White Sox

White Sox morning roundup

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White Sox morning roundup

From yesterday:

Adam Dunn and Alex Rios homered as the White Sox banged out 21 hits and 12 runs in a drubbing of Minnesota, securing the team's second straight series victory. Kevin Youkilis had three hits and two RBIs after being jokingly challenged by A.J. Pierzynski before the game -- here's what the new Sox infielder had to say after the contest:

Youkilis played first base, giving Paul Konerko the day off. The flexibility Youkilis brings certainly paid off -- and it didn't hurt that Eduardo Escobar had two hits filling in at third base.

Everything wasn't all good Wednesday, as Will Ohman allowed three runs in two innings -- which turned out to be his last appearance with the White Sox. After the game, the team designated him for assignment, with a corresponding roster move to be announced before today's game at Yankee Stadium.

In their four-game series with the Yankees, the Sox will miss C.C. Sabathia, who was scheduled to start Friday but was placed on the disabled list with a strained groin. In his place, Andy Warren will make his major-league debut on Friday against the Sox.

For the Sox, Gavin Floyd will take the mound in Sunday's series finale, and it'll be a pretty good litmus test for where the righty is at. His two-start resurgence has come at the right time, but if he can keep it up against a lineup as powerful as New York's, that'll be a major step in the right direction. Although if that's the case, maybe Tyler Flowers should be behind the plate -- or so the argument from Jim Margalus at South Side Sox goes.

Adam Dunn had a great chat on the Dan Patrick Show Wednesday morning, talking about his college football days with Texas and describing what it's like to face Randy Johnson. Hint: It's not fun.

Around the division: Cleveland lost its fifth game in a row and is now 2 12 games out of first, Detroit's loss to Texas put the Sox four games clear of the Tigers and Kansas City is only five back after completing a sweep of Tampa Bay. And in saddening news, Twins minor leaguer Paul Bargas passed away after battling a rare form of brain cancer.

And in former White Sox news, Dan Hudson has a torn UCL and will likely need Tommy John surgery.

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

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USA TODAY

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?

Matt Davidson's incredibly interesting 2018

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USA TODAY

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.