“Palkamania” was an unexpected surprise in 2018 for White Sox fans; he became a fan favorite overnight. Picked up off waivers from the Twins in November 2017, Palka made his way to the big league roster in April when Avisaíl García suffered an injury. He was here to stay. Let’s explore his solid rookie campaign by the numbers.
By the way, if you haven’t already, please check out the latest edition of the White Sox Talk podcast where Our Chuck goes one-on-one with Palka.
1 to nothing was the score on August 10 vs. the Indians. Palka hit a walkoff solo home run to break a scoreless tie. The first time that ever happened in White Sox history. It was the second ever White Sox walkoff homer to break a scoreless tie. Don Buford hit a grand slam Sept. 14, 1967, but Palka was the first to do it with a solo homer.
2 home runs by Palka vs. lefties were the only two home runs in 2018 by a White Sox lefty off lefty pitchers.
3 triples for Palka in his rookie season. All three came in his first 20 games. He was the first White Sox player with three triples within his first 20 career MLB games since… Frank Thomas (!?!). Palka, however, had three home runs through those 20 games. The Big Hurt didn’t hit his first homer until career game No. 25.
4 pinch hit home runs. A White Sox single-season record, as well as an American League rookie record.
6 home runs in the ninth inning for Palka. It tied Justin Smoak, Jason Kipnis and Giancarlo Stanton for the most in the majors in 2018. It also tied Paul Konerko (2005) and Harold Baines (1986) for most ninth inning home runs in a season in White Sox history.
8 home runs in September led the team – twice as many as anyone else. He also led the White Sox that month with 14 RBIs and even tied for the team lead with 10 walks.
9 batted balls of 115+ MPH exit velocity; fourth in MLB behind Giancarlo Stanton (34), Aaron Judge (11) and Joey Gallo (10). His best was 118.4 MPH on a June 5 double. (thanks to baseballsavant.com)
27 home runs, tied for the most by a rookie in 2018. He tied with Miguel Andújar, who played in 25 more games and had 157 more plate appearances. The 27 home runs were also the most ever by a left-handed White Sox rookie, surpassing Pete Ward’s mark off 22 in 1963.
48 players hit at least 25 home runs in 2018. Daniel Palka is the only one of the 48 to have 100 MPH or better exit velocity on all of his home runs. His minimum exit velocity on a home run was 101.7; his high was 115.2. (again, thanks to baseballsavant.com)
Did you notice the hidden SoxMath here? If not, go ahead and add all the boldface numbers.