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Grading the 2014 White Sox: Position players

New additions Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton provide improvement for the White Sox offense

Finally, a real hitter on the South Side! Abreu earns an A+.
Finally, a real hitter on the South Side! Abreu earns an A+.
David Banks

The White Sox season has ended, so it is time to hand out the grades. I will start with the position players. Last season, very few Sox made the honor roll. Thankfully, we can add a couple of more to that list this year. The offense still needs some work heading into 2015, but at least things are pointed in the right direction.

Tyler Flowers -- .241/.297/.396, 15 HR, 50 RBI. This season was a serious improvement over last for Flowers. He got another chance at the everyday gig again when Rick Hahn couldn't bring in an adequate replacement and did better than expectations. Last year, I thought he did a poor job behind the plate as well and had no problem giving him an F. This season, pretty much every facet of his game improved. He isn't the ideal starting catcher, but I'm not going to throw up in my mouth if he is the starter on Opening Day like I did after last season. Grade: C+

Jose Abreu -- 317/.383/.581, 36 HR, 107 RBI. This is finally what we needed in the middle of the lineup. A guy who can actually perform like a middle of the lineup hitter! Abreu came to the White Sox by way of Cuba on Oct. 29, 2013 as an early birthday gift to myself. He signed the richest deal in White Sox history, and easily made that deal look like a steal in his rookie year. Abreu is going to win the Rookie of the Year award, and he even beat Ron Kittle's rookie home run and RBI record. His defense was OK at first as well. Grade: A+

Gordon Beckham -- .221/.263/.336, 7 HR, 36 RBI. That was his line with the White Sox, when his run as our every day second baseman mercifully came to an end. Beckham did provide nice defense at second base, but when you hit like that there is no way the White Sox could justify paying him the money he was making. He was traded in August for a player to be named later. Maybe it will be Mike Trout! Grade: D

Conor Gillaspie -- .282/.336/.416, 7 HR, 57 RBI. Gillaspie held onto the job to start the season when Matt Davidson was sent down to the minors even after a hot spring training. He even batted third on Opening Day. Then he started hitting. Gillaspie was on the leaderboard for batting average much of the season, thanks to a first half that ended with a line of .326/.377/.484. Unfortunately, it fell to .228/.284/.330 afterwards, with September being the worst month of all. He's not very good at third base either. He hits righties way better than lefties, so maybe a platoon is in order. His early season offense buoys his grade. Grade: B-

Alexei Ramirez -- .273/.305/.408, 15 HR, 74 RBI, 21 SB. The power game came back for Alexei in 2014, as he matched his combined home run total from 2012 and 2013. Along with his 35 doubles and two triples, Ramirez had 52 extra-base hits. Throw in a 21-for-25 performance on the basepaths, and Ramirez was a force on offense for the White Sox this season. He still plays a very good shortstop and the badly timed errors that he made last season disappeared. He's going to be 33 next year, but if the White Sox are serious about contending in 2015, Ramirez will have to play a big part in that. Grade: B+

Dayan Viciedo -- .231/.281/.405, 21 HR, 58 RBI. Last year, I proclaimed 2014 do or die for the Tank as a White Sox regular. He just didn't get it done. His batting average fell off the table and his defense, which shouldn't surprise anyone, wasn't up to par. He started out hot in April, but it was a quick decline after that until the power came along in August and September. I still believe in his power and think that he can be an offensive force sometime in the future. The White Sox have a hole at designated hitter, which I expect them to fill from outside of the organization. I thought that of catcher last year, though, and Flowers was given another shot. It wouldn't surprise me if Viciedo has played his last game as a White Sox, but I'm not totally convinced of it because it is tough to give up on 20-homer power in this day and age of baseball. Grade: F

Adam Eaton -- .300/.362/.401, 1 HR, 35 RBI, 15 SB. Eaton proved me wrong in his first season with the team as he was a nice weapon on offense and defense. His power numbers were a bit disappointing, and I wish someone could teach him how to steal a base, because he was just 15-for-24 in that category, but he did lead the league with 10 triples and seemed to always be on base. He made some spectacular plays in center field and looks like he can be a very good player for the White Sox in the foreseeable future, as long as he doesn't spend too much time on the DL. Grade: A

Avisail Garcia -- .244/.305/.413, 7 HR, 29 RBI. If that line was Garcia's after a full season, something would have been terribly wrong. Unfortunately though, Garcia injured himself in April and was thought to be out for the year, but was able to come back in August to at least get some of the reps he would have otherwise missed. With all of that in mind, he did OK. This year was supposed to be the year he finally got to show what he could do over a full season, but his poor diving technique made that impossible. So next year is now the year that I am really looking forward to seeing what Garcia can do with 550 at-bats. On defense, I'm not sure why he is so lumbering out in right field, because when he runs the bases, Garcia is quite fast for a big man. Hopefully that will eventually improve. Grade: Incomplete

Adam Dunn -- .220/.340/.433, 20 HR, 54 RBI. He did what he did the rest of his time here. Fortunately, that time is gone as he was traded to the A's to really help them complete their 2014 debacle. After not getting an at-bat in the play in game, he officially called it a career. I suppose he stole enough money from the White Sox that he doesn't have to do it anymore. His final line was .201/.321/.410 in his four seasons here. I bet Kenny Williams wishes that instead of signing Dunn, he took a wild trip to Vegas and made it rain at Cheetah's. Grade: F

Alejandro De Aza -- .243/.309/.354, 5 HR, 31 RBI. De Aza hit a pair of homers on Opening Day, and then quickly flushed his season line down the toilet bowl with a horrid April and May. He picked it up in June though, and played well up until his trade to the Orioles in August. You can catch him batting second and making things happen in the playoffs for the Orioles. He will forever be linked with Beckham and Dunn as guys the Sox had to send off. De Aza is different than the other two, because he was a nice surprise for the White Sox, even if most of the fans will never remember that. I like him and am cheering for him to do well in Baltimore this October. Grade: C-

Paul Konerko -- .207/.254/.317, 5 HR, 22 RBI. What a sad way to end a career. Konerko did enough to get a statue in the outfield and have his jersey retired in his time here, but there was no reason for him to come back this season. The White Sox shouldn't have let it happen and Konerko should have had enough pride to not let it happen. I know his last couple of days were nice. He got the Paulie chants that have been missing since sometime in 2012, and he received a few parting gifts. In between all that, he struck out a bunch of times and hit a couple of weak grounders. His presence on the team hampered the White Sox all season long. Grade: F

Marcus Semien -- .234/.300/.372, 6 HR, 28 RBI. Semien started the season as the second baseman and came up with a bunch of big hits for the White Sox. After Beckham returned, Semien returned to the bench and eventually the minor leagues, but reappeared in September. He did some damage too. Semien hit .273/.333/.485 upon his call-up. He proved that he can do more offensively than Beckham can for a lot cheaper. I think he plays an alright second base as well. The trouble starts when he is at third base, as his reactions look a step slow for that position. In time, he should be a nice player for the White Sox, either as the starting second baseman or the superutility guy. Grade: C+

Leury Garcia: .166/.192/.207, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 11 SB. Garcia was forced to be on the White Sox all season long, because he could play infield and outfield and that versatility was needed because they were already carrying the dead weight of Konerko. His OPS wouldn't have beat Ted Williams for the batting title in 1941. If I had to find a positive, he did steal 11 bases in 12 attempts, so maybe he can find a niche as a pinch runner extraordinaire. It has worked out well for Terrance Gore and Jarrod Dyson this post season. Grade: F

Adrian Nieto -- .236/.296/.340, 2 HR, 7 RBI. Nieto was selected in the rule five draft because the White Sox didn't sign anyone to catch and have nobody in the pipeline that is halfway decent. He stayed on the team the entire season, so he's now White Sox property, and he was able to keep his head above water in doing so. He will probably return to the minor leagues next year, but he has some skills that could make him a piece to the future. Grade: C

Moises Sierra -- .276/.311/.417, 2 HR, 7 RBI. Sierra did well after being claimed off of waivers from the Blue Jays, unfortunately we didn't see very much of him unless it was being the unofficial mascot in the White Sox dugout. My guess is he will be back with the White Sox next season as he seemed to fit in nicely with the club and put up good numbers in limited time. Grade: B

Jordan Danks -- .222/.303/.291, 2 HR, 10 RBI. Unlike Sierra, I didn't want to see more of Jordan Danks as he pretty much is what he is. He can fill in nicely as a defensive replacement late in games, but there is no regular role in his future. He is the Charlotte hit king though, so that is something. Grade: F

Carlos Sanchez -- .250/.269/.300, 0 HR, 5 RBI. I wasn't impressed with Sanchez. He made a couple of nice plays in the field, but the bat is weak. My preference is for Marcus Semien to play second on a regular basis next season. At least he isn't Gordon Beckham though, so that counts for something. Grade: D

Andy Wilkins -- .140/.178/.186, 0 HR, 2 RBI. Well, at least he didn't have a great September run, fooling people into thinking maybe he really can replace Adam Dunn. Wilkins was bad upon his arrival in a small sample. Maybe he has  a role somewhere down the line as a lefty off the bench, but lets not be fooled by thinking he can be the everyday DH. More likely, his career highlight was replacing Konerko and giving him an on-field hug. Grade: F

Josh Phegley -- .216/.211/.514, 3 HR, 7 RBI. Phegley didn't do much to earn confidence in the coaching staff last season, so when Adrian Nieto was selected in the Rule five draft, it didn't cause them any pain to leave him down in Triple-A until September. Phegley only received 38 plate appearances in the major leagues this year, but three of them resulted in dingers and he didn't look as terrible behind the plate as he did last year. Maybe next season the Phreebird will fly! Grade: Incomplete

Michael Taylor -- .250/.364/.286, 0 HR, 0 RBI. He got a few at bats in September after a solid run with the Knights. He didn't look bad, but he didn't look like someone that we have to see again either. Grade: Incomplete

There are some good pieces in place. Abreu and Eaton look like they can be here for the next 10 years. Ramirez is still a big part of this team and Gillaspie looks to be at least a decent platoon option. It will be nice to see Garcia get a full seasons worth of at-bats so I can hopefully add him to the Abreu and Eaton group. An outfielder is needed this off-season. If the White Sox want to improve their team, they can also look to doing it by improving the bench. If you take a look at the bench player grades, only Marcus Semien and Moises Sierra inspired any confidence. Hopefully there are a few additions to both the top and the bottom of the roster heading into 2015.