As we sit right now the 2012 Chicago White Sox are without a lead-off batter. Juan Pierre was that guy last year and did a good enough job at the plate. Alright, actually, he could’ve done a lot better. We’re not going to talk about his fielding abilities because these articles are supposed to be enjoyable.
We only have two sure-fire candidates on roster right now and they are Alejandro De Aza and maybe Gordon Beckham. De Aza started 54 games for the Sox last season and played really well, posting a .400 on-base percentage and a .329 batting average. Beckham has been most productive out of the eight slot in the batting order in his short career (.292 batting average and a .344 on-base percentage in the eight hole) and while he has never hit lead-off he should at least get an audition. Of the players available he’s certainly one of the most qualified.
Should the Sox pick up Grady Sizemore, as I wrote about in a post a few days ago, he could be another fit for lead-off. Though it’s looking like Sizemore may resign with Cleveland nothing is official yet so anything can happen.
All of that being said I’d now like to submit an unlikely candidate. Alex Rios. Ozzie Guillen tried him all over the batting order last season and the six-foot-five mystery of man didn’t get a chance to settle in anywhere. That or he just sucked. Either way, could that be the spot Rios fits in? Rios has 162 stolen bases in his career – 11 last season, 34 in 2010 – so he has lead-off man wheels.
No matter where Rios is hitting his defense is something I would like to keep around. In 359 chances in center field last year Rios only committed three errors. In my mind Rios’ strongest point is his defense and he’s one of the most underrated fielders in the game. It’s his miserable offensive production that has put several forehead-sized dents in my wall.
This is all in the hands of manager Robin Ventura so Robin, if you’re reading this, I suggest Rios. I also suggest staying away from Nolan Ryan on Opening Day.