By the numbers: A statistical look at 3 key Chicago White Sox hitters
By Brian Draus
Jun 28, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu and centre fielder Adam Eaton exchange high-fives after the White Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Who are the best hitters for the White Sox?
If you had to pick the three best hitters on the team, who would you pick? Obviously, first baseman Jose Abreu, which is true. Along with Abreu, the April and June Rookie of the Month, let’s look at two other position players on the White Sox who stand out with their hitting abilities.
Jose Abreu (first base)
Abreu is among the league leaders in home runs and RBIs, even though he has only played in 72 games. Considering the fact that Abreu boasts huge power, he does have some contact issues. Abreu has 74 strikeouts in, which is good for 24-percent strikeouts.
Even for a power hitter, Abreu still has a ways to go when it comes to making consistent contact. That should come in time, when he learns the league and develops his ability to take pitches low and away.
Walks are another area where Abreu struggles. He only has 25 walks, good for a 6.2 percent walk rate. When Abreu stops swinging at pitches in the dirt, the BB/K rate will improve dramatically. When that happens, he will find himself in better counts, improving his average and OBP.
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Adam Eaton (centerfield)
Eaton has been a spark plug for the White Sox offense. While Eaton’s hamstring has given him some trouble this year, when healthy, he has been a good leadoff hitter.
Among position players, Eaton has the best ground ball/fly ball rate on the team (2.91). That is a good thing, due to the fact that his game is speed, not power.
Considering the Eaton has speed, he should be a stolen base threat, however, Eaton has just seven steals and had ben caught stealing five times.
Even though Eaton is not a big power hitter, he still has gap power. He has 11 doubles and six triples, meaning that he has the ability to drive the ball. His BB/K ratio is not good, considering he has twice as many K’s and BB’s (50/26). If Eaton wants to become an elite leadoff hitter, the K/BB rate must improve as well as his ability to steal bases.
Alexei Ramirez (shortstop)
Ramirez got off to a hot start; however, has cooled off over the last month or so.
Jun 24, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez (10) singles in the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The White Sox defeated the Orioles 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Ramirez’s power seemed to have come back to him in 2014, considering the fact that he already has eight home runs, more than all of 2013. Playing almost every game may be wearing on him, due to the fact that his numbers have gone south after April.
While he hit .305 in May, his average dropped from .356 to .329. His June numbers were terrible, as he only hit .230. Looking at his BB/K rate, he has rarely walked nor has he struck out much in 2014. Ramirez only has walked 4 percent, while only striking out 12.9 percent of the time. The speed has been evident in his game, as he has swiped 14 of 17 bags. While Ramirez may be a trade chip for the Sox if they fall out of it, his season has been good so far.
While there are other players on the Sox that are key to the team’s success offensively, these are the top three. Adam Dunn and Conor Gillaspie, among others, are key, but these three are the best three hitters the Sox have.
Even though Ramirez may be dealt due to the team’s postseason chances come the trade deadline, he is key for now. Depending on which way General Manager Rick Hahn wants to go, he has some pretty good options both this year and 2015-forward.
Stats were from ESPN.com and Fangraphs.com.