Daniel Palka

Daniel Palka finally has a good game in the middle of his nightmare season

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USA TODAY

Daniel Palka finally has a good game in the middle of his nightmare season

In the second inning Daniel Palka solidly lined a ball up the middle that looked like a sure hit off the bat. The problem? The Tigers defense was shifted perfectly to that spot for a lineout.

MLB Statcast gave Palka’s lineout an expected batting average of .650. It seemed like just another night like the rest of them have gone for Palka in the majors in 2019.

He entered Friday with a .034 batting average (2-for-59). After hitting 27 home runs with 45 extra base hits and a .778 OPS as a rookie in 2018, Palka hasn’t been able to do much of anything in a White Sox uniform.

That lineout appeared to be another “nothing can go right” moment. However, Palka’s Friday turned around.

His next time up, he pounded a ground ball that found a hole. Statcast gave that one a 31 percent chance of getting a hit, so he broke even after getting robbed earlier. The amusing thing is that Palka’s groundball single had an exit velocity of 108.9 mph, which was the second hardest hit ball of the game.

Palka later added a bloop single in the seventh and a line drive hit in the ninth to finish with a three hit day. Palka entered the day with two hits in 23 games and got three hits in Friday alone.

Even with the 3-for-5 night, Palka’s batting average is still only .072, but he more than doubled it in one game.

Is this relevant to the future of the White Sox? Almost certainly not, but Palka showed some promise in his rookie season and has been through an absolute nightmare this season. The mental side of going through his 0-for-32 start to the season and the continued struggles since could not have been easy. For at least one night in 2019 Palka had a good game at the plate.

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Daniel Palka's surprise rookie season by the numbers

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USA TODAY

Daniel Palka's surprise rookie season by the numbers

“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.

 

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Eloy Jimenez and other prospects sent to minors as White Sox make latest round of spring roster cuts

Eloy Jimenez and other prospects sent to minors as White Sox make latest round of spring roster cuts

Despite returning from his injury layoff with a bang, Eloy Jimenez will not be starting the 2018 season in the major leagues.

As expected, he'll be heading to Double-A Birmingham, and that's where the White Sox sent their top prospect Wednesday as they made their latest round of spring roster cuts.

Jimenez finished last season at Birmingham, playing a handful of games there after being promoted from Class A. He slashed .353/.397/.559 with three homers and five doubles in 18 games with the Barons.

Out for a couple weeks, Jimenez returned to the White Sox spring lineup over the weekend, starting things with a pinch-hit homer against the Cubs, the team that shipped him to the South Side in last summer's Jose Quintana trade. Jimenez followed with another homer and a triple in Sunday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Monday, he picked up another hit and finished his four-game Cactus League season at 4-for-7 with two homers, a triple, three RBIs, three runs scored and two walks.

Joining the No. 4 prospect in baseball in being optioned to Birmingham was pitcher Ian Clarkin, the No. 17 prospect in the White Sox system. Outfielders Micker Adolfo and Luis Basabe, the White Sox Nos. 11 and 14 prospects, were optioned to Class A Winston-Salem. Pitcher Dylan Cease and catcher Zack Collins, the team's Nos. 5 and 9 prospects, were assigned to minor league camp. Outfielder Daniel Palka and infielder Jose Rondon were optioned to Triple-A Charlotte. These moves have the White Sox at 45 players in big league camp out in Glendale.