Pictured above: Dayan dappin' dudes
So far in the second half, the White Sox are undefeated, Dayan Viciedo is a stud and the bullpen is perfect. There is a lot of confidence that this is how things will continue to play out. Starting the second half with a fun 3-2 comeback win over the Astros was nice, but the implications were more interesting.
The most amazing part of Friday night's success was Daniel Webb, who recently looked plenty worth of a demotion so that he could get back to missing his spots by less than two feet, contributed half of those innings. Raw stuff has never been lacking for Webb, but MLB hitters aren't going to meet him on his own terms and hack at every good slider he throws, and the Sox promoted him before he had really mastered throwing strike 1. His rapid ascent through the minors lent optimism he could learn on the job, since when have the Sox ever not figured that? It's still July. He just might. This would be the type of year to just let him screw things up for 3 1/2 months first.
It's amazing to think about how good Dayan Viciedo has looked in stretches, and how he's actually tapped into massive raw power recently and clubbed four of his 12 hits over the wall in July. That it's only 12 hits, though, is the problem. He has a .268 OBP in his relative bounceback month. He can be swing happy and live off his batting average, or he sell out for power and whiff a lot, but he can't do both. He insists on doing both. But he's hitting for power. Since he has a power hitter's body, plays power hitter defense, runs at power hitter speed, and has a power hitter's disregard for the finer points of battles with pitchers, it's important he get congruency in that area.
Carlos Rodon will pitch in the White Sox organization this coming week, which is exciting exciting exciting stuff. Despite Rick Hahn reportedly being very encouraged by Rodon's level of upkeep, he hasn't pitched in two months and is going through rehab-level activity, such as working in single-inning bites in Rookie Ball. Please release the video of Rookie Ball hitters facing a MLB-quality slider.
It's player talk, so massive amounts of salt are in place and there's zero assumption that their opinion is relevant to the organization's plan, but Alexei Ramirez and Chris Sale both expressed eagerness and expectation to be contenders before the end of Alexei's contract. Dan Hayes' piece had an interesting line to read into, even though it's not directly sourced:
I would never have considered a trade including Ramirez as something that would return a "cornerstone," necessarily, more a subtraction of a piece that could be replaced internally (being optimistic about Semien or Anderson) for another player who could be a starter. But seeing as the Sox picked up a cost-controlled centerfielder/leadoff man for Hector Santiago, there's a pretty wide range of possibilities. On the other hand, if the sentiment is meant to reflect that Ramirez is the centerpiece they plan to win their next playoff berth with, that's less open to interpretation.
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