The thing about running a baseball website is that you get to make decisions like “let’s do a review of every player who played for the White Sox in 2018.” You think to yourself “that’ll be neat, a nice little recap so people can get a good idea of, say, the progress Tim Anderson made, or Jace Fry’s unexpected ascent to quality reliever.”
You say these things and you’re excited. A whole month’s worth of content. “Good content!” you exclaim, all giddy with the anticipation for the words you’ll hammer out this month. It’s October and all the good teams are still playing, what else are you going to write about the White Sox?
And then you get your plan in place, which player is getting written up when, etc. You even make a spreadsheet outlining the whole thing! The more interesting players will get their own articles, and some of the guys who hardly played will be grouped together.
In theory, this sounds great. In practice, you get to days like today and you realize the error of your way. How the hell are you going to write an entire article about this motley crew of uninspiring part-timers?
The highlight of the season from this quizzical quartet came on May 3. Trayce Thompson had been reacquired about two weeks earlier after hopping from Los Angeles to Oakland, with a brief pit stop in New York. The Thompson acquisition wasn’t needle-moving, but it was cool because we knew and we liked him. He came up with the White Sox, battled through the minors, made it to the big club in 2015 and played well. He then played well with the Dodgers for a hot minute in 2016 after the White Sox shipped him West in a deal that netted them Todd Frazier. He was a homegrown thing with a famous brother who seemed pretty easy to root for, even if a few years riddled with injuries and some serious regression had taken the shine off considerably.
Before you started reading this or watched the above video, if I had asked you whose home run preceded Yolmer Sanchez’s infamous self-Gatorade bucket dump, would you have known it? Maybe you would have. After all, you’re probably a pretty big White Sox fan. But maybe it takes you a few beats longer than you expected. Either way, Thompson’s home run turned out to be one of just 14 hits he recorded with the White Sox in 2018. He hit .116/.163/.215 in 130 plate appearances, basically making Adam Engel look like Mike Trout. He was sent to Triple-A on June 20 and hit .213/.278/.363 the rest of the season.
What I’m trying to say is that it wasn’t great. But Thompson gave us the start of Yolmer Being Yolmer. For that, I’ll always be thankful.
It took Ryan LaMarre four years worth of cups of coffee in the majors to hit his first career home run. After tiny, little, itty-bitty samples in Cincinnati, Boston, and Oakland, and a somewhat longer opportunity in Minnesota, LaMarre clubbed his first career home run in Detroit — just down the road from where he grew up — in one of the cooler moments of a season that was mostly bereft of them.
He also had a four-hit day at Yankee Stadium, and put up a solid .303/.324/.485 line in 71 major league plate appearances while jumping back and forth between Chicago and Charlotte a good number of times. LaMarre will be 30 years old before the start of next season, which is older than you probably think, and will likely be squeezed out of the organization before long given the glut of outfield options sure to make their way up the ladder before long.
The best thing one can say about Ryan Cordell and Charlie Tilson is that they played — well, I mean, kind of. Cordell, who seemed to be toward the front of the line in terms of outfield promotions after a solid Spring Training, broke his clavicle about two weeks into the Triple-A season and missed three months. It was a frustrating turn for a player who’s struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. Things looked less promising upon his return as he struggled to regain whatever he had working in the spring while putting up uninspiring numbers at both Double-A and Triple-A, and promptly went 4-for-40 after a September call-up.
You know Tilson’s story by now. Unlike Cordell he was healthy all season long, which was a good and cool thing after missing more than a year with a myriad of ailments. He spent a little less than two months in the majors and at times looked the superior option to Adam Engel, at least at the plate, hitting .264 with a .331 OBP and 8 percent walk rate. He hit for no power whatsoever with just two extra-base hits in 121 plate appearances. Tilson is not the most interesting player in the overall scheme of things, but why hedidn’t get more playing time, nor even a September call-up, remains a mystery to me.
Finally, there’s Matt Skole. The White Sox signed him as a minor league free agent last winter and he appeared in four games in late May/early June during a Matt Davidson disabled list stint. He went 3-for-11 with a home run. Skole is 29-years-old and pretty much the epitome of minor-league depth at this point. Think of him as like the position player’s Rob Scahill or something. As a DH/1B type, he’s in the wrong organization what with the White Sox plethora of guys who can’t play anywhere else.
Look, I told you it’s difficult to find anything interesting to write about some of these guys, alright?
Lead Photo Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports