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White Sox mini-camp provides first Yoan Moncada sighting

Hitting coach’s midwinter summit still useful as a marketing tool

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Ever since Todd Steverson joined the White Sox as their hitting coach, he’s run a mini-camp for hitters down at Camelback Ranch. He inherited an offense that scored a paltry 598 runs, good/bad for last in the American League, so why not a midwinter gathering? It was refreshing proactive practice from a refreshing outside hire chosen after a refreshing extensive search. All of those were kinda rare at the time, and still far from normal now.

Three years later, the offense still hasn’t cracked the top half of the American League in runs scored.

  • 2014: Eighth
  • 2015: 15th
  • 2016: 11th

This is good “fire Steverson” fodder, because hitting coaches tend to take the fall under such circumstances. I would’ve been cool with a change if only as a symbol of Rick Renteria’s autonomy.

I suppose I’m still annoyed that the White Sox didn’t try to contend with a manager besides Robin Ventura, since it became quite evident over the last two seasons that he wasn’t growing into the role. While the White Sox as a team didn’t get a chance to show what they were capable of away from Ventura, most of the White Sox coaching staff will. I’d rather have it the other way around, but here we are.

Ultimately, I don’t blame Steverson for that more than I would any hitting coach, mainly because the players who have faltered in White Sox uniforms usually don’t find MLB employment elsewhere. However, he’s likely only going to get more inscrutable from here, especially if the White Sox trade the only hitters with track records.

As a movement toward offensive self-actualization, the January mini-camp has fallen flat. As a corporate treat when nothing else is happening, though, it still scratches an itch, because we get to see baseball players doing baseball things a month earlier than usual.

It’s even better marketing when it’s our first way to get a look at a new White Sox. In Steverson’s first year, Jose Abreu was the center of attention, which has worked out pretty well. This time around, it serves as the setting for the first uniformed sighting of Yoan Moncada, an Under Armour mannequin come to life.

This man is probably the key to Steverson’s continued employment. OK, a lot of people’s continued employment.