One week's worth of spring training games are in the books. Unfortunately, the Chicago Blackhawks-style streak of Cactus League games without a loss came to an end yesterday. Since we root for the laundry, it is nice to see the White Sox winning baseball games ... or at least playing the opposition to a tie. There's not a whole lot to learn after a week of exhibition baseball. But this is the internet, so let's jump to conclusions.
Before we continue, I demand that you learn this highly relevant song:
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I think it is safe to say that the player of spring training so far is Conor Gillaspie. He was acquired by the White Sox last Friday, and his week has been the very definition of "hitting the ground running."
After five games and 10 at-bats, he has three hits. Two of them stayed in the park. If he keeps this performance up, he will probably occupy the spot on the bench that was previously reserved for Jose Lopez, Orlando Hudson, Ray Olmedo, and Eduardo Escobar.
Gillaspie has an interesting story. He has a degree in meteorology from Wichita State University. His hobby is storm chasing. As in chasing tornadoes around the Midwest. According a 2012 profile in the San Francisco Chronicle
"Growing up in Nebraska and living in Kansas the last six, seven years, I know that's where a lot of the bad storms go down," he said. "Five or 10 minutes of warning could save your family."
Gillaspie's family probably wishes Conor had taken up stamp collecting, but they accept his hobby of storm chasing.
"He's very good at that," said Mark Gillaspie, now a police officer in Omaha. "I'm a little concerned about him flying down a dirt road at 90 miles an hour. If you ever watch 'Storm Chasers' on the Weather Channel, they get after it. He knows what he's doing.
"There are a lot of worse things he can be trying to do than chasing storms. You've got to follow your passion."
If he sticks in Chicago, he could also have a post-baseball career at one of the TV stations. He could be the next Tom Skilling...or Brant Miller...or John Coleman.
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As for the regulars, Adam Dunn is very Adam Dunn. He has a homer, two strikeouts, and two walks. Paul Konerko has three hits, a homer, and a walk. Alex Rios has a pair of doubles and a triple.
Gordon Beckham, Tyler Flowers, and Dayan Vicideo all had encouraging weeks as well.
As for the pitching, I can't draw any conclusions. We haven't seen the starters yet.
The first week of spring training means next to nothing. But I can't help but think of a quote from last year's spring training. The Sox had a bad start to the exhibition season, and a scout told Danny Knobler of CBS Sports that the White Sox would lose 100 games.
The Sox turned things around shortly thereafter, and had a surprisingly competitive year.
The Detroit Tigers are still the class of the AL Central. I will be happy if the White Sox hang tough with them all year long. However, my sights are set on the Wild Card.
I want to take your temperature a week into spring training. Do you feel like the Sox can at least remain competitive in the AL Central this year? I have Detroit, Toronto, and Los Angeles winning the divisions. That means the Sox have to fight Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Texas, Oakland, and even Seattle for the two Wild Card slots.
I think it could be doable.