Maybe Rick Renteria's bunting tendency is overstated, or maybe he'd bunt more with more runners
In a November tradition, I picked up the latest installment of the Bill James Handbook and flipped through it to test some assumptions and learn things I’d never processed to the point of assuming.
Here’s a sample of what I’ve gleaned so far:
*There isn’t a hitter on the White Sox who is especially vulnerable to the shift, even if there are some who get shifted against. Daniel Palka had 17 hits taken away from him due to such positioning, but he also beat it 15 times, so the net loss was only two hits.
*The Sox had the eighth-worst baserunning in terms of net bases gained, losing 15 as a team. They led the league by getting thrown out 34 times attempting to advance. Adam Engel led the team at +18 despite being a wash in stolen bases.
*Avisail Garcia indeed had the longest homer by an American League hitter at 481 feet, which isn’t bad for a league with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in it.
*Bad news: Yoan Moncada is only projected for a .699 OPS in 2019.
*Good news: Eloy Jimenez? .291/.340/.517.
*Reynaldo Lopez was one of two White Sox pitchers to show up in positive categories on this list. He threw the third-most fastballs 95 mph and higher (1,439), behind Gerrit Cole and Luis Severino, partially because only J.A. Happ and Justin Verlander threw their fastball more often than Lopez (60.9 percent) among qualified starters.
*Jace Fry was the other, with the league’s ninth-lowest OBP allowed among relievers (.267) and the sixth-lowest slugging (.274).
*Lucas Giolito, besides leading the league in walks and runs, also led the AL in stolen bases allowed by a large margin (26 to 18).
*James Shields was among three pitchers with 18, but he led the league in runners caught stealing on his watch (eight).
*Giolito is projected for a 4.76 ERA next year, which is both mediocre and an improvement of nearly a run and a half.
*The White Sox finished with the fifth-worst defense in terms of Defensive Runs Saved (-56).
*Palka finished -10 over 43 games in right field alone according to DRS, which isn’t surprising. But Charlie Tilson was equally bad in left (-8 in 32 games), which is.
*The Sox were second in shifts deployed with 1,855, only six behind the Rays. It’s an increase of 365 shifts from last season.
*Yolmer Sanchez was the Sox’ best defender, and was second among third basemen with 25 plays that required a dive, slide or jump. Matt Chapman, the Gold Glove winner and Fielding Bible winner, led with 36.
*Engel had more home run robberies in a week than anybody else had all season.
*The Sox came out ahead in challenges at +4, with a 51.2 percent success rate for, and a 42.5 percent success rate against. For context, the Royals led at +14, and the Mets finished last at -15.
*Guaranteed Rate Field finished as a below-average home run park with a park index of 96. Average is 100, and it’s a big change considering the three-year park index is 109.
*Rick Renteria led all of baseball in slow hooks with 66, which is probably due more to the damage suffered early by starters during a 100-loss season (think Giolito) than any kind of particular mindset. He was also first in pitchouts called with 10.
*Renteria finished with with 28 sacrifice attempts called, which is a little higher than the AL average (25). Alex Cora, A.J. Hinch and John Gibbons each finished with fewer than 10, while Terry Francona led the AL with 44.