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Should I Stay or Should I Go: Gavin Sheets

One of the few reasons to attend home games

MLB: Cleveland Guardians at Chicago White Sox
Raw power remains the hallmark of Gavin Sheets’ game.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

fWAR: 0.1
bWAR: -0.4
WARP: 0.8

He should stay Sheets possesses arguably the best raw power on the team, and certainly the most of any of their left-handed hitters. After a terrible start to the season, he returned to the lineup on June 23 and proceeded to post an excellent .301/.343/.532 triple slash from that point through August 31, including a stellar 1.017 OPS in August that helped propel the floundering team back into contention. Sheets displayed the rare ability to beat the shift, but may benefit even more from the “shift ban” if it allows him to play more to his prodigious pull power. Posted an excellent .908 OPS at home on a team that gave fans in attendance little to cheer about otherwise. Has two years of pre-arb remaining, with one minor league option.

He should go Sheets’ road performance was abysmal, such that it balanced out his outstanding home stats into a pretty mediocre overall performance. He also completely disappeared in September, along with the rest of the team. He’s next-to-useless against left-handed pitching. As was the case with his minor league career, Sheets pounds the ball into the ground far too often, negating his natural power, and his batted-ball stats remain below average. Though Sheets improved in the outfield, he’s still among the worst defenders in the league and needs to be employed at 1B/DH — and even without Abreu, the White Sox will have a logjam of options there. Sheets could potentially bring a piece that could help balance out the roster with the right trade partner, though any return is likely to be a similarly flawed/limited player.

The verdict I’ve been a fan of Gavin since he was drafted, and though the returns remain disappointing he did provide pretty good production for a non-insignificant stretch of the season. There is still some higher ceiling he could reach, and his performance post-demotion demonstrated an ability to make adjustments in-season that will hopefully continue to carry over into next year. As he still has an option and is basically at the league minimum, there’s no real incentive to move on from Sheets unless a team is enamored enough with him that they’re willing to offer a player who does more to balance out the White Sox roster (better defense, more even platoon splits). Ideally, the team gets enough depth on the 26-man to force Gavin back to Charlotte until he’s needed, in which time he hopefully puts it all together.