The White Sox won two series this past week, but are still dead-last in the American League in runs scored thanks to several black holes (I just watched INTERSTELLAR on a plane and just one seems like a kick in the pants) in their lineups. The people--might--demand solutions! Are there any?
Adam Eaton & Melky Cabrera
Well, you can't do a thing about this! The Melk-Man is signed through 2017 and Adam Eaton is...I think he has more guaranteed years in Chicago than Rahm Emanuel at this point. There's no solution except play them and hope they get better. Both were more or less acquired because there's nothing of substance manning the outfield in the White Sox farm system.
Cabrera's contact rate is fine, he took three walks Sunday to put himself back to his career averages. He just hasn't put a charge into anything yet (.029 ISO) and a summer in the Cell should take care of that.
Statistically, Eaton looks like it's a pure BABIP issue. He's 100 points below last year and 75 points below his career mark. There's been a teamwide power shortage that I wouldn't necessarily want to exclude him from, but dinks and doinks are also his life's work. Most observers have noticed an unusual lack of approach from Eaton. He's frittered away a month before, most noticeably when he came off the DL in May determined to pull the Sox out of their hole and hit .224/.237/.241 with 15 strikeouts and a single walk. He's recovered before! He's young!
At 35, LaRoche is at Konerko age, where it can't be ruled out that he transitions from cagey veteran to completely washed-up seemingly overnight, which is why starting the year with 27 whiffs in 74 plate appearances is very eye-opening. But a lot of terror could be controlled if the Sox stopped putting a guy who hasn't been playable against lefties since 2012...against lefties. LaRoche was touting a .463 OPS against them going into Sunday, well past the threshold where "any friggin' right-handed dude" would be an improvement.
Here's a guy in a jam. Gillaspie has been nearly completely shielded from left-handed pitching and has responded with a .557 OPS and a 26.1 K% that suggest he's getting attacked in a way he doesn't have a quick answer for. That would be bad enough, but Gillaspie doesn't have the pedigree to encourage the Sox to wait him out, and his own claim to a job is mashing righties. Gordon Beckham can hit like crap too and field better while doing it, so can Emilio Bonifacio. Matt Davidson probably needs to crush the minors for a half season before he deserves a chance, but is another reason Conor won't get any comfort.
I say he has another week of unmitigated scuffling before a slow bleed of his right-handed at-bats to Beckham begins.
A week ago he was a bright spot, then he went seven for his last 30 with 11 strikeouts. For a slump, the numbers could be worse, but Garcia's approach is absolutely dreadful at the moment, and really discouraging to see at this point in his development. He'd probably need to be flirting with the Mendoza line at the All-Star Break before a trade deadline patch-up is considered.
Garcia is only 23, so stretches of complete confusion are not verboten or shocking, but ugh goodness gracious, take a pitch, my man.
While we're talking about people not putting a charge into the ball, Micah is slugging .286. There's precedent in his minor league profile for slap-hitting, but he probably needs to bump that ISO into Adam Eaton territory--I cannot believe I am aspiring for someone to slug like Adam Eaton--if he wants to have a career.
Johnson is less than 50 plate appearances into his major league career, so at this point we're just eye-testing to see if he looks overmatched, which he does not. I do not know what kind of confidence anyone taking the second base job can have if it's just going to be a spin cycle of still-adjusting youngsters trying to happen upon an immediate hot streak, so he should get some time, but Carlos Sanchez's gaudy (albeit completely ridiculous--.500 BABIP, 26.2% K-rate) will keep him in position to usurp Johnson if he doesn't pick it up mid-season. Beckham's been too busy at third to trouble Johnson so far, and Bonifacio is just having a weirdly disconnected beginning to the season.
Unsurprisingly, the overall thesis is that the Sox have to wait and play through it, since the season is only three weeks old. There are some cases where Robin Ventura should stop aiming and firing at his own foot, and we're only a few weeks away from being REALLY mad about it, but mostly we have to take heart in that the massively upgraded offense has been completely awful and the season has not died already.