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Grading the White Sox: Josh Harrison

He was the most fun on the team, and we’re not Joshing

Cleveland Guardians v Chicago White Sox
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

At midseason, the SSS staff graded the 46-46 White Sox, from the head of the class Dylan Cease down to Dallas Keuchel. We invented a WARsss metric that could very well be just a cute way to trot out our special site grades — but really for all you know could be the product of years of research in a stats lab.

Our expanded report card will take us through everyone who saw time in uniform for the White Sox, plus some front-office types. Most of our writers will take on a couple of players, with final grades and short writeups, running through the end of November. Enjoy!

Josh Harrison
Second Baseman
Midseason: 1.2 WARsss
Final 3.0 WARsss

The numbers for Josh Harrison are a whole lot better than for most members of the White Sox, but before we get to any numbers, allow a critical point:

Josh Harrison loves to play baseball.

It shows in every game, in every play, that Harrison loves the game and loves to play the game. On a team where most of the players spent most of the season looking like their mom told them they better go out and get some fresh air before she takes away their PlayStation, that really stood out.

The adjective most used to describe the White Sox all season was “lifeless,” but Harrison showed life every game. Or at least every game he was allowed to play.

Want a sample?

How about another.

And those highlights were from the same game!

Josh was by far the best defensive player on the team, scoring a 1.0 dWAR from Baseball-Reference, with only Yoán Moncada even remotely close, at 0.6. Most of the team was negative, even Luis Robert, who apparently lost interest in the sport early on in 2022.

And that was with a poor defender on one side of Harrison at first base, a mediocre one on the other side at shortstop, and a random selection of fans picked from the stands behind him in right.

Harrison made the game fun to watch, at least as much as was possible for a White Sox fan this season. And he played as often as managers let him, not constantly needing a few days off for vague leg injury or a vaguer owie of some sort.


That was a tale of two seasons for Harrison, one horrible and one pretty darned good, with the pretty darned good part lasting longer. Not that most fans noticed.

Harrison was absolutely awful in April, slashing .135/.200/.243. Yep, that awful.

May wasn’t much better, at .194/.286/.274 — downright nasty for a lifetime .274 hitter.

On June 2, Harrision was sporting an OPS of .503. That’s way down in Teacher’s Pet Leury Garcia territory. There was talk of an imminent DFA.

Then, Harrison turned things around, big time. Not that all the fans who kept crying about the need of a second baseman noticed.

Harrison hit .322 in June, .243 in July (but with a .746 OPS), .284 in August, and .303 in September. That’s right, in September, when most of the rest of the team was keeling over from the exhaustion of playing in maybe 110 games, the 35-year-old Buckeye was just about carrying the offense.

Harrison ended up hitting .256/.317/.370, below his career numbers but right on the team average. So much for being a weak link.


Good question.

Harrison was a bargain in 2022, his 1.6 bWAR (1.4 fWAR) providing far more value than his $4 million cost (2022 worked out to be a little more than $4.4 million per WAR, as the guideline). And that’s even without the fun factor.

The White Sox had an option on his services for 2023, and taking the option would cost about $4 million more than buying him out. Any intelligent front office of a team wanting to contend in 2023 would deem taking the option a no-brainer.

But this isn’t a team with an intelligent front office. This is the White Sox, pathetic and dysfunctional at every level from the owner on down. So naturally, the team made the cost-cutting and short-sighted move, declining the option and putting Harrison back on the market.

With the move, Rick “I’m totally brilliant at my job, it’s not my fault the results are crap” Hahn is saying that Romy González is a solid major league player (spoiler alert: he isn’t) or that Lenyn Sosa is ready for The Show (no, he’s not) or that Danny Mendick will be recovered and hitting as well as he did early in the season (only possible until the rest of the teams realize he’s apt to play and bother to develop a book on him — then, no). What Hahn really means is, “We have to slide by on the cheap on this one, because I’ve blown tens of millions on horrendous acquisitions and contracts.”

So, Josh Harrison will be playing elsewhere in 2023. Even though he can still go deep. Well, sort of deep, anyway.

2022 White Sox Grades

Josh Harrison, 2B, 3.0
Gavin Sheets, RF-1B, 2.5
Jake Burger, 3B, 2.2
Romy González, IF, 2.0
Aaron Bummer, LHRP, 1.8
AJ Pollock, OF, 1.3
Matt Foster, RHRP, 1.2
Yoán Moncada, 3B, 0.92
Lenyn Sosa, SS, 0.85
José Ruiz, RHRP, 0.83
Mark Payton, OF, 0.6
Carlos Pérez, C, 0.399
Lucas Giolito, RHSP, 0.392
Adam Engel, OF, 0.237
Vince Velasquez, RHP, -0.4
Reese McGuire, C, -1.1
Kyle Crick, RHRP, -1.65
Joe Kelly, RHRP, -1.75
Daryl Boston, 1B Coach, -2.0
Anderson Severino, LHRP, -2.2
Jerry Reinsdorf, OWN, -2.321
Jake Diekman, LHRP, -2.366
Rick Hahn, GM, -2.401
Bennett Sousa, LHRP, -2.425
Frank Menechino, BAT COACH, -2.469
Yasmani Grandal, C/DH, -2.549
Leury García, UTIL, -2.7
Adam Haseley, OF, -3.146
Joe McEwing, 3B Coach, -3.167
Ryan Burr, RHRP, -3.4
Tony La Russa, MGR, -3.5
Dallas Keuchel, LHSP, -3.9


Gone, but not forgotten. How’d we do on Josh’s grade?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Too harsh, Leigh’s right, Josh was fun to watch and did his job.
    (12 votes)
  • 22%
    Too easy, Josh is getting old and the team can’t afford to wait until midseason for production.
    (11 votes)
  • 54%
    Just right, and I’m both sorry and happy to see him go.
    (27 votes)
50 votes total Vote Now