Jul 29, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) hits a two RBI double in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
One problem for the Chicago White Sox in 2014 was the lack of overall team RBIs compared to the champion of the American League Central.
Jose Abreu was the lone White Sox batter with over 100 RBIs, finishing the ’14 season with 107. Next in line for the team was Alexei Ramirez with 74 and then Dayan Viciedo with 58, whom the White Sox designated for assignment last week.
Since the White Sox are striving to be in the same position as the reigning four-time AL Central champion Detroit Tigers, let’s look at some of their individual RBI totals from last season.
Oct 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) prior to game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
In fact, the fifth-best RBI total in ’14 for the Tigers – J.D. Martinez with 76 – was still better than the second-highest number for the White Sox in ’14.
In another note about last season, the White Sox left on base an average of 3.32 runners in scoring position, which was the sixth-best in the majors.
The Tigers left 3.42 RISP on the bases. Another stat which stands out from ’14 is the team extra-base hit percentage, where the Tigers were better at 8.2 percent, compared to the White Sox at 7.7 percent.
LaRoche will be the new designated hitter for the White Sox, replacing Adam Dunn (54 RBIs in ’14), who was the DH for most of last season before being traded on the trade deadline.
With the Washington Nationals in ’14, LaRoche collected 92 RBIs. His best seasons in terms of RBIs came in ’10 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and ’12 with the Nationals, with each being a 100-RBI season. Even in ’06, LaRoche had 90 RBIs with the Atlanta Braves.
As for Melky Cabrera, he had 73 RBIs with the Blue Jays in ’14, and his best RBI season came in ’11 with the Kansas City Royals when he tallied 87.
For the ’14 season, the White Sox ranked 13th out of 30 teams with 625 RBIs. Compare that number to the Tigers, who led the majors with 731. That is a difference of 106 RBIs and one factor of finishing first and fourth in the Central.
The comparisons keep returning to the Tigers because they’ve been the class of the AL Central during the past four regular seasons. We all know the White Sox – and the rest of the Central, for that matter – want to be in the same spot as the team from the Motor City.
One of the reasons for the lack of RBIs for the White Sox (in comparison to the Tigers) was their hitting, with the Good Guys having 1,400 hits, but their AL Central counterpart, Detroit, finished with 1,557 hits, leading to 757 total runs (the White Sox scored 660 runs).
Each year is different, but the last time the White Sox had more RBIs in a season compared to the Tigers was in ’12 when they the White Sox had 726 RBIs, while the Tigers compiled 698 … the problem was the Tigers won the division that season as well.
It can’t be said the team with the most runs and RBIs will be the division champion, but it does help in the matter of being competitive throughout an entire season, because the numbers prove that.
Now it is time for the revamped White Sox to prove they belong in the conversation for being contenders in the AL Central in ’15.