MLB Network Show "The Club" reveals Kenny Williams isn't a stats guy


It was probably already pretty apparent, if not oppressively obvious, that the White Sox were not a team governed by advanced sabermetrics.  Stat guys would cringe at any attempt to use Mark Teahen, Carlos Quentin, Josh Fields, or Jermaine Dye on defense, stat guys would have predicted Billy Koch's HR/Fly Ball percentage normalizing, and stat guys would have suffered spontaneous kidney failure if someone suggested they trade Carlos Lee for Scott Podsednik after he posted a year of 5.4 WAR (even if it was a flukey UZR year).

So when episode three of the White Sox reality show "The Club" has a portion dedicated to the White Sox efforts at statistical analysis, you're waiting for the other shoe to drop.  When Dan Fabian is introduced as the stats guru of the team, he doesn't appear to be some whiz kid they pulled off of FanGraphs, but rather a trusted researcher who was guided toward number-crunching as it became more of a necessity.  (A board meeting perhaps, Reinsdorf addresses his staff, "I heard from Bud at breakfast today that some teams are using all sorts of crazy math.  Fabian!  Look into it!"  A permanent position is created).

As Fabian reveals, and Assistant GM Rick Hahn confirms, Williams is a guy who is a scout first, and a statistical analyst 9th, and generally looks to confirm what he sees on the field with statistics.  Don't we all.

Seeing as Williams began with the front office as a scout, this is not so much unsurprising as it is incredibly obvious.  Perhaps it could even be considered the best-case scenario that Williams even has a stat guy to confer with.  It's not like he should be wasting his time doing all the research himself.  Kenny is GM for his instincts, his judgment, his aggression, and his fondness for petting Jerry Reinsdorf's shoulder while being filmed.

Ultimately, I don't even know how much this approach even affects Williams.  Other than a questionable affinity for punchless base thieves, the Scott Linebrink signing, and the Jon Garland trade; most of Kenny's controversial decisions don't come from pining over guys that only scouts from the 1930s would love, but showing an almost pathological disregard for developing the youth.  It's as if Kip Wells' friends got drunk and peed on his Maserati one night in 2001, Kenny took revenge by shipping Kip to Pittsburgh, and he's been at war with everyone under 25 since.  He's a GM defined by his boldness and ceaseless aggression in the pursuit of immediate reward, and those tendencies are just as responsible for Alex Rios as they are for Mark Kotsay.  The questions behind Williams' approach do no cross the sabermetrics divide, as even the old-school scouts can tell that the Birmingham Barons suck.

It could be worse, we could be paying $76 million for four more years of Alfonso Soriano.

Follow White Sox Observer on Twitter @ JFegan_WSO_ODTL and on Facebook.  Look out for
WhtSoxObserver on Twitter especially during games for in-game
commentary and updates   



Leave a comment