Jim Margalus of South Side Sox, transcribing an interview with Steve Stone on the Boers and Bernstein Show on 670 The Score, writes that White Sox broadcasts will include more Sabermetrics during the 2014 season. A snippet of the interview provided by Margalus:
Stone: I just want to mention one thing that you’ll be really interested in. I have actually been studying up, and will continue to, because we’re going to kind of introduce — we might not call it this because this is, y’know, the evil empire — but we’re going to introduce some sabermetrics into the broadcast this year.
Bernstein: /exaggerated gasp
Stone: We’re going to actually explain to our viewers a bit about how it’s used as a tool, and try to explain that it’s not *the* tool, but it’s *a* tool, and used correctly.
Stone cited Wins Above Replacement (WAR), batting average on balls in play (BABIP), and defensive runs saved (DRS). You can imagine Hawk Harrelson’s enthusiasm right now.
The Angels’ bench is looking woefully thin this winter — so thin, in fact, that manager Mike Scioscia says he’s considering utilizing starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner on the days he’s not scheduled to pitch.
I’ve never had a pitcher pinch-run,” Scioscia told reporters Saturday. “There’s more bad than good that can come out of it. But Shohei is not just a pitcher. He’s a guy that has the ability to do some of the things coming off the bench, whether it’s pinch-hit or pinch-run, and we’re definitely going to tap into that if it’s necessary, because we feel we’re not putting him at risk. It’s something he’s able to do.
Granted, spring training allows for a certain amount of experimentation before managers and players decide what works best for them, so this may not be the strategy the Angels employ for the entire season. In addition to coming off the bench between starts, Ohtani is also expected to see 2-3 days at DH every week, forcing Albert Pujols to shift over to first base to accommodate the new two-way star.
Ohtani’s hitting prowess has already been well-documented — he has a lifetime .286/.358/.500 batting line from NPB and crushed a batting practice home run during his initial workouts with the team this week — but his skills on the basepaths have received less attention so far. MLB Pipeline describes the 23-year-old phenom as a “well-above average runner” whose speed has yet to manifest stolen bases: he’s nabbed just 13 bases in 17 chances over the last five years. That’s a number Scioscia hopes to see increased this season, though he doesn’t want his ace pitcher making any head-first slides on the basepaths to do so.
To be sure, it’s an unorthodox role for any young player to step into, but if anyone can pull it off, Ohtani can.