White Sox

What happened to Fukudome in Cleveland?


What happened to Fukudome in Cleveland?

When the Indians acquired Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs on July 28 of last year, it looked to be a solid deal that could help a lagging Cleveland offense. Fukudome was hitting .273.374.369 following his final at-bat with the Cubs -- while his power had deserted him, he was still a good on-base guy who could help the Indians' playoff push.

But with Cleveland, Fukudome's numbers plummeted. His on-base percentage fell 74 points to .300 thanks in large part to a decreased walk rate (13.3 percent with the Cubs, 5.8 percent with the Indians) and an increased strikeout rate (16.5 percent with the Cubs, 20.5 percent with the Indians).

Diving deeper into those numbers, Fukudome had major issues against breaking pitches after moving to the American League. About one in every five pitches he saw in 2011 with the Cubs were breaking balls, and against those curveballs and sliders Fukudome was about five runs above average (per FanGraphs).

With Cleveland, he saw only a slight uptick in sliders (10.9 percent to 12 percent) and curveballs (9.6 to 11.4 percent), but combined, he saw a breaking ball in closer to one in every four pitches than one in every five. His struggled at recognizing those pitches, though, whiffing on over 10 percent of breaking balls as opposed to under 10 percent with the Cubs.

Granted, this is over a small sample size -- just 59 games and 258 plate appearances. And Fukudome's most significant struggles came in September, historically his worst offensive month.

But Fukudome hit well below his career August split of .281.364.441, posting a .293.331.414 slash line in the regular season's penultimate month.

I'm tempted to call Fukudome's offensive dropoff the product of a small sample size, normal late-season struggles and perhaps some discomfort with moving to an unfamiliar city for a few months.

If Fukudome exhibits the same pitch recognition issues with the White Sox, maybe his struggles could be chalked up to an unfamiliarity with American League pitchers. With readily available scouting reports, video, etc., the frequency with which pitchers change leagues and interleague play, that's not a claim I'm ready to make yet.

Until further notice, Fukudome should be expected to be a good on-base guy to come off the bench and start when needed. Two bad months in Cleveland, while concerning, aren't enough to cause a panic.

Pitch data was used via Texas Leaguers' database.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Can the White Sox compete in 2018?


White Sox Talk Podcast: Can the White Sox compete in 2018?

In Year 2 of the rebuild, not much is expected from the White Sox in 2018. But is there more to this team than meets the eye? Could they compete this season and potentially follow the script of the Minnesota Twins, who went from 103 losses to a wild card spot in one year?

Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Chris Kamka dig into the possibilities and provide cases for why and why not.

Plus, the guys announce the winner of the SoxFest passes, and Kamka devotes this edition of Kamka's Corner to soon-to-be Hall of Famer Jim Thome.

Listen to the latest episode below:

Minor league infielder and Lincoln-Way East alum Dean Anna tweets he's signing with hometown White Sox


Minor league infielder and Lincoln-Way East alum Dean Anna tweets he's signing with hometown White Sox

Playing for the team you grew up cheering for is a dream for many baseball players.

Dean Anna is getting a chance to live that dream with the White Sox.

A 31-year-old infielder born in Glenwood, Anna has played in numerous minor league systems, including those of the San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals. Tuesday, he tweeted that the White Sox will be his next team.

Anna, a Lincoln-Way East alum and Ball State University product, was a 26th-round pick of the Padres in the 2008 draft. He spent six years in the Padres' organization and has spent the past four years at the Triple-A level with four different organizations.

Most recently, he played 112 games with the Omaha Storm Chasers, a Royals affiliate, last season, where he slashed .285/.364/.376 with 53 runs scored and 33 RBIs. Anna played 64 games at second base and 26 at third base last season.

Anna has played a few big league games, too. He played 12 games with the Yankees in 2014, picking up three hits including a home run in that stint. He also played one game with the Cardinals during the 2015 season.