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Plumbing the White Sox outfield depth

Jordan Danks wants your vote.
Jordan Danks wants your vote.

Yesterday, while discussing the candidates for replacement by Brent Morel, it probably became pretty obvious to you that the White Sox bench has been bad. Outside of Tyler Flowers - who is carrying his weight in one of the better catcher combinations in baseball - no one has an OPS above .500. Small sample sizes abound, as none of them have more than 50 plate appearances. But, rightly or wrongly, that justification begins to have less resonance as the halfway point of the season approaches.

So the likes of Brent Lillibridge, Kosuke Fukudome and Eduardo Escobar still have some time to turn things around - a 3 for 4 day would see their batting averages jump 50 points, their on-base percentages jump 40 points and their slugging jump at least 50 points. And they're liable to be getting a few more chances than usual thanks to the mid-June trips to the Cardinals and Dodgers.

But, if these guys, or whichever of Morel/Orlando Hudson takes one of their places, don't put together a few good performances, it's likely that we'll see a re-shuffling of the bench as the calendar turns to July. Because of the question marks at all three outfield positions going into the season, the White Sox made some effort to stock up on some viableish replacements. With Alejandro De Aza, Dayan Viciedo and Alex Rios all holding up their ends of the bargain so far, these replacements look even better as additions to a bench. So I'll take a look at some of the options down on the farm that will be bandied about once the calls begin for the head of Fukudome or Lillibridge or Morel or whoever.

Greg Golson is a right-handed option. He plays reasonably good defense at all three outfield positions and has an accurate cannon for an arm. He's good on the basepaths - he's got a career stolen base rate of 79% in the minors. He's not much with the bat - his current line of .278/.313/.410 at Charlotte is representative of his talent - but the guy he might be replacing probably isn't, either. He's been with a major league club each of the last four seasons and he's 26 years old, so now might be the time to catch some lightning in a bottle as he should be at about his career peak.

A left-handed option is Jordan Danks. In his third try at Triple-A, he's showing the improvement in production one would expect from a guy on his third try. Danks is a plus defender at all three outfield positions. He's also good on the basepaths. He's out-performing Golson with the bat (.287/.407/.468) and Danks probably is the better overall player. Strikeouts have always been the impediment to a starting role in the majors but he's got the résumé of an ideal 5th outfielder. However, what the White Sox are really lacking off the bench is some pop from the left-side. And Danks isn't going to provide that.

The guy who could provide that is Dan Johnson. While it's a stretch to put him in left field, Dayan Viciedo is often a stretch to face right-handed pitching. The trade-off may be worth it. Power and a decent batting eye are pretty much all Johnson brings to the table but that's something the White Sox bench doesn't have right now. He's also produced in a part-time role in the past.

The White Sox also signed Conor Jackson with an eye towards outfield depth but the righty has been injured since May 3. If he returns from injury, he may have enough time to play his way into this conversation. I'm sure that Jared Mitchell's name would also be brought up but it would be rather silly to have him in an infrequent role in the majors. First, he can't handle the majors yet. But, more importantly, he needs a full and successful minor league season to consolidate the improvements he's made thus far at Double-A.

So ready your pitchforks and declare your AAAA allegiance.