MLB: Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox

South Side Morning 5: Cut It Out, May

The title does not refer to Jacob May, potential fourth outfielder of the future. Rather, as we approach Memorial Day, White Sox fans can look back on what has been a frustrating month.

1. While going 8-9 is hardly a disaster, there has been an awful lot of bad luck–the White Sox have outscored their opponents by 14 runs since May 1st, but have gone 1-3 in games decided by one run and have a losing record to show for it–and red flags have cropped up about the long-term viability of the present roster.  What’s more, the offense is coming off of three straight games of looking really, really bad against Doug Fister, Collin McHugh, and Dillon Gee. Hardly murderer’s row.  The front office seems appropriately concerned, and has expressed a desire to supplement the roster as soon as the rest of the league is willing to oblige.

2. The month of May has been a mixed one for the enigmatic Avisail Garcia, which began with him injured, and then saw a 5-game hot streak that inflated his line to .273/.350/.477 on the season.  It prompted fair questions about whether there was any hope that he had made legitimate improvements such that he could be permanently re-classified away from Roster Spot Most In Need Of An Upgrade.

Since that high water mark, however, Old Avisail has returned, hitting .182/.206/.242 with 11Ks against only 1 walk in the last 8 games.  Obviously we are talking about tiny sample sizes here, but such futility is a harsh splash of cold water on the optimism couched in similar small sample sizes.  PECOTA still thinks he will have a TAv of .261 for the rest of the year, pretty much exactly league average, which is underwhelming but perhaps won’t kill you, as long as his glove isn’t also out there choking the life out of the team.

3. Dioner Navarro has hit .308/.317/.436 this month, which is reassuring, as his bat was supposed to be the main thing he had to offer, and April was troubling. The catcher position has been playing out in somewhat predictable fashion, with Alex Avila already doing a DL stint and flashing a walks-only profile that still boils out to an “empty” .345 OBP, which ranks 11th in MLB amongst catchers who have more than 50PAs.

4. While the shortstops are predictably struggling–neither has an OBP above .300, and have shook out as Bat Only and Glove Only–they have been managing just enough production to vitiate the need to add from the outside for now.  This is my ham-handed way of transitioning into talking about the team’s top prospect Tim Anderson, who, unsurprisingly, had a rough go of it in his initial promotion to AAA.  After 18 games against the most polished pitching he has ever seen, Anderson seems to have flipped a switch, hitting .368/.409/.517 in the month of May, with a perfectly solid K:BB ratio of 16:6.

In a tiny sample, he is still getting beaten badly by RHPs on the year, and should be given as much time as he needs to maximize his potential.  Still, the last three weeks are obviously a very welcome development, and give hope that he may be able to contribute in the majors at some point in 2016.

5. The schedule moving forward over the next few weeks does not get any easier, with the menu consisting of non-Twins divisional opponents and interleague match ups against the Mets and Nationals. Any White Sox fan should be thrilled to start the year 25-17, but there have been some missed opportunities in getting to this point, and there is still a long way to go.

Lead Image Credit: Mark L. Baer // USA Today Sports Images


Related Articles

Leave a comment

Use your Baseball Prospectus username