Comparing Geovany Soto to A.J. Pierzynski


Comparing Geovany Soto to A.J. Pierzynski

When Tony Andracki and I rolled out our Chicago All-Decade Team for 2000-2011, we figured there would be plenty of people who wouldn't agree with our decision to put Geovany Soto behind the plate over A.J. Pierzynski. Today on Chicago Tribune Live, David Kaplan, along with Fred Mitchell, Bob Foltman and Jason Goch, debated our list -- specifically, our inclusion of Soto over Pierzynski:

Mitchell's note that Pierzynski's intangibles shouldn't be overlooked is certainly fair. There's no position in baseball at which "intangibles" are more important than catcher. Plus, Pierzynski has a fine track record working with pitchers, and everyone who's thrown to him has been complimentary.

Pierzynski has won a World Series with the White Sox and has endeared himself to the fanbase, both of which count for something. But Soto still wins out, albeit narrowly.

If we're looking at three categories for evaluation, Soto wins two: offense and defense. Pierzynski easily wins the category we can't measure -- intangibles.

But offensively, Soto has been superior to Pierzysnki despite the up-and-down nature of his four full seasons in the majors. In those four years, Soto has a .254 batting average, but that's nowhere near as important as his .347 on-base percentage. His OPS over that span sits at .798, which is very good for a catcher.

In Pierzynski's seven years with the White Sox, he owns a .279 batting average. But that shouldn't be of much concern -- his .317 on-base percentage is a full 30 points lower than that of Soto. And his .730 OPS also pales in comparison.

By OPS, Soto rates above average (108), while Pierzynski rates below-average (90) offensively. So Soto wins that category.

And defensively, Soto rates better than Pierzynski. In 2011, Soto was a top 25 defensive catcher, while Pierzynski rated as the fourth-worst in baseball. While putting a value on catcher defense is still a work in progress for the statistical community, Matt Klaassen's ratings currently stand as the best we have.

Granted much of Pierzynski's lack of defensive value comes from his struggles throwing out runners, some of which isn't his fault thanks to the slow deliveries of, say, Gavin Floyd. But he rates as below-average in terms of passed balls and wild pitches, whereas Soto is above average in that category. So, using this analysis, Soto bests Pierzynski defensively.

And now we reach the subject of intangibles. This is what it comes down to: We can't place a value on intangibles, but they are important for a catcher. But because Soto won the two tangible categories, intangibles don't count as a tiebreaker.

Thus, we went with Soto over Pierzysnki. If you value Pierzynski's intangibles over Soto's offense and defense, that's a perfectly fine argument to make. Maybe that is the case. It's hard to know that, though it's an argument both of us can accept.

So that's our rebuttal to this SotoPierzynski debate. Feel free to drop either of us a line on twitter @TonyAndracki23 or @JJStankevitz and we can elaborate further, or post in the comments below and we'll get back to you.

And check back with us next week for our all-decade team for the 1990s!

White Sox: Chris Getz's new player development role is to carry out 'vision of the scouts'

White Sox: Chris Getz's new player development role is to carry out 'vision of the scouts'

He may be limited on experience, but Chris Getz already has a strong idea about player development.

Getz -- who on Friday was named the White Sox director of player development -- worked the past two seasons as an assistant to baseball operations in player development for the Kansas City Royals. A fourth-round pick of the White Sox in the 2005 amateur draft, Getz replaces Nick Capra, who earlier this month was named the team’s third-base coach. A quick learner whom a baseball source said the Royals hoped to retain, Getz described his new position as being “very task oriented.”

“(The job) is carrying out the vision of the scouts,” Getz said. “The players identified by the scouts and then they are brought in and it’s a commitment by both the player and staff members to create an environment for that player to reach their ceiling.

“It’s a daily process.”

Getz, a University of Michigan product, played for the White Sox in 2008 and 2009 before he was traded to the Royals in a package for Mark Teahen in 2010. Previously drafted by the White Sox in 2002, he described the organization as “something that always will be in my DNA.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]​

Getz stayed in Kansas City through 2013 and began to consider a front-office career as his playing career wound down. His final season in the majors was with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore hired Getz as an assistant to baseball operations in January 2015 and he quickly developed a reputation as both highly intelligent and likeable, according to a club source.

“He is extremely well-regarded throughout the game, and we believe he is going to have a positive impact on the quality of play from rookie ball through Chicago,” GM Rick Hahn said.

Getz had as many as four assistant GMs ahead of him with the Royals, who couldn’t offer the same kind of position as the White Sox did. Getz spent the past week meeting with other members of the White Sox player development staff and soon will head to the team’s Dominican Republic academy. After that he’ll head to the Arizona Fall League as he becomes familiar with the department. Though he’s still relatively new, Getz knows what’s expected of his position.

“It’s focused on what’s in front of you,” Getz said. “Player development people are trying to get the player better every single day.”

“With that being said, the staff members need to be creative in their thinking. They need to be innovative at times. They need to know when to press the gas or pump the brakes. They need to be versatile in all these different areas.”

White Sox name Chris Getz Director of Player Development

White Sox name Chris Getz Director of Player Development

The White Sox announced on Friday they have named former MLB infielder Chris Getz as Director of Player Development.

Getz replaces Nick Capra, who after five seasons in his position was named the White Sox third base coach on Oct. 14.

The 33-year-old Getz has spent the last two years with the Kansas City Royals as a baseball operations assistant/player development in which he assisted in minor-league operations and player personnel decisions.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]​

“I'm excited about the opportunity to help teach and develop young talent in the organization where my professional career began,” Getz said in a press release. “I was drafted twice, worked through the minor leagues, and reached the major leagues with the White Sox. Through this journey, I was able to gain an understanding of the individuals within this organization, who I respect greatly.  The director of player development is an important role, and the health of the minor-league system is vital for major-league success.  I look forward to putting my all into making the White Sox a strong and winning organization.”
White Sox Senior VP/general manager Rick Hahn added: “We are pleased to add Chris’ intellect, background and energy to our front office. He is extremely well-regarded throughout the game, and we believe he is going to have a positive impact on the quality of play from rookie ball through Chicago.”

Getz, originally a fourth-round selection by the White Sox in the 2005 MLB Draft out of Michigan, played in seven MLB seasons with the White Sox (2008-09), Royals (2010-13) and Blue Jays (2014).

Getz had a career slash line of .250/.309/.307 with three home runs, 111 RBI and 89 stolen bases.