White Sox

Robin Ventura steps down as White Sox manager

Robin Ventura steps down as White Sox manager

He doesn’t have any regrets, but Robin Ventura announced the end of his tenure as White Sox manager on Sunday afternoon.

Calling it a personal decision, Ventura stepped down as White Sox manager shortly after his team closed his fifth season with a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field. Ventura — who finished with a 375-435 record and finished below .500 in four straight seasons — said he thought the club might be in need of a new voice. The team is expected to name current bench coach Rick Renteria its new manager in a press conference on Monday at 11 a.m.

“I just feel it’s the right time,” Ventura said. “I love being here. The organization means a lot to me. You can go as hard as you can and really the only thing you know is how you conduct your business and how you treat people. I’m good with that. 

“Talking to (general manager Rick Hahn) through September, you just realize right now is the right time to do it and you need somebody else.”

Ventura’s final season as White Sox manager will likely be remembered for several high-profile incidents that took place within the clubhouse, namely the abrupt and public retirement of Adam LaRoche and Chris Sale’s five-game suspension for destruction of team property. While those incidents may have caused him some stress, Ventura said it was the team’s collapse after a 23-10 start that was the most difficult to deal with. Ravaged by key injuries, underperformance and a lack of depth to handle those issues, the White Sox fell apart in mid-May and never recovered.

“What's hardest is we started off so well, so you had the optimism that was there that you were going to keep that rolling and then it didn't continue,” Ventura said. “That's the hardest stuff. The other stuff, it just happens. There's probably stuff that happens all over the place that's like that. But that had nothing to do it with being tougher.”

Though he made the determination he wouldn’t return over the course of September, Ventura held off on an announcement until after the season concluded. Ventura said he wanted his players’ focus to remain on the field where it belonged and didn’t want to detract from that. Ventura addressed his team prior to Sunday’s game to inform them of his decision.

“You have that thing you grow up with from your parents that when you start something you do it,” Ventura said. “If you get fired, that’s one thing. But I knew I was going to finish what I signed up to do. And I did that.”

Ventura has no plans to take another job within the organization and for now has no designs to manage again. Once questioned whether or not he wanted to be the team’s manager, Ventura said he’d say “yes again” if he had to do it all over. Ventura lamented the lack of team victories but enjoyed the job.

“You just do what you can do and how you conduct yourself,” Ventura said. “It’s not like they’re going to be building a statue or putting a statue out on the concourse. You do what you can and that’s all you can really do.”

James McCann leads charge for White Sox in running for starting spots in MLB All-Star Game

James McCann leads charge for White Sox in running for starting spots in MLB All-Star Game

Major League Baseball released a second voting update for All-Star Game starters and three White Sox players are still in the mix.

The top three spots at each position (and top nine in the outfield) are all that matter for now, with those players advancing to MLB’s new Starters Election. James McCann is the only member of the White Sox to sit in one of those spots for now.

McCann is second at catcher behind Gary Sanchez of the Yankees. He is nearly 800,000 votes behind the Yankees backstop.

Jose Abreu was in third in the last update at first base, but has fallen behind Carlos Santana of the Indians. Luke Volt, another Yankee, leads with C.J. Cron of the Twins in second. Santana is just under 43,000 votes ahead of Abreu.

Tim Anderson is still in fourth at shortstop. Jorge Polanco of the Twins and Carlos Correa of the Astros are comfortably in the top two spots. Gleyber Torres, yet another Yankee, is just over 45,000 votes ahead of Anderson for third.

There aren’t any other White Sox within striking distance of the top three. Yoan Moncada remains in eighth among third basemen.

Polls close Friday at 3 p.m. CT.

 

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Breaking down Eloy Jimenez's improvement

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USA TODAY

Breaking down Eloy Jimenez's improvement

When Eloy Jiménez returned from the Injured List in late May and rejoined the White Sox lineup, he went on the road to Houston and Minnesota and he struggled to the tune of a .148 batting average and .148 on-base percentage, with four hits (three went over the fence), 11 strikeouts and no walks.

For the season, his slashline was .217/.259/.406 with five walks and 36 strikeouts. He was swinging at 49.8 percent of all the pitches he saw (a bit above the 46.7 percent league average); he was swinging at 38.8 percent of pitches outside the zone (quite a bit above the 30.9 percent league average).

He returned to the comfort of Guaranteed Rate Field on May 27 and took a pair of walks. From that point forward, things started to look a lot better… and the results were in line with that observation.

Eloy Jiménez this season:

  PA AVG OBP SLG BB K Swing % Outside zone swing %
Through May 26 112 ,217 .259 .406 5 36 49.8 38.8
Since May 27 71 .297 .366 .594 7 18 45.9 30.8

Not only has he improved quite a bit, but that 30.8 outside the zone swing percentage is second only to Yonder Alonso’s 29.9 percent mark among White Sox with at least 40 plate appearances since May 27. Jiménez hasn’t been chasing nearly as many bad pitches lately.

Those pitches he has been laying off of have for the most part been the low and away stuff, as indicated by his swing charts below. First, his swing rates before getting hurt and then since he came back from injury.

These charts are from the catcher’s perspective, and from what you can see, he has done a much better job of laying off the low and away pitches. Look at the three zones furthest low and away. There’s a big difference.

Start of the year through May 26:

Since May 27:

Through May 26 he swung at 33.8 percent of pitches (51 of 151)  low and away and out of the zone. Since May 27 he has swung at 14.5 percent of those pitches (10 of 69).

It’s only an 18-game sample, so there will certainly be more adjustments made to combat Jiménez, but I believe we’re watching Eloy begin to mature into the middle of the order force as he was advertised.

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