After leading the league in home runs a year ago the Chicago White Sox offense currently ranks 27th in baseball and dead last in the American League. Don’t tell hitting coach Frank Menechno that.
The Chicago White Sox are much more interested in hitting .300 than home runs.
The 50-year-old did not mince words when talking about his feelings on the White Sox offense as a whole. Despite the lack of the long ball the White Sox bats are proving to be among the games best. The White Sox have scored nine-plus runs in four straight games for just the sixth time in franchise history. The last time that happened was when the offense spearheaded by Paul Konerko did it back in 2012.
While the long ball has been lacking their batting average is not. The White Sox do an excellent job of getting on base. They lead the MLB in team batting average (.262) and are second in team .OBP (.345). Part of this can be attributed to them ranking ninth in walks (127). But that’s not all that White Sox fans have to be happy about.
The White Sox currently leads the AL Central with a 22-13 record. Their .618 win percentage is the best in the MLB. They also have the best run differential in baseball at +64 and it isn’t particularly close.
In this day and age, there is the extra emphasis placed on the home run. The White Sox are proving there are other ways to manufacture runs. They are fourth in the MLB in runs scored and RBIs. They are getting contributions up and down the lineup as well. Billy Hamilton got four hits on Wednesday night, Danny Mendick homered on Sunday, Tim Anderson is batting .308, and Yermín Mercedes continues to build off his Rookie of the Month performance in April.
The power is beginning to emerge as well. Yasmani Grandal homered in back-to-back games. Andrew Vaughn launched his first career home run and Jose Abreu is returning to MVP form. What has been the most impressive thing about the White Sox is the type of at-bats they are taking.
“Guys are really starting to learn the strike zone, not chase,” Frank Menechino said. “If you’re living by home run all the time and not being able to produce runs, it’s not conducive to winning baseball. The goal is always, at the beginning of the season, to get as many hits as you can, manufacture runs. The home runs will come.”
All of this has happened without two of the White Sox best hitters. Eloy Jimenez, who has the most power on the team, will miss most of the season. Luis Robert, who many have dubbed the next Mike Trout, is also on the shelf for months. It has been the next-man-up approach and they have taken it in stride. Even Dylan Cease took this to heart with his 3-for-3 performance against the Cincinnati Reds on May 4th.
“It’s somebody different overnight getting a clutch hit,” Menechino continued. “These guys are coming together, they are starting to find a way to get on base, find a way to get that hit, grind out at-bats. I’m very happy with the way these guys have been playing the last couple of weeks.” Frank Menechino is happy and White Sox fans should be as well.