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White Sox Player Comments

After each player's name are his AVG/SLG/OBP.

Paul Konerko-.283/.534/.375-1B-He just happened to have by far his best season when he became a free agent. His offensive winning percentage was .673 (that is the Bill James stat that tells us what a team's winning percentage would be if everyone in the lineup were a particular player). His previous best was .603 while his career OWP is .543. He also had 24 Win Shares (the Bill James stat that takes all phases of the game into account-20 or more WS is an all-star season while 30 is an MVP type season). That was a little less than 10th place in the AL. Playing pretty much full time from 1999-2004, he averaged just 14.5 WS per season (about the level of an average player). He had 20 WS in 2004, so maybe he is on the rise. The White Sox must think so, since they signed him to a big contract.

Tadahito Iguchi-.278/.438/.342-2B-He had a .496 OWP, 8th best out of 16 among AL 2B men with 300+ PAs and just about average for this group. He had 18 WS, 1 total win better than average (James considers 15 average and 3 WS means one actual win). The Sox expect more from him now that he knows the league. This might be a reasonable hope, since his pre-allstar OPS was .747 and his post-allstar OPS was .820. Ozzie Guillen says he might take Iguchi out of the #2 hole so he will not have to sacrifice as much or take pitches giving Podsednik a chance to steal.

Juan Uribe-.252/.412/.301-SS-Generally playing full-time in both of the last two seasons, he saw his OWP fall from .476 to .402. A disappointing performance. That was 12th out of 13 for shortstops with 300+ PAs and the average for that group was .531. But his WS total only fell from 18 to 17, indicating that he had a good year in the field. Otherwise, with such paltry hitting stats, an average glove year would have resulted in a much lower WS figure.  So he still managed to be slightly above average overall (the fielding part of WS takes into account many of the factors that can affect fielding stats like how many strikeouts the pitchers record, how many right handed or left handed batters a team faces, etc.).

Joe Crede-.252/.454/.303-3B-A fine recovery this year for Crede. His OWP jumped from .350 to .465, although that was only 8th out of 15 at 3B where the average was .509. Crede had been on a steady decline, with his OWP going from .554 in 2002 to .457 in 2003 to .350 in 2004. He has had back trouble, so which way he is going is always a concern for Sox fans. His WS total jumped from 8 to 15. So, like Uribe, his offensive performance was below average for his position, but his glove work made him average overall, or a bit better.

Scott Podsednik-.290/.349/.351-LF-Quite an experiment the White Sox undertook. Trading a power hitting left fielder (Carlos Lee) for a base stealer. Podsednik had a .451 OWP while Lee had .546. Podsednik created 8 fewer runs than average while Lee created 9 more. Lee had 21 WS while Podsednik had just 12 (so his speed and defense was not enough to make him better than Lee). Some might say that Podsednik was a catalyst for the Sox offense because of his speed and they won the World Series, so the trade was a good idea. But the Sox scored a lot fewer runs in 2005 than 2004. The Sox took it all because they allowed many fewer runs than they did in 2004. That was due to the pitching and defense. Podsednik has not been consistent, with OWPs in 2003 and 2004 of .591 and .402. He had 59 SBs and 23 CS. But he was 44/9 pre-allstar and 15/14 post-allstar. A leg problem slowed him down in the second half.

Aaron Rowand-.270/.407/.329-CF-His offensive drop off is even more disappointing than Uribe's. His OWP went from .632 in 2004 to .447 in 2005. His WS only fell by 2, from 20 to18 (but he did have 106 more PAs in 2005). So like some other Sox players, his below average hitting must have been offset by some good defense, raising his WS total to an average or just above average level. I never heard of any injuries. After 2004, he seemed to be a rising star. He went from creating 25 more runs than average to creating 9 fewer. It is not clear what the Phillies see in him. Maybe they can get him back to his 2004 form. But no one needs an outfielder who is below average offensively.

Jermaine Dye-274/.512/.333-RF-Just playing in 145 games was a big turn around for Dye. His games played from 2002-04 were 131-65-137. He turned in a solid .561 OWP and 17 WS. His career OWP is .506. In 2002 and 2004 he had .500 and .490, respectively. So the Sox have to be pleasantly surprised with his 2005 season. He stayed healthy and played much better than he had in recent years. He even overcame a slow start, having just a .517 OPS in April. He finished at .846.

A.J. Pierzynski-.257/.420/.308-C-His OWP was just .412. A little better than his .344 of 2004,but far below his .566 of 2003. He only had 11 WS. That is not too bad for 128 games. But The Sox team ERA fell from 4.91 to 3.61 (the league ERA fell from 4.64 to 4.35, so the Sox drop has to been in that context). Pierzynski might have helped. Tom Hanrahan has done research which suggests that as catchers gain experience, they start to lower the staff ERA. Ben Davis, Sandy Alomar and Miguel Olivo split the catching chores in 2004. Davis and Alomar had experience, but Olivo did not have much. The pitching staff might have simply benefited from having the same catcher most games.

Carl Everett-.251/.435/.311-DH-His OWP was .440. This is not good for a DH. It was 9th best out of 10 for the position. The last five years, he has been all over the map in OWP: .501-.457-.619-.390-.440. He had 11 WS. He may have had some hidden value, batting just .197 with bases empty but .317 with runners on base. His slugging percentage  jumped from .357 to .529 in those situations. One big factor in the Sox success in 2005 was their performance with runners on base. It appears that Everett exemplified this. Of course, the difference is less dramatic for his whole career for which his bases empty average is .253 and his ROB average is .300. The normal difference there is about +.011.

Pablo Ozuna-.276/.330/.313-UT-He played all over the field, including 32 games at 3B and 15 at SS. He now has 314 career ABs and 203 came in 2005. His OWP was just .311. But he did have 4 WS. Projecting his 217 PAs to a full-time 700, he would get 12.9 WS. In other words just a little below average (15). Not a bad guy to have filling in now and then. Stole 14 bases but was caught 7 times.

Timo Perez-.218/.296/.266-OF-His OWP was a meager .221, far below his already low career .362. How much longer can an outfielder stay in the major leagues with those kinds of numbers? He actually had a respectable .508 playing full-time in 2002 with the Mets. Since then his playing time has been declining along with his OWP (.354 in 2003 and .221 in 2004). He had all of 1 WS in 196 PAs. That projects out to 3.6 if he played full time. That is probably not even close to replacement level.

Chris Widger-.241/.383/.296-C-It is nice to have a veteran backup catcher. But his OWP was only .312 in 154 PAs. His 2 WS would project to about 9 if he played full-time. That is probably about replacement level. At age 35, he may not be around much longer.

Willie Harris-.256/.314/.333-2B-Got sent down once Iguchi established himself as a sold 2B man. But he was brought back up late in the season and made the World Series roster. Practically a regular in 2004, he got only 139 PAs in 2005. His OWP was only .382. But his 4 WS would project out to 20 if he played full-time. That is a good season and given his weak offensive contribution, it means his glove work came in handy. Stole 10 bases and was caught 3 times.

Frank Thomas-.219/.590/.315-DH-He still managed an OWP of .596, much higher than Everett, the regular DH. But injuries have plagued him in recent years and he had only 124 PAs in 2005. If he could stay healthy, he could still hit well enough to be some team's DH.

In the pitcher comments below, I emphasize stats that the pitcher generally controls, like HRs allowed and strikeout-to-walk ratio. Each pitcher's HR% is his HRs divided by batter faced (excluding intentional walks). His strikeout-to-walk ratio includes hit by pitch as walks and excludes intentional walks. The league average for HR% was 2.78%. For strikeout-to-walk ratio it was 1.93.  Keep in mind that the Sox home park, U.S. Cellular Field allows about 35% more HRs than the average park. I also show each pitcher's WS per IP. To put the starters into context, Johan Santana, who led the league in WS, had .1 per IP. For relievers, Mariano Rivera had about .25 per IP. When Bill James calculates WS for pitchers, he tries to isolate their contribution independent of the fielders while adjusting for park effects. He also takes game context into account, which is why relievers do so well in WS per IP.

The first six pitchers listed below started all the games for the Sox. The next were used in relief only. Given the league averages and the park context, the Sox pitchers did very well. They had 4 of the top 7 pitchers in WS in the AL in 2005.

For each starter below, the stats after his name are W-L/IP/ERA/SO

Mark Buehrle-16-8/236.2/3.12/149-He finished 2nd in WS in the AL with 22. This was his fifth straight season with over 200 IP. It was perhaps his best, but not by much. 33 games started (GS).

Freddy Garcia-14-8/228/3.87/146-He was tied for 6th in WS with 17. It was also his fifth straight season with over 200 IP. 2005 was not out of character for him. 33 GS.

Jon Garland-18-10/221/3.50/115-A break through year for Garland, he was 3rd in WS with 20. He entered the season with a 4.72 career ERA. 32 GS

Jose Contreras-15-7/204.2/3.61/154-A great pickup, getting him for Esteban Loaiza in mid-2004. Tied for 6th in WS with 17. 32 GS

Orlando Hernandez-9-9/128.1/5.12/91-Not a good year, but for the fifth best starter on the team, it is good enough. Although he performed some playoff heroics, he may be over the hill. 22 GS.

Brandon McCarthy-3-2/67/4.03/48-A top prospect, he had a very respectable ERA.

Luis Vizcaino-6-5/70/3.73/43-He turned in a solid year and he came over in the Lee/Podsednik deal. His career ERA is 4.36. No saves.

Cliff Politte-7-1/67.1/2.00/57-Came into 2005 with a career 4.50 ERA. So 2005 was a huge improvement for him. 1 save.

Neal Cotts-4-0/60.1/1.94/58-Came into 2005 with a 6.06 career ERA in 78 IP. Just like Politte, a big improvement. No saves.

Dustin Hermanson-2-4/57.1/2.04/33-Another great off-season pickup, he came into 2005 with a 4.31 career ERA. He only saved 2 games in September. He had back problems and mid-season call up Jenks replaced him as closer. Also only pitched 22 innings after the all-star break. 34 saves.

Damaso Marte-3-4/45.1/3.77/54-Used a little less than in previous years probably due to so many other Sox pitchers, both starters and relievers, doing so well. A fairly typical year for him. 4 saves.

Bobby Jenks-1-1/39.1/2.75/50-Released by the Angels in December 2004. He was called up in July and got his first save on August 25th. He became the closer as Hermanson developed back problems. 6 saves.

Sources: The Lee Sinins Sabermetric Encyclopedia, The Bill James Handbook, Retrosheet and Yahoo Sports website.