Good day friends, in the cold of a Chicago wint…Fall, I get to yearning for White Sox baseball and all of the treasures that it brings with it. Almost none of those things is held more dearly to a fella like me than discussing our favorite team at the ballpark and the tweaks you would make to said team. As yous (this is Bridgeport) know, I like to tinker with the analysisis from time to time and so today I figured I would blog what I was fucking around with anyways. I am going to fix the White Sox Walk Rate. Now this is a boring fucking topic, but it needs to get done, so I figured I would Tony Robbins this shit and tell you that I am going to do it IN 7 EASY STEPS. I feel like he does shit like that, look I don’t think he’s completely a scam artist, I think he has some good techniques, but the 7 EASY STEPS shit is definitely scammy, so we are going to go with it.
Everybody knows the White Sox had the worst fucking walk rate in the AL last year, that was 6.3%, to put that in perspective I had to go back to the 2016 Royals to find an AL team that walked that little. There have been tons of teams that aren’t even fucking trying to win in the AL between then and now and even those teams could leave the bat on their fucking shoulders long enough to take more goddamn walks than our White Sox. Fuck!
My goal with this exercise is not to turn the White Sox into the Moneyball A’s, but just into a respectable league average walking team. AL league average in 2019 was 8.5%, so that’s what we shooting for….
Oh well, this is a big feat, but I size wear 15’s so I think I’m the man for the job.
Normalize plate appearances for our 4 main incumbent hitters
That didn’t do shit, still at 6.3%, let’s move on to step 2….
Remove the junk from the roster…
Yikes!!! That made it even worse!! Turns out we really could use some Ryan Goins and Yonder Alonso to prop up this walk rate. Ugh!!
Bring up our minor league saviors….
GOD DAMN!!! As it turns out, despite the fact that our two new premium blue chip prospects are expected to hit a bunch, Steamer (a Fangraphs projection module) does not believe they will walk all that much, this shit is going in the wrong goddamn direction, we needs some help!!
Take the bat out of Leury Garcia’s hands (and other people’s as well)
This step actually has us pushing back in the right direction with Leury Garcia batting a lot less and Zack Collins batting a little more.
Now we starting #108ing, let’s buy some free agents.
This step helped a fucking ton. I went with a realistic off-season of hitter moves grabbing up Yasmani Grandal as the big ticket item, while also grabbing entirely reasonable free agents in Edwin Encarnacion and Kole Calhoun. I used their projected Steamer walk rates, all well above 10%, which would be terrific for a White Sox team starved for walks.
Add bench bats and remove some previous bench at bats.
Eric Thames and Brad Miller are part-time players that should 100% be on the White Sox radar given that they both hit left handed and they both walk a ton. This is a no brainer. Apologies to Daniel Palka and Danny Mendick, but in order to have a chance to hit this 8.5% walk rate goal they will have to ply their trades elsewhere.
Internal improvements AND final reallocation of plate appearances…
The Orange boxes show Steamer estimated walk rates for some incumbent White Sox hitters in 2020 and they are all improvements. The biggest improvement belonging to Yoan Moncada (which is entirely believable given his substantial walk rates in the minors and in his first year plus in the majors). I also re-allocated the plate appearances ever so slightly, and voila, the White Sox have a league average walk rate.
This exercise is just to show you that the White Sox can do this and also that the White Sox can’t just do this by changing the hitting coach, it is going to take substantial free agent acquisitions that address the problem. Philosophies vary, but adding talent seems to always move the ball in the right direction.