White Sox

Dunn's hitting, so why aren't the Sox winning?

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Dunn's hitting, so why aren't the Sox winning?

We're just over a month into the 2012 season. Adam Dunn has been fantastic, posting a .364 OBP with 9 home runs heading into Wednesday's game against Cleveland. That's the kind of production the White Sox missed last season. They still may not have made the playoffs with it, but it probably would've helped stave off that miserable 4-18 stretch in April and May that put the team behind the 8-ball far too early.

With Dunn's production this season, though, the White Sox have lost 11 of their last 14 contests. At 13-17, they're only two games ahead of their 2011 pace through 30 contests.

The good news is that the White Sox have scored 116 runs and allowed 118, which cranks out an expected win-loss record of 15-15. The Sox are 2-6 in one-run games and have lost three games in which either Hector Santiago or Matt Thornton blew a save opportunity.

The bad news, though, is that generating offense continues to be a problem, even with Dunn seemingly back to normal. By weighted on-base average (wOBA, a better version of OPS), the Sox have the 19th-best offense in baseball, ahead of only the reeling Twins in the AL Central.

Along with Dunn, Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski and Alejandro De Aza have been fantastic, although Pierzynski has started to come back to earth lately after a torrid start. But beyond those four, the Sox have struggled to do much at the plate.

Fangraphs breaks down wOBA into seven rough categories -- for example, an average wOBA is .320. They define an "awful" wOBA as being .290 and below. Four White Sox starters fall into that category: Gordon Beckham (.279), Dayan Viciedo (.262), Alexei Ramirez (.212) and Brent Morel (.195). And the backups haven't been much better, as all four Sox bench players have a wOBA below .280.

De Aza, Dunn and Konerko will have hitless games from time to time. That happens. But when it does, the Sox lineup doesn't stand much of a chance of scoring runs.

The Sox probably need two of those four struggling players to pull out of their slumps and become average-at-worst contributors to the lineup. Beckham, to his credit, has been solid since the start of May (.357.400.643 with 2 home runs), although whether he can turn eight good games into consistent offensive production remains to be seen.

Ramirez, hopefully, is just going through his usual pre-Memorial Day struggles -- the same ones that plagued him through his first three years in the league (although last season, Ramirez had an OPS above .700 on May 15 for the first time in his career).

The improved plate discipline Viciedo showed in 2011 has since escaped him -- he's walked in just 2.2 percent of his plate appearances after working a free pass in over 8 percent of his trips to the plate last year. At this point, he's struggling to hit much of anything, as over his last 18 games he's hitting .190.217.241 with one walk and 18 strikeouts.

And then there's Morel, who's only walked four times in 97 plate appearances while striking out 32 times. He only has two extra-base hits -- both doubles -- and only Marlon Byrd rates as worse than the third baseman by wOBA this season.

There's certainly hope for these guys, seeing as it's not even mid-May. But if June rolls around and these guys are still lagging, the Sox will be in big trouble, to say the least.

White Sox adjust 40-man roster — including adding Eloy Jimenez — ahead of Rule 5 Draft deadline

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USA TODAY

White Sox adjust 40-man roster — including adding Eloy Jimenez — ahead of Rule 5 Draft deadline

The White Sox made some adjustments to their 40-man roster ahead of Monday's deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft.

Rules stipulate that a player who signed when he was 18 or younger and has played five seasons of professional baseball is eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft if he is not on his team's 40-man roster. Because of that, the White Sox — like the rest of the teams in the league — made some moves Monday to protect certain players.

The White Sox announced Monday afternoon that they purchased the contracts of infielder Casey Gillaspie from Triple-A Charlotte, outfielder Eloy Jimenez from Double-A Birmingham, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and pitcher Ian Clarkin from Class-A Winston-Salem and outfielder Micker Adolfo from Class-A Kannapolis.

Simultaneously, pitchers Chris Beck and Tyler Danish were outrighted to Charlotte.

The most notable name on the list is of course Jimenez, the highly ranked outfielder acquired from the Cubs in July's trade that sent Jose Quintana to the North Side. Jimenez was a no-brainer to be protected after he slugged 19 homers and hit 22 doubles with 65 RBIs in his 89 games in the minors last season, splitting time between Birmingham and Winston-Salem in the White Sox system and Class-A Myrtle Beach in the Cubs' system. Jimenez is ranked as the White Sox No. 1 prospect by MLB.com.

Gillaspie was acquired in the trade that sent Dan Jennings to the Tampa Bay Rays. The brother of former White Sox infielder Conor Gillaspie, he hit 15 homers and 20 doubles in 125 games all at the Triple-A level. Gillaspie is ranked as the White Sox No. 11 prospect by MLB.com.

Basabe, the White Sox No. 17 prospect, was in last offseason's Chris Sale trade and hit .221 with five homers and 12 doubles at Winston-Salem. Adolfo, the White Sox No. 14 prospect, was signed as a free agent in 2013 and hit .264 with 16 homers and 28 doubles at Kannapolis. Clarkin, the White Sox No. 22 prospect, was acquired in the seven-player trade with the Yankees in July and posted a 2.60 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 86.2 innings of work at the Class-A level.

The 27-year-old Beck posted a very high 6.40 ERA in 64.2 innings out of the White Sox bullpen last season. Danish made just one appearance with the big league club last season, getting his first major league win in the second game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers.

Three months till baseball's back as White Sox announce spring training schedule

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USA TODAY

Three months till baseball's back as White Sox announce spring training schedule

Only three more months till the White Sox are back in action.

The South Siders announced their spring training schedule Monday, with Cactus League play commencing Feb. 23 out in Arizona.

The White Sox have the unenviable task of opening the exhibition schedule against the defending National League champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers playing hosts to the Pale Hose in Glendale. The White Sox will be the visitors, though they share the Camelback Ranch facility with the Dodgers, so they'll still be in their home ballpark. Their first official home game comes two days later, in a Feb. 25 matchup against the Cincinnati Reds.

The White Sox will face off against the Cubs in three "Cactus Crosstown" games on Feb. 27 and March 10 in Mesa and on March 16 in Glendale.

And in a cool wrap to the preseason, the White Sox will square off against their own Triple-A affiliate March 26 in Charlotte. The game against the Knights should be a fun watch considering all the future White Sox expected to make their way to the big leagues over the next couple seasons. The Knights' roster could be loaded with highly ranked prospects depending on how things shake out.

Here's the full schedule: