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Richard, Gonzalez or Hudson: Who Do the Chicago White Sox Miss the Most?

Clayton Richard- 13-9, 3.71 ERA

Clayton has been a big part of the Padres’ first place pitching staff. He has racked up nearly 200 innings while giving his team a chance to win. I’ve heard numerous Sox fans wishing he were still in our rotation this season.

However, I don’t think he’s that big a loss based on a few factors.

The biggest one is that he is in a very good situation that helps his numbers. Not only is he in the NL, which features shallower lineups, but he pitches half of his game at Petco Park, one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the league.

That shows in his splits from this season: his ERA is 3.15 at home and 4.37 away from Petco Park. In fact, his ERA+ (which is park-adjusted) is below league average this season.

How much worse would those numbers look if he were still on the Sox, pitching in homer-friendly US Cellular Field against lineups that feature a designated hitter?

Richard also puts a lot of guys on base, as shown in his 1.40 WHIP. If not for his solid .7 homers per nine rate and 74.8% strand rate (both career lows), his ERA could be a fair amount higher.

Finally, Clayton just turned 27, making him several years older than the other two pitchers featured in this article. He probably doesn’t have as much upside because of it.

While his numbers might look decent on paper, Richard doesn’t  look like a guy the Sox will miss long term.


Gio Gonzalez– 14-9, 3.35 ERA

Gio has been a personal favorite of mine since I saw his devastating curve ball in draft prospect video. I wasn’t particularly happy when the Sox traded him (twice), but his lack of control made it look like a non-issue until this season. The 25 year old has taken a major leap forward this year.

While most teams would kill to get a talented young lefty like Gonzalez, there are still two things to consider when evaluating his production.

First, much like Richard, Gonzalez is much better at his spacious home park than he is on the road. Gio has a stellar 2.56 home ERA but a much more pedestrian 4.22 ERA. That said, a 4.22 is still pretty good considering he pitches in the American League, as shown by his 125 ERA+ this season.

The other concern is that his actual ERA is far lower than his expected ERA of 4.22. He’s struggled with home runs in the past, but has kept the ball in the park much more frequently this year. He also stranded 77.2% of runners this year, much higher than his past rates. Also, though four walks per nine innings isn’t a great rate, that is his career best.

Still, I’m much more of a believer in Gonzalez than Richard. He just turned 25 and was selected as a first round compensation pick, suggesting that he is younger and more talented as well as pitching better this season.


Daniel Hudson- 8-2, 2.45 ERA

Hudson has been lights out since he was traded to the Diamondbacks, posting a 1.69 ERA and a 70/16 strikeout to walk ratio in the national league. Though Edwin Jackson has been solid for the Sox, this trade looks pretty painful.

On top of that, Hudson is still only 23 and doesn’t have a full year of MLB service time yet. That means that his contract will be extremely cheap for another three seasons before he is eligible for arbitration. He’d be highly useful to the Sox given the financial crunch the Sox face this off-season (more in a future article).

His numbers are stellar this season, so any question marks about Dan are related to the big picture.

There’s simply no way he’s going to sustain a sub-2 ERA forever, so what can we expect from Hudson? Is he still a #3 type starter like so many suggested entering this season, or has he shown he can do more? Will teams hit him better when they see him more often?

We won’t really know the answer to those questions until next season.



The Sox appear to have a solid rotation locked up for next season, so this may be a bit of nitpicking. However, it’s hard to ignore that the Sox have given up three productive major league starters with relatively little return so far and a lot of money committed to the players they acquired.

The biggest thing these starters would have given the Sox is cost certainty, with none of them being arbitration eligible until at least 2012. Hudson in particular would be under team control for several more years. With over $40 mil committed to 4 starters already and John Danks needing an extension soon, the extra money committed will be a big issue the next few years.

Hopefully this will all be a moot point in a few years, but the early returns don’t look particularly good.

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Breaking News: Jake Peavy Leaves Game With Arm Injury

White Sox starter Jake Peavy was pulled from the game during the second inning with an apparent arm injury.

After throwing a pitch, Peavy wandered off the mound and appeared to be shaking his right arm. He was replaced by Tony Pena.

I’m not going to speculate on what the injury actually is (other than that it appeared to be in the lower arm area) or the severity of it, but this could be a major blow for the White Sox. Peavy has been their hottest starter of late, posting a 1.75 ERA in the month of June.

If Jake has to go on the DL, he will most likely be replaced by Daniel Hudson, who has an 3.47 ERA and an 11-4 record in Charlotte.



The Sox are reporting that Peavy has a strained right latissimus dorsi muscle, which is actually in the upper back area. This information comes from the WCIU broadcast of the game.


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Chicago White Sox Hot Streak: Sign for Optimism or NL-Related Mirage?

After a slow and often frustrating start, the Sox have won 11 of their last 13 to climb back to the .500 mark. The previously struggling pitching staff has caught fire, allowing more than three runs only four times during that stretch.

The optimist would say that the pitching is finally performing to expectations and that the Sox are on their way to contention in the AL Central. Every player in their rotation has turned in some solid starts and with the emergence of Sergio Santos the bullpen looks solid.

Also, while the offense isn’t great, they’re starting to be a bit more productive. They’re actually “up” 10th in runs scored. Paul Konerko and Alex Rios are both having fantastic seasons and Pierre and Vizquel have been productive of late at the top of the order.  

However, their competition during this stretch could be a major reason for their success.

While Detroit is decent, the Cubs, Pirates, and Nationals have a combined record of 88-121 (.420 WPT). None of those teams have a particularly impressive offense either, with the Tigers being the only one that has scored as many as 300 runs. Their run against the National League has been especially strong, as their only loss was to the Cubs in a game where Gavin Floyd only allowed one run.

Their offense still isn’t particularly good, averaging 4.26 runs on the season and 4.67 runs in June. There are still A LOT of struggling hitters on the Sox. They only have three regulars hitting over .260 and only three with an OPS over .750.

This doesn’t leave much margin for error for the pitching staff. Even with a number of good performances in June, they’re allowing four runs a game. Their run differential this month is only +12, which suggests they’ve been pretty lucky in close games.

Their upcoming series against Atlanta should give us a slightly better idea of whether they are for real or not. The Braves are first in the east at 42-28 and should give them a tough challenge.

After that, the Sox get two more series against struggling teams in the Cubs and Royals. That said, the Sox have had serious issues against Cleveland, so it’s not really safe to assume wins.

Will this run still be going after three more series?

Who knows. I’d lean towards “no” based on the assumption that they can’t keep their opponents under four runs forever.

That said, I hope I’m wrong.


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2010 MLB Draft: White Sox Select RHP Chris Sale in First Round

Most experts picked the White Sox to select a college starter with the 13th pick in the MLB draft.

However, no one had them picking Chris Sale, the left-hander out of Florida Gulf Coast University. Sale was widely picked to be gone by the time the Sox took their turn, but he slipped a few picks in an unpredictable draft.

Few college pitchers were as dominant as Sale this season. He had an 11-0 record this year with a 2.10 ERA. What’s even more impressive are his 146 strikeouts to only 14 walks.

By most accounts, Sale has quite a bit of upside. His fastball is consistently above 90 with quality movement and he throws a solid fading changeup. He also has the foundation for a solid breaking ball. With his projectable frame (6’6″ 175), it’s not hard to imagine him throwing even harder when he reaches the majors.

That said, like nearly all prospects, he does have some concerns.

The biggest one is his delivery and what it might mean for his role in the majors. His arm slot is lower than most starters and his delivery is far from pretty (somewhat similar to Randy Johnson). There is some concern that he won’t be able to repeat that delivery enough to be a successful starter.

His development will certainly be something to watch for Sox fans. If things go well, they could have a top of the rotation caliber starter. Even if he doesn’t make major strides, he has a pretty good chance of making an impact in the bullpen.

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White Sox 2010 MLB Draft: Five Probable Targets

While the MLB Amateur Draft doesn’t get as much attention as those of the NFL and NBA, that doesn’t mean that it’s any less important. Cheap, young talent is the most valuable commodity in baseball and can help close the revenue gap between some teams.

The Sox own the 13th pick in the draft, which starts on Monday. While they won’t get a sure-fire impact player at their pick, there are a number of players that could make a difference in a few years.

I made a couple of assumptions in cutting down to this short list.

1) The Sox will take a college player. Kris Honel was their last high school player selected in the first round back in 2001, and 13 of their last 14 first rounders have been college players.

2) They will probably take a pitcher. The Sox spent their last two first rounders on position players and have a lack of high end pitching talent in their minor league system. If they do take a position player, it will probably be an infielder given the outfield heavy drafting recently ( primarily Jared Mitchell, Jordan Danks and Trayce Thompson).

3) They will not take a player represented by Scott Boras or a guy that’s considered “a tough sign.” The Sox have notoriously avoided Boras clients as much as possible and have generally selected guys that they can sign at or near slot money. This eliminates players like Anthony Ranaudo (pictured) and Matt Harvey that would normally make sense otherwise.

I want to emphasize that I have not seen these guys play extensively. Any commentary is based on information gathered from sources like and brief scouting videos.

Players are listed in alphabetical order.

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What Was That?? Chicago White Sox, Umpire Joe West Clash

The White Sox had some serious issues with first base umpire Joe West in today’s game.

Starting pitcher Mark Buehrle was twice called for a balk. After the first call, Ozzie Guillen was ejected for coming out of the dugout to argue. After the second incident, Buehrle was ejected after dropping his glove, apparently “showing up the umpire”.

This series of events drastically affected the game, though the Sox held on for a 5-4 win.

Instead of getting Buehrle’s usual six or seven innings, their bullpen had to cover six and two thirds and will be drained for the next few outings because of conflict with an umpire.

Were either of them balks? It’s debatable.

Under the strict interpretation of the rule book, you could argue when Buehrle lifts his right leg he is making a “natural motion associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter (that) commits him to the pitch without alteration or interruption.”

However, Buehrle also clearly stepped towards first base before making both throws, which is allowed in the rule book.

During the broadcast, it was mentioned that Joe West claimed that Buehrle brought his knee back over the pitching rubber after making this motion. However, that is clearly not the case when watching the replays.

Mark has been using this move his entire career with solid results. He is very good at controlling runners and had only been called for one balk over the last three seasons before today.

Even after the highly questionable balk calls (in my opinion at least, balk rules are often debated), ejecting Buehrle was a bit ridiculous.

Mark was still on the mound, nowhere near an argument with West. He also didn’t stomp around and throw a fit or slam his glove into the ground. He stood there, showing some frustration, and merely dropped his glove.

Ejecting the starter in the third inning has a drastic impact on the game; I would have hoped that a player would get a little more leeway in showing his frustration.

I generally try not to gripe about the umpires because so many plays happen very quickly or are subjective. However, this was a clear case of an umpire with a quick trigger.

And it seemed like he was trying to make a point with the second balk call.

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Glass Half Full: Ranking the Chicago White Sox’s Few Bright Spots of 2010

The Sox have been hard to watch this season. Most expected them to be roughly .500, but the pitching hasn’t been nearly as strong as expected and only two players are hitting over .260. The Sox are seven and a half games back after their win today and could be selling at the trade deadline if things don’t improve relatively quickly.

However, that’s not what this article is about. Not everyone on the Sox is struggling, and rather than dwell on the negative I’m going to highlight these players.

Somehow I found 6 slides for this article. Hopefully by the end of the year some other players will join the list.

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