White Sox

Lacking lefties on the South Side

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Lacking lefties on the South Side

A major void in the White Sox lineup over the past several seasons has been good left-handed hitting; a problem that seemed to be solved entering 2011 with the addition of Adam Dunn.

Instead, for the third year in a row, the White Sox had the fewest home runs hit by lefties of any American League team.

White Sox Home Runs hit by Lefties; Last three seasons

HR AL Rank
2009: 51 14th
2010: 24 14th
2011: 28 14th

The totals of 24 and 28 the past two seasons are two of the three worst totals in the AL from 2000-2011 (2000 Royals also had 28), and Oscar Gamble, Robin Ventura, and Jim Thome remain the only three Sox lefties to slug 30 longballs in a season over the 111-year franchise history.

Furthermore, the Sox were one of only four American League teams to have less than 50 percent of their team plate appearances with the platoon advantage, meaning left-handed hitters facing right-handed pitchers and vice versa.

2011 Worst Percentage of PA in American League with Platoon Advantage

Blue Jays 40.3
Rangers 42.8
White Sox 47.2
Orioles 49.2

The Indians, on the other hand, led the league with 67.7 of their team PA with the platoon advantage. That's a large reason why they were able to squeak out a surprise second-place finish in the Central.

71.5 percent of American League plate appearances were against right-handed pitching in 2011, so finding quality left-handed hitting is certainly a detail not to be overlooked.

Of the 2,187 White Sox plate appearances by lefties in 2011...

711 (32.5) were by Juan Pierre (.657 OPS), and

496 (22.7) were by Adam Dunn (.569 OPS)

A bounceback season by Dunn as well as continued success by Alejandro de Aza (.920 OPS in 171 PA in 2011) can make a huge difference for Ventura's 2012 Sox.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

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USA TODAY

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.

In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.

Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.

Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.

But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.

While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:

4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen