Despite going on an acquisition binge during the offseason, the Chicago White Sox did little to alter the overall landscape of their infield. All five presumed starters were in the organization last year — if you count designated hitter, Adam LaRoche is a newcomer — though there is some new blood among the secondary faces.
To get a feel where the White Sox could use some improvement from last year, here are their positional ranks by wOBA:
Catcher – .304 (13th)
First Base – .359 (6th)
Second Base – .275 (25th)
Third Base – .320 (11th)
Shortstop – .314 (t-6th)
Designated Hitter – .312 (8th in AL)
As a team the Pale Hose were 12th in wOBA at .312 — just a percentage point behind the Indians and Brewers who tied for 10th. For all the perceived hand-wringing about the White Sox’ offense, the additions to this crew could take it from ‘pretty good’ to ‘among the league’s best’ in a hurry.
Anyway, what we care about today is the infield. I’ve enlisted the help of esteemed White Sox beat reporter Dan Hayes from CSN Chicago — follow him — to get the inside scoop. Let’s take a peek:
1B Jose Abreu
SS Alexei Ramirez
3B Conor Gillaspie
DH Adam LaRoche
Abreu outperformed even the wildest expectations last year — .317/.383/.581 — and will no doubt be among the first few first baseman off the board in your draft. For all the worry about his plate discipline, Abreu fanned in just 21.1% of his plate appearances last year — below the 21.3 percent league-average mark for first basemen. As long as he hits he’ll draw walks out of respect, and pretty much everyone is forecasting another solid season from him. Maybe not quite a .400-plus wOBA, but on the cusp. Read the rest of this entry »