White Sox: What to Make of Gregory Infante’s Second Shot in Chicago

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 21: Reliever Gregory Infante
SEATTLE, WA - MAY 21: Reliever Gregory Infante /

White Sox reliever earning more pitching appearances in his second stint with the team. What could be made of his second stint on the South Side?

For those of you who are staying up to date on White Sox baseball, you probably noticed an old friend made a return to the big leagues after seven years away from the show. His name is Gregory Infante, and is doing his best to make an impression on scouts and front office executives around the league to stick around this time. Has he produced enough to do so? Let’s take a look.

While Infante’s first go-around with the Sox in 2010 was brief, he is actually making an imprint on the team in 2017. Given that doesn’t say a whole lot when you consider the circumstances, however Infante has pitched in every month besides April with improving results depending what is analyzed.

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To illustrate the aforementioned point, Infante’s has lowered his ERA every month he pitched for the White Sox in 2017. While his aggregate ERA for the year is 3.89, Infante reduced it from 5.40 at the end of May to a sum total of 2.45 in August. Should this trend continue, he could finish up the year with very respectable numbers in that category.

Moving on to maybe the most important statistic regarding relievers, that being WHIP. Infante has been mediocre in this regard, which can be seen by his 1.424 season total. There is no question this is due to Infante’s high hit and walk totals of a combined 56 in limited innings (39.1), however it paints a broader picture when analyzing other areas of his statistics such as ERA.

So, what is something Infante could improve on? In the previous paragraph it mentions an elevated hit and walk total, although the base on balls are not quite as serious of an issue as men reaching base after contact. His H/IP are dreadful, and are above one for the entire 2017 season (1.02 to be exact). That makes it tremendously difficult to pitch as a reliever especially if when one inherits runners in scoring position.

Outside of having a solid ERA, does Infante do anything else at an above average level? Well, it could be argued that he misses the bat a good deal, which can be seen by his 34 strikeouts in 39.1 IP. That is just below one per inning, and sits at 0.87 when calculated over the course of 2017. To further emphasize this crux of the matter, Infante is fanning 7.83 men per nine innings. A more than respectable statistic, but does it make a substantial difference overall?

The answer to that is yes and no. It is crucial to strike batters out late in games, however the volume of hits Infante is allowing may end up being his downfall. All teams treasure swing-and-miss arms at the back end of the bullpen, but nevertheless he is going to have a difficult time locking games down giving up that many hits.

Overall, it is a feel good story to see Infante get a second shot at with the Sox. It took a tremendous amount of perseverance just to return to the big leagues, therefore any member of the fan base should be happy for him. How long he lasts is another question, which may be harder to answer especially when he struggles in some key areas.

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Enjoy the great weather at Guaranteed Rate Field this weekend, Sox fans! It should be ideal for baseball.