White Sox: Should Team Promote Jacob May?
By Labeeb Ekram
White Sox suffering from lack of depth in the outfield due to injury to its opening day starting center fielder. White Sox don’t have many internal options, but one option could be promoted once he starts playing again.
J.B Shuck has been the everyday center fielder for the White Sox after Austin Jackson suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee in June. At the time, it appeared Shuck would at least be a viable replacement for Jackson until he returned from injury. Unfortunately, Shuck has struggled in his last seven games hitting just .125.
In Shuck’s recent game against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday, he went 0-5 with no hits out of the infield. A change is needed and the White Sox probably aren’t going to trade for a center fielder, as they appear to be sellers rather than buyers. If the White Sox are looking internally for an option to replace Shuck, they could look at Jacob May.
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May, the White Sox 11th ranked prospect according to mlbpipeline.com, has been playing with the Knights this season and is hitting .244. Although this isn’t great, he’s hitting better than Engel and better than Shuck has as of late. Some might make the case for Adam Engel, but he was called up to Triple-A Charlotte Knights on July 18. He still has some adjustments to make, as he’s only hitting .184
Shuck did hit a lot better than May did when he played with the Knights this season. May hasn’t played since July 15 however, and he was placed on the disabled list back in May due to an oblique strain. The outfielder returned on June 20, but hasn’t had an at-bat since July 15.
Engel has taken May’s place in the Knights lineup, but there hasn’t been any word on the status of May from the Knights. Although May hasn’t played in over two weeks, giving a young player like May a shot for one series will only show where he’s at in his progression, and major league experience will help him. May is also a switch hitter so it’ll help the White Sox even out the lineup.
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Letting May play won’t hurt, as Shuck’s production won’t be missed, because there’s so little. I’m not sure about May’s defense, but Shuck has made only 2 highlight plays at center field so his defense won’t really be missed either. If May can get return to the Knights lineup soon and contribute, he could certainly be a viable candidate for a September call-up if isn’t already with the White Sox by that time.