Sunday, April 25, 2004

White Sox production up 9%, sez Gribben

Doug Gribben wrote in an e-mail to the Sox list (stats through 4/24 I believe):

Offense is "on pace" to score 861 runs, 9% ahead of last year. BAVG is up
0.008, OBP up 0.011, SLG up 0.013. Team is scoring almost exactly as many
runs (85) and my statistical model projects they should have (86.1)...
Triples up 60%, steals up 45%, bunts up 18%, sac flies up 23%. The White
Sox are on pace slightly better in every offensive category

Defense and pitching: Runs down 4%, hits down 7%, homers up 38%, walks up
17%, strikeouts down 25%, double plays up 50%. The White Sox have allowed 3
more runs than the statistical model of the opposing batters would expect.
It's the DPs that are saving them.

Sox ERA vs Tampa so far is 1.25, Yanks 3.77, Royals 5.16. Against Tampa
they've hit .218 but won 3 of 4; against Yanks .262, against Royals .322...


Runs up with bunts up 18%....something must be wrong. What I like best is OBP up 11 points. I think this is mostly due to the walk rate - the Sox walked about 3.2 times per game last year, and are at 3.5 times per game this year. Carlos, Crede, Olivo, and Konerko are all walking at a much higher rate than last year. Miguel's got 4 walks thus far through 18 games, which compares highly favorably to the 19 walks he had all last year.

The nice thing about game 18 is that it represents 1/9 of the total schedule. With 9 hitters in the lineup, the Sox's stats right now are equivalent to one full season for a spot in the lineup. Such a spot would be .267/.342/.452 with 25 homers and 63 walks. That's a pretty good season, and the Sox's run total should be way up if that stays the case.

What's nice about the start is that you can't really say that it's aberrational. Right now, only Olivo and Uribe are hitting way over their heads. But they only account for 84 of the Sox's 611 total at bats. You could make an argument that Ordonez, Thomas, Lee and Crede will improve from their current production. So it's entirely possible that this White Sox team could score 900 runs, especially getting to feast on the Tigers, Royals, Indians and Twins' sorry staffs for 76 games.

The Twins, by the way, have some serious aberrations going with Blanco hitting like Johnny Bench, Jacque Jones hitting like Magglio, and Jose Offerman hitting like Derek Jeter circa 1998. In fact, only really Luis Rivas is hitting below his career standards. Really, 1 through 8, the Twins are hitting a ton right now. This again, all goes back to the fact thay they have played so many games against the Royals' and Indians' pathetic staffs.

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