Conor Gillaspie flashing staying power

Brian Kersey

He hasn't hit a home run yet, but it's hard to question his game at the moment regardless

One of the things that annoys me the most about football coverage is the quarterback controversy.

Take last year, when Josh McCown stepped in for Jay Cutler, and the offense didn't skip a beat. The Bears' problems under center are well-documented, so when they suddenly have two guys who are capable of running an offense, that's a miracle. But because football is six days of talk for every day of action, it gets warped into a problem that requires a debate -- as if the guy who doesn't start next week is going to move on with his life and call that other team that gave him its number. You know, for coffee.

The constant drumbeat of the 162-game schedule makes it harder to talk a blessing into a headache. But then there are cases like Conor Gillaspie, whose brilliant first trimester has created a concern vacuum. Nature always tries to fill those voids.

You have to look to the future to find questions to wrestle with. The one raised after his his four-hit, three-double performance on Monday: Is he ever going to hit a homer this year?

It is kinda strange -- while Gillaspie's making great contact, he has yet to put a ball over the fence in 2014. Neither Gillaspie nor Robin Ventura are worried about it:

"He’s a line-drive hitter by nature," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He does have power, and I think that’ll come. Part of it is he has a very level swing, but he hits things hard quite often. He squares things up just as much as anybody, and it makes him a very good hitter. Power-wise, eventually that will come."

The fact that he's got an isolated power over .100 without a homer shows that he's finding other ways to sting the ball. Or you could just look at his line-drive rate, which is over 30 percent.

He has diversified his portfolio as a hitter. If you read his plate discipline numbers against his spray chart, you get the idea that Gillaspie has found more pitches that are "his pitch." He's swinging at more strikes in the zone, he's covering all types of pitches effectively, and he's using more of the outfield.

In other words, this is the coveted adjustment to the adjustment, which is a concept that's nearly mythical for young White Sox hitters. He's found a way to hit .352 through Memorial Day during his second season in the league, and that's with teams shifting against him, as well as a hand injury in the middle.

While the fact that he's hitting .352 signals some regression on the way, chances are it won't hit him as hard as it did last year. There'll probably be a tug of war the rest of the way as both sides force revisions to Gillaspie's book, and his numbers will take different shapes along the way. Even though he doesn't have a homer, his production signals a staying power in which even the Sox didn't invest heavily.

This leap raises the specter of a positional conflict between Gillaspie and Matt Davidson, but man, should Davidson find his footing at Charlotte and force the issue, it's going to be one of the greatest problems Rick Hahn ever had. It'll have happened because he turned an A-ball reliever who can't throw strikes into a left-handed third baseman with a real bat, real glove and several years of team control remaining.

If minor leaguers are trying to surface under established talent, well, that's what a real system looks like. Every successful organization develops duplicates, and whether you're talking about on the field or the depth chart, doubles power stands a very good chance of eventually translating into some home runs.

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