White Sox: How Important Is a Power Hitting DH for Next Season?

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Aug 3, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox designated hitter Justin Morneau (44) hits a home run in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 3, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox designated hitter Justin Morneau (44) hits a home run in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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White Sox have lacked a power hitting DH for a number of seasons. How important is it for team to acquire a power hitting DH for next season?

As all Chicago White Sox fans know, the ballclub struggled offensively in 2016 (11th in American League). While many positions have been discussed in terms of improving this area next season, there is one key role to address. If the Sox can acquire a legit designated hitter, there is a chance they can compete.

There were five American League teams who made the postseason this year. Here is a rundown of the key designated hitters they ran out in 2016.

Boston: David Ortiz– (.315, 38 HR’s, 127 RBI’s)

*Cleveland: Carlos Santana– (.259, 34 HR’s, 87 RBI’s), Mike Napoli– (.239, 34 HR’s, 101 RBI’s)

**Texas: Carlos Beltran– (.295, 29 HR’s, 93 RBI’s)

Toronto: Edwin Encarnacion– (.263, 42 HR’s, 127 RBI’s)

Baltimore: Mark Trumbo– (.256, 47 HR’s, 108 RBI’s), Pedro Alvarez (.249, 22 HR’s, 49 RBI’s)

*The Indians mixed and matched offensively.**Texas acquired Beltran at the deadline.

Now, here are the Sox two key designated hitters used

Avisail Garcia– (.245, 12 HR’s, 51 RBI’s)

Justin Morneau– (.261, 6 HR’s, 25 RBI’s)

Keep in mind these are not the only designated hitters these teams used. However, there is a huge discrepancy between what the Sox were sending up to the plate every night compared to the postseason teams. The area you should focus on is the power production. Sure, a high average is going to help, however it isn’t what an organization should look for at that role.

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The Sox need more contact in their lineup, however that isn’t everything. When they look to improve the lineup this offseason, this is not the position to fix that area. Designated hitter, along with the corners of the infield need to produce runs. Going out and acquiring a hitter that hits .320 with 5 home runs isn’t going to fix everything. Sure, on base percentage is a big deal, but in the middle of the lineup you need bats that will drive the ball out of the ballpark. Assuming the Sox could somehow bring in a huge power bat, it would help the offense tremendously.

While this is a key, there are many areas the Sox need to fix in the offseason. Looking at the bottom third of the American League in homers, none of them made it to the playoffs (including the Sox, who finished 13th). As long as there is a power outage on the South Side, this team will struggle to win. While the Indians came in 10th in this category (just above bottom third), keep in mind they did have Santana and Napoli. Not to mention the fact they had an elite starting staff, manager, and other good players (Lindor, Kipnis, etc) surrounding them.

Overall, getting a power bat at designated hitter is crucial if the Sox want to win. They need more contact hitters around them as well, mostly to offset the high strikeout rate of Frazier and potentially others. However, the Sox don’t play in the National League. They need to score, and a lot if they want to win. They can’t play for one run, they need three or four.

A versatile offense is critical, but with Abreu and Frazier in the middle of the order, a third power bat would be greatly welcomed. While this season’s free agent class is weak, keep in mind that a power hitting designated hitter may not cost them $100 million. Mark Trumbo types will not cost a fortune, however come with major flaws. I don’t advocate for Adam Dunn types, but a 40 home run hitter sure could help the middle of the lineup.

Next: Rick Renteria Hiring Means Nothing Without Upgrades

It wouldn’t mean the team should print playoff tickets, but it would be a stark improvement over 2016. This season was another disappointment, and will need good decision making this offseason if they want to win in 2017. Which is something the fan base has been starving for since 2008. As for the fan base, enjoy another postseason without the Sox, if possible.

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