hitter. Wild.

soxfan

“Hitting is contagious.” – Hawk Harrelson

evenyoudorn

All these gaudy numbers really speak to the team’s bullpen.

HallofFrank

Regarding Stroman, I do think those are the kinds of deals Hahn should be looking for this July. Not trading Colome and Garcia. This trade deadline, and this upcoming offseason, should be a good time to flip a few prospects for controllable players. Stroman could be a good fit, but I’d like to see them add Starling Marte. 

Does anyone have any sense of what Stroman would cost? What in our system would represent fair value for him? 

roke1960

Yeah, it’s too bad all of the AA outfielders except Robert suck this year. I wonder if a package featuring Basabe and Pilkington or Steiver would get it done.

MrTopaz

I gotta imagine there’s a ton of teams that would eagerly beat that offer. I think Madrigal’s the only one of the group Jim mentioned that the Sox might part with, and he’s almost certainly the least attractive trade piece.

egib52

If only there were players available that would upgrade the roster, and only cost money.

Trooper Galactus

Only if there’s a team willing to give up a decent player in exchange for chucking a dead-weight contract with it, which is not something you see very often.

HallofFrank

Yeah, maybe so. It does drop off quickly after that top tier. 

For reference, Jim Bowden suggested the Yankees trade Everson Pereira (45 FV) and Thairo Estrada (40 FV) for Stroman. Of course this all depends on the Blue Jays preference, but by Fangraphs, the 45s on the Sox are Dunning, Basabe, Rutherford, Gonzalez. The 40+s are Collins, Burger, Adolfo, Walker. There are 13 40s in the Sox system. So by these tiers, a Basabe/Adolfo package (for instance) would beat the one Bowden offered. 

Trooper Galactus

Let’s be real, nobody wants to trade anything worthwhile for Adolfo.

PauliePaulie

Don’t ever listen to Jim Bowden.
There is also a big difference between a 45FV who is 18 in rookie ball and oft injured 22 year olds failing at AA.

karkovice squad

Really soured on Vaughn fast, huh?

Trooper Galactus

Vaughn isn’t a trade chit yet.

karkovice squad

Because he hasn’t signed? Pshaw.

PauliePaulie

Can’t use same year draftees as PTBNL anymore.

Trooper Galactus

Yeah, it wouldn’t matter if he had signed.

Yolmer's gatorade

Yeah, I agree. The Sox should not sell low on their second tier prospects to acquire a guy who can only help for the next couple of years. Rutherford, Basabe, Adolfo, Dunning (to a lesser extent), Luis Gonzalez, Sheets can all rehabilitate their value in the next half year to a year and be trade chips when Robert, Madrigal, and Cease are on the major league roster.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan

Sox won’t do it. I’m actually wondering if they are hoping for a reunion with Quintana in 2021….

GrinnellSteve

I keep hoping the D’Backs will go on a long losing bender, so they can deal Grienke. If you pick up all of his contract, you might be able to avoid dealing one of the top guys.

MrTopaz

“Hey Zack, are you excited to be pitching for a young team that’ll be on the rise in the coming years?”

“Probably not.”

*proceeds to rattle off 15 straight quality starts, anyway*

andyfaust

Yeah, that’s a big part of my way-too-early offseason plan, acquiring Greinke. I must admit, it wasn’t my idea, I saw it on someone else’s plan last winter, and really liked the idea. Still do. I don’t imagine his contract has too much value for Sox to be able to get him without messing up the rebuild. If that didn’t work out, I’d advocate for signing Gerrit Cole, but I have zero confidence in this front office in signing a big free agent. I also mentioned a few days ago, they will need a middle of the order left handed bat too. I’m not completely writing off Collins, but I just don’t think he’s the guy.

ImmortalTimeTravelMan

I see Collins just being a platoon catcher against RH pitching…

phillyd

That’s not a bad gig since most pitchers are right handed

roke1960

There’s a story on MLB.com about Nolan Ryan-https://www.mlb.com/news/nolan-ryan-threw-235-pitches-in-one-game. He pitched 14 innings that day- Luis Tiant took the loss pitching 14 1/3 innings. How could pitchers back then throw so much, and come back strong the next outing- Ryan pitched his next start on 3 days rest. None tore their UCL- yet they were throwing sliders back then too. I remember those days- nowhere near the number of pitchers would get hurt back then. Have they coddled the pitchers so much that their arms just can’t handle the increased workload? Or do they start them throwing breaking balls at such a young age now that their ligaments are damaged early? I’m curious what others think.

karkovice squad

And likely future professionals are playing year-round competitive baseball at a young age.

roke1960

That’s so true karko. It’s almost like a year round job for some of these kids.

roke1960

Those are very good points Jim, but I don’t think Nolan Ryan takes a back seat to anyone with his velocity. Radar guns were not very common then, but he deifinitely topped 100 on occasion.
I really think that the emphasis at such an early age on travel teams, elite leagues and things like USA baseball have young kids throwing much harder than they did in my youth (60s/70s). I think this puts such a strain on their young, developing ligaments/muscles. You hear of a lot of kids now having TJS in high school. Then when they get older they start to coddle them. Kids probably throw more pitches in high school games than they do in the majors. The Sox are a perfect example- how many of their guys (all under 25) have had TJS? They need to not put so much pressure on kids in grade school/high school to throw hard and throw a lot of breaking pitches. Just my two cents.

roke1960

You’re right, Jim. I guess I had forgotten there certainly a lot of pitchers back then who flamed out early. Maybe some had torn UCL’s but it wasn’t diagnosed. Tommy John wasn’t diagnosed until 1974. You wonder if Koufax and others had that and tried to pitch through it. I’d never thought about that. I just think of Gibson, Palmer, Marichal, Ryan, Perry and others in that era who would throw 20+ complete games a year and rarely miss a start.

roke1960

Yep, and as far as the White Sox over the last 5 years, that isn’t working either!

karkovice squad

Ryan also went from 300 IP, 6 fWAR that season to 198 IP, 2.4 fWAR the following season. His K rate fell, BB rate went up, and he ended up with an ERA around league average.

roke1960

But he also had 11 more 200+ IP seasons after that, with 43(!) complete games in 1976-77.

karkovice squad

Yeah, he was a freak of nature and it was a different era. He had multiple seasons with an ERA that started with a “2” and that was worse than league average.

GrinnellSteve

I have nothing to add except to say I hate Nolan Ryan. It gave me such pleasure every time the camera cut to him squirming in his seat as the Rangers were blowing two straight World Series. That is all.