I've never seen the White Sox play this poorly. Sure there's been a bad game here or there in the past, and some sustained periods of mediocrity. But there's never been a stretch during my memory in which the White Sox have looked so futile, so undisciplined, so over-matched, so ordinary, so unwatchable. It's been stated by multiple different people multiple different times in the comments, but I've finally come around; there's nothing even remotely exciting about this team.
The only reason to tune in seems to be to watch Danks (hopefully) develop into a big league pitcher, or Buehrle on his farewell tour. Aside from that, it's just a bunch of aging veterans playing through nagging injuries and a rotating mess of prospects who are ill-equipped to handle the bat at the major league level. Bull Pain pointed out a telling stat: of the Sox batters this year who have spent their whole career in the Sox organization (Crede, Sweeney, Fields, BA, Gonzalez, Molina) are a combined 48-259 this year (.185). If you pull Crede from the mix, limiting it to just "prospects," the mark falls to 12-92 (.130). I think we know why there were wholesale changes to the amateur scouting department this spring.
While the Sox prospects flail away at anything that's not straight, and sometimes stuff that is, Hunter Pence looked like an All-Star in just his second month at the bigs. He hit his 14th double, which would rank first on the White Sox by 5, despite the fact that he spent the first month of the season in the minors. In his third at-bat, he fouled off an outside fastball down the right field line that made me take pause, and later smoked a double into the right field gap that made me think "I don't think I've seen a Sox prospect do that since Magglio."
Which nicely segues into the draft
In the second day of the draft, the Sox took a couple of singability guys, most notably Kevin Patterson, a strong Auburn commit who was a projected sandwich round pick (ranked 68th overall by Baseball America, but taken 749). There were a number of other less highly thought of, but still very good, HS prospects who the Sox grabbed much later than expected, including Kenny Gilbert, Brian Guinn, Christopher Epps, and Jabari Blash. I expect most of them to go to the college which has offered each a respective scholarship, but with so many picks like this, the Sox seem to be thinking they can lure one or two away.
Take a look at the MLB.com videos of those names I just mentioned. Notice anything? I commented on it in the draft thread, but it's really worth noting now that more picks have been taken. There were a few trends in the Sox picks this year; the early picks all were high-velocity projectible arms, there was an abundance of picks from the bay area or Cal St. Fullerton, and substantial number of the players are black. I think the last two trends are a sign that Kenny trusted the views of a certain scout over that of others, and placed special emphasis on trying to get some high-upside athletes, some "toolsy" prospects to use a baseball term.
Without sounding like Fisher DeBerry, I don't think the Sox set out to draft as many black players as possible, but they sure ended up taking a lot of them in their quest to bring more athleticism into the organization. It will be 5 years before we really see what the change in drafting philosophy brings to the big league club, and it will probably go down to the August 15th signing deadline before we know exactly what the overall draft class looks like, but my first impression is that I like this draft better than anything since we had a boatload of early picks (including Gio and Fields) in 2004.
Also drafted were Oney Guillen, son of Ozzie, Devon Shines, son of Razor, and local product Grant Monroe, son of Larry Monroe, former Sox first-rounder and current ambiguous baseball advisor.
- Jerry Owens got hurt. Strained hamstring. No news on how long he'll be out. No loss. It'll get him out of the lead-off spot, which a small victory.
- Jermaine Dye has been out with a bum knee, which explains the precipitous decline in speed and why it looked he had aged overnight. He received a cortisone shot and has some fluid drained, and said that his main problem this year has "been between the ears."
- With those two outfielders out gimpy, we should see Ryan Sweeney recalled, as Brian Anderson has been DHing in Charlotte with a bum shoulder.
- Alex Cintron should be DL'ed or released altogether. He's a barely useful player when healthy, and his elbow injury has made him absolutely brutal. He can't throw. He can't hit. And he could barely field the ball when healthy. He's a liability and not an upgrade over Andy Gonzalez, who isn't exactly a defensive wiz himself.
- During the Sox 3-12 tailspin, during which they've been outscored 94-46, Bobby Jenks has thrown 41 pitches, 31 for strikes, while allowing a total of one base runner over just 3.2 innings pitched. His ERA currently stands at 2.38 vs. a combined bullpen ERA of 5.56. All of which is a roundabout way of saying he needs to pitch more, and thus in different situations.