Saturday, October 15, 2011

Free Agent Watch: White Sox

The White Sox released 1 and outrighted 4, making them all free agents. Firstly, Kyle Cofield, a minor league pitcher drafted in the 8th round by the Atlanta Braves in 2005. He was traded to the White Sox before the 2011 season for Scott Linebrink and 3.5 million. Linebrink posted a .6 WAR with the Braves in 2011 and had an effective salary (once the 3.5 million is calculated) of 2 million (makes it a mediocre WASP of 3333.3). Cofield did not pitch in the majors for the White Sox. Cofield only threw 30 innings in the minors (28 in AA and 2 in AAA, we will only look at the AA numbers), all as a reliever. He posted a -.68 PE, not very impressive, but not bad. He had a FIP of 3.16, .310 BABIP, left 78% of runners on base, didn't give up a homer, and had a 1.77 K/BB ratio. Other than the Walk to K ratio, these are pretty good and promising numbers. I see no reason for someone not to gobble him up as a minor league free agent, he is only 24, and seems to have a future in front of him. Josh Kinney is a pitcher who pitched in 13 games (in relief) for the White Sox in 2011, earning a -.1 WAR. He had previously appeared in 45 games (all relief) for the Cardinals. His PE is not very good at 1.12, but his TR is not bad at 9.36. He has been victimized by poor fielding, only a 3.99 FIP compared to his 5.12 ERA. He keeps the ball in the park for the most part .83 HR/9, and gets over twice as many groundballs as flyballs, which is extremely valuable. His ability to miss bats (10.19 K/9 in 2011) is also very valuable. The high ERA will scare some people off, but if you can get Kinney for a low salary, I would pick him up in a heartbeat. The only position player of the 5 is Tony Pena, who played in the Majors with the Royals and Braves, but never for the Sox. Pena has a career WAR of -2.4 and .248 OBP. His pitches per starter metric is only 76 pitches, which is horrible. I don't see any reason for a team to want him. Another pitcher Shane Lindsay has logged a grand total of 6 big league innings, so looking at his minor league stats would be much more helpful. In 2011 his AAA numbers were astounding at a -6.21 PE. However, some metrics suggest this was kind of fluky. His FIP was 3.99, way above his microscopic 1.98 ERA. He also had big time troubles with walks, walking 7 per 9 innings and a K/BB ratio of 1.53. He made up for it by not giving up homers (only .28 HR/9). His BABIP was also astonishingly low, at .193, something he has never really seen in his career. Rather than domination, this suggests luck and good fielding. He appears to be a solid minor league pitcher, it just doesn't make any sense to expect a repeat of his amazing 2011 AAA season. No reason to not sign him to a minor league contract. The final player is minor league pitcher Leyson Septimo, a former Arizona Diamondback farm hand. He is 26 and has gotten as high as AAA in 2010, but pitched miserably there with a 11.12 ERA all out of the bullpen. He hasn't been that good in AA either, with an ERA over 5 but in 2011 in the White Sox organization had a PE of -5.15 with a FIP of 2.97. He gave up a .349 BABIP, and it is hard to imagine that would continue, meaning he would get better. He only gave up .34 HR/9, but has struggled with walks in his minor league career. This is another guy that you can take a chance on with a minor league roster spot and feel good about it.

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