White Sox

Has Alexei Ramirez' offense peaked?

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Has Alexei Ramirez' offense peaked?

At this time last year, those waiting for Alexei Ramirez to have a breakout offensive season kept repeating this mantra: If he can hit in April and May, he'll be awesome.

From 2008-2010, Ramirez was dreadful at the plate through mid-May. In 2008, Ramirez posted a .353 OPS (.163 OBP.190 SLG) from March 31-May 15. In 2009, Ramirez had a .509 OPS on May 17. And in 2010, his OPS was .556 on the morning of May 15.

But after the middle of May, Ramirez took off in each of those seasons. In 2008 -- his best offensive season in the majors -- Ramirez posted an .833 OPS in 118 games from May 16 through the end of the campaign. In 2009, that mid-May-to-end-of-season OPS was .779, and in 2010, it was .791.

So when Ramirez came out of the gate strong in 2011, it looked like he was on pace to have the big offensive season some had been projecting for years.

On May 15, 2011, Ramirez had a .739 OPS. Nothing extraordinary, but given his previous AprilMay struggles, the hope was that his usual JuneJuly surge, coupled with a non-abysmal OPS base, would lead his full-season production to new heights. That didn't happen.

Ramirez peaked in early June. His OPS was a cool .812 after going 2-4 against Justin Verlander on June 4, but it slipped below .800 a few days later and was well into the mid-.700 range by the middle of the month. By August, Ramirez' OPS was .730, and it remained remarkably consistent in that range through the end of the season -- which saw Ramirez finish with a .727 OPS.

That left him with a three-year OPS of .732. In other words, his 2011 was basically an average offensive year for Alexei Ramirez. His wOBAs (basically, a better version of OPS) from 2009-2011 go as follows: .319, .321, .319.

So when Hardball Talk's Matthew Pouliot projected Ramirez to have an OPS of .766 in 2012, I had to be skeptical. That would represent a pretty sharp deviation from the last three years, and at 30, it's hard for me to believe Ramirez will ever be more than a .730-OPS guy.

But here's the really, really good news: it doesn't matter. Ramirez is so skilled with the glove that all he needs is roughly average offensive seasons to make him an incredibly valuable asset to the White Sox. Thanks to his shoulda-been-Gold-Glove defense in the last two seasons, Ramirez has racked up 9.2 WAR.

That two-year WAR total is behind only Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki and is right in the same range as Jose Reyes. Ramirez has also provided significantly more WAR than Jimmy Rollins, Hanley Ramirez, Starlin Castro and Derek Jeter since 2010.

Ramirez is one of baseball's elite shortstops. No lack of an offensive breakout will change that.

Meet the Prospects: Zack Collins

Meet the Prospects: Zack Collins

The White Sox rebuild is in full swing. While it might still be a year or two before the big league team is expected to start competing for championships, the minor leagues are stocked with highly touted talent fans will be eagerly following in 2018. With that in mind, it's time to Meet the Prospects and get to know the future of the South Side.

Zack Collins

Collins, the 22-year-old catcher, has been projected as the White Sox catcher of the future since he was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2016 draft.

A Florida native and University of Miami product, Collins initially was celebrated for his batting prowess and faced questions about his defensive abilities, only to improve with the glove in 2017 while he watched some offensive numbers slip a bit.

After joining the White Sox organization in 2016, Collins slashed .258/.418/.467 with six homers and 18 RBIs in 36 games at Class A Winston-Salem. In 2017, he played 101 more games at Winston-Salem, slashing .223/.365/.443 with 17 homers and 48 RBIs. He also played a dozen games at Double-A Birmingham, where he added a couple more homers and five more RBIs.

This offseason's signing of Welington Castillo installs a veteran backstop for two or three seasons at the big league level, meaning there's no rush for Collins to get to the majors.

As of their most recent rankings, MLB Pipeline had Collins rated as the No. 7 prospect in the White Sox organization.

Get to know Collins in the video above.

Fantasy baseball: Taking another crack at projecting the White Sox 2021 lineup

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USA TODAY

Fantasy baseball: Taking another crack at projecting the White Sox 2021 lineup

Playing a rebuild-centric edition of fantasy baseball is all the rage for South Side baseball fans.

After Baseball America forecasted the White Sox starting lineup for the 2021 season, it sparked a new round of projections, and we weren't going to be excluded.

So here's a guess at what the South Siders will look like three years from now, with some variables obviously being discussed such as additions the team could make through free agency or a trade — Manny Machado? Nolan Arenado? Christian Yelich? — and which of their bevy of young pitchers could be left out of the starting rotation of the future.

Also be sure to send us your future lineups on Twitter. We're @NBCSWhiteSox.

Enjoy: