White Sox

Quintana adds to good crop of rookie pitchers


Quintana adds to good crop of rookie pitchers

In addition to being the odds-on favorite to win American League Rookie of the Year honors, Mike very well could take home AL MVP as well. So Jose Quintana's chances of winning AL Rookie of the Year are pretty low, just like the chances of Yu Darvish and Jarrod Parker, both of whom have had solid debuts with the Rangers and A's, respectively.

Most figured Tampa Bay lefty Matt Moore -- who entered 2012 ranked as a top-three prospect in baseball along with Trout and Washington's Bryce Harper -- would be at the top of the AL rookie pitcher heap at this point. But with walk issues plaguing him and a 4.23 ERA, Moore has found himself well behind the top group of AL rookie hurlers, which includes Quintana.

Texas paid a massive price to bring Darvish over from Japan, and he hasn't disappointed in his first year in the states. Jarrod Parker was a former top-10 pick and the top prospect coming to Oakland over the winter in a trade that sent Trevor Cahill to Arizona.

Both those pitchers have blue-chip backgrounds and feature the kind of repertoires that scouts drool over. Quintana, who spent 2011 as a relative unknown in Single-A with the Yankees organization, is the exact opposite.

Quintana's fastball averages 90 miles per hour, and he doesn't have a refined changeup. But he's hardly walking anybody and doesn't allow many home runs, which has fueled his success to the tune of a 2.30 ERA.

In terms of the hypothetical rookie of the year race -- in which a second honor is awarded because Trout's on a completely different level -- Quintana would be dinged because of his later addition to the Sox rotation. He's only made 10 starts (with two relief appearances) and thrown 70 13 innings, while Darvish (18 starts, 116 IP) and Parker (16 starts, 99 IP) have seen more time in the majors.

And that Quintana didn't join the White Sox to much fanfare may also work against him in this hypothetical scenario -- he hardly has the national notoriety of Darvish or even Parker. It's easy to forget that Quintana's major-league debut came as a mop-up man for Philip Humber during a doubleheader in Cleveland, and he was a somewhat surprising add to the rotation when John Danks went down in late May.

Quintana doesn't have a sexy win total, either, which unfortunately may unfairly color some outside views on the 23-year-old lefty. But it's hardly Quintana's fault he's 4-1 -- he's the only pitcher in the modern era to three times throw eight shutout innings and get no-decisions in every one of those outings.

While Trout, Darvish and Parker, are probably the top three in AL Rookie of the Year voting, Quintana absolutely deserves some recognition. And maybe with two more good months, he'll actually get it.

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez


White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

One Jimenez just isn't enough for the White Sox.

The White Sox signed the younger brother of top prospect Eloy Jimenez this weekend. Enoy Jimenez is a 17-year-old infielder, and the 21-year-old outfielder ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball was on hand for his brother's big moment.

Eloy figures to hit the big leagues early next season, though it will likely be a while longer before his teenage brother could do the same. Still, they're likely hoping for the chance to play together one day.

According to this pretty exhaustive list from MLB.com, four sets of brothers have played together on the White Sox: Homer and Ted Blankenship in the 1920s, Dick and Hank Allen in the 1970s, Roberto and Sandy Alomar in 2003 and 2004 and John and Jordan Danks in 2012.

Should we be getting ready for the fifth pair?

Update: Our Chuck Garfien found this video of Enoy taking some cuts with his big brother — all decked out in White Sox gear, too.

Matt Davidson's incredibly interesting 2018


Matt Davidson's incredibly interesting 2018

This season, Matt Davidson became the fourth player in MLB history to hit three home runs in a season opener. It definitely raised a few eyebrows, especially after Paul Konerko noted during spring training that a 40-home run season and an All-Star selection isn’t out of the question for the California native. After clobbering nine home runs (seven of them coming at Kauffman Stadium) in his first 21 games, anything seemed possible.

Unfortunately it didn’t quite turn out that way, though he did rack up his second straight 20-homer season. But it’s hard to argue that 2018 wasn’t a success for Davidson — mostly because of the swings he didn’t make.

Everything else aside, Davidson walked as often as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo in 2018.

OK, the more meaningful comparison would be Davidson to himself.

What stands out is his walk rate. One hundred fifty three players had at least 400 plate appearances in both 2017 and 2018. Among them, Davidson had the second-highest increase in walk percentage this past season.

Consider this: In 2017, Davidson and Tim Anderson became (and still are) the only players in MLB history with 160-plus strikeouts and fewer than 20 walks in a season.

Davidson, while logging 20 more at-bats in 2018, had the same number of strikeouts, 165, but he increased his walk total from 19 to 52. Give him credit for that. It’s a tough adjustment to make at the minor league level let alone in the major leagues. The increased walk rate brought his on-base percentage from .260 in 2017 (well below the AL average of .324) to .319 in 2018 (a tick above the AL average of .318) and pushed his overall offensive production from 16 percent below league average (as measured by his 84 weighted runs created plus, or wRC+) to four percent above league average (104 wRC+).

And I haven’t even mentioned the most fun aspect of his 2018 season: He pitched! And he pitched well.

Thirty pitchers took the mound for the White Sox in 2018, all of whom made at least three appearances. And only one of them didn’t allow a run: Davidson.

He topped out at 91.9 MPH and had as many strikeouts, two, as baserunners allowed in his three innings of work. The two batters he struck out, Rougned Odor and Giancarlo Stanton, combined for 56 home runs in 2018. They combined for 89 home runs (and an MVP award) in 2017.

In his career, Stanton had a combined 16 plate appearances and zero strikeouts against Barry Zito, CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Edwin Díaz. He struck out in his one plate appearance against Davidson.

Davidson is one of just three players with 20 or more home runs and at least three mound appearances in a season in MLB history:

— Babe Ruth (1919): 29 home runs, 17 games on the mound
— Davidson (2018): 20 home runs, three games on the mound
— Shohei Ohtani (2018): 22 home runs, 10 games on the mound

Facts are facts. Davidson is actually serious about expanding his role on the mound.

“To be honest, I would love to maybe explore that idea,” he said in July. “Pitching was a dream. As a young kid, everybody wants to hit that walk-off homer, right? I was the guy striking that guy out. That’s how I first loved the game. My favorite player was Randy Johnson and doing that.

“So, it’s something I would be interested in. I don’t know if the game would necessarily allow that or something like that. It’s something that is really close to my heart is pitching.”

Whether or not it ever happens, Davidson’s 2018 was all about finding ways to increase his value. For the White Sox, that’s a good problem to have.