Game 113, White Sox at Mariners

marc w · August 7, 2014 at 5:30 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Roenis Elias vs. Scott Carroll, 7:10pm

I can’t be the only one who’d never heard of Scott Carroll until recently. Some of you heard his name when you read/heard the pitching probables for this game (Carroll’s first ever game against Seattle), and some of you may have seen Mike Petriello’s Fangraphs article about Carroll’s role in the worst called strikezone of 2014. Even the name is non-descript; he sounds like a fungible mid-80s swingman on a team the M’s didn’t play often – maybe Cincinnati or Philadelphia, almost certainly mustachioed.

Carroll was drafted in 2007 by Cincinnati, as a matter of fact, and spent several years kicking around the mid-minors before running out of steam soon after reaching AAA. He wasn’t a strikeout guy, but wasn’t a control pitcher either. He gave up tons of hits, but…uh, no, there was nothing counteracting that, and thus the Reds released him in 2012. The White Sox picked him up, and just 25 total appearances later, they sent him to the big leagues. The right-handed sinkerballer made his MLB debut in late April – at the age of 29 – and he’s been with the club ever since. As you’d guess, he *still* isn’t missing any bats, with a poor strikeout rate and an abysmal whiff rate. He’s allowed plenty of walks, which means his K-BB% is the second worst in baseball, behind Nick Martinez of the Rangers, and the one guy who came into spring training as a bigger long-shot to be on a big league roster by May 1.

He features a 90mph sinker, which he throws 50-60% of the time, a rare 90mph four-seamer that’s noteworthy for having a whiff rate under 1%, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, a cutter at around 87, a change-up and a curve. The change and curve aren’t bad pitches in a vacuum. He’s had decent results off of them, but a portion of that is due to when he throws them – if he gets ahead of a hitter, he’ll use his breaking/off-speed stuff, and get weak contact or the rare strikeout. But that’s been something of a challenge for him. By Statcorner’s metrics, he’s thrown a greater percentage of his pitches while behind in the count than the league average. At some level, a sinkerballer should be better in these situations than others, because if you’re just going to pound the knees, the count may not matter as much. On the other hand, Carroll’s a marginal talent, essentially the walking embodiment of “replacement level.” It’s tough to compound your problems by falling behind if you don’t have swing and miss stuff.

So Carroll’s an unlikely big league starter, is what I’m saying. Given the whole “righty throwing 90″ thing, and the released-while-in-the-minors thing, and not even getting into the “blew-out-his-elbow-after-joining-the-Sox-org” thing, he’s been remarkably not awful. He’s been worth 1/2 of a fWAR thus far, thanks to a low HR rate (for the park) and he’s had some solid games. Of course, if you’ve heard of Carroll at all, it’s probably got something to do with a company he invested in called Doodlehats, and the prank teammate Chris Sale played on him earlier this year. After a June start, Sale wore a Doodlehat (which Carroll had graciously distributed to each teammate) with Carroll’s phone number written on it for his post-game interviews. That led to the rediscovery of this YouTube video he did in 2012. He’d even written a decent article on his TJ surgery rehab for a chicago blog just before this year’s spring training. There are ways for pitchers without top-shelf stuff to post great results; Dave wrote about Tanner Roark today, for example. To be fair, Carroll isn’t really using any of them. But as far as long-shot 5th starters go, he’s pretty memorable.

Carroll’s sinker makes him pretty vulnerable to left-handed bats, hence Endy Chavez today. Speaking of lefties, Michael Saunders joins Tacoma tonight on rehab as they welcome Fresno to Cheney Stadium. Gorgeous night – if you can’t make it to Safeco, head to Tacoma.

1: Jackson, CF
2: Ackley, LF
3: Cano, 2B
4: Morales, DH
5: Seager, 3B
6: Morrison, 1B
7: Zunino, C
8: Chavez, RF
9: Taylor, SS
SP: Elias

Even with the platoon split angle, Chris Taylor stays put as the starting SS. Brad Miller will get a start some day, but this is not a job share. McClendon’s made it clear, and this is just a good example, that Taylor’s his starter.

To stuff one more gratuitous fangraphs link into this sucker, you should really check out Jeff’s great piece on the M’s historically good run prevention this year – and the fact that said run prevention hasn’t been enough – YET – to lift them into a playoff spot. I think we all expected the bullpen to be better than 2013′s, but this is pretty remarkable. Also remarkable: a team in a playoff chase has given Endy Chavez so many at-bats.

Erasmo Ramirez takes the hill for the surging Rainiers tonight, while Tyler Olson starts for Jackson. The Aquasox are in Spokane tonight, and they’ll send Dan Altavilla to the mound against the Indians.

Comments

53 Responses to “Game 113, White Sox at Mariners”

  1. Dennisss on August 7th, 2014 6:32 pm

    Well, Endy isn’t leading off anymore. This is progress.

  2. Westside guy on August 7th, 2014 6:32 pm

    So it’s another crap White Sox pitcher – like Hector Noesi.

    OH NO!!!! We’re doomed!

  3. marc w on August 7th, 2014 7:22 pm

    Yeah, Westie, that nice game of Carroll’s the 6 2/3 shutout v Boston, came in the Sox next game after Noesi blanked the M’s 1-0. Good times. Fun memories.

  4. Dennisss on August 7th, 2014 7:24 pm

    The suddenly-great Dustin Ackley strikes again. As does the still-not-good Kendrys Morales.

    I’m going to ride this Dustin Ackley streak as far as it goes.

  5. Section329 on August 7th, 2014 7:26 pm

    Wait, just got here- Ackely with a home run? Maybe I will try some of Jeff’s pixie dust. Probably better than mumbling about sample sizes while at games.

    Buhner may drive me to the radio.

  6. Westside guy on August 7th, 2014 7:28 pm

    Ackley has decided he’s not going to let Jeff Sullivan down!

  7. Dennisss on August 7th, 2014 7:30 pm

    Buhner is hard to listen to. I’m not a fan of Bill Krueger either. I’m fine with the rest of the broadcast and postgame-pregame crew.

  8. Westside guy on August 7th, 2014 7:31 pm

    Marc, am I mis-remembering… or did you write some time ago about the White Sox pitching coach getting a reputation for fixing “broken” pitchers?

  9. BoomBoom on August 7th, 2014 7:31 pm

    Bustin’ Dustin Ackley.

    I’m taking Jeff’s advice, or at least my interpretation of it. I’m going to believe because I want to, until I don’t. I’ll survive either way, but I’m happier right now.

    Keep bustin’, Dustin.

  10. leon0112 on August 7th, 2014 7:35 pm

    Jackson, Ackley and Saunders in the outfield. If Ackley keeps hitting and Saunders returns to form….

  11. msfanmike on August 7th, 2014 7:45 pm

    Saunders began his rehab stint tonight in AAA as DH, so barring any setbacks, he should be back pretty soon.

  12. Section329 on August 7th, 2014 7:49 pm

    Shannon Drayer cracks me up re: Ackley bandwagon “even his beard looks good”.

  13. Westside guy on August 7th, 2014 7:56 pm

    Aha – I may have found it. Marc referenced a Cameron FanGraphs piece on FanGraphs talking about the White Sox pitchers consistently outperforming their projections

  14. taylor.mariner on August 7th, 2014 8:08 pm

    I’m at the game, and just noticed Woodward is coaching at first? Where’s Slykey? Anyone know?

  15. Grayfox3d on August 7th, 2014 8:12 pm

    This strikezone is crap tonight! this is getting to be a regular thing with all these new umps.

  16. Westside guy on August 7th, 2014 8:17 pm

    Van Slyke hurt his knee throwing BP yesterday.

  17. Section329 on August 7th, 2014 8:18 pm

    Hurt his knee throwing bp

    Endy!

  18. leon0112 on August 7th, 2014 8:18 pm

    Chavez!?!

  19. ivan on August 7th, 2014 8:18 pm

    Endy Chavez, ladies and gentlemen!

  20. Westside guy on August 7th, 2014 8:22 pm

    Hahaha Endy!!

  21. californiamariner on August 7th, 2014 8:22 pm

    Endy Chavez? Lol.. This team…

  22. bookbook on August 7th, 2014 8:24 pm

    Late career power surge for Mr. Chavez.

  23. taylor.mariner on August 7th, 2014 8:38 pm

    Oh Slykey, thanks for giving me the info guys!

  24. Dennisss on August 7th, 2014 8:41 pm

    Ackley walks! He’s got it all working now.

  25. Grayfox3d on August 7th, 2014 8:41 pm

    oh CAN-YES!!!!! i know that made no sense haha.

  26. ivan on August 7th, 2014 8:42 pm

    Cano! You bet! Chicks dig the longball.

  27. californiamariner on August 7th, 2014 8:42 pm

    Cano! That’s a little more expected

  28. Eastside Suds on August 7th, 2014 8:49 pm

    M’s taking care of business tonight.

  29. californiamariner on August 7th, 2014 9:03 pm

    And that gives Zunino more HBP than walks!

  30. Westside guy on August 7th, 2014 9:14 pm

    That’s a pretty low bar, though, CM.

  31. leon0112 on August 7th, 2014 9:17 pm

    Ackley!

  32. Section329 on August 7th, 2014 9:17 pm

    Yeah for pixie dust, Jeff!

  33. californiamariner on August 7th, 2014 9:18 pm

    Dustin Ackley ladies and gentlemen

  34. Grayfox3d on August 7th, 2014 9:19 pm

    White sox are falling apart fast.

  35. leon0112 on August 7th, 2014 9:23 pm

    Jeff, I am going to believe Ackley has become the hitter we expected……until proven otherwise.

  36. leon0112 on August 7th, 2014 9:37 pm

    The White Sox bullpen sucks.

  37. Grayfox3d on August 7th, 2014 9:40 pm

    It is such a relief to just win a game so easily, no stress nothing, just go out, win and get ready for tomorrow.

  38. californiamariner on August 7th, 2014 9:42 pm

    Oh my goodness, the guys hyping Endy Chavez so much on the broadcast.

  39. jeffs98119 on August 7th, 2014 9:42 pm

    Jay Buhner talking is bad enough, but talking about how great Endy Chavez is is even worse.

  40. Grayfox3d on August 7th, 2014 9:43 pm

    At least you don’t have to deal with the white sox announcers on WGN…. my ears are bleeding!!! “put it on the boarrrrd” ugh.

  41. Grayfox3d on August 7th, 2014 9:48 pm

    wonder what the count is for how many balls the white sox’s pitchers have thrown in the ground.

  42. Dennisss on August 7th, 2014 9:52 pm

    Chavez gets a lot of crap, but he’s been OK for what he is. The sad thing is that the M’s outfield depth is so bad that they have had to way overuse him.

  43. californiamariner on August 7th, 2014 9:52 pm

    11-2 lead? Time to bring in Farquhar!

  44. ivan on August 7th, 2014 9:57 pm

    Ex-Mariner farmhand Maikel Cleto and his 96 mph fastball.

  45. Westside guy on August 7th, 2014 10:06 pm

    Excuse me guys, but I have to correct you.

    The TV guys haven’t just been talking about Endy Chavez – they consistently speak of the VETERAN Endy Chavez.

  46. New England Fan on August 8th, 2014 6:38 am

    I don’t get the hate for Endy. He’s doing the job he was hired for. Actually he is over-performing, which should bring praise, not scorn. He is certainly a better reserve major league outfielder than James Jones at this point in the season.

  47. djw on August 8th, 2014 8:38 am

    Chavez gets a lot of crap, but he’s been OK for what he is.

    He’s a below replacement level player. Since 2012, encompassing essentially a full season’s worth of playing time, he’s been worth -2.4 WAR. Given his injury history and age, he’s much less likely to be worse than that going forward than better. It’s nothing against him, I’m sure he’s doing his best, but he’s a poster child for this organization’s lack of attention or care to roster construction and depth. His presence in the lineup is a clear signal or a basic and fundamental organizational failure.

  48. Westside guy on August 8th, 2014 9:55 am

    I’ve got nothing against Chavez as a person – and it’s not his fault the Mariners keep playing him. But djw is exactly right.

    However I find it funny that whenever he does something not-bad, the broadcasters almost always point out he’s a veteran. However when he weakly grounds out – which is most of the time – they don’t seem to mention that…

  49. Dennisss on August 8th, 2014 10:48 am

    djw, I understand that Endy is below replacement level, but he has been better than what the M’s have to replace him — better than Romero, Hart (God forbid), Jones, maybe Almonte (Almonte has better WAR numbers, I know.) I believe that he has actually helped the team given the alternatives. He has not been good, but I think there have been many times when he was truly the best choice to put on the field. Never the best choice to lead off, however.

    I guess it’s a matter of perspective. Teams always have marginal players on the roster. It’s frustrating when they play every day.

  50. MrZDevotee on August 8th, 2014 1:12 pm

    I’ll definitely vote for the “Endy has been better than expected” team… I’d still rather have a “+” talent in his place. But the fact we’re tied for the Wild Card in August with Endy spending a good portion of the year leading off and playing the outfield absolves him of some of his criticism. (Meaning, he was given opportunities that could have hurt us and no one would have been shocked, but for the most part he avoided disaster…)

  51. Woodcutta on August 8th, 2014 2:34 pm

    Was Elias just sent down again?

  52. djw on August 8th, 2014 3:27 pm

    But the fact we’re tied for the Wild Card in August with Endy spending a good portion of the year leading off and playing the outfield absolves him of some of his criticism.

    No, it doesn’t, at least not for people who understand how to evaluate the individual contributions of baseball players. There is nothing inconsistent with a below replacement level talent playing regularly on a just above .500 team.

    but he has been better than what the M’s have to replace him — better than Romero, Hart (God forbid), Jones, maybe Almonte

    This is what I mean by “a clear signal or a basic and fundamental organizational failure”. They were 1-2 injuries/failed dubious prospects away from being forced to play him. Inattention to the back end of the roster and having a decent back-up plan has long been one of Zduriencik’s greatest weaknesses as a GM, and CHavez getting real playing time for the second consecutive year is exhibit A.

  53. MrZDevotee on August 8th, 2014 3:44 pm

    djw-
    Yeah you’re right. But for those of us who don’t understand things like you (me and most of the Mariners, Rangers, Orioles, and Mets front offices). He’s a-ok.

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