The White Sox can't hit, pitch, field, or run the bases, so there aren't many positives through the first 22 games. The White Sox rank 11th in the American League in batting average, dead last in home runs, RBI, runs scored, and stolen bases. In other words, this is the worst offense in the American League to date. The White Sox also rank 12th in ERA and WHIP, and are currently dead last in opponents batting average. The good news is that those numbers can't get much worse, but will they get better?
Yes, but it remains to be seen by how much.
Among the everyday players, Jose Abreu is probably the only one producing numbers close to what is expected. Leadoff man Adam Eaton is batting just .192. Melky Cabrera is homer-less and on pace for about 45 RBI. Avisail Garcia is batting .342, but is on pace for about 7 home runs and 45 RBI, Adam LaRoche is hitting just .211 and on pace for only about 65 RBI. Conor Gillaspie, Alexei Ramirez,Tyler Flowers, and Micah Johnson are collectively hitting around .215 with just one home run and 21 RBI. The White Sox offense is off to a historically bad start, but I'm still betting on them heating up and producing close to what is expected. Unfortunately, if it doesn't turn around immediately, it could be too late to make a difference in the standings.
The starting rotation had mixed expectations with Chris Sale, Jeff Samardzija, and Jose Quintana projected to be one of the more formidable threesomes in baseball. Obviously, there were concerns with the back end of the rotation with John Danks and Hector Noesi, but the thought was that the top three would be good enough to make up for it. After 22 games, that has not been the case as each member of the rotation is hovering around or above the 5.00 ERA mark. I don't have much hope for Danks or Noesi to turn it around, and strongly believe that Carlos Rodon should and will replace one of them (probably Noesi) by the end of the month. That move should help strengthen the depth of the rotation, but Sale, Samardzija, and Quintana need to be more consistent. Sale's ERA is skewed by one bad start, but he hasn't been dominant yet. Samardzija and Quintana both have had 3 good starts and two bad starts which has not allowed them to get on a roll yet. I still believe in the top three and Rodon should help, but time is running out if the White Sox have intentions on contending this season.
If this team is going to start winning more consistently, they need to start playing better defensively and being smarter on the basepaths. I'm not sure what else can be done to improve this, other than just executing better. This team isn't full of rookies. This are mostly veterans and they should understand the fundamentals of baseball. It can't be taught to them at this point.
The one positive with this team might be the bullpen. David Robertson, Zach Duke, Dan Jennings, and Matt Albers have been terrific, but Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka have struggled out of the gate. Based on their performances last year, I expect Putnam and Petricka to be much better going forward, and honestly believe that the bullpen will be a strength for this team. The question is, how many leads will they be asked to protect?
As far as the whole "fire Robin Ventura" thing goes, I'm not sure how much that will help. Robin Ventura isn't the reason veteran players are struggling. However, I can't argue with the decision if the White Sox decide to let him go just to shake things up. This team's performance is simply unacceptable and it needs to get better somehow, someway.
Lastly, I have decided to stop blogging for letstalkwhitesox.com. I no longer have the time necessary to post multiple blogs a week. Going forward I will continue to blog here from time to time, but most of my thoughts on the White Sox will be shared via Twitter. Be sure to follow me @etichel07.