Konerko’s Well-Timed Outburst

Paul Konerko opened with one of the finest months of the season by popping 11 home runs in his first 74 at-bats and hitting .297/.413/.784. Although that line suggests otherwise, Konerko’s BABIP in April sat a bare .193. The change to May brought a few extra hits of non-homer variety, but Konerko’s BABIP still sat around .250 for the season. Star slugger suffering from BABIP issues is one of the most basic of plots filmed on diamond sets, but that story is not the one played out here. Instead, opposing defenses have gone from Shamwow levels of absorption to that of a Casper. Just check out Konerko’s BABIP by month since:

June: .403
July: .333
August: .449
September: .355

Unsurprisingly, Konerko’s wOBA remains high, at .423 through 579 plate appearances. Anytime a 34-year-old offensive-minded first baseman posts a career best season its worth taking note, but it feels like maybe Konerko has been looked over. For instance, did you know that Konerko’s wOBA – albeit unadjusted for park – is the third highest amongst first basemen this season? Of course not. Aubrey Huff is the positional winner of the “Huh, he’s having a good year?” award, yet Konerko is doing a fine job himself.

Not only that, but Konerko is doing it with mostly the same underlying statistics with the exception of a career best BABIP. The twist in Konerko’s story is that he is a free agent at season’s end. I’ll leave the Crowdsourcing on Konerko’s next deal to Senior Cameron, but I would expect some level of disagreement on just how many years Konerko will received based on what looks like an aberration of a season. Maybe Konerko will leave the Sox, but much like this season, I don’t think most foresee that occurring.

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22 Responses to “Konerko’s Well-Timed Outburst”

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  1. PG says:

    I’m not sure I would call a guy with a career .855 OPS having an MVP type year an “aberration”. I’d probably just call it a career year.

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  2. PG says:

    Also, he gets extra point in my book for being hit in the nose with pitch tonight and refusing to leave the game. That’s worth at least 15 WAR.

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  3. PG says:

    …..And hit the first pitch of his next AB well out of the park, while sporting a very fat upper lip and swollen nose. He’s a man.

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  4. frank says:

    Senior Cameron? Is he your elder?

    Or did you mean Senor Cameron?

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    • Reality says:

      Hi Frank, I think we need to touch base so that you can get your priorities in order.

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      • Jay says:

        Oh, how right you are, Reality. Knowing what words mean and how to spell them are really not high-priority items for a writer.

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      • frank says:

        And apparently your priority is to tell me what my priorities should be? (should I be taking advice from someone who clearly has their own priorities in order?)

        Pot meet Kettle meet Black…

        It was a joke..sheesh.

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  5. dickey simpkins says:

    The Sox have had one of the more forgettable seasons from a front-office perspective but I doubt they let their 2nd most tenured (and beloved) player walk away after a career year. Besides, they have absolutely no one to replace him (oh high Brandon Allen) and the other FA options will probably cost as much if not more.

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    • James says:

      I wouldn’t put it past them… I think someone might offer him more years/money than the White Sox. I want them to keep him, but I expect the GM to do the exact opposite of what I would do (since that’s what seems to happen). I’m sure he wants Konerko to walk so he can overpay Dunn.

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  6. Evan Kirkwood says:

    “Aubrey Huff is the positional winner of the “Huh, he’s having a good year?” award”

    Considering he put up a .387 wOBA as recently as 2008 and has had 5 seasons with a wOBA of at least .365, I don’t see why he would be. Never understood why so many people were surprised when he rebounded offensively after last year.

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  7. Phantom Stranger says:

    Konerko has always had that beautiful righthanded power swing. If he was a lefty, people would be raving about it. Obviously a career year, the rise in productivity this year will likely net him a longer contract but not a monster deal. He fits his home stadium quite well, his offense would likely suffer in other parks.

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  8. PG says:

    My guess is the Sox keep him for something around 2/24 or 3/30. Reinsdorf is notoriously loyal, and Paulie is one of his (like any Sox fan’s) fav’s. I also expect KW to ignore Ozzie’s “rotating DH plan” and make a deal for someone like Luke Scott. He won’t pay Dunn. If I remember right KW hasn’t committed more than $20M to any FA in over 15 years (aside from Konerko).

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  9. BB says:

    I was hoping to catch a PK article here with the way he’s been playing the last 2 weeks (and the whole year, really). He’s also in the top 5 in each triple crown category as well (I know, I know)

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  10. Sox27 says:

    How do we even know PK wants to stay? I heard recently he stated there won’t be a hometown discount this time around. The Sox can offer him arbitration after the season correct?

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  11. Trebecois says:

    Say hello to your new Colorado Rockies 1B

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  12. Anthony says:

    What do you guys think are his chances of 500 HR? He started the year as a 34 year old with 326 HR. He now has 363 HR. He will likely be around 366/367 HR by years’ end, maybe higher, giving him a chance at reaching 400 HR in 2011 as a 35-year old. What are your thoughts?

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  13. Phantom Stranger says:

    Almost no chance unless he plays forever or ends up in a better homepark for homers than now. He could probably repeat his homerun total next year if the Red Sox sign him. That park would fit him like a glove.

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