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Tag:Carlos Quentin
Posted on: June 3, 2011 5:29 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 5:50 pm
 

Is DH to blame for Dunn's woes?

Adam Dunn

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Here's your understatement of the day -- Adam Dunn is struggling.

The White Sox's $56 million designated hitter is hitting just .180/.329/.326 with five home runs and 71 strikeouts in 213 plate appearances. He has an OPS+ of 82, a WAR of -0.3 and a WPA of -0.77 -- in other words, he stinks this season.

Now, plenty of players stink these days. The difference with Dunn is that the one thing that has marked his career has been consistency. Since 2004, he's hit at least 38 homers and had an OBP of .356 or better, slugging better than .500 for six of the seven years in that stretch.

There are two big differences -- a different league and a different position.

As for the league, as a National Leaguer with the Reds, Diamondbacks and Nationals, he played in 134 games against American League teams, hitting .247/.362/.523 with 36 homers. That's pretty similar to his career numbers. In three games against National League teams this year, he's hitting .091/.333/.091 -- worse in line with this season's numbers against American League teams, even though three games is a sample size so small it's probably insignificant.

So then, is it the position?

Dunn had long been against DHing. Last year I talked to him and he told me he'd rather quit at this point than serve as a DH. What changed his mind? The same thing that would change any of ours -- a team willing to pay him $56 million to be a DH and nobody offering that much for him not to DH. It was a pretty simple decision for Dunn.

Well, it's safe to say the White Sox aren't getting their money's worth so far. And former White Sox designated hitter Frank Thomas said the switch to DH is the biggest reason for Dunn's decline -- and the slugger should adapt.

"I knew this was going to happen, to be honest," Thomas told WSCR radio in Chicago. "This guy's playing out of position. He's been an outfielder and first baseman his whole career and he comes to a new league and has to DH every day. It's not easy at all. I've been there. Over my career, I probably lost 30 points on my batting average once I became a full-time DH. It's just really tough to stay loose, stay focused and stay part of the game. You're coming in four pinches a day, five pinches a day. It's a different mindset. I think he'll be fine going into the third month of the season. I really thought he'd be in trouble the first couple of months."

Thomas spent most of his first full season in the big leagues as a DH but then played first base from 1992-97, moving to DH nearly full-time in 1998 when he played just 14 games at first base. He didn't struggle that much, hitting .284/.389/.492 with nine homers in the first two months of that season, but at that point he'd been a DH in 230 games. Dunn had only been a DH in 18 games coming into this season.

Just as baffling are Dunn's struggles against left-handers. He's never really been great against lefties, but it's never been as big of a problem as it has been this season. Before 2011, he hit .235/.352/.465 against lefties and hit one homer every 20.04 plate appearances as opposed to once every 17.08 at-bats against all pitchers. This season, he's yet to get a single hit in 46 plate appearances against left-handers, walking just seven times.

Ozzie Guillen filled out his lineup card against Tigers left-hander Andy Oliver on Friday and put Carlos Quentin at designated hitter and has Dunn on the bench -- hardly the place anyone expected the team's big-ticket item of the offseason.

Thomas said he expects Dunn to improve, and it's unlikely someone with the track record Dunn has will continue to struggle as much as he has this season, but Dunn is 31 and not getting younger. He has what Bil James called "old players skills" -- power, strike zone judgement and little speed. Those, James wrote, peak earlier and erode sooner than other skills, making a player seem older than he really is -- and few are as old at 31 than Dunn. He should continue to produce, but he may never get to his previous level of production or consistency.

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Posted on: June 1, 2011 3:45 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 4:03 pm
 

AL All-Star balloting update: Bautista tops all



By Matt Snyder


Tuesday, Major League Baseball unveiled the first update on the All-Star balloting for the National League, so Wednesday we found out the American League update. Needless to say, non-Yankees fans won't be happy, but we'll get to that in a second. The big story is that the fans nailed the top overall vote-getter (that goes for both leagues). Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays leads the majors in runs, home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS-plus and total bases. You can add top vote-getter to the list for now, because he's gathered 1,261,659 votes. If this holds, he'd become the first Blue Jays player ever to receive the most votes and the first to start the game since Carlos Delgado in 2003.

As things stand now, here are the would-be AL starters: Russell Martin, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson -- yes, those are actually the leaders in votes; I didn't accidentally start listing the Yankees' starters -- Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton and Michael Young (DH).

So, yeah. Six Yankees starters if this was the final version. Here are some observations:

- Asdrubal Cabrera trails Jeter by about 260,000 votes at short. I guess I'm not shocked for several reasons. First of all, the voting began pretty early in the season and Cabrera was a relative unknown when it started. Secondly, you have Jeter and the whole chase for 3,000 hits thing going on. Third, it's the Yankees. If this is a lifetime achievement thing, OK, but if we're looking at just 2011, it's egregious. Cabrera's been the big offensive force for the most surprising team in baseball -- one that has the best record in the AL.

- Teixeira's having a big power year and him starting the game wouldn't be completely undeserved, but I'd rather go with Adrian Gonzalez or Miguel Cabrera there. If you have a problem with Cabrera's off-field issues in the spring, well, vote for Gonzalez or Tex.

- Third could shape up to be a real good battle between A-Rod, Adrian Beltre and Kevin Youkilis -- who were all probably helped by the injury to Evan Longoria.

- Martin is the correct selection behind the plate. Oh, and Joe Mauer's second in voting (tsk, tsk).

- Granderson certainly deserves to start and Cano probably does as well. So Yankees haters need to lay off these guys.

- The outfield voting isn't awesome, that's for sure. Hamilton has been hurt most of the season and sits third. Matt Joyce isn't even in the top 15, nor are Carlos Quentin, Adam Jones, Michael Brantley or Alex Gordon. But Ichiro Suzuki, Nelson Cruz and Carl Crawford are all in contention.

View the full voting results by clicking here.

There are obviously a lot more issues, but it's the initial ballot release and many of the votes were cast when it was released without having a good grasp of how the 2011 season would turn out. Fortunately, there's still time to support your guys and rectify any problems you might have. Voting doesn't end until the end of June.

Click here to cast an online ballot.

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Posted on: May 10, 2011 1:12 pm
 

White Sox starting to 'put it on the board'



By Matt Snyder


The Chicago White Sox were a popular pick to the win the AL Central prior to the 2011 season. I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you why I picked them. The starting rotation is strong and the offense looked to be powerful.

Instead, the offense was abominable through last Friday. The White Sox had dropped eight of nine games and sat in last place in a pretty bad division at 11-22. While the back-end of the bullpen has been a serious concern, the most head-scratching problem with the team was the lack of offense. From April 15 through May 6, the White Sox scored more than three runs four times -- two of those were four-run games. They scored either zero or one run seven times. This was a 20-game stretch.

If you look at the currrent seasonal totals for American League ballclubs, the White Sox rank 10th in runs, 10th in batting average, ninth in on-base percentage and 10th in OPS. The problems were evident all over the place. Adam Dunn had an awful transition to the AL, possibly affected by his appendectomy (though Matt Holliday seems to be just fine). A.J. Pierzynski can't hit anymore. Juan Pierre hasn't been getting hits like he usually does and has gotten caught stealing (eight) more times than he's stolen a base (six). Alex Rios got off to a pitiful start while Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez have scuffled more times than not as well.

You can say what you want about that collection of players, but you cannot dispute there is lots of talent there. I've seen many fans complaining about having a bunch of strikeout machines, but only three AL teams have struck out less than the White Sox. There is lots of power, but there is also speed and it's not an overly old bunch. The oldest one is Paul Konerko and he's been raking.

Now, with a three-game winning streak, it appears the lineup is waking up from its collective funk. Konerko has been consistent and hitting well all season. Carlos Quentin has had some insane hot streaks. He's up and down, but still has a .944 OPS with eight home runs and 23 RBI. They just needed everyone else to wake up and it could very well be happening.

In the past three games, the White Sox have scored 19 runs. Two of those came in the pitcher's paradise known as Safeco Field, too.

Some of the individuals who had been struggling are waking up, which only alleviates the collective pressure on the entire lineup.

Beckham went 6-15 (.400) in the series with two doubles, a home run, three RBI and three runs. Ramirez went 3-8 with a double and a home run in the past two games. Dunn went 5-13 (.385) with three doubles and four runs in the last three. Rios has gone 11 for his past 28 with a 1.036 in the past seven games. Even Brent Morel went 5-8 over the weekend.

The White Sox are still just 14-22 and a whopping 9 1/2 games out on May 10. That's an uphill climb. But the bats are starting to wake up, the bullpen hasn't been near as bad in recent weeks and Jake Peavy is coming back to bolster the rotation. There are five games left on a west-coast trip against some pretty good pitching. If the White Sox win two of those games, the 5-4 trip would be considered a success and they'd be coming home to a seven-game homestand in one of the best hitter's parks in the majors.

If you still don't buy the Indians -- and note that the rest of the division is flawed -- don't count the White Sox out. Remember, baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.

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Posted on: May 3, 2011 9:54 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2011 11:06 pm
 

Francisco Liriano no-hits White Sox

By C. Trent Rosecrans 

Francisco LirianoEntering Tuesday's game, Francisco Liriano was 1-4 with a 9.13 ERA, allowing 10.3 hits per nine innings. Tuesday, he didn't allow a single hit.

That's the beauty of baseball -- while your numbers may give you an idea of what's expected, they have no bearing on what's going to happen on any given day.

Liriano walked five batters -- including Juan Pierre three times -- but it didn't hurt him, as the Twins won 1-0.

Liriano has looked unhittable at times in his career, but Tuesday wasn't one of them. He struck out just two batters, and just 66 of his 123 pitches were for strikes. But he still became the fifth Minnesota Twin to throw a no-hitter.

The 27-year-old had never thrown a complete game until Tuesday, his 95th career start.

Not only was a no-hitter on the line in the ninth, so was the game, with Minnesota clinging to a 1-0 lead. Shortstop Matt Tolbert had to rush on Brent Morel's grounder leading off the ninth, but Justin Morneau was able to come up with the one-hop throw and get Morel at first for the out. Liriano then walked Pierre before Alexi Ramirez popped out to Tolbert and then after going 3-0 to Adam Dunn, Dunn hit a liner to Tolbert on a full count to start the celebration.

There were other close calls --Liriano got help to end the seventh, when third baseman Danny Valencia made a nice play to get Carlos Quentin. Quentin hit a chopper down the third-base line that Valencia fielded in foul territory. He then set his feet and made a strong throw to get Quentin.

The Twins also dodged a bullet in the eight, when a bad call at first ended the inning. Justin Morneau missed a tag on Gordon Beckham at first at the tail end of a double play, but he was called out. 

Liriano had pitched so poorly this season, the team was stretching out Kevin Slowey in the minor leagues in case they needed to replace Liriano in the rotation.

White Sox starter Edwin Jackson, who threw a no-hitter last season for the Diamondbacks, pitched well, too. He gave up one run on six hits, while walking just one and striking out two. Minnesota's lone run came on a Jason Kubel home run in the fourth.

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Posted on: April 22, 2011 11:28 pm
 

Quentin slams two home runs

By Evan Brunell

QuentinCarlos Quentin is certainly enjoying 2011 so far, as he cranked two solo home runs Friday to move into a tie for the AL lead in home runs with six. Over a full season, that's a 49-homer pace, which would easily represent a career high for the 28-year-old.

However, Quentin pacing for over 40 home runs isn't a surprise, as he's long had that type of power inside him. He's already had three seasons with over 20 home runs and one sublime 2008 year where he bashed 36 home runs off a .288/.394/.571 line. Currently, his mark is .310/.395/.634. That batting average is likely to tumble given his career .254 mark, but don't be surprised to see those 49 home runs occur.

Quentin has long had power, but is increasing his rate of putting fly balls in play, which naturally turn into home runs as home runs per fly ball are thought to be a constant. The more fly balls one hits, the more chance for home runs. Unfortunately for Q, he appears to be playing a bit over his head as his walk rate has dropped while his whiff rate has stayed consistent. What's responsible for his hot start, at least in the batting average department, is a rather high BABIP of .333, which is diametrically opposed with his career line of .255. (Notice how close his BABIP this season and career line correlates with his batting averages?) 

What he's lucking into is making contact with a higher clip of pitches outside of the strike zone. These are finding holes, but that can't last forever. He's still offering at the same rate of pitches out of the zone, but is connecting with them more. There could be any number of reasons for that, but it's not exactly common for a hitter to suddenly develop a propensity for getting hits on pitches out of the zone.

So yeah, Quentin will probably come back down to earth a bit, but even then, that's only speaking specifically to batting average. His power should be just fine even if he's producing at otherworldly numbers at the time. Even if that drops down a bit, he's still capable of clearing the 40-homer barrier and should certainly leap over 30 provided he can play at least 140 games which is far from certain.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 7, 2011 1:04 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/7: Quentin bashes again

Quentin

By Evan Brunell

3 UP

Nick Hundley, Padres -- Tim Lincecum had a Freak-type day, and Hundley was the only Padres starter to avoid a strikeout and also poked the beast by whacking a solo home run against Lincecum in the third inning, the only run Lincecum would give up on a day where he walked none and sent 13 by way of the K. Hundley's off to a scorching start, a nice start in his first year where he's been handed the full-time starting job.

Carlos Quentin, White Sox -- It's just another day at work for Carlos Quentin, who had four hits by bashing a solo home run in the eighth to portend the uprising, then seal the four-run outburst the next inning with a double. Q is now batting .500/.522/1.000 in the early going and hauled in the 10th RBI of the season which is tied with Mark Teixeira for tops in baseball and also leads in batting average.

Justin Verlander, Tigers -- Verlander baffled the surging Orioles by going eight long and coughing up just four hits, whiffing nine and giving out two free passes. That kept Orioles hitters plenty busy, but Derrek Lee was able to notch a two-run blast off the righty, who could easily walk away with the Cy Young Award this season.

3 DOWN

Mike Minor, Braves -- Minor lost the No. 5 starting job to Brandon Beachy, was demoted to Triple-A and later saw Beachy spin a fine start. Then, Minor got a break in Jair Jurrjen's injury setting him back and drew a spot start Wednesday. Good time to impress, right? Try 4 1/3 innings, seven hits, five earned runs and four walks, with a paltry two whiffs. Minor still has a bright future ahead of him, but it does appear he needs some more Triple-A seasoning.

Vernon Wells, Angels -- Not a great start to the season for Wells, who made headlines for all the wrong reasons in the winter due to having what could be the most overpaid contract in the game and still somehow being dumped on the Angels for a forgivable cost. He whiffed three times in five trips to the plate, going hitless but scoring a run thanks to reaching first on an error.

Joakim Soria, Royals -- The Royals were all set to move to a surprising 5-1 to start the season, but Soria had other plans. Coughing up four runs, Soria allowed the White Sox to take the edge by a run in the top ninth. A well-timed double by Kila Ka'aihue pushed the game to extra innings, but the White Sox pasted three on in the top 13th to win. Soria lost the game in convincing fashion, giving up four hits and walking one while striking out zero.

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Posted on: April 3, 2011 3:32 pm
Edited on: April 3, 2011 6:12 pm
 

Indians turn 3

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Carlos SantanaCarlos Santana got his first start at first base on Sunday and he already has a highlight-reel for the ages -- turning a triple play in the fourth inning of Sunday's game against the White Sox.

With runners on first and second and no outs, Chicago's Alexi Ramirez tried to lay down a bunt, but hit more of a short liner. Santana, charging in from first, dove to make the catch and then doubled up the runner by throwing to a covering Orlando Cabrera to force A.J. Pierzynski at first. Cabrera then went to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to triple up Carlos Quentin.

It was the Indians' first triple play since 2008 against the Blue Jays, when Asdrubal Cabrera had an unassisted triple play as a second baseman.

The White Sox hadn't hit into a triple play since 1978, when the Blue Jays tripled up the White Sox.

Video of the play can be seen here.

Santana was 2 for 4 at the plate, as well, in a 7-1 Indians victory.

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Posted on: April 2, 2011 12:48 am
Edited on: April 22, 2011 11:28 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/1: A NL Central save, finally

By Evan Brunell

QuentinAhh, day two of baseball. SI.com's Joe Posnanski has a nice story up about Day 2 in baseball, and that's what we're about to look at.

3 UP

Joel Hanrahan, Pirates -- John Axford and Ryan Franklin couldn't handle the heat Thursday. Brandon Lyon fell victim earlier in the day. That left it to the Pirates closer in Hanrahan to settle matters. After an inning in which he made things interesting by allowing a hit and walk to the Cubs, while also whiffing two batters, Hanrahan walked away with the NL Central's first save.

Carlos Quentin, White Sox -- Quentin lit up Cleveland on Friday, even more so than Adam Dunn despite the newcome's two-run homer and double. Quentin drove home five with an RBI single in the first, two-run blast in the third and a two-run double in the fourth. Q is capable of hitting 40 home runs and this could be the year he puts it all together after following up a huge 2008 with an injury-riddled 2009 and a solid bounceback in 2010.

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays -- There's been plenty of talk about Bautista, especially given the shiny new contract he received as a present for hitting 54 home runs in 2010. Many either consider his season a fluke or one that will regress a lot as even 30 home runs would represent a 24-home run dropoff. However, Bautista rang in the new year in style, knocking a home run as part of a 3-for-4 night with three runs scored.

3 DOWN

Fausto Carmona, Indians -- Here's a nice, shiny 30.00 ERA for you, Fausto Carmona! The Indians ace coughed up 10 runs in three innings, allowing 11 hits, one walk and pumping out three strikeouts. Carmona just didn't have any part of it today against the White Sox. He's still a solid pitcher who will be in demand at the trade deadline, so don't read too much into this.

Ivan DeJesus, Dodgers -- Going 0 for 3 is not a good way to get into the good graces over in Dodgerland. DeJesus drew the start at second base thanks to both Casey Blake and Juan Uribe being out of the lineup, and utility infielder Jamey Carroll opening the game on the bench. The freshly-minted backup infielder whiffed all three times at the plate while oddly starting in the No. 2 spot in the lineup. DeJesus would later be double-switched out for Carroll in the seventh in an act of mercy.

Daniel Bard, Red Sox -- Bad day for Daniel Bard, who started the eighth inning with Boston having just tied the game at 5-5. Bard, who is the heir apparent at closer and clearly the best reliever in the bullpen, instead gave up four runs on four hits in just 2/3s of an inning, drawing the loss. Absolutely nothing was going right, including David Murphy's ball that just barely kissed the chalk for a two-run double. Bard said himself the pitch was executed the way he wanted. So yeah, bad day.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com