The White Sox went a pedestrian 3-4 last week, losing two out of three to the Mariners in Seattle and then splitting a four game series with the A’s at home. Considering they went winless the previous week, I guess we can consider that an improvement. Let’s take a look at who’s hot and who’s not with the Sox.
Alejandro De Aza
After the boys at Grab Some Bench took some shots at De Aza in our latest podcast, some even calling for his removal from the leadoff role, De Aza has responded by hitting .393 over the last 7 games. He has raised his average by 17 points and his on base percentage by 21 points over that stretch.
His .478 batting average on balls in play has been a big reason for his success over the last week and although he did strike out six times, he also drew four walks after having drawn only 14 all year up to that point. This is good news for the White Sox if De Aza can keep getting on base and being a sparkplug at the top of the order.
While some members of the White Sox bullpen have struggled this season, Crain has been nothing short of spectacular. Crain hasn’t allowed an earned run since April 12th, a span of 24 consecutive scoreless innings. Over that stretch Crain has struck out 33 batters and issued just 7 walks. Opponents are hitting just .174 against Jesse and slugging a mere .209.
Crain leads the American League with 16 holds, and leads all relievers with a 0.63 ERA. Crain’s spectacular performance has helped offset some of the struggles the rest of the middle relievers have been having. Crain is in the last year of his deal with the White Sox and could be their most tradable asset should the Sox not get back into the race.
Bacon returned to the Sox lineup last Monday in Seattle and has more or less picked up where he left off before his injury. After going 1-for-7 in the first two games in Seattle, Beckham picked up 4 hits in the marathon 16 inning game.
He hit .308 over the week with two doubles, an RBI, two stolen bases and scored three runs. He also drew a couple walks and had a very respectable .357 OBP for the week. While these numbers aren’t earth shattering, they are certainly a good sign to see for Beckham’s first week back in the big leagues in almost two months.
After a decent start after coming back off the DL, The Tank has gone exactly there. Viciedo is hitting .073 since May 27th with 15 strikeouts and just 1 walk.
His first 11 games back of the DL Viciedo had 8 walks and 5 strikeouts, in the 17 games since then he has 1 walk and 19 strikeouts. He has only driven in one run over that stretch and hasn’t homered since May 15th in Minnesota. Tank’s average has dropped almost 80 points over that 17 game stretch.
The Sox were hoping that Viciedo could take the next step this season and improve on his production from last year but so far that just hasn’t happened. The Sox need his bat to perk up and provide some pop lower in the bottom half of the order.
Everybody’s new favorite White Sox player got off to a great start this year but has really struggled lately. Gillaspie is currently mired in an 0-for-20 slump and is looking for his first hit in the month of June. Despite not recording a hit, Gillaspie has still managed to knock in 2 runs, which is twice as many as Viciedo has over an even longer stretch of time as noted above.
Conor’s average has dropped 40 points down to .248, a season low. While there weren’t a lot of expectations for Gillaspie coming into this season, the hot start got a lot of people excited. Hopefully this is just a slump that he can come out of and show Sox fans that the good start was more than just a fluke.
About a week ago some people, including members of our podcast (not me) wanted to see Ramirez take over the leadoff spot for De Aza. Since then the two of them have gone in opposite directions. De Aza is hot and Ramirez is not.
Alexei hit just .167 over the past week and his average has dropped over 20 points since May 29th. He has struck out six times and hasn’t drawn a walk. He also failed to get down a critical bunt against the A’s while the Sox were trying to mount a comeback. Alexei is a streaky hitter but lately it has been more bad than good.
he lack of power has really been noticeable this season as well. Ramirez hasn’t homered since the second game of the season, a span of 244 plate appearances. He has just 11 extra base hits since the homer, all doubles, and has driven in just 11 runs. Much like the other two guys on the slumping list, the Sox could really use some more production out of Ramirez.