Will the Chicago White Sox bats come around in 2015?
By Brian Draus
So far, the Chicago White Sox have played 52 games, which is about one-third of the season. The team has underperformed terribly offensively, and one has to wonder if it will continue all year. Here is a breakdown of the team statistically before Friday’s game against the Detroit Tigers.
• The team batting average is .245, 10th in AL
When a team doesn’t hit the ball out of the park often, it is vital that they either steal bases or hit for a high average, neither of which the White Sox have done.
As bizarre as it sounds, Avisail Garcia (.301), followed by Gordon Beckham (.283), lead the team in hitting. An even bigger issue is the fact that the top two in the order (Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera) are both hitting under .240.
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Without runners on base for the run producers to drive in, it isn’t surprising that the White Sox are struggling to score runs. To make matters even worse, the bottom third of the order (Alexei Ramirez, Tyler Flowers, Geovany Soto, Carlos Sanchez) averages are all below .230.
Until the veterans get their averages near their career norms, or at least close, the White Sox will continue to score runs.
• Team home run totals: 35, last in AL
While the batting average is low, the fact that the team is not hitting the ball out of the park is the biggest issue. No player has more than nine home runs (Abreu), and the team’s cleanup hitter (Adam LaRoche) only has six. Garcia, while much improved, only has four homers.
I think all of these players will hit 20-plus in 2015, but the question is will it be enough to offset the other problems the offense is having?
• Stolen bases: 18, last in AL
Considering the speed the White Sox have in their lineup, this number is a major disappointment, to say the least.
With less power, the team needs to hit and run, not to mention steal bases in order to win games. The team’s leadoff hitter, Eaton has three all year. Ramirez leads the team with seven and has stolen more bases lately than all year.
Micah Johnson, who was demoted to the minors, had three before his demotion. However, with his elite speed, it was obvious that he was raw when stealing bases at the MLB level.
Overall, the White Sox offense is a concern at this point. I still think Abreu will go on a tear at some point, and LaRoche will get hot as well.
Eaton and Cabrera should come around too, but my concern is the bottom of the order. If the White Sox have automatic outs in the 7-9 spots in the batting order, it will be tough to consistently score runs. Garcia is still young, so patience is needed with him as he develops, but he should still be a good hitter in 2015.
I am really not sure what the White Sox can do to improve the bottom of the order, due to the fact that they don’t have an option at catcher or shortstop ready to go in the minors.
The best idea may be to trade for a good backup catcher and make a deal for a three with power and shift Beckham to second base. It would help out the bottom of the lineup, but my question is would that be enough?
Keep in mind, the White Sox still have a young core, and this is not going to be their last run with this group. It isn’t necessarily realistic to expect a division title at this point, but it is realistic to expect improvement to the organization both short-term as well as long-term.
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