Pedro Grifol has a chance to be a hit with Chicago White Sox fans
Chicago White Sox manager Pedro Grifol will certainly find favor with the team's fan base if the ballclub wins games, makes it to the postseason, and takes home a World Series title.
Some fans may already like him since he is not Tony La Russa.
But while winning and not performing like the previous manager may be the obvious ways Grifol can endear himself to fans, there is another way people can see him as being the right man to lead the team.
If there is one thing the White Sox have been deficient at over the last few years, it's their inability to be fundamentally sound. Fielding and base running errors were about as common an occurrence as a White Sox player going down with an injury in 2022.
Should Grifol be able to correct those mistakes and get the team to play sound baseball, things could be interesting on the Southside.
The White Sox are a team that needs their manager in a big way this year.
According to baseball-reference.com, the White Sox were ranked 20th overall in defensive wins above average at -5.8.
In a breakdown by position, the White Sox were on the plus side of that statistic at first base (1.0) and shortstop (0.8) with center field coming in at 0.0.
Jose Abreu (now went to the Houston Astros) was a 4.5 WAR player overall last year but was a -0.9 dWAR( defensive wins above replacement).
Tim Anderson played only 79 games but committed 12 errors and was a -0.3 and the trio of Luis Robert (who only started 89 games due to injury), Adam Engel, and AJ Pollock combined to provide an average defense.
Right field's revolving door of players put up a -2.6 WAA while left field and second base closed at -1.5. Third base finished with a -1.1 with the catching position being 27th overall at -2.3.
Heading into this season, the defense is once again a question mark. Andrew Vaughn's move to his natural position of first base will be something to keep an eye on as well as Elvis Andrus' placement at second base, a position he hasn't played before.
Right field is still a mystery (although the goal is Oscar Colas can be the answer) and the catcher's spot will, hopefully, see Yasmani Grandal improve defensively under the coaching of Grifol who helped Kansas City's Salvador Perez become one of the best catchers in the game today.
Andrew Benintendi's presence in left field should provide a boost but the team as a whole needs to be better with the gloves.
There are some tremendous athletes on this team but athleticism can only do so much. If the ability to do the small things correctly on a regular basis isn't there, then it won't really matter how fast one runs or how far one can hit a ball.
It is in this area that Grifol can really make his mark. If he can tap into a way to get the players to pay greater attention to detail and execute the fundamentals with regularity, the team could make some noise this season.
Grifol was on the staff of the Kansas City Royals when the team went to back-to-back World Series in 2014 and 2015, winning it all in the latter year.
Perez was coming into his own when the Royals won it all and the rest of the roster was comprised of the likes of Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Ben Zobrist, Kendrys Morales, Alex Rios, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer.
Those teams offset the lack of superstar players by combining excellent pitching with solid defense and timely hitting to get it done.
He not only saw first-hand what it takes to be a championship team, but he also has had the chance over the last few years to study the White Sox and see what strengths and weaknesses the team has.
That knowledge of the team and its personnel can go a long way in helping him get the players to reach their potential.
Grifol needs to connect to the players in a way that gives him the ability to get them to see what areas they need to work on and do what needs to be done to correct those deficiencies.
Grifol acknowledged at his introductory press conference the need for the team to play with energy and it will be his and his staff's job to make sure the team comes to play with that energy each night.
If he can do that and get the club to do the little things right, the wins will come and the fan base will happier for it.