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Closing the Book on 2011- The Final White Sox Grades

White Sox Baseball 2011- Creating alcoholics one game at a time.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
White Sox Baseball 2011- Creating alcoholics one game at a time. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Another season has come and gone.  It is time for the members of the 2011 White Sox to receive their final grades.  I have a feeling I may get a couple of parents calling me to complain after I unleash these bad boys.  It kind of reminds me of the first time I gave an Economics test to 7th graders.  I went through 3 red pens grading those tests.  

A.J. Pierzynski- .287/.323/.405, 8 HR, 48 RBI- AJ had a nice offensive season that probably would have looked even nicer if not for a fractured wrist that put him on the disabled list for the first time in his career.  Behind the dish, he still has the ability to call a good game but he still throws like a sally.  Final Grade: B

Paul Konerko- .300/.388/.517, 31 HR, 105 RBI-  His second half wasn't nearly as productive as the first.  He battled nagging injuries and was given about as much protection as a tampered with condom offers in the batting order.  He was the only consistent threat the lineup offered.  Final Grade: A+

Gordon Beckham- .230/.296/.337, 10 HR, 44 RBI- As much as we thought last year was a down year, I wish he produced that much this season.  He looked lost at the plate most of the time and has taken a few steps back with the stick since he debuted in 2009.  It is hard to imagine anyone playing better defense at second base though.  Beckham made great plays day in and day out, saving him from failure.  Final Grade: D+

Alexei Ramirez- .269/.328/.399, 15 HR, 70 RBI- I was expecting Alexei to take the next step on offense.  He basically stayed around the same, with a slightly better OBP and a slightly worse slugging percentage.  In fact, he had the same number of hits and RBI's as he did a year ago.  His fielding was still wonderful though.  Ramirez and Beckham make for one of the best double play combo's in the business. Final Grade: B

Brent Morel- .245/.287/.386, 10 HR, 41 RBI- Morel's power numbers experienced a jump in September when he had 8 homers and 19 RBI's for the month.  He also walked 15 times during September compared with 7 for the rest of the season.  It was nice to see him cut it loose as his September OPS was .893.  He played great defense throughout the season and has earned himself another season as the third baseman.  However, I can't look past the fact that most of his stats were put up in the seasons final days.  Final Grade: C-

Juan Pierre- .279/.329/.327, 2 HR, 50 RBI, 27 SB- Pierre lost a step or two on the bases as he dropped from 68 SBs a year ago to 27 this year.  He still put the ball in play and after a horrid start became one of the better hitters in the lineup.  Thats the sad thing.  His outfield defense was better as the season went on, but it is nothing to write home about.  Final Grade: C-

Alex Rios- .227/.265/.348, 13 HR, 44 RBI, 11 SB- Rios had a horrible year that would have been even worse if he didn't have a good September (.307/.341/.533, 5 HR, 11 RBI).  His outfield defense was disappointing and he was one of the main reasons why Sox fans contemplated suicide throughout most of the summer.  Final Grade: F

Carlos Quentin- .254/.340/.499, 24 HR, 77 RBI- When he was in the lineup, Quentin provided some power that was missing when he was gone.  He missed the last month of the year though with a strained shoulder.  It is impossible to count on this guy for an entire season.  He did improve in the outfield this year and he did enjoy a trip to his 2nd All Star game.  Final Grade: B-

Adam Dunn- .159/.292/.277, 11 HR, 42 RBI- Possibly the worst season in Major League history.  He can't hit... he can't field... he can't even shave for christ sakes.  Final Grade: F-

Brent Lillibridge- .258/.340/.505, 13 HR, 29 RBI, 10 SB- Lillibridge had a spectacular year in 2011. In only 186 at bats he proved to be one of the biggest threats in the lineup.  He had some big homers and some big defensive plays and goes into 2012 with a guaranteed roster spot.  Was emotional about not being able to play, when most everyone else was ready to leave.  Final Grade: A

Omar Vizquel- .251/.287/.305, 8 RBI- After getting 391 plate appearances last season, he only got 182 this year.  He still was good for an occasional single, but that was about all he could provide.  The biggest "contribution" Omar made this year was taking the roster spot of someone who could have helped out.  His range is all but gone, as is his arm and legs.  He's a border line Hall of Famer and should begin his 5 year waiting process.  Final Grade: F

Alejandro De Aza- .329/.400/.520, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 12 SB- De Aza was unbelievable in his 54 games.  He proved that both Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen weren't doing their jobs, as they gave at bats to Dunn, Rios and Pierre over giving De Aza a shot.  His first day in the lineup he homered.  He didn't stop hitting the rest of the season.  It would have been nice to see what he could have done if he wasn't benched every other day.  Final Grade: A+

Tyler Flowers- .209/.310/.409, 5 HR, 16 RBI- Flowers did well when he was first called upon to start after Pierzynski's injury, but the more he played the lower his average got.  He did show good power- his homer on Tuesday night went out like a rocket- and was much better than anticipated behind the plate as he actually threw out some runners.  He also homered for my kid.  Final Grade: B-

Dayan Viciedo- .255/.327/.314, 1 HR, 6 RBI- Viciedo should have been brought up much earlier than he was.  Unfortunately, once he was brought up he did most of his damage (1 HR, 3 RBI) in his first game.  I was pretty disappointed after that.  I saw way too many choppers to the mound and third base for my liking.  He didn't embarrass himself in the outfield and his eye improved at the plate.  I expected more.  Final Grade: D

Mark Teahen- .203/.277/.305, 3 HR, 11 RBI- Thank God that is over.  Final Grade: F

Ramon Castro- .235/.307/.456, 4 HR, 10 RBI- The guy hits in his one game a week.  Suffered injury and is now looking for work as Tyler Flowers proved he can handle the back up duty.  Final Grade: C

Dallas McPherson, Donny Lucy, Eduardo Escobar, Lastings Milledge: Incomplete.


Mark Buehrle- 13-9, 3.59 ERA, 1.29 WHIP- Buehrle was the only starter to win more than he lost in 2011 and his ERA hasn't been this low since 2005.  It will be a shame if he is a casualty of the piss poor contracts the team has given out.  Final Grade: A

Gavin Floyd- 12-13, 4.37 ERA, 1.16 WHIP-  Floyd was unable to take the next step forward.  His ERA is up a little bit after getting roughed up a couple of times. It is looking that Gavin is destined to be a mid rotation guy instead of taking that jump to the top of the rotation. Final Grade: C

John Danks- 8-12, .433 ERA, 1.33 WHIP- Danks not only didn't take a step forward, he took one backwards.  Had his worst year since his rookie season.  After starting 0-8 he went 8-4, but I expected much more out of him this year.  Final Grade: C

Philip Humber- 9-9, 3.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP- Humber struggled in the 2nd half after a remarkable 1st half as he suffered through a tough July and August.  He seemed to pitch better after coming off of the DL after getting lined in the head, which suggests he was going through some fatigue issues as he had his biggest work load as a professional.  The guy has to field his position better or he is going to get killed on the mound.  Final Grade: B-

Jake Peavy- 7-7, 4.92 ERA, 1.26 WHIP- Peavy started 18 games this year after coming back from surgery.  He was shutdown after September 6th.  He threw some good games and some bad ones, but it was about where you would have expected him to be after his near career ending injury.  Final Grade: C-

Sergio Santos- 30 saves, 3.55 ERA, 13.1 K/9- Santos was remarkable out of the gate and settled down a bullpen that was up for grabs.  He had some real rough games, especially when the Tigers put the final nail in the Sox coffin by hitting 2 homers against him on September 3rd.  That led to a real rough month as he tallied a 9.35 September ERA.  He also was a lot better on the road (1.47 ERA) than at home (5.51).  When he is on though, his stuff is beyond nasty.  Final Grade: B

Chris Sale- 79 K's, 2.79 ERA- Sale struggled at the beginning of the season and then was pretty much golden until the final game of the year.  He will either be a dominant reliever again next year or he will be given the opportunity to hop into the rotation.  I hope they see what he can do as a starter.  Final Grade: B+

Jesse Crain- 8-3, 2.62 ERA- Crain was pretty reliable all year long.  While he doesn't have the stuff that the rest of his bullpen mates do, he was just as effective.  Final Grade: B

Matt Thornton- 3.32 ERA, 63 K's-  Thornton was horrid early on, but righted the ship after that.  It still was his worst season since 2007 though, which is a shame because his salary jumped this year along with his WHIP (1.35) Final Grade: C+

Will Ohman- 4.22 ERA, 54 K's- Ohman proved to be useable out of the bullpen.  He wasn't great but didn't get killed much either.  For a 5th guy out of the pen he actually did pretty well.  The long ball was his downfall as he gave up 8 in 53 innings.  Final Grade: C

Jason Frasor- 17.2 IP, 5.09 ERA- Instead of solidifying the bullpen, he confused it.  He wasn't good in his small sample size for his hometown team and with a 3.5 million dollar option will probably be looking for work this offseason.  Final Grade: F

Zach Stewart- 2-5, 6.22 ERA- Stewart had a couple of good starts and had a couple more disgusting ones.  Final Grade- F

Josh Kinney- Final Grade: F

Dylan Axelrod, Addison Reed, Hector Santiago:  All looked good in their limited opportunities Final Grades: Incomplete

Edwin Jackson- 7-7, 3.92- Jackson was good sometimes, not so good others and shipped out by the deadline.  Final Grade: C


Ozzie Guillen- In his final season on the South Side, Ozzie was disinterested, unwilling to change and eventually released.  He went out with a whimper.  Final Grade: F

Kenny Williams- Adam Dunn. Alex Rios. Jake Peavy.  Edwin Jackson. Mark Teahen. Enough Said. Final Grade: F

Chicago White Sox- After watching this season and looking at the numbers, I am absolutely shocked that we didn't lose 90+ games.  I think you can credit the bullpen and the infield defense with that.  The hitting was horrible, the starting pitching was underwhelming and management was basically absent.  It was a tough year on the South Side. Final Grade: F  

That concludes my first season on the staff here at SSS.  Thanks to larry and Jim for providing me the opportunity and thanks to the readers for taking the time to see what some whack job like myself has to say about our favorite baseball team.