With a victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday, the White Sox hit the halfway point of the season at 36-45. That puts them on pace for a 72-90 season, which is a bit ahead of where than Josh (70-92) and I (68-94) had them on the Opening Day episode of the South Side Sox Podcast.
Of course, the roster is subject to great change over the second half, which makes it difficult to simply double the numbers. If they gut the bullpen and open a couple of corner spots for a game of Below Replacement Musical Chairs, they could end up below either of our predictions. Or, if they’re like the Los Angeles Angels, they’ll somehow get better after losing the services of their best players.
The same can be said for the players themselves, which is why doubling their numbers is kind of a silly exercise. Yet here I am doing it, mainly to get a better sense of what kind of seasons they’re really having.
No. 1: Last season, Jose Abreu invited significant concern about his future with his first half, as he posted a .754 OPS over his first 81 games. As luck would have it, the White Sox hit the halfway point on July 2 as well, so his 162-game numbers are the same as his calendar year numbers. Those numbers are .309/.364/.509 with 29 homers and 107 RBIs.
No. 2: Among Tyler Saladino’s problems, both physical and results-based, it hurts that his baserunning numbers are in the red. If he’s not an above-average runner/basestealing threat, then the only thing that separates him from the other utility players is good defense at third base, which might not be enough to tilt any scales.
No. 3: Yolmer Sanchez’s preseason projection according to FanGraphs: .240/.283/.354, .277 wOBA, aka the glove-first embodiment of “replacement-level.” Over the first 81 games, he turned in a .322 wOBA, and is now on pace for a 2-3 WAR season.
No. 4: If Adam Dunn could find a taker in August, Melky Cabrera can find a taker in August, if not before.
No. 5: Speaking of Dunn, the top five strikeout rates in White Sox history, minimum 400 plate appearances:
- Tyler Flowers, 36.0%, 2014
- Adam Dunn, 35.7%, 2011
- Dunn, 34.2%, 2012
- Dave Nicholson, 33.7%, 1963
- Dunn, 31.1%, 2013
I bring this is up because Matt Davidson is at 41.3 percent, which would also shatter the MLB record of 38.8 percent, which Melvin Nieves set with the 1997 Tigers. Go get ‘em, kid.
No. 1: There are only seven White Sox pitchers who recorded more than 100 strikeouts from a relief role. All of them needed 100 innings to do it, including Terry Forster, who struck out 104 over exactly 100 innings in 1972. That gives you some context for what Tommy Kahnle is doing.
No. 2: Jose Quintana would be on pace for a 200-inning season if his defense didn’t let him down one by one on Sunday.
No. 3: Derek Holland has been frustrating as of late, but that overall season line would be squarely within the realm of expectations for all of 2017, and maybe even on the optimistic side. ZiPS had him pegged at a 4.87 ERA over half the innings due to injury history, although with a FIP that’s a run lower.
No. 4: Jake Petricka’s career-high strikeout rate comes at the expense of his ground ball rate. He went from being a 64-percent groundballer to 46 percent this year. It hasn’t worked for him.
No. 5: I did not double some of those FIPs.