Friday, July 14, 2017

White Sox reliever Nate Jones done for the season

Nate Jones
Lost amid all the Jose Quintana trade discussions Thursday was this bit of news: White Sox reliever Nate Jones will miss the rest of the 2017 season after having elbow surgery earlier this week.

Jones is arguably the Sox's best reliever, so this is a big loss. The right-hander was one of the top setup men in the game last season, when he went 5-3 with a 2.71 ERA, 0.892 WHIP and 80 strikeouts over 70.2 innings covering 71 appearances.

The elbow injury, which required nerve repositioning surgery (!?), limited Jones to 11 appearances this season. He hasn't pitched since April 28.

This makes three relief pitchers from the 2015-16 Sox bullpen who are out for the season after elbow surgeries. Zach Putnam and Zach Duke, who is now with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, are the other two. A fourth reliever, Jake Petricka, is on the disabled list with a strained right elbow. I hate to speculate, but I will anyway: You can't help but wonder if Petricka is the next guy on his way to the operating table.

I never agreed with the way former Sox manager Robin Ventura used his bullpen. He was beholden to lefty-righty matchups. He ran his guys into the ground, sometimes using four or five relievers just to get through one inning.

I don't think it's a coincidence that these four men are experiencing elbow problems right now.


  1. Per Fangraphs: from 2013-2016, the White Sox had the fewest relief innings and the fewest relief appearances in the AL.

    The biggest users/abusers in that time were the Royals. And they had two World Series appearances. Cleveland was 4th.

    In the NL, the 3rd and 4th most used bullpens were the Giants and Dodgers.

    So the data actually suggests Ventura should have used the bullpen more. Although when you look at the reality, his bullpens were usually shit so there was incentive to avoid using them as much as possible - which he generally did. You could argue that he didn't avoid them enough - but then he'd be accused of abusing his starters.

    You can only manage what the front office provides you. These injuries are on Williams and Hahn.

  2. How often did Ventura use guys three, four or even five days in a row (Addison Reed in 2013)? Total appearances doesn't tell the whole story. And I don't know if there's any data out there that talks about how often a guy warmed up, but didn't enter a game.