Divinations from spring training White Sox playing time

Are we going to be seeing more of this during the regular season?

Spring training stats don't have much predictive value. But there is one stat that usually does have some predictive value: playing time. The guys who play the most in spring training are almost universally the guys who are expected to be playing the most during the regular season. Where a guy plays on the diamond is also usually where you'll see him during the regular season. So here are a few divinations from the playing time the White Sox are giving to their players.

Alex Rios has played 29 innings in RF. Kosuke Fukudome has played 27 innings in RF. Fukudome has added another 19 innings in CF. Rios has been kept in the lineup by DHing in 3 games, in part thanks to Adam Dunn's minor health issues. Dayan Viciedo (42 innings in LF) has split time mostly with Jared Mitchell, who is no threat to make the roster, and from the likely roster only Brent Lillibridge (7 innings in LF) has played in LF. Alejandro De Aza has played 40 innings in CF.

Perhaps the closely balanced innings between Rios and Fukudome are simply the result of minor injuries and such which have allowed Robin Ventura to put both Rios and Fukudome in the lineup. But considering De Aza is left-handed like Fukudome is and Fukudome is not playing (and never in his career has played) LF, Rios might be the odd man out when Ventura's decides to go with a left-heavy lineup during the regular season.

With Tyler Flowers, Lillibridge and Fukudome all set for the White Sox bench, there remains one spot available for a position player. Ventura may have some flexibility in who that player will be, particularly if Lillibridge proves himself at least passable at shortstop. (Keep in mind that Alexei Ramirez started 155 games last season and played 1382 of the 1460 innings played by White Sox shortstops - otherwise known as 95% of the innings. Meaning being overly concerned with who your backup SS is leads to unfortunate things like Omar Vizquel being on your roster instead of Viciedo or De Aza.)

Dan Johnson has gotten 21 plate appearances, ninth most on the club and the most by a player not guaranteed a roster spot. The rumblings about him playing 3B, as well as his ability to play LF, suggest Ventura may be strongly considering adding his left-handed bat to the bench and, potentially, use him instead of Brent Morel when Ventura goes to a lefty-heavy lineup.

The conventional move would be to bolster the bench with a player who can adequately play SS. And that fight would be between Eduardo Escobar and Ozzie Martinez. Escobar has the edge so far in plate appearances with 18 PA to Martinez' 11 PA. Their innings in the field are similar at both SS and 2B. However, Escobar has a significant edge in playing time at 3B: 20 INN to Martinez' 5 INN. And for whatever it may be worth, Escobar has been a hitting machine this spring while Martinez has reached base just once, via a walk. This all suggests that Escobar may have the edge over Martinez, particularly when one considers that Escobar is a switch-hitter while Martinez only bats from the right side.

Note: All playing time is as of March 15 and does not include 'B' games.

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