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Have you guys had enough of a look at <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100633">Courtney Hawkins</a></span> this spring to do a write-up? I'm wondering if he's made improvements and has regained his prospect status. The power is certainly impressive.
I love these reports. Thanks for assembling them.
Excellent piece, Sahadev. I had no idea of Black's contributions off the field.
You really owe it to yourself to read To Kill a Mockingbird. It's a wonderful novel, one that will stay with you the rest of your days.
Matt nailed it here. This is Bud's legacy.
Most of the bad ownership crises of the past 20 years are direct products of Bud. His hands were all over the Loria and McCourt messes.
Dylan Axelrod is one of the good guys you just have to cheer for. He doesn't have great stuff, but he battles every pitch. He never complains.
Away from the field he's a mentor for United Cerebral Palsy.
I hope he keeps getting chances, and I hope he keeps making a little something out of them.
I don't think it's strictly a service clock issue for Davidson. Conor Gillaspie is out of options. He has value, and I think the Sox will showcase him in order to deal him and clear a spot for Davidson. How the Sox work their roster over the first three months will be interesting to watch.
If the White Sox were worried about this year, De Aza would be the better choice. However, they are in full retooling mode. De Aza is older and will probably never again have as much trade value as he has now. Viciedo has been a disappointment, but he still carries possible upside. The influence of a new hitting coach and perhaps the mentoring capabilities of older fellow Cuban, Jose Abreu at least provide a glimmer of hope that Viciedo can tap into his potential. Plus, next year the DH spot will be open for him.
The Sox are in a roster bind because of resigning Paulie to be the short half of a DH platoon. Ideally they shouldn't carry both De Aza and Viciedo. De Aza should be dealt for a young catcher or pitcher with upside. Danks, who can play all three OF positions, should be the fourth outfielder.
I am surprised that Chris Sale didn't get the nod for the best slider in the bigs. When you can generate swings on balls that hit the batter, there's some big-time confusion going on. Yeah, Darvish is good, but give me the Condor's slider.
Thanks. To paraphrase Meatloaf, "7 out of 8 ain't bad."
I'm curious how Micah Johnson rates for speed. Elite fast? Or just likes to run a lot? Thanks.
Zach Stewart's near-perfect game for the White Sox would have been a worthy mention, as well. Danny Valencia hit a double leading off the 8th. He was the only baserunner. 9 K's for a guy who only has 3 wins in the bigs and an ERA pushing 7.00.
If I recall correctly, the Sox started Sale in the pen in the minors because that's where they needed help in the majors that year. The plan was always to get him back in the rotation. Of course, as you say, some teams have fallen in love with a guy at the back of the pen and have refrained from getting the extra innings out of him.
As a Sox fan, this page is so depressing.
A good day is when I don't see any White Sox farmhands in the Bad or the Ugly. A great day is when I see one in the Good. Today is a good day.
In assessing the value of this contract, what impact would making the playoffs, or making a run through the playoffs have on the Tigers' finances? Perhaps if Verlander pushes the Tigers to the World Series a couple more times, then he doesn't need to perform like a Hall of Famer in order to justify the contract. (Though if he is a key component on a couple more World Series teams, there is a good chance he's performing like a Hall of Famer.) My point is I think it's possible to imagine the Tigers actually profiting from the deal.
I think there is something noble about playing the game just because you love it and don't want to stop. Perhaps Manny thinks he can earn one more shot at Major League redemption, but perhaps he just loves to play. Rickey Henderson might be another example of this. He was playing in independent leagues. You know it wasn't the money that was motivating him.
Last year it seemed my White Sox often had Dunn on third, Konerko on second, and Pierzynski on first. We'd laugh as we wondered if that was the slowest collection of baserunners to ever appear on the bases at the same time. Paulie was often dinged up and barely ambulatory.
A baseball Hall of Fame without Rock Raines isn't much of a Hall of Fame.
Love your column, John, particularly the scout's views.
Is Verlander the favorite to win the Cy Young Award? Given the historic preferences of those who actually vote for the award, it seems like Price would be the favorite. Leading the league in wins and ERA is a tough combo to top. I realize voters are becoming more sophisticated, but those advanced arguments usually only come in to play when no pitcher has all the obvious markers. ERA and wins are obvious markers. I think it will be an interesting vote this year with Hernandez, Weaver, Sale, and Rodney worthy of voting consideration. I think it will be Price then Verlander.
We should all be as well-grounded as this young man. It's impossible to do anything but pull for him, whatever direction his life takes him.
That's one of the best interviews I've read in a long time.
I was none too pleased when the Sox resigned a 30-something so-so catcher a couple of years ago. I didn't see how they were going to get value out of that. I was wrong. Kenny was right.
I have come to love A.J.. He is the smartest baseball player I have ever watched. I was at the game a couple weeks ago when he scored from first on an infield out. He sees everything on the field and reacts in the optimal way every time. The dropped third strike against the Angels in the playoffs in 2005 is the ultimate example of that.
His at-bats are often wonderful things to witness. He fouls off pitch after pitch, looking for just the right one to drive. This year he's actually driving them. Even when he makes an out, he has often extended the pitcher's pitch count and given the subsequent hitters a lot to look at and think about.
This year A.J. has done a great job of handling a gaggle of rookie pitchers. He knows what fingers to put down. He knows his pitchers. He knows how to work the hitters. It seems like very little gets past him, though I haven't looked at the numbers on that.
Even a mediocre hitting A.J. is an asset to the team. A great hitting A.J. should get some down-ballot support for MVP.
2 White Sox in the Monday Morning Ten Pack! And both with encouraging things to say. This is an excellent way to start my week.
I realize it didn't fit your criteria, but the blame goes to Rolling Stone for overlooking the Old 97's.
Rhett Miller (real name Stewart Ransom Miller) of the Old 97's should be in the Top 10, let alone Top 100. You can pair him with Stu Miller.
I doubt if Bob Welch of Fleetwood Mac and solo fame is in Rolling Stone's Top 100, but he merits an honorable mention in your piece.
I have a 23-year-old daughter with Down Syndrome. Like everyone in our house, she is an avid Sox fan. Whenever something good happens in our daily lives, it is followed by,"You can put it on the board, yyyyesssss!!!!" and a fist bump. We live our lives with enthusiasm at our house.
Hawk with a good partner, such as Steve Stone or Tom Paciorek, is great.
Regarding Danks, shouldn't the Sox be getting to the point where they have to think about plugging him into left and improving the defense and the on-base skills of the team? I was as high on Viciedo as anyone, but the OBP of the bottom third of that lineup is killing them, and this looks like an easy enough fix from where I'm sitting. Thoughts?
No White Sox? Say what?
Good article! My wife wasn't much of a baseball fan when we met. We had a lot of overlapping interests: travel, food, film, literature. I had baseball, and she had quilting. We were both supportive and tolerant of the other's interest.
As our son became a ballplayer, her exposure to baseball grew, as did her enjoyment and appreciation of it.
Now she willingly watches Sox games most evenings. If I've gone to the office to work, she'll call to tell me Paulie just doubled in 2 runs to tie the game. She loves watching a pitcher humiliate a batter with a filthy changeup. She goes to high school games, though our son has graduated. She goes to all his college games. She goes to minor league games and spring training games and when we're on vacation, she goes to major league games.
And for the last 23 years, I've been involved in helping her publish her quilting books. Our interests have merged over the years.
This is grim.
I was at the Rockies-Sox game last week when Morel drew his second walk. I called up my son to tell him. He congratulated me and said, "That's rarer than seeing a perfect game." My daughter got Morel's autograph before the game. She was thrilled.
I think these lookbacks are incredibly informative. Joe nailed this one.
Have you seen Max My Love? It's a French film by a Japanese director starring Charlotte Rampling as a woman who has an affair with a chimp. It's all played straight up normal, which is the only way to play something like that. I don't know if I liked it or not, but it was definitely different. I suspect it transcends the chimp movie genre.
I'd love to get a scout's view on Adam Dunn and Alex Rios and Brent Lillibridge and Gordon Beckham and John Danks and Matt Thornton and Brent Morel. Not that I'm Sox-centric or anything.
Even at "pretty bad" it has to be better than Pierre's defense. Right? Shift Quentin back to left and put Viciedo in right. Balls couldn't possibly find any more holes than they already are.
You are a gifted writer and a joy to read. You have become the best part of BP for me. Given the quality on this site, that says a lot. Keep it coming.
Great opening article in this series. Please, sir, may we have more?
Interesting piece, Chase. Manny Ramirez would be an obvious hitter to look at. I'd also love to see what you could do with Jermaine Dye.
I clicked on the comments just to add that, but you beat me to it.
I'll second this notion. I think it's a great idea for a series of articles.
My dad came into my bedroom to tell me Carlos May had blown his thumb off at Camp Pendleton. I cried myself to sleep that night. A corollary to that story: I've always hated Lou Piniella for winning the Rookie of the Year award that year. Even playing 2/3 of a season, May was better than Piniella. I figured it was because the writers didn't want to give the award to someone whose career was already over. At school they called me Professor Cupcake because I was a Carlos May fan boy and his nickname was Cupcake.
As a point of clarification, Vizquel was hit by a pitch, which to me sounds worse than fouling one off the knee. Watching it, it looked terrible. A tip of the hat to Omar if he's ready by the end the week. Then again, if Viciedo starts to lock in, there might not be a position for Vizquel to play regularly.
You list Viciedo as a 3B, but I've also seen him listed as 1B. Is he splitting time between the two? If he's seeing action at 3B, does he have a shot at staying there and getting to the bigs as a third baseman? Thanks.
Kevin, what do you have on B.J. Hermsen? 6th rounder in rookie ball with 42 K's against 4 walks. 1.35 ERA in 53 innings. Huge guy. I saw him pitch a no-hitter in the Iowa State Baseball Tourney. I never hear his name as a prospect, and I wonder how scouts view him. Thanks.
"There are certain plays where the umpire is going to be blocked out like in the case with (Cuzzi) and Melky, so I think there may be a future to help umpires with replay when they cannot get a good look at a certain call," Torre said.
Say what? The thing that makes that call so bad is that he had a perfect view of it. I have mixed feelings about replay, but Joe, get the facts straight.
I turned the game on in the 7th, and they were talking about Marsh's tight strike zone. I sure thought it opened up considerably for Nathan. I had no particular rooting interest, but I like to see consistency. Anyone else note this?
The most surprising thing I ever saw at the ballpark was Ron Santo, in his one season with the Sox, hitting an inside-the-park homer. I was sitting in the left field bleachers, 5 rows up. He hit a ball that was coming straight to my chest. I was petrified. The ball hit off the top of the wall in front of me. Tommy Harper of the Red Sox crashed into the wall and was knocked out. The ball rolled halfway to the infield. Santo, one of the slowest players in the league, touched 'em all.
I enjoy watching pitchers who know their craft. I like pitchers who truly are extra infielders out there. Maddux and Rogers come to mind. I like pitchers who work quickly. I loved watching Maddux work. Among players playing this year, Buehrle is a favorite. He works quickly and always knows what he wants to do out there.
I've enjoyed all the memories people have contributed today.