Let's forget for a moment that leadoff hitter is not a position or that Ozzie and Kenny (generally) say they just want a leadoff man who gets on base. Their actions, as observed and relayed by the three local media-type bloggers, speak exponentially louder than their words.
The buzz of Monday's intrasquad game was all about Jerry Owens, with Gonzo and Cowley raving about his first inning bunt. Yep, a bunt. Off Tomo F. Ohka. In an intrasquad game. That bunt, a skill which Owens has been working on with new 3rd base coach Jeff F.N. Cox, almost roused Williams from his seat and combined with Orlando Cabrera's double prompted at least one comparison to 2005.
A quick check of B-R's Play Index reveals that Scott Podsednik had 36 first-inning singles in 2005, while Iguchi had 8 first-inning doubles. Of those, only once did Iguchi's double drive in Pods (as Cabrera's did Owens) after he had reached via single. Once. In 162 games. Seems like an apt comparison to me.
I know I'm overreacting. I think the lack of tangible, visible baseball action is getting to me. I have no problem with Owens getting the 300+ at-bats that he earned with a halfway decent second half in '07. It just feels like he's already been given the starting job, while Carlos Quentin remains the red-headed stepchild of Sox camp.
If the White Sox are going to be the championship team that the White Sox brain trust thinks they can be, one of the main reasons will be that Carlos Quentin and Josh Fields successfully made the leap to become very good offensive players. Jerry Owens at his very best might be an average center fielder, and as such, his presence as de facto leadoff hitter would seem to limit the teams playoff hopes versus a team with a fully-realized Carlos Quentin in the lineup.
In addition to the usual -- how do I say this without sounding like an ass? Let's say entertaining -- questions from fans, Scott Merkin's latest Q&A includes a picture with the following caption: Joe Crede will likely remain with the White Sox for the duration of the 2008 season. Uh huh.