Friday, May 24, 2019

This is One Weird White Sox Team, Man

I don't know if they're Tampa Bay weird, but...a lot of this team just doesn't add up.

Let's start with the most obvious: James McCann is the best player on this team. He's hitting over .300 for the first time in his career, has a 1.6 WAR, which is already a season high for him (his previous high was 1.5 through all of 2017), and is already a MAJOR frontrunner for the AL ASG starting catching position.

Now let's digest this: a catcher who can't hit is having his best hitting season while playing for a team that can't pitch.

To be fair, the rest of the lineup is hitting, I'd say; Anderson, Abreu, Moncada, Leury Garcia are all hitting, all doing well. Newcomers like Ryan Cordell and Eloy Jimenez are doing fine alongside those guys. And Charlie Wilson is a nice bench bat. Granted, they've shed a lot of the youth movement that caused them trouble last season, but they seem to be on the right track as far as a solid lineup is concerned, which is nice. And getting a competent defensive catcher for the first time in a while certainly helps as well (with apologies to Welington Castillo)

The problem, as discussed, is pitching. Lucas Giolito is the only starter who doesn't have an ERA over 4 right now. The other options range from reasonable arms like Reynaldo Lopez to intriguing failures like Ivan Nova to...people who shouldn't be in a starting rotation, like Manny Banuelos. But Giolito is doing a bang-up job, especially in comparison to his 2018, with a 5-1 record and 50 strikeouts over 8 starts.

The bullpen is slightly better, with Alex Colome, Aaron Bummer and Josh Osich all doing their jobs, but...overall, the pitching is slowing this team down to third. They're separated themselves from the truly bad teams like the Royals and Tigers, but they're not at the point where they can really make a run at Cleveland or Minnesota. They're just kinda...stuck in the middle...waiting for improvements. Which isn't the WORST place to be, but you can tell they want better, especially after all these years without competing.

Coming Tonight: Last year he came into his own as a hitter. This year, he's going bigger...he's taking the leadership reins from someone who might be an all-time team hero.

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