5 – The White Sox Have Some Depth
When the news of Eloy Jimenez’s need for surgery was announced, all eyes fell upon a few groups of guys to step up and get the job done. Some established veterans mixed with some young guys trying to find their way were considered. Before the season started, fans feared the thin depth behind the stars but those fears have alleviated after one turn of the rotation.
Of course, the biggest name to step up has been Yermin Mercedes. His historic start speaks for itself. Currently, 12 for 18, Mercedes and the six runs he’s driven in so far have done wonders to help fill the void that Eloy’s bat left. After he returns to the lineup, Mercedes becomes the everyday DH.
Andrew Vaughn has also been a player most have turned their attention to following Jimenez’s injury. With little to no experience in leftfield, Vaughn has surprised many defensively. With defensive issues as an early theme of the 2021 season, watching Vaughn handle himself in left against Seattle Monday eased some concern.
While running backward, he made a web gem at the warning track running into the wall and chased down a ball that had the potential to split the gap and score runs. Offensively is a different situation, unfortunately. Vaughn, known for his explosive bat, is still working on getting his first Major League hit. He did, however, record his first RBI walking with the bases loaded.
Nick Madrigal similarly struggled at first, going hitless for his first eight, but followed it up with a waterfall of hits. Once Vaughn relieves the pressure that is recording the first hit, the second and third will be easier. If Vaughn can perform at a high level defensively in the left-field spot, a solid offensive performance will help keep him in the lineup when Jimenez returns.
Another player who has impressed so far is number 0, the current speed-king Billy Hamilton. Never known to be a threat with the bat, Hamilton has come up big making some clutch hits so far this season. His .222 average indicates otherwise but his timeliness has been crucial.
He took a walk to move the lineup, score, hit a single, and stole second, putting himself in scoring position against Los Angeles. He made solid contact up the middle to drive in a run against Seattle. With Tim Anderson listed as day-to-day, it’s comforting to know the White Sox actually have the depth to hang around until everyone is healthy.