We’ve started our annual Depth Chart Discussions, re-branded as Playing Time Battles for 2016. You can catch up on every team we’ve covered in the Playing Time Battles Summary post or following along using the Depth Chart Discussions tag.
No offense in the American League scored fewer runs than the White Sox last season, and as a result it stands to reason that the bats couldn’t support what was one of the finest starting rotations in all of baseball last year. The Pale Hose scored 22 fewer runs than the next worst (Rays, 644) team, and were also among the AL’s worst in walk rate (14th, 6.7%), isolated power (.130, last), batting average (.250, t-10th), wOBA (.300, last), wRC+ (86, last) and pretty much any other offensive statistic that one could muster.
It’s not hard to find the culprits.
Among the 11 White Sox hitters to accrue at least 200 plate appearances last year, just two — Jose Abreu and Adam Eaton — posted wOBA marks above .320. Geovany Soto checked in at .311 with an uber-weird .219/.301/.406 line, but he just barely cross the threshold in terms of PA. Melky Cabrera snuck in at .307, and everyone else was worse than the .300 AL average in 2015. Between those seven other players, the White Sox gave just under 3,000 plate appearances to below-average hitters last year, including 600-plus to Avisail Garcia and Alexei Ramirez, and nearly 500 to Adam LaRoche.
For a second it’s worth focusing on Cabrera and LaRoche, considering they were the two big-ticket items brought in to help prop up an offense that, quite frankly, was in the same position the season before. Instead, they combined to nearly 1,200 plate appearances of below-average production — all at a cool cost of $25 million, by the way. But while those two are still essentially promised full-time playing gigs in 2015 — Cabrera is actually probably the lesser of two evils in the outfield with Garcia — the team didn’t take upgrading the offense lightly. Read the rest of this entry »