Your 2013 Chicago White Sox: Paul Konerko (Preview #6)

Your 2013 Chicago White Sox: Paul Konerko (Preview #6)

O Captain! My Captain!  Honestly, I find the idea of a captain in baseball to be a bit ludicrous, but if a team has to have one (which they don’t) I couldn’t think of a better player on the White Sox than Paul Konerko to fill the role. I think when they first gave him that ridiculous C on his jersey (thankfully that is gone) he was a little uncomfortable, not a natural for the spotlight like the more famous captain, Derek Jeter.  He has grown into however, quite well.  Going through the line up, I can’t think of anyone that would be a better face of the players and since Ozzie left, the need for some voice from the clubhouse was kind of needed.  It’s not to say that Ventura doesn’t have a voice, but Ozzie seemed to want the attention much more and he over shadowed pretty much everyone else associated with the team.  Now, Ventura is the manager, says manger-ry kind of things and Konerko is the player who says player-ey kind of things.  It isn’t nearly as unpredictable and colorful as Ozzie was, but it feels more organized, more professional which is a great set of attributes to have in a captain and a team.  I don’t necessarily think that the best player or longest serving player needs to be captain, but it doesn’t hurt either.  While the captaincy in baseball isn’t quite the honor or responsibility it is in hockey or soccer, it still is a sign of respect and I think to really pull it off, the rest of the players need to buy into it.  By all indications, the White Sox players do buy in to Konerko being captain and in the end that is all that matters.

Looking at the numbers for 2013 Bill James doesn’t see much drop off in the 37 year old.  I’m not quite that optimistic.  James has Konerko playing 153 games and in the last three years he hasn’t even broken 150 games played.  Also there is no telling how his off season surgery is going to affect his production.  I’d like to say not at all, but at 37 it seems hard to believe it won’t have some effect.  I hope the projection of 30 home runs, .281/.367/.486 is on the nose, but at this point if Konerko gets above 25 home runs it would be really hard to complain.

Defensively, well, the White Sox don’t pay Konerko for his defense.  According to my two main sources, Bill James Handbook and Baseball Reference, Konerko is not a good first baseman, though compared to the other realistic option, Adam Dunn, he is a gold glove, though looking through the statistics Dunn will rank higher largely due to the lack of chances.  Given enough time, Dunn would have much worse numbers than Konerko, even so -11 in defensive runs saved isn’t great.  I must admit, for a first baseman how they come up with those numbers seems odd, as they say it is the combination of plays made.  Konerko is not a play maker, but I wouldn’t call him a liability either.  So the numbers basically tell what the eyeballs see, Konerko doesn’t have a lot of range, doesn’t get to as many balls as other first basemen do, but he isn’t out there for his flashy glove.  His speed on the other hand…


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