So listen, yesterday’s game sucked. I mean, in the annals of suck, it ranks way up there. If you account for home openers, ugh, maybe it couldn’t have gotten any worse, between the snow, cold, snow-cold, cold-snow, wintry mix, and Joakim Soria.
The rotation, whoo boy, it’s a mishmash of mediocrity, with at least three hurlers lucky to get through five innings — and those five innings are not likely to be pleasant ones.
But I come not to bury the 2018 Chicago White Sox, but praise them. For these fellas can MASH.
We saw glimpses of a fabulous offense in the Cactus League, with a bevy of double-digit hits games and some power strokes to boot.
But through the first week of the regular season, the White Sox haven’t just continued to mash — they are mashing at nearly unprecedented (well, at least unprecedented back to 2015) levels.
Through their first six games, the White Sox lead all of baseball in slugging percentage, at .538 — after finishing last season 22nd. More impressively, in only 40 seasons since 1908 have teams had a higher slugging percentage than .538 through six games. That’s 40 seasons out of 2,370.
You wanna start dreaming? Petriello further entices the senses by pointing out that 65% of those 40 teams finished with winning records — and 10 went to the World Series.
That’s it, Petriello’s called it: Chisox with 25% of making 2018 World Series! Awesome.
Then, a hilarious tidbit at the expense of our favorite friends to the south, the Kansas City Royals. The White Sox lead the majors in homers, with 14 (the 2017 White Sox finished 24th in HRs). The Royals have only scored 12 runs this entire season.
The White Sox also lead MLB in exit velocity, with 92.9 mph, and are the only team so far to have a hard-hit rate above 50%. They also have 25 barrels — which while I am not a saber dude per se, I believe indicates a perfectly-hit ball — and no other baseball team has more than 20.
Jose Abreu tops all of baseball in average exit velocity, at 98.2 mph, and the newly-lamented Yoan Moncada is third in the league, at 97.8 mph. At these paces, someone on the White Sox is going to tear a cover off a ball this season.
Petriello also points out the White Sox have four of the 10 longest homers hit so far this season, topped by Avisail Garcia’s outrageous, 481-foot whammy up in Rogers Centre on April 3. (That’s the longest Statcast-tracked home run in White Sox history, by the way.)
Because Petriello still believed you hard-to-tickle fans are not yet moved, he got really crazy with the rolling spreadsheets and crunched the crap out of them to discover a pretty amazing fact.
Since the Statcast era began in 2015, there have been 14,171 six-game stretches for teams, and the White Sox’s 51.7% hard-hit rate ranks second all-time.
Yep, second, behind only the 2015 Cleveland Indians, who had an average of 52.3% at the end of the 2015 season, when, let’s face it, nobody was really even trying to get them out any longer.
One more impressive figure from Petriello is positively amazing, and hits the sweet spot of hope after a pretty crushing loss yesterday.
The White Sox aren’t just clubbing the ball off of a tee, getting super-juicy tosses and punishing them. Quite the contrary. The Sox have seen the second-fewest pitches in the strike zone so far this season, so they are accomplishing all of this offense while executing some flippin’ sweet plate discipline.
Perhaps most amazing of all, if I may interpret Petriello one last time, is that the White Sox are putting up these kinds of numbers, in 2018, without a single guy named Jimenez in the lineup.
Seriously, if you haven’t already clicked on the MLB.com article, do it now. I took Rick Telander press-box hot-dog consumption helpings of Petriello’s piece in order to deliver a quick pick-me-up to any hangdog Sox fans out there still depressed over (and thawing out from) that monstrous loss yesterday.