Here is a look, by the numbers, for the 2014 Chicago White Sox. They start a three-game series this evening in Los Angeles against the Dodgers in an interleague series.
• The good
This is the strength of this year’s team.
The White Sox are fifth in all of baseball in runs scored, with 265. Home runs are still a key piece of their offense, as they are ninth in the game with 58.
They drop into a three-way tie with the Los Angeles Angels and Milwaukee Brewers for stolen bases, as they are listed in 12th with 35 stolen bases.
Considering the fact that the White Sox have some free-swingers on the team, walks haven’t been plentiful. Chicago is tied with the Washington Nationals, Brewers and San Francisco Giants with a 7.8 walk percentage, putting them in 21st in baseball in that category.
On the topic of free-swingers, the White Sox lead all of baseball with a 23.5 strikeout percentage. That is not good, because it may be tough to move runners along if you are striking out at such a high rate. Walking at a low-rate and striking out at a high-rate is going to lead to some slumps for the offense. However, due to their power and speed, they should still score a good number of runs.
• The bad
Here is where the White Sox are struggling.
The Sox have the third-worst ERA in baseball, at 4.41. The only teams that are worse than them are the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Minnesota Twins.
The White Sox have not given up that many home runs; however, that may be a product of the cold weather they have played in for the majority of the season. They are tied with the Toronto Blue Jays with 48 and are currently ranked 20th in all of baseball.
The worst stat of all may be the walk percentage that they allow. The Sox have the worst walk percentage in all of baseball, at 10.3 percent. To make things worse, they are also striking out a low percentage of batters, at 17.6 percent (28th in MLB) which is another reason why the Sox pitching staff is so poor.
• A quick look at fielding
The White Sox have the second-most errors in the AL with 44. However, they have the second-most assists with 623.
The key stat in all of this is total chances, and this is directly related to the amount of time they have spent on the field. Chicago leads the AL with 2,221 total chances, which is a big factor in the amount of errors they team has made this year.
• A final recap
Without Jose Abreu and Chris Sale, the offense would not be as good, and the pitching would be the worst in the game.
Conor Gillaspie’s .350 or so batting average is key in the runs total that they have and Adam Eaton at the top has provided at spark.
Over the last three weeks or so, the pitching has improved, and John Danks looked better in his last two starts.
The pitching should improve, assuming they stay healthy. Hector Noesi is a key to this as well.
If he can be solid, the starting rotation could be at least average after Sale.
I think that the offense will be very good, and the pitching staff won’t be terrible. If the pitchers can keep the offense in the game, it should be an interesting season on Chicago’s south side.