Found August 16, 2013 on
Grab Some Bench:
Last year there were many people in and around the game of baseball, myself included, who felt like Alexei Ramirez should have won the Gold Glove at shortstop in the American League. Ramirez had the best defensive year of his career, making both the spectacular and routine plays on a regular basis. He posted the best fielding percentage of his career and was the best fielder on a team that committed the fewest errors and allowed the fewest unearned runs in the American League. The White Sox defense was a key part of why they spent most of the season in first place in the AL Central.
What a difference a year makes.
This year Ramirez has struggled mightily at shortstop and the White Sox have long since surpassed their error and unearned run totals of a year ago. The Sox have played poor defense all season long, which coupled with an inconsistent offense, has wasted solid performances by the pitching staff time and again and is a large part of why the White Sox sit in last place in the AL Central.
Exactly how bad has Ramirez been this year? In order to know the answer to that we must go back and look at Alexei’s performance the last several years.
From 2009-2012 Alexei Ramirez played 5,444.1 innings at shortstop, more than any other player in Major League Baseball. The next closest player is Elvis Andrus, 320 innings behind Ramirez. Over that stretch Ramirez had the third highest UZR or ultimate zone rating, which ranks his double plays, range and errors and how they relate to runs above the average fielder. It’s more or less fielding WAR. Ramirez’s total UZR from 09-12 was 32.8 or about 8.2 per season. Only Brendan Ryan and JJ Hardy had a higher total UZR and both those guys played more than a 1000 fewer innings at shortstop. It could be argued that over the last four seasons, Ramirez was one of, if not the best fielding shortstop in baseball.
This year Ramirez has a UZR of 5.5, a drop off of 2.7 from his career average, and ranks 7th in MLB. He has already tied his career high in errors at 20 and barring a miracle will set a new career high. He is on pace for 27 errors, which would more than double last season’s total of 12 miscues.
Here is the really scary part. According to Chris Kamka at Comcast SportsNet, Alexei Ramirez errors have led to roughly 23 unearned runs this season. I say roughly because several times this year the White Sox Bad News Bears-esque defense has committed multiple errors in the same inning leading to unearned runs so it is tough to know for sure. Still, using the estimated number of 23 unearned runs, Alexei Ramirez has accounted for 43% of the White Sox total unearned runs for the season. You think that’s bad? It gets worse. At this rate each Ramirez error leads to about 1.15 runs. That means that if Ramirez commits 27 errors, which is what he is on pace for, he will account for 31 unearned runs, more than the entire team allowed last year.
Obviously the pitchers have to shoulder some of the blame by not being able to pitch over the mistakes but let’s be honest, there have been way too many mistakes to pitch over this season.
Why the sudden drop off by Ramirez? It’s hard to say. He is still getting to balls and making plays that few other shortstops can make, which is one of the reasons his UZR isn’t lower this year. The problem has been the routine plays or trying to do too much. Ramirez had some high error totals before, committing 20 errors in in 2009 and 2010 but had cut his error totals down each year in 2011 and 2012. For reference, Jose Valentin AVERAGED 23 errors a season during his tenure with the White Sox. The difference to me was that Ramirez was making fewer errors on routine plays. The skills are still there which is why I believe this has to be a mental issue with Alexei. There have been several games this year where he commits an error, usually that leads to a run, and then just cannot get his head back in the game and commits another error. The fact that the team is playing so poorly and was out of the race so early this year is also a factor, in my opinion. Whatever the reason, it is most likely an issue between the ears. The question is whether or not Ramirez can put this season aside and move forward.
BEST OF MAXIM
The Chicago White Sox placed right-handed reliever Ramon Troncoso on the disabled list Saturday with inflammation of the lining around his heart.
To take his spot on the roster, Chicago purchased the contract of Jake Petricka.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Troncoso complained of chest pains on Friday and was taken to a Twin Cities hospital, where he remained Saturday.
Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham has left the game on Thursday night against the Minnesota Twins in the fourth inning because of a strained right quadriceps.
Beckham went 1 for 2 with a single and a run scored before experiencing tightness in his quad. The White Sox say he was pulled for precautionary reasons and will be evaluated on Friday.
Beckham is hitting .310...
Jose Quintana was strong yet again and the White Sox rediscovered the long ball on Friday night.
Jeff Keppinger and Adam Dunn homered and Quintana delivered 6 2/3 well-pitched innings as the White Sox snapped a 10-game road losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Dayan Viciedo also singled in two runs in his return to the lineup as the White Sox...
Former second round draft pick by your White Sox and Indiana State product Jake Petricka has been called up to replace Ramon Troncoso, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
As we wrote about recently, Petricka has been one of if not the main name to know regarding the inevitable bullpen openings in the team's near future. Since making the transition from starter...
Prior to the 2013 season, the White Sox system got a lot of grief for being one of the worst systems in baseball. It definitely has some glaring holes but there are some intriguing prospects that probably don’t get enough press — such as the southpaw below. Scott Snodgress, LHP, White Sox: The Stanford alum […]
Whether it’s deserved or not, Manager Robin Ventura has been a lightning rod for criticism for White Sox fans this season.
One of the things called into questions frequently in terms of Robin’s decision making has been the batting order. Whether it be Jeff Keppinger seemingly never hitting below seventh, Gordon Beckham batting eighth for so long, or something else...
Adam Dunn hit his 28th home run and Jose Quintana tossed six sharp innings to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
Quintana (7-4) scattered six hits over 6 2-3 innings, giving up two runs and striking out seven.
Jeff Keppinger also homered to help Chicago snap its season-worst, 10-game road losing streak.
Joe Mauer homered in the first...
Now that Chris Sale no longer has the burden of trying to help end a season-high road slide for the Chicago White Sox, he can focus on continuing his recent dominance on the mound.
The All-Star left-hander looks to win a season-high third straight start Saturday night against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Sale (8-11, 2.73 ERA) was mired in an 11-start stretch where he went...
Dayan Viciedo hit a three-run homer and Alejandro De Aza added a two-run shot as the Chicago White Sox topped the Minnesota Twins 8-5 Saturday night.
Viciedo's home run gave him five RBIs in his last two games, equaling his total from July 10 through Aug. 14.
Chris Sale (9-11) gave up four consecutive two-out hits in the third inning as the Twins scored three times.
Thanks in part to a power surge at the plate, the Minnesota Twins are enjoying a successful run against the Chicago White Sox.
Their offense certainly hasn't been lacking when they've faced Jose Quintana.
The Twins look for their eighth win in nine games versus the White Sox on Friday night while handing Chicago its 11th straight road loss overall.
Minnesota (54-65) has...
The Braves, seeking depth at second base, have signed infielder Tyler Greene to a minor league contract.
Greene, who was released by the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, was assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Braves second baseman Dan Uggla is on the 15-day disabled list while recovering from corrective eye surgery. His replacement, Tyler Pastornicky, tore the anterior cruciate ligament...
We are open to suggestions as to what is going on with these two fans who got a little weird with each other in the eleventh inning at U.S. Cellular field in Chicago on Tuesday. The fact they are sitting in separate rows leads us to question whether they even know each other. If they are White Sox fans in the mist of this dreadful season, you got to believe one is putting the...
The White Sox start a two-city road trip this weekend with a four game series against the Twins at Target Field. They went 6-4 on the last homestand, winning five out of six games against the Yankees and Tigers, but losing three out of four to Minnesota. As usual, baseball makes perfect sense.
Minnesota is in the midst of an eight-game homestand and dropped two of three...