With all of the attention paid to rookies in the AL East and AL West, the Chicago White Sox’s very own Daniel Palka has fallen under the radar. And, this is a big mistake.
But, this White Sox power-hitter has been making moves up the rookie rankings regarding his performances at the plate.
In fact, Palka is actually one of the best rookies in the American League and ranks in the top three and top five in several categories.
According to a Tweet from the ChiSox, when it comes to 2018 rookies, Palka ranks third in home runs, RBI, and extra-base hits. He also ranks fifth in total bases and runs scored.
As we approach the middle of September, the big question is how far from first (or from moving up) is he in any of these categories?
The short answer is that Palka is close. Really close.
Especially in home runs
When it comes to home runs, Palka has 22 home runs. He is behind two Yankees and one Braves player. Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres each have 23 home runs. Ronald Acuna has 25. All four of these outstanding rookie batters have been playing every day.
These four rookies have hit all of these home runs with limited at-bats. Acuna and Palka both have 362 at-bats. Andujar has 507 and Torres has 372.
Not so much in RBI numbers
When it comes to RBI, Palka isn’t as close to the AL leaders, but he is one RBI below the NL leader. Andujar, with his 507 at-bats, is at the top of the list with 79 RBI. Torres is in second with 70. Currently in third is Brian Anderson, the NL leader, with the Miami Marlins with 58. Palka has 57. It would take a game or two to move Palka back up to third, but his chances of topping Torres are slim.
The extra-base hits and total bases
Palka’s 39 extra-base hits are made up of his 22 home runs along with 3 triples and 14 doubles. When it comes to triples, he is in third. Joey Wendle with the Tampa Bay Rays has six and Hunter Dozier with the Kansas City Royals has four. Palka’s doubles rank farther down the list, he’s seventh. So, to move up the rankings in extra-base hits, he has to catch up to Andujar, who leads the list with 65 of them, thanks to 40 doubles and 2 triples. In second is Niko Goodrum with the Detroit Tigers. He has 27 doubles, 2 triples, and 16 home runs.
Palka has actually moved up to fourth in runs scored with 48. Above him, from first to third is Andujar with 75, Wendle with 52, and Goodrum with 51. Interestingly, all of these batters have at least 40 more at-bats than Palka has.
Lastly, when it comes to total bases, Palka is sitting in fifth with his 172, but he has a chance to move up, but not reach the top. At the top is Andujar with 264. Torres has 187. Wendle has 181. Goodrum has 175.
Comparisons with Ohtani
The one rookie who has garnered the most attention in the MLB is Shohei Ohtani, who the ChiSox and their fans saw plenty of a few days ago. Ohtani does have notable numbers, but because he is technically a pitcher, he does not show up in the hitting ranks. However, he does have 19 home runs, which puts him right below Palka in that stat. His 54 RBI ranks him fifth in the AL. And, his 18 doubles, 2 triples, and home runs give him 39 extra-base hits – tied with Palka. Ohtani has 139 total bases, so he is well below Palka in that stat.
Palka has put up notable numbers with very little – if any – national recognition. He is certainly a player that ChiSox fans should be proud to call their own.