Just give Alexei Ramirez the Gold Glove already. I don't say this because he did anything specifically tremendous defensively Tuesday night, but because I presume these awards are won with surprisingly angry campaigns that startle voters into hastily checking the error totals, then complying out of fear.
"ALEXEI IS A GOLD GLOVE SHORTSTOP, DAMN YOU!"
"Oh uh...wow...um...jeeze, I donno. I guess he's not-NOT the AL Gold Glove winner?!"
Ramirez has 10 errors on the season, giving him the best fielding percentage among qualified AL shortstops, on top of a piles of chances due to his still-exemplary range (both by way of his feet and his arm) and is leading the league in assists. Oh, and after homering Tuesday night, he trails only Jose Reyes in wRC+ among AL shortstops. That's probably an important factor.
Probably more important than any of this is that he was on the All-Star team this year, or that he hit in April. That everyone saw him replace Jeter in the All-Star Game and were reminded of his existence was probably more important than the fact that he's been an excellent fielder for five years now. Then again, Alcides Escobar can field too, and he's part of the charming Royals story of a pitching and defense team finding success, whereas the sox have been hot garbage since the All-Star break.
Robin Ventura is secure
Asked about Robin Ventura and staff's job performance, General Manager Rick Hah unsurprisingly offered rave reviews, and it's telling what he focused his praise upon.
Maintaining high spirits and focus and providing proper information and instruction sounds like the work of a crew focusing on player development rather than a front office looking over the shoulder of its manager after every strategic move and carving a tally of how many games he's personally won or lost on the wall of a cave.
Perhaps the Sox want to see if Conor Gillaspie can get better at hitting lefties, maybe they want Adam Eaton to be reliable at bunting......I don't have a rationalization for why Dayan Viciedo hit against a righty in a late-game RBI situation with De Aza on the bench, but two out of three isn't bad.
Shortstop Tim Anderson and righty fireballer Frank Montas are the headlining prospects of the White Sox seven-man entry into the Arizona Fall League. Both Anderson and Montas have missed significant PT to injury this season, so the hope is that they can make up for lost time in Arizona. Montas was tearing up High-A and Anderson just made it to Double-A after another aggressive push, so this will definitely be a high-order challenge for both. What new?
Also headed to the desert is the steady-hitting first baseman Rangel Ravelo, who boasts a .309/.387/.471 line in Double-A and walks almost as much as he strikes out, but is lacking the power production hoped for out of the position. Also going are the ageless Kevan Smith (C), wild young power arm Jefferson Olacio, 25-year-old right-hander Chris Bassitt, who also missed most of this season, and lefty Scott Snodgress, who is bad.
Being forthright, self-effacing and accountable may well have extended Gordon Beckham's White Sox tenure a year or two. He's always been willing to explore his own faults and failures, which made his corrective action plans sound more plausible.
This makes it unsurprising that he was contemplative and insightful about the difficulties of dealing with his first serious struggles in baseball on the major league level in his conference call with Chicago media, before ultimately taking the blame himself.
"I really felt like I had some weight taken off my shoulders," Beckham said about moving on to Anaheim, where he has no past. It's almost convincing enough to suck you in again about his chances of unlocking his talent in a less haunted location, until you remember his annual Spring claims of clarity and renewed focus. A hit-by-pitch has been his only time on base in eight trips since traveling to Anaheim.
Stay safe, buddy
As much as last night's outfield defense might have inspired some desire for violence, the White Sox are showing signs of actually addressing their outfielders' propensity for self-harm. Adam Eaton and Avisail Garcia have both missed time this year for plowing into hard surfaces, and evidences of caution continue to emerge.
Garcia pulled up on an in-between bloop in the second inning Tuesday night rather than dive, which isn't an ideal solution, but probably better than another torn labrum. He was also noticeably sliding in feet first in his first weekend back, and Adam Eaton revealed that head-first slides have been a particular target of White Sox brass.
Eaton's self-accounting for his recklessness has been impressive, but it's far better to see the matter being taken out of his hands entirely and replaced with something resembling team policy. As for his own most recent injury, it always seemed like more of a mistake that he never found the wall rather than a disregard for it, but it's only enhanced the scrutiny on his behavior.
As far as I can tell, Dayan Viciedo, who regularly cannonballs into the dirt and ran full-speed into a wall with his wrist rigidly extended out last week, has not taken any particular words of caution to heart, but save for straining an oblique last season while swinging hard enough to create a rip in time, he's been curiously durable in a Sox uniform. Against all odds, he's living up to his nickname.
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