White Sox Report Card

Written by on June 7, 2012 in Chicago White Sox - No comments

by Mark Madorin

With 55 games played, about a third of the season gone, here’s the report card for the White Sox. Conventional wisdom tells us that we know what kind of team we have by June 1st. But in the modern world of baseball, that may not hold true. Free agent deals, last minute trades and injuries can dramatically change the fortunes of major league franchises.

Here are the grades:

Position Players

Paul Konerko – A+
How much better can captain Paulie play? His .366 batting average leads the league. He carried the team in the first month. A consistent performer that can make the difference.

Alejandro De Aza – A-
De Aza has provided an effective hitter in the lead off spot, he’s shown good awareness on the bases and is stealing bags to put himself in scoring position. Defensively solid despite a couple miscues.

A.J. Pierzynski – A
A.J. has been reborn as a power hitter and RBI machine. His .879 OPS is indicative of his stellar performance through 175 at bats. Additionally, A.J. looks better defensively than in past years.

Alex Rios – A-
A big surprise has been the output from Alex Rios. The move to right field may be a part of the solution. Alex is more confident in right than he ever was in center. His bat is quick and he is getting hits again.

Dayan Viciedo – A-
Viciedo is developing quickly as a young outfielder. He has shown excellent power pounding out 12 home runs and driving in 29. Defensively Dayan is a work in progress but is improving.

Gordon Beckham – B+
Although is batting average is still below par at .233, the past three weeks Gordon looks like the exciting young player we saw years ago. His defense continues to be exceptional.

Tyler Flowers – B
Flowers is still developing as a player. He is not consistent enough to be called upon often. Strikeout totals are much too high for his limited at bats. Needs to focus on defense.

Adam Dunn – A-
Adam has returned to the Adam Dunn we expected and paid for last year. He’s producing home runs and RBI’s in accordance with his paycheck. Still too many strikeouts but the production is there.

Alexei Ramirez – B-
A disappointing start to the season offensively for Alexei. Batting average is low at .220 but he is driving in runs with 25 plated so far. Alexei looks strong defensively and is a solid glove man up the middle.

Brent Lillibridge – C-
Brent has been a good fill in where needed defensively. He handles first base well when Dunn and Konerko are unavailable. But at the plate, Brent looks overmatched compared to last year.

Eduardo Escobar – C-
Not much is expected of Escobar as a bench player, but he continues to lack and offensive production of any kind.

Brent Morel – D
Giving Brent a poor grade may be unfair as he has been crippled by a bad back which has undoubtedly affected his play. But a .177 average just isn’t acceptable. He may lose his position in the near future.

Orlando Hudson – D
Hudson just recently joined the Sox to fill the gap at third base. He has not looked like a major league third baseman at the plate or on the diamond. Failed experiment, but a small sample size.

Kosuke Fukudome – D
Yes, Kosuke does provide an occasional left handed hitter. But using the term hitter is a stretch. No offensive firepower of any kind. He can catch the balls hit at him though.

Pitchers:

John Danks – C-
Currently unavailable on the D/L. Too many starts that weren’t competitive. Poor outings against tougher teams like Boston, Detroit and Cleveland.

Philip Humber – C
Despite the amazing perfect game against Seattle, Philip has not faired well in his starts. He has only one other win besides the el perfecto. His ERA is very high, too many walks, too many pitches that get hit.

Will Ohman – D
Will continues to struggle against right handed hitters, although he can be effective against left handed bats. Right handers are slugging at a .531 pace against him.

Gavin Floyd – C+
Another starting pitcher with inconsistent performances. When he’s good he can be quite effective, but he isn’t good often enough. Very high ERA.

Zach Stewart – D
Zach is trying to adjust to his long relief, mop up role out of the bullpen. So far, it hasn’t been pretty. An unbelievably high WHIP of 1.57 makes him ineffective at best.

Nate Jones – B
A bullpen surprise, Nate Jones continues to be a reliable option for Robin Ventura as a late inning reliever or set up man. Can strike out hitters in key situations.

Jose Quitana – B
Jose has only made 4 appearances for the Sox this season but they’ve been very good performances. He’ll be looked at as a fifth starter if Humber can’t get straightened out.

Jesse Crain – C
Some good, some bad. Lately it’s been bad. His fastball lacked life on his June 2nd appearance against the Mariners, but that may have been from overwork.

Chris Sale – A-
Chris has performed brilliantly throughout most of the season. Whatever happened with his demotion to the pen in early May seems to be forgotten. Quality starts. A key performer so far.

Jake Peavy – A
Peavy has stepped up his game. A league leader and potential all star. Coming off the injury plagued last two seasons, Jake steps up with each start and competes.

Matt Thornton – B-
Matt is much more effective in a set up role against left handed hitters than trying to close. Only one bad appearance since April.

Addison Reed – B
New to the closer role, Addison continues to mature and look more confident with each outing. His ERA is much too high, but he can strikeout hitters when needed.

Hector Santiago – C+
Some very effective outings for Hector over the first two months of the season. He will continue to produce as long as he is used wisely. Needs to reduce his WHIP.

Manager:

Robin Ventura – A-
Very effective first year manager. Robin’s style is very much different from the more flamboyant Ozzie Guillen. He is low profile and seems to have a good relationship with his players. Like many rookie managers, he occasionally “Over-manages” somewhat in an attempt to win the game from the dugout. He’s a smart former player and he’ll soon adjust to the nuances of managing in the American League. Robin has gotten as much or more from this lineup as could be expected.

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