The White Sox Bullpen Will Eat Your Lunch, Strike You Out

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fat-cat.jpgThe Chicago White Sox are, after their recent tear through the interleague schedule, improbably smack dab in the middle of the AL Central race. No team that starts both Juan Pierre and Omar Vizquel at the top of the same lineup can be taken too seriously; no matter how hilariously it is managed by Ozzie Guillen.

On the whole, the Sox rank as one of the most detestable teams in baseball, from Ozzie Guillen and Harriet Williams out front and weapons-grade douchebag A.J. Pierzynski pulling up the rear. The Sox bullpen is an interesting study as its staffed exclusively by surly, flame-throwing dollops of angry humanity.

The Padres pen might have a "cool" nickname and the requisite line of apparel, the White Sox pen is nothing to sneeze at - mostly because they'll eat and/or sit on you for doing so. Ozzie's usage pattern pretty much ensures that every half inning sees a bigger, harder throwing guy with an ugly disposition and even worse facial hair emerge from the pen. Consider this handy dandy chart displaying their strikeout prowess and great love of uncooked cookie dough.

Fat Guy Height Weight K per 9 Average Fastball (mph)
Bobby Jenks 6'4 275 10.86 94.7
J.J. Putz 6'5 250 10.73 93.9
Matt Thornton 6'6 235 12.791 95.9
Sergio Santos 6'3 240 11.1 95.8
Scott Linebrank 6'3 220 9.57 93.5
Tony Pena 6'2 230 6.27 94.2

Has Kenny Williams cracked some sort of fat guy pitching algorithm? Surely big dudes that throw hard and miss bats are in steady supply around baseball - guys like that get nothing but chances. Maybe there's something to this - load up the back-end of your pen with back-end loaded hurlers? Consider the relationship of Sox hurlers BMI to their K rate.

Fat Sox.PNG

Though Slothy Tony Pena ruins the relationship almost completely, it is easy to see that fatness = strikeouts. If strikeouts are the key to pitching victory, that must mean the ChiSox pen is one of the best in baseball?

Would you believe it, they are! Ozzie's rotund pen ranks second in baseball with a tidy xFIP of 3.67. Four of the above behemoths sport FIPs under 4. Converted shortstop (!) Sergio Santos, soon-to-be-a-wealthy-closer-again J.J. Putz, a certain blogger's secret boyfriend Matt Thornton, and tradebait hillbilly Bobby Jenks all break wills, bats, and buffets on the regular. The White Sox aren't likely to continue to challenge in the Central, but Crazy Ozzie has no worries when his starters carry a lead into the late innings.

1 - Laugh Out Loud.

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Man... they really are one of the most detestable teams in baseball. You didn't even mention Hawk Harrelson!

"weapons-grade douchebag A.J. Pierzynski"

Drew wins Bon Mot of the Week.

Allow me to echo what I said to Rob in the WoW lunchroom - that Sergio Santos strikes out 11 guys per 9 innings less than 5 years after he was a sought-after shortstop prospect is nothing short of amazing.

I hope to one day hold the title of "Tradebait Hillbilly."

Rich Garces would have fit in nicely with these guys.

"Sitting For Sneezing" is my favorite MMJ song.

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