Showing posts with label Matt Purke. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Matt Purke. Show all posts

Thursday, March 16, 2017

About that second left-hander in the White Sox bullpen ...

Cory Luebke
The White Sox made their second round of spring cuts Wednesday afternoon.

Pitchers Chris Beck, Tyler Danish, Brad Goldberg and Giovanni Soto were optioned to Triple-A Charlotte, along with outfielder Willy Garcia. Catcher Alfredo Gonzalez was optioned to Double-A Birmingham. Pitchers Aaron Bummer and Blake Smith were reassigned to minor league camp.

We said at the start of camp that the Sox were looking for a second left-hander in their bullpen to complement Dan Jennings, and it looked as if Soto might be one of the top contenders -- if not the leading contender.

Turns out the Sox don't think that much of Soto. He's been optioned after making only two Cactus League appearances.

So, who is left in the mix for that other left-handed spot? Matt Purke hasn't allowed a run this spring over four appearances and 4.2 innings pitched. Brian Clark is getting an extended look -- he's appeared in seven games and fared reasonably well -- a 2.70 ERA in 6.2 innings. But, Clark has walked four, which is a bit of a red flag.

Jace Fry, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, has worked in six games with a 4.15 ERA in 4.1 innings. But again, four walks -- that's a high total. A surprise contender has emerged in veteran reclamation project Cory Luebke. The 32-year-old has 1.35 ERA in five games and 6.2 innings pitched this spring.

Luebke has struck out five and walked two, and the big key for him is proving he has regained his control. Once upon a time, in 2011, Luebke was a big leaguer. He had a 3.29 ERA in 46 games (17 starts) for the San Diego Padres. But multiple Tommy John surgeries kept him out of the majors from 2013 to 2015.

He resurfaced with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2016, and he was terrible -- a 9.35 ERA in nine games. He walked 11 in 8.2 innings. To make the Sox, he'll have to continue to avoid walks and show that he isn't susceptible to meltdown-style innings. Luebke has starting experience, so in theory, he could be the second left-hander *and* the long reliever.

Or perhaps the Sox will decide to go with only one left-hander and keep right-hander Michael Ynoa, who is out of options, on the roster.

Under that scenario, the Sox could use right-hander Zach Putnam is certain situations against tough left-handed hitters. Putnam's split-finger pitch tends to be tough on lefties, and when healthy in 2016, he held left-handed hitters to a .546 OPS. (Righties had a .694 OPS).

Knowing that Putnam is an option, perhaps it isn't essential the Sox keep a second left-handed reliever, if they decide they don't want to keep Luebke or give Purke another kick at the can.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

White Sox sign pitcher Derek Holland to one-year contract

Derek  Holland
Somebody has to pitch for the 2017 White Sox, right?

One of those somebodies will be veteran left-hander Derek Holland, who agreed Wednesday to a one-year, $6 million contract with the Sox.

Holland, 30, has been plagued by knee and shoulder injuries that have limited him to 38 starts over the past three seasons combined. He went 7-9 with a 4.95 ERA in 22 starts for the Texas Rangers in 2016. He spent July and most of August on the disabled list with shoulder problems, and suffered from reduced fastball velocity when he did pitch. The Rangers declined their $11 million team option on him at the end of the season.

The left-hander's best season came for a pennant-winning Texas team in 2011, when Holland led the league in shutouts with four and went 16-5 with a 3.95 ERA. His last good season was his last healthy one -- 2013 -- when he tossed a career-high 213 innings and went 10-9 with a 3.42 ERA in 33 starts.

Holland is looking for a bounce-back year that will rebuild his value when he goes back on the open market next offseason. The Sox might be a good fit for him, because there will be an opportunity to pitch, and there is an opportunity to work with pitching coach Don Cooper, who has had some success in the past with reclamation projects.

For the club, Holland is a good fit because the Sox need veteran stopgaps until some of the younger pitchers in the system -- Carson Fulmer, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Spencer Adams, etc. -- are ready for a full-time shot in the rotation.

If Holland gets hurt again, or is a bust, oh well, it's only a one-year commitment for the club. If Holland pitches well, contending teams could come calling and the Sox could flip him for younger players at the July trade deadline.

To make room for Holland on the 40-man roster, the Sox designated left-handed reliever Matt Purke for assignment.

I guess that means we won't be hearing this song at the ballpark next season:




Friday, July 1, 2016

White Sox place Matt Davidson on DL, recall Carlos Sanchez

Matt Davidson
Catching up on roster moves before the White Sox (40-39) face the Houston Astros (42-37) in a three-game weekend series:

After left-hander Matt Purke contributed to the near-meltdown in the ninth inning Wednesday night against Minnesota, he was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte. Infielder Matt Davidson was called up, and he made an immediate contribution in Thursday's win over the Twins -- an RBI single and a run scored in the fourth inning.

Unfortunately, Davidson broke his right foot while running the bases sometime in that inning, and he has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.

You can't help but feel badly for Davidson, who struggled in Charlotte for two years before turning it around this season. He made the Triple-A All-Star team and earned his call-up. Now, he's looking at some extended time on the sidelines, and you hope the time off doesn't cause him to lose the good swing he's had working for him lately.

His loss, however, is Carlos Sanchez's gain. The infielder has been recalled from Charlotte to fill out the roster. Sanchez appeared in 11 games earlier this season with the Sox, hitting .154 with an RBI in 29 plate appearances. He was hitting .258/.313/.413 with six home runs and 24 RBIs for the Knights.

A few thoughts about Purke, who we may or may not see again in Chicago this year, he's an interesting case study on what happens when you stop throwing strikes.

The lefty reliever made 12 appearances with the Sox, and the first six were remarkably different than the last six. Purke's walk rate rose dramatically in his most recent outings.

First six appearances: 10 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 5 Ks, 3 BBs, 3.60 ERA
Last six appearances: 8 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 10 Ks, 9 BBs, 7.88 ERA

My saying is, "You walk people, you lose." In Purke's case, he walked people, and he found himself on a plane back to Charlotte.