MLB: Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs

South Side 5: A Day Off

It may have been a week since our last update, but again we have only one White Sox win to report.  It was a good win, with Lucas Giolito battling through supreme wildness to hold a potent Cubs lineup to three runs en route to a quality start. It still leaves the White Sox with the worst record in baseball, but it’s amazing how good each win feels anyway.

  1. Part of the odd tension of the 2018 season is despite the pitching staff’s massive struggles, there hasn’t been an obvious candidate to call up from Charlotte. Sure, Michael Kopech is a megaprospect, with all of the service time and fears of getting his development anything other than perfect which come with that status.  After him was a collection of veteran organizational depth and arms like Tyler Danish and Dylan Covey who aspire to fifth starter status.  However, the White Sox recently promoted Jordan Stephens from Double-A to Triple-A.  There was reason to believe Stephens could have started the year in Charlotte, as a college draftee who performed solidly over ~90 innings in Birmingham in 2017.  He’s already 25 and won’t be confused with the Kopechs of the world, but he’s much closer to a Prospect with a capital P who is now at the highest affiliate.
  2. Yoan Moncada returns from his DL stint on Tuesday. Hopefully he can just pick up right where he left off when he tweaked his hamstring, as he was finally converting his excellent eye and power into results on the field.  Losing at the same clip as the ’03 Tigers is never going to be enjoyable, but at least with Moncada morphing into a superstar it’s more bearable if it does. It also makes victories a little bit more likely as well.
  3. Matt Davidson’s renaissance continues apace, as he has now set a career high for walks in a season with 22, after only 141 PAs. Indeed, his K:BB is at 43:22 compared to his 2017 ratio of 165:19.  Accordingly he’s hitting a complete and excellent .261/.383/.591 on the year.  As I have pointed out, along with those smarter than I, the Astros championship goes far beyond “Tank for high draft picks à” Jose Altuve and Dallas Keuchel were already in Houston before the tank, but when they tore down it meant a lot more playing time, giving two relative non-prospects the run to become stars.  If Davidson can keep this up moving forward, it may be a lot more significant than, say, if Blake Rutherford develops.
  4. Every time I voice doubt about Adam Engel’s hitting, it seems as though he goes 2-for-4. Then again, here I am looking at his stat sheet and he’s at .193/.265/.250 after another 100 PAs.  Unlike with Stephens and the imminent Kopech, the solution here is less clear short of simply giving the job to the superior Leury Garcia full time, unless and until Eloy Jimenez comes up.  Even then, it doesn’t create an elegant remedy for the hole in center field.  Instead, the rampaging Eloy puts pressure on…
  5. …Nicky Delmonico. After a surprising breakout 2017, the 25-year-old outfielder is hitting .231/.339/.317.  His patience and contact skills are still apparent, but his power has absolutely vanished.  The weather’s been cold, it’s still not a lot of at bats to judge by, but there’s reason to believe the ball is less juiced than 2017.  What’s more, it’s worth remembering Delmonico has a career .432 slugging percentage in the minors.  Players get better, and this isn’t me giving up on him, but it’s fair to remember before last year, he didn’t have much game power, and it could be last year is the aberration not this one.

The Rebuild is still on, despite lots of injuries pausing the progress of a variety of big names in the system — Alec Hansen, Luis Robert, Jake Burger, etc. — and it’s inching closer. Just…very slowly.

Lead Image Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

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