This Week in White Sox Baseball: July 9-15

Week 14 Record: 3-2 (33-62 Overall), 4th in AL Central

We have reached the end of the first half, and your 2018 Chicago White Sox are 33-62. If the season ended today, the White Sox would have the third overall draft pick in next year’s draft. However, after that horrid 9-27 start, the White Sox are 24-35 and have played a much higher quality of baseball than before. Let’s take a look back at the last week of the first half.

Weekly Score Update

Game 91: White Sox 2, Cardinals 14

Game 92: White Sox 4, Cardinals 0

Game 93: White Sox 9, Royals 6

Game 94: White Sox 0, Royals 5

Game 95: White Sox 10, Royals 1

This Week By the Numbers

0 – Number of runs Lucas Giolito gave up in 6.1 innings on Sunday

3 – Overall draft pick the White Sox would have if the season ended today

.600 – Yoan Moncada’s OBP in 5 games this week

801 – Consecutive White Sox Home Games Laura William has attended

11/1 – Michael Kopech’s K/BB ratio in 6 innings of one-run baseball on Saturday

2 – Number of hits Eloy Jimenez had in his return from the DL on Sunday Night

0 – Number of times I’ve worried about Yoan Moncada this week

Quote of the Week: James Shields on Watching the Young White Sox Grow

I’m pretty excited to watch this organization grow over the next five years because of how much talent they have. As soon as they put it together, it’s going to be something special.”

– Per MLB.com’s Scott Merkin

Shields also mentioned in this article that he “wants to win”, so it seems he is on his way out via trade very soon. However, listening to a veteran who has had a direct impact on the young players that are a part of this rebuild is an exciting reminder of how much talent is fighting to come to the Major League level very soon. It’s also a refreshing one as many fans struggle with the 33-62 record that the White Sox have at the All-Star Break: better days are ahead.

Question of the Week

With the end of the First Half arriving, the Question of the Week was a simple one: give a letter grade to the White Sox’ season up to this point:

3% – A

23% – B

54% – C

20% – D/F

This is about the result I was expecting, but not necessarily the one I agree with. This team has been hampered by injuries, growing pains, and most importantly, unfair expectations. This team was not built to win a lot of games this year – the talent level, especially given all the injuries, is not conducive to winning. However, the predictions of a Twins-like Wild Card berth still came out, and while it’s okay to have those predictions, it’s not good to set them as expectations in Year 2 of the rebuild. These are the type of expectations that led to 20% of people saying this season has been a failure.

Yes, Yoan Moncada has struggled and Lucas Giolito hasn’t looked like the Ace he was supposed to be when we traded for him. However, both of these players have turned it around significantly in recent weeks, and Yoan really hasn’t been as bad as most seem to this – he still has posted a 2.0 bWAR with a 105 OPS+. And, sure, Carson Fulmer looked really bad all year as a starer, but it appears that he has finally transitioned to the bullpen role in AAA that he is probably best suited for. Outside of these players, we’ve had surprising consistency from Narvaez and Smith’s offense, Jose Abreu is an All-Star, and Yolmer Sanchez, Avi Garcia, and Leury Garcia have all performed well as the Sox try to figure out who will be around for the long-term. Reynaldo Lopez has shown the ability to be a front of the rotation starter, while Dylan Covey is establishing himself as someone who might be more than the White Sox faithful thought he would be.

All of this hasn’t even considered the fact that the guys in the minors deserve more recognition: Eloy is mashing in AAA and Kopech looks just about ready for his Major League debut, while players like Jordan Stephens, Ian Hamilton, Blake Rutherford, Luis Gonzalez, and Laz Rivera have all been nice surprises in the promise they’ve shown as young prospects. Heck, the Winston-Salem Dash won their First Half championship, and Luis Basabe and Dylan Cease just played in the Futures Game. Basabe homered, and Cease recorded two outs on 8 pitches while hitting 98 mph on the gun. This is just a small overview of the incredible play that we’ve seen in the minors this year. That alone is making this season a success in my mind.

Teams slump, players slump, and performances aren’t always perfect. Ricky Renteria might’ve given the Sox a D, but that’s his job – this team has not player perfectly and the fundamentals have been poor, so he has to criticize the performance on the field (as he should). But, from a fan perspective, this season has been filled with positives. Sure, the record might be worse than anyone would’ve guessed, but this team wasn’t designed to win. I doubt fans would feel any better if this team had 40 wins rather than 33. Outside of the bullpen meltdowns from players who aren’t a part of the future, this team has been enjoyable to watch – the effort level is not something that anyone can complain about.

My Grade: B+

Player of the Week

Thanks to everyone who voted! And congratulations this week to Yoan Moncada, who captured 60% of the vote! Moncada hit .385/.600/.846 in 5 games this week, and is currently on a 12-game on-base streak. It’s good to see Moncada return as the POTW.

Congratulations also to Carlos Rodon (33%) and Luery Garcia (6%) for their solid weeks that helped guide the White Sox to three wins this week. Leury has been excellent since returning from the DL, and hit .421/.450/.632 this week. He has been a consistent force in this lineup since his return.

Moment of the Week

Thanks again for all the votes! In a small margin of victory, Carlos Rodon’s 7 shutout innings against the St. Louis Cardinals won Moment of the Week this week! Carlos has thrown well since his return from surgery, and his start against the Cards continued his showing of ace potential.

Other awesome moments this week: Luis Basabe’s homer off of Hunter Greene in the Futures Game on Sunday (26%), Moncada’s 1st Homer of the season from the right side of the plate (22%), and another quality outing from Lucas Giolito on Sunday (17%).

The Week Ahead: All-Star Break Before Heading to Seattle

Monday: Home Run Derby

Tuesday: All-Star Game

Wednesday-Thursday: OFF DAYS

Friday-Saturday: Series vs. Seattle Mariners… Starters TBD

Enjoy the All-Star Festivities, White Sox fans!

*Featured Photo Credits: Bob Horsch

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