MLB: Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox

South Side Morning 5: It’s Not Gonna Be May

1. The White Sox optioned struggling Jacob May to Triple-A following Monday’s 7-1 loss to the Royals, a sad but not surprising conclusion to the outfielder’s tenure on the 25-man roster.

May’s demotion became necessary as his playing time became more scarce. He had gone from April 23 to Monday without a start, and if he’s not going to get regular playing time in Chicago, and hardly providing much value off the bench, the only logic thing to do is send him back to Charlotte where he can re-gear in hopes of one day earning another opportunity.

For May to find success, he was always going to need prove he could be an above average defensive center fielder. His defense didn’t quite live up to the potential he showed in spring training, but his downfall was just flat out being overmatched at the plate, something Rick Renteria noted:

“He might have been a little overmatched,” said manager Rick Renteria, who gave increased playing time to Leury Garcia in center in the last week. “That’s just the bottom line. You want to make excuses for it. Might have been a little overmatched right now.

“He had a great spring, showed a lot of hard work, tenacity, even here going and working trying to get himself back on track, trying to keep his confidence up.”

The odds were always May becoming a major leaguer, and if nothing else, he’ll always have this month and his two hits. But here’s hoping he gets another shot at some point down the road.

2. What May’s demotion means for the present roster is that the White Sox are lacking a player other than Leury Garcia capable of playing center field. One would assume the impending roster move to replace May will address this, and the most logical choice is Willy Garcia, someone whose natural position isn’t center field, but he has logged 500 innings there during his minor league career, 54 of which have come this season in Charlotte.

The White Sox entered 2017 with a roster of … well, a rebuilding team. And center field was among their most fragile positions. With Charlie Tilson remaining out indefinitely and the May experiment failing, Leury, as well as Willy or whoever else gets called up, now has an opportunity to prove he can stick on a major league roster.

3. On the subject of thin depth, Dylan Covey made his fourth start of the season in Monday’s loss, allowing six earned runs in a career high 6.2 innings. Covey’s stuff isn’t going to generate a lot of swings and misses, but he found success pitching to contact during the first few innings, but left a hanger to Jorge Bonifacio and a changeup down the middle to Eric Hosmer that went out for a two-run homer that pretty much ended his night.

Covey has little margin for error, but for someone with his repertoire who was pitching in Double-A at this time last year, progress is progress.

4. Jose Abreu is good again. Before Monday’s 0-for-4, he registered six straight multi-hit games, including his first two home runs of the season in Saturday’s win over the Tigers. It being May 2 means players can nearly double their OPS in just two weeks time, and that’s exactly what Abreu did, going from a low of .380 on April 18 to .749 as of Tuesday.

This is only Abreu’s fourth season in the majors, but his season-to-season consistency have allowed us to sometimes take his productivity for granted. Considering he’s not on the wrong side of 30, it’s nice to see him get on one of his patented hot streaks. And whether the streak raises his trade stock enough to be dealt in July, or just simply have another above-average offensive season, it will be something worth enjoying.

5. Zack Collins was mentioned in the Monday Morning Ten Pack at Baseball Prospectus, and he’s walked 19 times in 86 plate appearances at Winston-Salem going into Monday. Collins’ advanced approach at the plate is something scouts have never disagreed about, but he’s still striking out a lot, which is why, along with his needing more work behind the plate, he remains in High-A.

The White Sox have made it clear time and time again that they believe in Collins as a catcher, but he’s a work in progress both offensively and defensively. Given the White Sox history at developing position players, as well as the scarcity of valuable catchers across the league, the importance of Collins’ development cannot be understated. Turning a good chunk of his plate appearances that don’t end in walks into other offensive production will be an important next step.

Lead Photo Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

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