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Did Rick Hahn do enough to improve the White Sox defense?

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Mar 25, 2016; Peoria, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox third baseman Tyler Saladino (18) cannot make a play in front of third baseman Todd Frazier (21) on a ball hit by Seattle Mariners left fielder Franklin Gutierrez (not pictured) during the first inning at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2016; Peoria, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox third baseman Tyler Saladino (18) cannot make a play in front of third baseman Todd Frazier (21) on a ball hit by Seattle Mariners left fielder Franklin Gutierrez (not pictured) during the first inning at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn made many additions this winter, as a result I think the White Sox defense has a chance to be much improved in 2016. The team has upgraded defensively at several positions, not to mention will have very few bad defensive players on the field. Here is an overview of the White Sox defensively.

Last season, they started the year with Conor Gillaspie, Alexei Ramirez, Micah Johnson, and Jose Abreu left to right in the infield. Three of those guys are now gone, with two of which being replaced mid-season 2015. I realize replacing Gillaspie with Todd Frazier is not completely accurate, due to the fact that Gordon Beckham’s played some at the hot corner. But when Gillaspie started at third, the Sox had a player that didn’t have the glove nor the arm for third base. Starting shortstop Alexei Ramirez struggled defensively out of the gate, but picked it up as the season moved along. Johnson didn’t last two months at second base, and was replaced by Carlos Sanchez, who was an excellent defender for the majority of the 2015 season. Abreu started most games at first, which he will do again in 2016.

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Moving on to this season, the team should be much more stable in the infield. Frazier may not be a great defender, however is a huge upgrade over Gillaspie. Both Jimmy Rollins and Tyler Saladino are solid defenders at short, and if one were to falter the other could pick up the slack. Brett Lawrie is the one question mark, considering the fact he is replacing Carlos Sanchez. Lawrie does have a cannon arm for a second baseman, which should help in turning double plays. It will be similar defense at first minus Adam LaRoche who retired, and finding a backup first baseman is a priority for the Sox. Travis Ishikawa would be a good fit, and I don’t think he would kill the Sox defensively.

Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Outfield wise, they should be significantly improved over 2015. Having Austin Jackson in center field will save them many more runs, not to mention shifting Adam Eaton to left (or right) is going to really help as well. Whichever corner position they put Melky Cabrera in is also going to be solid, especially if he is starting in right over Avisail Garcia. On the topic of Garcia, when he is in the field they will be weaker defensively, however as long as Jackson is playing center field better than last year.

Catcher is a bit interesting, just due to the addition of Dioner Navarro, who is not traditionally known as a good defensive catcher. On the flip side, Alex Avila is a very good defensive catcher who will get the majority of the starts behind the plate (barring injury, which is very possible with Avila). Both players seem to have leadership skills, something they haven’t had behind the dish since A.J. Pierzynski left after the 2012 season. Hopefully these two can produce in a similar manner to Pierzynski.

Overall, I think the defense should be much improved in 2016. Last season it was atrocious at times, so even if it is just average this year it should do wonders for the Sox pitching staff. Assuming they save more runs, not to mention give up less unearned runs, things should turn out better for the Sox in 2016. Opening Day is less than a week and a half away, so games will finally start to count Sox fans!

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