I’ll admit that I’m a baseball junkie. And, the White Sox are just one part of my addiction. As a fan who lives on the other side of Lake Michigan, I don’t get any local news about the Pale Hose.
That’s the problem.
While I love listening and watching all things baseball, I am frequently disappointed that the White Sox get little to no national attention.
As a team in one of the biggest cities in the US, the White Sox are grossly underrepresented by the national baseball media. That other team in the Windy City often gets top billing on national radio and TV shows, but the Southsiders rarely even enter conversations.
Yes, there were a few conversations about Michael Kopech and his Tommy John surgery. This is a little bit ironic, considering that Kopech only pitched in 14.1 innings. There are a handful of players who should be receiving more recognition and one of those is Daniel Palka.
This kid is something else. His home-run hitting ability is worthy of some conversation on the national level. Especially considering the numbers that he has hit and the power with which he has hit them. He may a bit of a fluke, but even flukes are worth covering.
Take a look at Statcast statistics in 2018. When looking at the hardest hit balls using exit velocity, Palka has the hardest hit ball by a player who is not on the New York Yankees. On June 5, Palka hit a double with an exit velocity of 118.4 MPH. The only players who have hits with faster exit velocities are Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez, who both receive regular national coverage (especially Stanton). Interestingly, Palka’s hard-hit double was off of a 97.1 MPH pitch – which is the fastest pitch speed on the Statcast’s exit velo list.
Palka actually has a second appearance on the exit velocity list. He’s a little farther down the list, but he hit a 116.5 MPH single that went 338 feet off of Mike Fiers back in May. The kid has some serious power.
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As the regular season comes to a close, the national experts frequently discuss which players should receive awards, especially the Rookie of the Year awards. The NL choice seems rather clear with Ronald Acuna taking the top spot, but the AL choice doesn’t have an easy answer. The AL discussions usually focus on the New York Yankees rookies, Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres. The national chatterboxes never talk about Palka.
When comparing stats between the Yankees rookies and Palka and even Acuna, Palka is right there in the mix. But, because the White Sox are not in the playoffs and they rarely get any coverage on the national stage, no one outside of the Southside knows about him. He is tied with Andujar for the most rookie home runs. None of the rookies in the discussion for the ROY award are on the Statcast list for exit velocity or home run distance. This should be discussed by the national media.
Palka is also near the top with RBI numbers, too. The Yankees rookies are both above him, but they play for the Yankees – who are in the playoffs. Palka is on the White Sox, where they do not hit the ball as often. His slugging percentage is also just below that of the Yankees rookies.
It is incredibly disappointing to see a player who has worked so hard to get where he is to not get the recognition that he should. He may be a little older that Andujar and Torres, but he is still a rookie. And, a damn good one, too.