Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Odds. Ends. (03.10)

Chicago White Sox
  •  The Sox remain optimistic about Bartolo Colon's progress.  "Bartolo has tremendous pitchability (editor's note: Pitchability?  Is that like Budweiser's Drinkibility?),'' White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. ''He's got really good movement, and he can change speeds. He threw fastballs and changeups only, and we spun about three breaking balls. Everything went good for him.  The feeling I'm getting, and he's saying it a little bit: 'I've got more. I've got more.' But we don't need more right now. More ain't better, and where he's at is fine. We're going to continue to progress from here.''  Colon has not thrown more than 100 innings since 2005 plus he has a ton of mileage on his arm from his younger days with the Indians when he frequently threw 130-pitch games in his early 20s, making the idea that he will be able to provide an entire season as a number four or five starter is a bit of a stretch for the 36-year-old who is coming off of minor elbow surgery. 
  • The Chicago Sun-Times' Joe Cowley handicaps the positional battles for second, centerfield and third. 
  • According to BillJamesOnline.net, the White Sox had a net gain of -20 bases while on the basepaths (by comparison, the Twins were +67 bases on the year).  Apparently, the White Sox are once again looking to rely on the long ball considering the way they run the bases.  So far this spring, AJ Pierzynski was doubled off of first on a fly ball and Josh Fields was thrown out advancing to third twice. 
Minnesota Twins
  • As Joe Mauer's prolonged absence from spring training continues, more and more fans on message boards have been looking outside the organization for potential catching help.  For some unknown reason, Ivan Rodriguez's name keeps being mentioned.  At this juncture in his career, I-Rod is an obvious backup catcher.  The 37-year-old catcher is showing signs of aging: 
    • Since 2005, Rodriguez has had a sharply declining WPA: -0.99 in 2005, -1.06 in 2006, -1.93 in 2007 and -2.24 last season.
    • Likewise over those seasons, Rodriguez saw his power drain: .169 Isolated Power Average in 2005, .137 ISOP in 2006, .139 ISOP in 2007 and .118 last year.
    • His second-half in 2008 showed major decay hitting .252/.296/.362 in 134 plate appearances after hitting .288/.330/.410 in 294 plate appearances to open the season.  The same problem occured in 2007 when he hit .271/.282/.382 after hitting .288/.302/.447 in the first half.
    • Defensively, his ability to throw runners out has been declining as well going from 51.4% CS% in 2005, 50.9% in 2006, 30.8% in 2007 and 32.4% in 2008.  (Well, from superhuman to human anyways but a sign of deterioration nonetheless).
  • There is another camp that is hellbent on catching prospect Wilson Ramos as the replacement for an injured Joe Mauer.  "I really like this Ramos kid," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I think this kid's a pretty good player. He's a big, strong kid who can hit a ball a long ways."  True, the 21-year-old Ramos shows great power potential, slugging .434 in the Florida State League last season when the average slugging was .376.  The problem, however, is that Ramos has not played above high-A which puts him at a great disadvantage when facing Major League pitching.  Even though it is a crude calculation, Jeff Sackmann's Minor League Equivalency calculator suggests that Ramos's .288/.346/.434 in the FSL would have translated into a batting line of .226/.271/.326 at the MLB-level.   
Cleveland Indians
  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto is reporting that former Cardinals super prospect Anthony Reyes "has been the most impressive pitcher in camp. Not in terms of stuff, but just savvy and looking ready to go. Not surprised -- those six starts, that 1.83 ERA and 12 walks in 34 1/3 innings with the Tribe late last season said a lot. Now, keep that elbow healthy." Reyes, who was traded late last year to the Indians and went 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA in six starts, has had a long history of elbow/arm problems. According to Driveline Mechanics, Reyes is going to have to work on his delivery if he has any intention of staying healthy for any extended periods of time.  
  • I mentioned before that the White Sox had a pitiful -20 net gain in their team baserunning while the Twins had a +67 net gain running the bases.  The Indians as a team led both of them with a net gain of +74 last year. 
Kansas City Royals
  • Royal utility man Esteban German was released after he cleared waivers on Monday.  German was the causuality of the Juan Cruz signing and was designated for assignment shortly there after.  German had a solid 2006 campaign in which he hit .326/.442/.459 in 331 plate appearances but he regressed significantly over the next few seasons finishing 2008 hitting .245/.303/.338 in 242 plate appearances.  Because of his infield versatility, he will likely become filler for a AAA roster. 
Detroit Tigers