White Sox Mid-Term Grades

20140124_mm_soxfest0240

Catchers: C-

White Sox fans (myself included) have officially grown accustomed to a sub-par level of play from Tyler Flowers. If I had greater expectations for him, he would get an “F.” But I suppose that poor offensive numbers and poor defensive play are simply another chapter in his book of mediocrity. Geovanny Soto has actually looked better. Why isn’t he the starter?

1st Basemen/DHs: C+

Jose Abreu has been fair this year. He isn’t as productive as he was last year in his phenominal rookie campaign, but certainly isn’t having a bad year either. Adam LaRoche, on the other hand, has struggled for most of the year. Right now, he isn’t much of an upgrade over Adam Dunn.

2nd Basemen: D-

I still don’t understand why Micah Johnson was demoted. He was hitting .270 at the big league level before being sent to the minors. His replacement, Carlos Sanchez, hasn’t even been near .200 this year. Who cares if Sanchez plays better defense? This team needs offense more than anything.

3rd Basemen: F

Conor Gillaspie, where have you gone? Literally, where have you gone? After ranking second in the AL last year for batting averages among third basemen, you currently aren’t even on a Major League roster. It looks like we will now be seeing a lot of Tyler Saladino at the hot corner. He has done well since his call-up a couple of weeks ago.

Shortstops: F

My, oh my. Just one year ago, Alexei Ramirez was playing the best baseball of his career, winning the Silver Slugger award for shortstops and finishing as a Gold Glove finalist. 2015 has been a nightmare for him both offensively and defensively. There were rumors over the past off-season that the Sox could’ve landed a top prosect for him. Now, they would be lucky to get a pair of batting gloves.

Left Fielders: C-

Melky Cabrera is right up there with Adam LaRoche for the team’s biggest flop. Many people thought that Melky would be a perfect two-hole hitter in the Sox lineup. How does a perennial good hitter suddenly just stop hitting in the prime of his career?

Center Fielders: C

Although he has been swinging the bat better as of late, we are not seeing the same Adam Eaton that we saw last season. His batting average is down some 50 points and his hustle and determination that ignited the Sox offense in 2014 is nowhere to be found. Defensively, he is still one of the better center fielders in the game.

Right Fielders: B-

Avisail Garcia got off to a pretty hot start this year as he took a .300 batting average into the summer. Lately, he has slowed down quite a bit. So many of us are waiting for him to erupt. At 24 years old, he has already shown that he has loads of talent. He needs to put it together soon if this team has any hopes of turning this season around.

Starting Pitchers: B-

Same old song and dance for Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. Sale is one of the game’s premier starting pitchers, and Quintana does well but never gets any run support. But Jeff Samardzija has not been the dominant No. 2 that the Sox hoped when acquiring him last December. Thankfully, John Danks is only under contract for one more season.

Bullpen: B

David Robertson has been terrfic in the first half of the season. He has blown four save opportunities, but for the most part, he has been a very reliable closer and is proving to be a good acquisition. The middle relief guys such as Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka are now finding a nice groove after slow starts to the season. Zach Duke has been solid for the most part. When the team gets Nate Jones back, which they will soon, this bullpen could be one of the team’s strengths.

Bench: C

Wasn’t Emilio Bonifacio supposed to be a prized possession as a utility player? In the first half of the season, he hardly cracked the lineup; and when he did, he didn’t produce. J.B. Shuck has been a nice fourth outfielder and has served the team well coming off the bench in late innings.

Managing: C+

Contrary to what most Sox fans seem to think, I don’t believe that Robin Ventura is to blame for the team’s struggles. Could he be better? Sure. It’s time to stop penciling Carlos Sanchez and his sub-.200 batting average into the lineup every day. But aside from semi-impactful decisions such as that, this team is struggling because so many big-name players are having bad seasons.

Overall: D

At 42-49 through 91 games, I suppose this season could be worse. But it could also be better… a whole lot better. I remember writing at the beginning of the season that the Sox haven’t had this much talent on the roster in years. A 42-49 record last year at this point wouldn’t seem so bad considering the Sox were rebuilding in 2014. But given the money that was spent and the expectations that were given, 42-49 gives them a “D” for “Disappointment”.