White Sox don’t have a definitive designated hitter for this upcoming season. Will the South Siders have to rely on rotating DH’s?
Heading into 2017, it is clear the Chicago White Sox are rebuilding. One issue that is much more vague is who will be the team’s primary designated hitter. That being if there will even be one, considering the fact that no individual player on their roster fits that role. Can anyone step up and fill the void? Let’s take a look.
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For years now, many around the game have been waiting for a breakout season from Avisail Garcia. Under new manager Rick Renteria, could it finally happen in 2017? Considering the fact Renteria has a good track record with Latin players, if it is ever going to happen, now is the time.
There are a couple of reasons why Garcia is a great fit for this role. First, he is far from a stellar defensive outfielder. Second, there is no question he has the power, however his inability to make consistent contact has quelled any chance at ever putting up 25+ home runs in a season.
To prove how awful Garcia has been at making contact, here is his BB/K rate since 2015: 70/256. Considering he made 966 trips to the plate, it means he is fanning nearly one out of every four plate appearances. Assuming Garcia finds a way to cut that figure down significantly, his chance of becoming a successful big league hitter goes up greatly.
Two other options would be Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier. Considering that Frazier can spell Abreu at first base, while getting him off of his feet for a day, he would make for a perfect candidate. Since Abreu’s is the lone high average/power threat the Sox have (.299 career average, 25 HR last season was career low), he is far too valuable to remove form the lineup.
Frazier is another option, mostly due to the fact Brett Lawrie can play third base. Since Frazier might be the Sox best power threat (40 HR in 2016), having him hit behind Abreu is necessary, not to mention the club has a viable defensive option to replace him with in the field. The two aforementioned players are the big run producers the club has. It is vital to have them around as much as possible.
All in all, it is unlikely the Sox will have a full-time designated hitter in 2017. The main reason for that is due to the factthe front office does not intend to field a contender this season. With three lackluster seasons on the South Side, the clock is ticking in regards to Garcia’s big league career.
So Sox fans, are you ready for Spring Training? Pitchers and catchers will report to Camelback Ranch on Feb. 14!