White Sox

Five numbers explaining the White Sox slow start

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Five numbers explaining the White Sox slow start

Early-season statistics often can be deceiving, especially when trying to use them to project out for the rest of the year. There’s only one stat — strikeout rate — that is stable for most regulars or starting pitchers at this point in the season.

So yes, the White Sox have some awfully ugly stats, but they’re not necessarily cause to jump ship just yet even as the team returns home from an 0-5 road trip. Still, these five statistics do a pretty concise job of summing up the White Sox slow start to the 2015 season:

-1.1

White Sox position players have been worth -1.1 WAR this season, easily the worst total in the majors (only two other teams, Milwaukee at -0.2 and Texas at -0.1, are in the negatives). It’s easy for individual players to reverse WAR totals compiled after about 20 games, and it’s unfair to expect Adam Eaton, Alexei Ramirez and Melky Cabrera to combine to be worth -1.0 WAR for the long haul. But for now, only two White Sox position players players — Gordon Beckham and Jose Abreu at 0.4 — have rated above replacement level.

[MORE WHITE SOX: White Sox lose fifth straight, make four errors in loss to Twins]

12

Another MLB-worst total here, as in 12 total home runs. Despite having legitimate, established power threats in Abreu and Adam LaRoche and a guy in Avisail Garcia the team views as a 20-plus home run threat, the Sox just aren’t driving the ball out of the park this year. The team’s 7.7 percent home run/fly ball rate is the fifth-lowest in baseball, while their infield fly ball rate (percentage of flyouts that are pop-ups) is the highest in baseball at 14.7 percent. The White Sox lineup is hitting flyballs at the second-lowest rate in baseball, too (27.9 percent), though that’ll likely increase — no team hit fly balls on fewer than 30 percent of their balls in play last year.

2.87

The White Sox bullpen has been a bright spot, compiling baseball’s eighth-best ERA. And it looks to be sustainable success, too, as this group is getting strikeouts, limiting home runs and generating the most ground balls (56.1 percent) of any relief corps in the majors. David Robertson has been the star of the group, firing nine shutout innings and compiling a -0.52 FIP while Zach Duke and Dan Jennings have been an excellent lefty duo as well.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

5.52

The problem, though, is White Sox starters have the third-highest ERA of any MLB group. They’ve generated the majors’ lowest ground ball rate (38.3 percent) while allowing the fifth-most home runs per nine innings (1.32), which certainly isn’t a productive combination. Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Jeff Samardzija all have strong track records, though, so it’s probably not healthy to panic over their 14 combined starts here.

13.5

Yes, the White Sox haven’t started the season off well. But they’ve played 22 games, which comes out to 13.5 percent of the season. Would you draw far-sweeping conclusions about the Bears two games into the season (which comes out to about 13 percent of the 16-game schedule)? Or after one and a half college football games? The fact we’re still so early into the season doesn’t mean we can chalk everything up to small sample size randomness, but with 140 games remaining, there’s still plenty of time for things to turn around. 

Who knew? Stat nuggets from the White Sox pre-All-Star break season

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USA TODAY

Who knew? Stat nuggets from the White Sox pre-All-Star break season

It’s the All-Star Break, so why not take a look back at the first 58.6% of the White Sox season.

 

They may not be contending quite yet, but there have been several interesting moments. 

 

Focusing on the hitters, let’s take a look at ten amazing achievements this season.  And while there may be several to list for some players, I’m going to limit it to one fact per player.  Let’s go.

 

  • On March 29 (Opening Day), Matt Davidson became the 1st player in MLB history to hit 3 Home Runs in a game in March.
  • On April 23, Yoán Moncada (22 years, 331 days) became the youngest player in White Sox history with a double, triple & HR in the same game, passing Tito Francona (24 years, 205 days) on 5/28/1958.
  • Daniel Palka recorded a triple on May 22nd, making him the first player in White Sox history with 3 triples & 3 HR within his first 20 career MLB games.
  • On July 3, Palka (LF) & Avisaíl García (RF) became the second pair of White Sox outfielders to each hit 2 HR in the same game; the other pair? Minnie Miñoso (LF) and Larry Doby (CF) on July 30, 1957.
  • On May 28, Matt Skole became the first player in White Sox history with a home run AND a walk in his MLB Debut.
  • The lone White Sox walkoff Home Run of 2018 was off the bat of a player who hit .116 for the Sox this season (Trayce Thompson on May 3 – he went 14 for 121 this season for the Southsiders).
  • The White Sox have started a game with backto-back home runs four times in franchise history. 9/2/1937, 7/4/2000, 9/2/2017 & 6/12/2018.  Each of the last 2 times, Yolmer Sánchez hit the second home run.
  • On June 23, Tim Anderson became the first White Sox shortstop ever to homer on his birthday.
  • On June 27, José Abreu hit his 136th career HR and passed Minnie Miñoso for most by a Cubanborn player in White Sox history.  He hit one more since.
  • Leury García managed to become the first White Sox player with at least 10 stolen bases (he has 10) without being caught before the AllStar Break since Mike Cameron (13 for 13) in 1997.

White Sox first-round pick Nick Madrigal was magical in his Kannapolis debut

White Sox first-round pick Nick Madrigal was magical in his Kannapolis debut

After getting just two hits with the Arizona League White Sox, a team for rookies, Nick Madrigal made a big splash in his Low-A debut with the Kannapolis Intimidators.

Madrigal went 3 for 4 with two singles, a double, a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored on Tuesday afternoon against the Hagerstown Suns.

It may only be one game, but the fourth overall pick by the White Sox in this year’s MLB draft looks ready to play. Madrigal was almost perfect on his first day, obtaining a .750 batting average with a 1.800 OPS. That’s a pretty promising performance for the infielder who can play shortstop and second base.

Even though the 21-year-old hasn’t even struck out in the minors yet, he wasn’t quite as successful in the Arizona League. In five games and 13 at-bats, Madrigal achieved only a .154 batting average with two runs scored and one RBI. But he’s making up for those numbers.

So far with the White Sox organization, the Oregon State product isn’t walking at a shocking rate. He’s not striking out at all, either. Madrigal proved he’s an efficient contact hitter in college where he only struck out seven times in 2018. At the same time, he only hit three home runs, but he can have sneaky power at times.

Standing at 5-foot-7, 161 pounds, Madrigal was a force to be reckoned throughout his time in the Pac-12 Conference. Last season in college, he impressed many major-league scouts with a .367/.428/.511 slash line and 34 RBIs. He missed time with a hairline fracture in his hand after sliding into home plate back in February, but his strong junior year comeback performance helped make him a 2018 first-round pick.

He was just as good in his first two seasons with OSU. As a freshman in 2016, Madrigal had a .333/.380/.456 slash line with 29 RBIs in 49 games played. In his 2017 sophomore season, the talented hitter played in 60 games, tallied 40 RBIs and attained a .380/.449/.532 slash line with four homers, making it his most powerful season.

In three seasons playing Division 1 baseball, Madrigal also stole a combined 37 bases. He capped off his NCAA career with a College World Series title back in late June. His past production influenced White Sox director of scouting Nick Hostetler in the draft.

“Nick is recognized as one of the best hitters in college baseball, and we’re excited to add him to the organization," Hostetler said. "He possesses tremendous baseball skills, character and makeup…”

Madrigal will try to prove his critics right. Oregon State head coach Pat Casey thinks the young infielder could quickly work his way up to the majors.

“He'll be in the big leagues in 1 1/2 or 2 years,” Casey said. “I get it, you've got to develop. But put him in a big league uniform, and he can play.”