It’s been a rough first week for the Chicago White Sox. From the league-worst 12.64 ERA for the starting rotation (17.42 if you remove Dallas Keuchel‘s start) to the mind-boggling tactical moves made by the coaching staff, the White Sox woke up this morning with a 1-4 record, good for the last place in the American League Central.
But despite the turbulent first five games, there are most definitely some silver linings, ones that will hopefully hold true as the rest of the ship aims to right itself in the coming days.
Leading the glass-half-full highlights for the Chicago White Sox has to be their top-rated prospect, Luis Robert. Through five games, Robert has picked up seven hits (1 HR, 2 2B, 2 RBI) and has an OPS of .979. Robert has hit safely in each of the first five games and has a pair of multi-hit games under his belt.
While strikeouts still remain a concern, especially as the league tries to adapt to La Pantera, the rookie has shown great restraint in only posting one multi-strikeout performance.
Not only is Robert hitting the ball at a great clip, but he’s also smoking most everything he can get his bat on. According to MLB Savant, Robert has a 96.3 mph average exit velocity which is in the top six percent of baseball, and he’s barreled 25 percent (top 10 percent) of his batted balls. His K% is in just the 38th percentile, and his hard-hit rate is in the top six percent of baseball.
Defensively, he’s sucking up just about everything hit to the outfield. Not just centerfield, but the whole damn outfield.
As awful as the starting rotation has been, the bullpen has been surprisingly good, and not only did they secure Dallas Keuchel’s victory on Saturday, they helped keep the Sox in a pair of ballgames on Tuesday after Dylan Cease and Carlos Rodon faltered early.
It might be time to start thinking of using an opener on some of these days.
Having just over a week to prepare for the truncated 60-game sprint hasn’t seemed to bother Yoan Moncada very much, if at all.
Moncada has a 1.088 OPS through his first four games and has a hit in each one of them. He’s also got a 33.3 percent barrel rate, which is among the top five percent of the league.
Sprinkle in some fine glovework over at third base, and Moncada is looking primed for another strong season.
While Jiménez has the smallest sample size of the group, it’s solely because he ran himself right into a wall on Sunday trying to track a home run ball against the Twins. However, Eloy looked good on Friday and Saturday picking up four hits and a walk, in nine plate appearances.
All four of those batted balls were hard hit and had an average exit velocity of 104.4 mph, which is in the top one percent of the league. He just looked locked in, and he’ll be back this week. If he can manage not to kill himself playing left field this season, he’s looking primed to build on his monster end to the 2019 season.
Dallas Keuchel has looked absolutely locked in since Summer Camp kicked off, and his regular-season debut against the high-powered Minnesota Twins was no exception.
Keuchel tossed five-and-a-third nearly blemish-free innings, getting tagged with just two earned runs that Steve Cishek allowed to score when he replaced him in the sixth inning on Saturday.
To keep the Twins record-setting home run offense (in 2019) on the ground and in the park on a hot July afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field is highly impressive, even beyond the box score. Keuchel will be a big part of any success that this team has in 2020, so let’s hope he can stay hot.
Feature Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images