Over the next few weeks, BP South Side will be reviewing the performance of all 51 players who suited up for the 2017 White Sox. Players whose seasons were particularly noteworthy will get their own standalone article, while smaller contributors or those who were traded/cut will be grouped together. We’ll do our best to summarize and analyze what each player brought to this year’s club, what we learned, didn’t learn, and what it all means for his future with the team.
This was finally supposed to be Tyler Saladino’s big year. He was finally fully recovered from his litany of injuries. He was a league-average bat in 2016, capable of playing anywhere in the infield. And Brett Lawrie, his main competition for playing time, had been non-tendered (and ultimately disappeared from baseball). Sure, Tim Anderson is already in Chicago and Yoan Moncada wasn’t long for Charlotte but second base (and then the super utility role) were his to lose. Things were finally looking up!
Until they weren’t. When the best month of your season’s hitting line is .221/.329/.294, it’s safe to say you’re maybe not having the best of years. Power has always been the weakest aspect of Saladino’s game, so starting the season with six extra base hits over the first two months was extremely concerning. Turns out there was a reason for it, as the Sox placed him on the disabled list with back spasms at the end of May.
Saladino would see no action again until a six game rehab stint in Charlotte in July. His numbers upon returning were no better than before the month plus of rest and his final stats were depressing: .178/.254/.229 with a TAv of .181.
It’s not entirely fair to judge someone whose back is clearly unhealthy’s season solely on statistics. No one is going to be able to hit with that kind of injury. But you also can’t just ignore it going forward. This is a potentially career-wrecking situation and the main thing to hope for from Saladino in 2018 is that he’s fully healthy.
Lead Photo Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports