Tagged: Chicago White Sox

The Best/Worst Article Headline Ever Written

Really? This is either a journalist’s worst nightmare or an editor’s best prank, depending on how you look at it:

Stiff Dickey

After R.A. Dickey exited his start against the Chicago White Sox in Toronto with back and neck stiffness, the Jays were able to hold on to a victory. But still, there’s no way this headline wasn’t intentional. Or so I thought.

Upon digging for the original article, I found multiple links that informed me: “Oops. There’s something wrong with that link.”

Yeah, what was wrong is you failed to notice that R.A.’s last name sounds like the phallic slang for “Richard” and that the common understanding of “happy ending” is…well, I won’t go there. When you put the two together…I don’t need to help you with that. Just know that it’s commonplace in the sketchiest of massage parlors.

I don’t know what else to say, besides oh, Canada. We love you.

– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for all your 2013 MLB news!

Advertisements

3U3D Break It Down: A.L. Central

Last season, the AL Central was not only the weakest top to bottom in the American League, but you could also argue it was the weakest in all of baseball.  While no team last surpassed 88 wins, the AL representative in the World Series came from the Central.  Will Detroit win the division for a 3rd straight year? Or will the White Sox be able to fend off a Tigers push? Will Cleveland’s new manager Terry Francona bring back playoff baseball for the Indians? Are the Royals finally ‘there’?

whitesox

Chicago White Sox: Chicago looks to be primed to make a run at an AL Central title this year and it starts with their rotation. The 1-2 punch of Chris Sale and Jake Peavy will provide solid outings all year but the injury to John Danks might prove to be too costly.  It’ll be up to Dylan Axelrod to step up in Danks’ absence.  The two biggest question marks for the lineup are will Adam Dunn mash all season long again and can Paul Konerko stay healthy and lead the way in what may be his last season?

Indians

Cleveland Indians: The Indians have a lot to be excited about heading into this season and it starts with accomplished manager, Terry Francona. The sheer experience Francona brings to the clubhouse will propel Cleveland past last season’s 68 wins.  New additions Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Drew Stubbs, and Mark Reynolds provide the ability to score runs with Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana. The real concern with the Indians will be the starting rotation.  Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Brett Myers are going to have to carry the load if this team is going to be successful in 2013.

DetroitTigersLogo

Detroit Tigers: The defending AL Champs have everyone back from last year with a key addition in Torii Hunter and a healthy Victor Martinez.  This team is built to win now and should run away with the division.  But there is one giant hole; the role of closer.  The Tigers will start the season with a closer by committee strategy that will rotate Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit, and Octavio Dotel.  The rotation is the best in the league with a perennial Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez., and Rick Porcello. Expect to see this team deep in October.

kansas_city_royals_logo-9425

Kansas City Royals: Every year for the past 5 years, the talk about the Royals has been “they are 1 or 2 years away”.  This organization has plenty of young talent but its put up or shut up time.  James Shields and Ervin Santana join 2012 mid-season acquisition Jeremy Guthrie to form the 2nd best pitching staff in the Central.  If Butler, Moustakas, and co. can stay healthy, the KC Royals will be playing meaningful games through September and might see some post-season action.

Twins

Minnesota Twins: When you’re Opening Day starter is Vance Worley, you have seen better days.  To make this season a success, the Twins need to break up the M&M boys.  It makes more sense for Morneau to be dealt purely based on contract size, unless the Twinkies want to absorb some of Joe Mauer’s $23M/year deal.  Josh Willingham provided much of the offense last year while having a career year.  The only way I can see this team avoiding a 100-loss season is if Willingham duplicates his 2012 stats AND they do not trade Mauer or Morneau.  It might be more beneficial to bite the bullet this year and start stocking up for 2014.

Awards Watch

A.L. MVP

Adam Dunn – Chicago White Sox

Michael Bourn – Cleveland Indians

Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers

Billy Butler – Kansas City Royals

Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham – Minnesota Twins

Cy Young

Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers

Max Scherzer – Detroit Tigers

James Shields – Kansas City Royals

Rookie of the Year

Aaron Hicks – Minnesota Twins

Will the Tigers run away with this division? Is this the last time you can see the M&M boys in Twins uniforms? Comment below!

– Angelo Fileccia (@GODF_TH_R)

Ranking the World Baseball Classic Rosters

World-Baseball-Classic-2013In about six weeks, the World Baseball Classic will be upon us again and Team USA will look to win its first title in the competition’s history. They’ve got a good shot — manager Joe Torre released his roster on Thursday, and they are absolutely loaded.

Unfortunately for fans of Team USA, one glance at a few competing rosters will stop the celebration in its tracks. Can someone unseat two-time defending champions, Team Japan? Will Team USA improve upon their 4th-place finish in 2009?

We can’t predict the results down to the wire, but we’re here to do what we do best at Three Up, Three Down. We rank the rosters! So strap in, baseball fans, and see if your favorite team stands a chance:

**The “Stick to Soccer” Group**

Brazil hat wbc

#16: BRAZIL

Notable player(s): Barry Larkin, Manager (and Hall of Fame Reds SS)

International Baseball Federation (IBAF) Ranking: 20

Breakdown: Good thing for their dominance on the international soccer scene, because Brazil isn’t going anywhere in the Classic. Yan Gomes was the first Brazilian player to ever reach the big leagues, and the country itself only has 14 players signed to Major League contracts. How they will win: They won’t. Why they won’t: See “How they will win.”  

china wbc cap

#15: CHINA

Notable player(s): Bruce Chen, SP, Royals 

IBAF Ranking: 18

Breakdown: The Chinese baseball team is a decade away from being a serious contender, but they are headed in the right direction. They’ve made steady improvements over international tournaments since a decent showing at the 2009 WBC, in which they eliminated Chinese Taipei. How they will win: Hustle, starting pitching. Why they won’t: Not enough of either.

Spain wbc cap

#14: SPAIN

Notable player(s): Paco Rodriguez, RP, Dodgers/Engel Beltre, OF, Rangers

IBAF Ranking: 16

Breakdown: I’m not sure what to think about Spain. They lack star power, but did knock off Israel and South Africa in qualifiers. The roster is dotted with promising Major League prospects, but I don’t foresee Spain winning more than a game, maybe two in the WBC. How they will win: Breakout tourney from Beltre. Why they won’t: Their Pool C competition is stacked (Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic).

italy wbc cap

#13: ITALY

Notable player(s): Jason Grilli, RP, Pirates/Francisco Cervelli, C, Yankees/Nick Punto, IF, Dodgers/Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs/Chris Denorfia, OF, Padres

IBAF Ranking: 9

Breakdown: Not only did we miss out on a Hall of Fame induction for Mike Piazza, but he won’t be participating on Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic either. Props to the Italians for back-to-back Euro Championships, but the competition is pretty weak over there right now. I think they will be humbled in the WBC. How they will win: Play with a chip on their shoulder. Why they won’t: Even the MLB-level hitters are thin.

kingdom of netherlands wbc cap

#12: KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS

Notable Player(s): Jair Jurrjens, SP, MLB Free Agent/Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox/Jurickson Profar, 2B, Rangers/Jonathan Schoop, 3B, Orioles/Andrelton Simmons, SS, Braves/Roger Bernadina, OF, Nationals/Andruw Jones, OF, MLB Free Agent

IBAF Ranking: 7

Breakdown: The Dutch soccer team is one of my favorites to watch. And for the first time in recent memory, so will their baseball team. They just missed my “dark horse” cut, due to sheer overall talent of the rest of the field. But the Major League potential of some youngsters on this roster is extremely intriguing. They’ve won 20 of 32 Euro Championships ever played. How they will win: Infield of dreams breaks out. Why they won’t: Not all the youngsters will perform.

**The Dark Horses**

south korea wbc cap

#11: SOUTH KOREA

Notable player(s): Jae Seo, SP, former Met, Dodger, Ray in MLB

IBAF Ranking: 4

Breakdown: I feel ridiculous ranking Korea this low, considering their past successes in the WBC. But, it’s the third time this tournament has been played and each team has scouting on the opposition now. I don’t think South Korea will sneak up on anyone this time around. How they will win: High on-base percentage, good defense. Why they won’t: Too much good competition.

Australia-WBC-hat

#10: AUSTRALIA

Notable player(s): Peter Moylan, RP, Dodgers

IBAF Ranking: 10

Breakdown: There’s a handful of good Major League players (like A’s closer Grant Balfour) who hail from the land down under, but there isn’t a whole lot of MLB experience on this roster. Team Australia still has a shot at advancing, but they may have more trouble than in years past. How they will win: Pure grit. Why they won’t: Not enough runs, upstart opposition in Pool B.

canada wbc cap

#9: CANADA

Notable player(s): Jesse Crain, RP, White Sox/John Axford, RP, Brewers/Jameson Taillon, SP, Pirates/Russell Martin, C, Pirates/Brett Lawrie, 3B, Blue Jays/Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins

IBAF Ranking: 6

Breakdown: We all know that Canada produces some bona fide stars in MLB (Joey Votto, anyone?), but not all are present and accounted for on this roster, similar to Team Australia. They still have the talent to make a run with Lawrie, Morneau and Martin in the middle of the lineup though. How they will win: Dominant bullpen, good middle of the lineup. Why they won’t: Too much youth in the rotation.

taipei wbc cap

#8: CHINESE TAIPEI

Notable player(s): Chien-Ming Wang, SP, MLB Free Agent

IBAF Ranking: 5

Breakdown: There’s a reason that Team Chinese Taipei is a top-five ranked country right now. But their proudest current professional representative (Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen) is not on the team yet. This team is still legit, and has a very winnable pool group. How they will win: Small ball. Why they won’t: Overall talent is lacking.

**The “Justtttt A Bit Outside” Group**

puerto rico wbc cap

#7: PUERTO RICO

Notable player(s): Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals/Carlos Beltran, OF, Cardinals/Angel Pagan, OF, Giants/Mike Aviles, IF, Indians/Javier Vasquez, SP, MLB Free Agent

IBAF Ranking: 12

Breakdown: There may be no more high-ceiling-yet-average team in the WBC this year. Team Puerto Rico has finished fifth at both tournaments preceding this, and killed Team USA in 2009 before being ousted by them two games later on a walk-off hit. Even with players such as Molina, Beltran and Pagan, they won’t even be favorites in their own pool. How they will win: The Major League talent they have is relentlessly good. Why they won’t: Lack of depth in the rotation.

mexico 2013 wbc cap

#6: MEXICO

Notable player(s): Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Dodgers/Luis Cruz, 3B, Dodgers/Yovani Gallardo, SP, Brewers/Danny Espinosa, 2B, Nationals/Sergio Romo, RP, Giants

IBAF Ranking: 11

Breakdown: In their pool, Team Mexico will have to deal with Team USA, but other than that they should be favored to top Team Canada and Team Italy to move on. They have a decent infield, top-of-the-line ace, and one of the best closers in baseball. How they will win: Adrian Gonzalez goes off, Gallardo is dominant. Why they won’t: Romo is neutralized unless they have a lead late.

cuba wbc cap

#5: CUBA

Notable player(s): None 

IBAF Ranking: 1

Breakdown: Don’t let the lack of notable players deceive you — this team is good. Really good. They have played in the IBAF World Cup 29 times and won 25 gold medals, finishing second the other four times. In the WBC, Team Cuba has finished second and fourth (which, at the time, was their lowest finish ever in international competition). They just can’t legally have players like Aroldis Chapman or Yoenis Cespedes on their squad, otherwise they might be even better. How they will win: Hard-throwing starters, handful of five-tool prospects. Why they won’t: The top four teams are just too stacked.

**The Favorites**

japan wbc hat

#4: JAPAN

Notable player(s): None

IBAF Ranking: 3

Breakdown: Again, don’t let the lack of Major League firepower fool you. Much like Cuba, Team Japan has been a hotbed for MLB stars over the years (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Yu Darvish). Even though none of them joined the fray in 2013, this team is stacked. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of future MLB players come off this roster after good WBC performances. After all, they are two-for-two in WBC titles up to this point. How they will win: Ichiro-style on-base scavengers, deceptive pitching. Why they won’t: Not having Ichiro and Darvish, among others, will end up costing Team Japan.

dominican republic wbc hat

#3: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Notable player(s): Santiago Casilla, RP, Giants/Octavio Dotel, RP, Tigers/Alexi Ogando, RP, Rangers/Fernando Rodney, RP, Rays/Wandy Rodriguez, SP, Pirates/Edinson Volquez, SP, Reds/Carlos Santana, C, Indians/Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers/Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees/Edwin Encarnacion, DH/OF, Blue Jays/Hanley Ramirez, IF, Dodgers/Jose Reyes, SS, Blue Jays/Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers/Melky Cabrera, OF, Blue Jays

IBAF Ranking: 13

Breakdown: The only reason Team Dominica is ranked so low by the IBAF is because all those notable players are stars in the big leagues, and don’t regularly compete internationally for their country. But now that the WBC has rolled around again, this is one unbelievably good team. My only concern is their starting pitching depth. How they will win: Scoring 15 runs per game (no…really). Why they won’t: Like I said, starting pitching depth. Will Volquez and Rodriguez be enough?

USA wbc hat

#2: UNITED STATES

Notable player(s):  Jeremy Affeldt, RP, Giants/R.A. Dickey, SP, Blue Jays/Craig Kimbrel, RP, Braves/Kris Medlen, SP, Braves/Ryan Vogelsong, SP, Giants/Chris Perez, RP, Indians/Joe Mauer, C, Twins/Brandon Phillips, 2B, Reds/Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies/David Wright, 3B, Mets/Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees/Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers/Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins/Adam Jones, OF, Orioles/Joe Torre, Manager

IBAF Ranking: 2

Breakdown: I didn’t even pick all the “notable players” I could have for this team. It’s Team USA’s equivalent of the MLB Dream Team, and Justin Verlander still is undecided as to whether he’ll join the rotation. This team is already a favorite with a balanced lineup and very strong pitching staff, but adding JV would be a coup. Check out fellow Three Up, Three Down host Bryan Mapes’ grades-by-position for Team USAHow they will win: Veteran experience, explosive pitching. Why they won’t: The bane of their existence, Team Japan, will come along eventually.

venezuela wbc cap

#1: VENEZUELA

Notable player(s): Anibal Sanchez, SP, Tigers/Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners/Francisco Rodriguez, RP, MLB Free Agent/Ronald Belisario, RP, Dodgers/Miguel Montero, C, Diamondbacks/Salvador Perez, C, Royals/Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers/Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, Indians/Miguel Cabrera, 3B/1B, Tigers/Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Giants/Marco Scutaro, 2B, Giants/Carols Gonzalez, OF, Rockies/Gerardo Parra, OF, Diamondbacks

IBAF Ranking: 8

Breakdown: The quantity of star power on Team Venezuela might not match up to Team USA or Team Dominica, but the quality is far and beyond. When you start your rotation with Hernandez and stack the middle of your lineup with the reigning Triple Crown winner between Gonzalez and Sandoval, you are a very, very scary team. Even though their WBC pool is very tough, it would be a momentous upset to not see Team Venezuela make moves in the 2013 tournament. How they will win: A large margin of victory. Against anyone. Why they won’t: Slumping hitters or being outplayed by one of the other favorites.

And that’s a wrap. This writer believes Team Venezuela is the team to beat, with Team USA, Team Dominica and Team Japan not far behind. But in all honesty, there are about 10-11 teams who could potentially take home the title in 2013. Root for your team and country to take home top honors, and stay tuned to Three Up, Three Down because we’ll have all your World Baseball Classic coverage.

Like what you see? Follow @3u3d on Twitter and like Three Up, Three Down on Facebook for more WBC and MLB news and analysis.

– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

Making a Case for the HOF: Konerko, Beltre, Pierre (yep, that Pierre), Sabathia and Dunn

I know it’s strange to think about – but the reality is that some of your favorite players are going to be in the Hall of Fame. No, not Albert Pujols or Chipper Jones. Those are no-brainers.

What about the guys you don’t think about as being consistently great throughout their careers, who still might have half a decade or more left in them?

Did you know CC Sabathia, health pending, could reach 300 wins? Or that Adrian Beltre and Juan Pierre both have a shot at cracking 3,000 hits?

Those numbers typically lock a player into Cooperstown. But in a day and age when even Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa will find it difficult to cross that threshold, the following players’ cases become very debatable, regardless of the numbers:

The case for Paul Konerko:

Paulie has become one of the most beloved players in Chicago based on his big, consistent offensive numbers over 14 seasons with the White Sox. At age 36, you have to imagine Father Time is catching up with him and his production will eventually diminish. As it stands now, Konerko is a career .283 hitter with 417 homers.

Konerko doesn’t have any individual awards (yet) to add to his resume, but he does have the 2005 World Series ring, and a legitimate chance at 500 home runs. In a full season, he’s good for at least 25 dingers. If Konerko maintains that average through the next three seasons, you’re talking about a guy who is going to be just single digits away from 500.

Much like Jim Thome, Konerko could play into his 40’s as  DH and accumulate 500 and beyond by the time he hangs up the cleats. Do 500 home runs, a pretty good average, and a glaring lack of individual accolades put Konerko in the Hall of Fame?

Verdict: Yes. If Konerko gets to 500 home runs, he should be in. On honor alone (Konerko was never linked to PED’s), Konerko is more worthy than home run hitters such as Mark McGwire. Not to mention his all-around game was better.

The case for Adrian Beltre:

It’s all about health for Beltre. It still blows my mind that this guy has almost 2,100 career hits. So many years of anonymity in Los Angeles and disappointment in Seattle made Beltre forgotten until his 2010 resurgence with Boston. And Beltre has been in the bigs since he was 19, so despite being just 33 years old today, he’s in his 15th season.

If Beltre’s (who has been fairly lucky health-wise over his career) body doesn’t start breaking down with age, he has a very legitimate shot to reach not just the 3,000 hit milestone; but 500 home runs as well. Reaching either number makes you a very strong candidate – both means you’re definitely in.

Assuming Beltre will play at least six more seasons (he would be 39 then), whether it be at the hot corner or as a 1B/DH, seasonal averages would have to be fairly mild to reach both milestones. It would require about 150 hits and 25 home runs per season from now on. I think that is very attainable.

Verdict: He’s in. I don’t think he’ll quite get to 500 home runs. But the 3,000 hit club will welcome Beltre around age 40 in his final season. That, plus solid power numbers, a good average and multiple Gold Glove awards will get him in.

The case for Juan Pierre:

I know, I know. I sincerely hope you weren’t drinking something that may have the ability to destroy your laptop, because chances are you just dropped said drink all over the keyboard. Now pick your jaw off the floor at my suggestion and examine the facts.

Despite being immensely underrated, kicked to the curb by multiple fan bases and underutilized by multiple managers, Pierre has quietly made a borderline Hall of Fame case for himself. In 13 seasons with six different teams, Pierre is hitting  .296. He will be a hot two-week stretch away from 2,200 career hits at the end of 2012, and he’s only 34.

Not to mention that Pierre has stolen 588 bases and has a .989 fielding percentage, those hits speak for themselves. He has been mostly healthy his whole career, and could legitimately have 2,500 hits by age 36. At that point he knows it takes five full seasons at the most to reach the coveted 3,000.

Verdict: He doesn’t quite make the cut, and the dream title of “most anonymous Hall of Famer” dies with it. I think Pierre will stop getting small contracts from teams in need of a stolen base threatas he ages, and that will keep him around 2,800 hits.

The case for C.C. Sabathia:

The discussion starts and ends with “health” for the big boy, Sabathia. Arm troubles this season, at age 32, are very worrisome for the next great hope of a 300-game winner. He has 192 wins thus far in a career that has seen him ridden by various managers like a horse in the Kentucky Derby.

All that piggy backing has to catch up to Sabathia at some point, which is a damn shame. He’s one of my favorite pitches to watch and hails from the same region as I do, so I have a soft spot for C.C. But even with 250 or more wins, at least one Cy Young and at least one World Series ring, I don’t think his resume will cut it.

The halls of Cooperstown are decorated with the greatest hurlers to ever play the game. Even if Sabathia manages to stay healthy enough to be a regular starter until age 40, it would take an average of 13-14 wins to reach the milestone of 300 that guarantees you the Hall of Fame. I just don’t see it happening, especially as he gets older.

Verdict: I think I made it pretty clear – so close, yet so far for C.C. However, if Sabathia stays healthy for the majority of the next six or so seasons, he could rack up over 250 wins and over 3,000 strikeouts, which gives him an outside shot.

The case for Adam Dunn:

This one disgusts me. That being said, Dunn has put up gargantuan power numbers for most of his Major League career, and home runs are King in baseball, so we must discuss. As a 32-year-old, Dunn has already racked up 402 home runs. He is a DH most days, first baseman occasionally. Either way, that means no wear and tear on his body.

That also means he could pull a Jim Thome and play until his great grand children are in the minors. If Dunn is going to average 30 or more home runs for the next decade, as he very well could, then people won’t care how paltry the batting average or how many times he swings and misses.

There it is – the reason this case disgusts me. We are basing it solely on the amount of times a tight end (what? Might as well be – 6’6″ and 285 lbs) can swing really hard and hit a ball really far. Dunn will likely approach 600 career home runs. He will likely hit about .220 for his career. He will definitely strike out over 3,000 times. That’s all.

Verdict: Sigh…he’ll be in. Unless Dunn suffers a career-ending injury, there will be a plaque dedicated to the gigantic man who slugged mammoth homers sometimes, struck out most of the time.

Comment below – who else should we make a Hall of Fame case for? Did we swing and miss on any of these guys? And don’t forget to VOTE in the poll:

Don’t forget to follow @3u3d on Twitter and LIKE Three Up, Three Down on Facebook!

– Jeremy Dorn @Jamblinman

Grade That Trade! Early Astros Edition

If there is one team that has made it clear that they are sellers at this year’s trade deadline it’s the Houston Astros.  Why wait until July 31st to make some some moves though?  Houston already dealt Carlos Lee to Miami that we covered here  and Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow is continuing to build towards the future by pulling off two more deals this weekend.  Let’s take a look at how the Astros did.

Astros receive: RP Francisco Cordero and OF Ben Francisco, plus prospects RHP Joe Musgrove and Asher Wojciechowski, LHP David Rollins, C Carlos Perez and a player to be named later

Blue Jays receive: SP J.A. Happ, RP’s Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter

The Blue Jays were looking for any pitching help after losing Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek,  Drew Hutchison, Sergio Santos, Luis Perez, and Jason Frasor to injuries.  Drabek, Perez, and Santos are done for the season.  Happ can be serviceable in both the rotation and out of the bullpen.  He came out of the bullpen in his first appearance with the Jays.  Lyon will replace Cordero as the righty set-up man in the bullpen.

Cordero joins his 6th MLB team in his career and comes back to the N.L. Central after being with Cincinnati from 2008-11.  He has fallen off this season with a 5.77 ERA, but is only signed to a one-year contract, meaning the Astros will clear his salary at the end of the season or it makes him a target to be flipped by the end of July for more prospects.  Francisco was a former big-name prospect, but hasn’t lived up to it.  He’s turned into a reserve outfielder and is hitting .236 this season.

The Astros made this deal though for the prospects.  The three pitchers all have been good in the minors so far and two were high draft picks in the 1st compensation round.  Wojciechowski and Perez were top 15 prospects in the Blue Jays system according to “Prospect Corner.”

Astros receive: Prospects RHP Matt Heidenreich, LHP Blair Walters, and a player to be named later

White Sox receive: RP Brett Myers

Was there a more obvious trade candidate in the 2012 season than Brett Myers?  The Astros converted him to closer in order to maximize his value on the trade market.  The two prospects aren’t anything overly special, but stockpiling pitching lottery tickets and hoping one makes it, isn’t a bad strategy.  Walters, 22, was ranked by Baseball America as the 26th best prospect in the White Sox system, but has struggled since moving up to high A with a 7.01 ERA and 1.63 WHIP for Winston-Salem. 21 year-old Heidenreich was solid in Winston-Salem going 8-2 with a 3.57 ERA this season, but also has struggled since moving up another level.

Myers moves to the Windy City to help stabilize a bullpen that has the 3rd worst bullpen ERA in the American League.  Myers has 19 saves and a 3.52 ERA for Houston before being traded.  Myers, Matt Thornton, and Addison Reed isn’t exactly the strongest combination at the end of games, but it can be good enough to keep the White Sox in contention for the A.L. Central.

The Astros have shown that they’re trying to bottom out completely and pick up high draft picks in the draft to build a nucleus for the latter part of this decade.  We’ve already seen Houston grab Carlos Correa with the #1 pick in this years draft.  They’re setting themselves up to pick near the top once again.

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

How Does Paul Konerko Get to the Hall of Fame?

Chicago White Sox slugger Paul Konerko notched his 400th career home run today against the Athletics. He joins fellow White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas as the only two in franchise history with more than 300+ home runs. Thomas is considered by many a sure Hall of Famer, while Konerko isn’t even in the discussion. There are accolades that Konerko can’t match “The Big Hurt” in, such as the two MVP awards or the career .300 batting average. However, what would it take for Konerko to match Thomas in career numbers and even numbers that would “lock” him into the Hall of Fame? I’m going to use Konerko’s averages of the last three seasons to figure this out.

All-Star Appearances:

Thomas: 5

Konerko: 5

Konerko is off to a solid start as he’s matched Thomas already in Midseason Classics. He is off to another hot start this season and with making an appearance each of the last two years, Konerko should pass Thomas in Kansas City this season.

Hits:

Thomas: 2468

Konerko: 2049

Konerko’s 2009-2011 average hits per season is 161. This would mean Konerko would pass Thomas on the all-time hits list in about late 2014. Very likely. To get to the golden number of 3000 hits, Konerko would have to player another six healthy seasons or until he is 42 years old. Not likely.

Home Runs:

Thomas: 521

Konerko 400

This is where Konerko has made up some serious ground by continuing to churn out 30-homer seasons in his mid-30’s. His 3-year average is 32 home runs. Thomas only hit 448 of his in a White Sox uniform, this gives Konerko a real chance at becoming the franchise record holder by the end of next season. Konerko could pass Thomas some time in early 2016 overall BUT the magical number of 500 home runs would be in range at the end of the 2015 season. This could be the number that gets Konerko a Hall pass.

Runs Batted In:

Thomas: 1704

Konerko: 1274

430 more ribbies for Konerko here, at his 2009-2011 average of 101 a year, would take him just over four years to surpass Thomas’ total. Like the home run number though, Konerko needs just 220 more for the franchise record. That would be projected to happen in early 2015. There is no magic RBI number to get in the Hall of Fame.

I am not saying that Konerko will ever be the greatest White Sox player of all-time. Thomas led the league in OBP and OPS four times to Konerko’s none. Thomas has three Silver Sluggers on his mantle to Konerko’s none. The counting stats though portray a real chance that Konerko can put himself into the Hall of Fame discussion when all is said and done.

-Bryan Mapes