TCS Morning 10: On to Texas

1. The cruelest mockery: The Rangers will mark the arrival of the White Sox in Texas by calling up the type of fearsome, high-ceiling, top-10 offensive prospect that the Sox have been unable to generate in over a decade. Joey Gallo will reportedly be called up to the big club on Tuesday, straight from Double-A. He's replacing injured third baseman Adrian Beltre on the roster, but it's unclear if he will be taking all of his at-bats right away. Gallo reminds me a bit of when the Sox ran into the just-called-up A-Rod in 1994, in the sense he does start against a slate of Samardzija, Sale and Rodon, Gallo could strike out more than six times...and then golf a 700-foot bomb off Zach Putnam in garbage time.

2. Thanks to Danks' complete game, the off-day, and even the relatively uncompetitive Saturday shutout, closer David Robertson has not worked since Friday, and setup man Zach Duke has not seen action since Thursday. During his dynamite May, Jeff Samardzija ate up over seven innings per start, which would likely restrict both to an inning or less if it held true. Despite our drawn-in concern about the Sox two most important relievers, there are no South Side relievers in the top-60 of the major leagues in appearances.

3. We could do this with a lot of White Sox positions, but ChiSox second basemen are hitting .223/.275/.251 with five extra-base hits. The calculation that if they're going to give away the at-bats, they might as well have a guy who can throw the ball to first without incident, but this group has done about everything they could do to get permanently replaced by Emilio Bonifacio in the near future. It won't be an exciting move, but it will be hard to argue against.

4. It's a dark place deep in our hearts that inspires us to make note that catcher Rob Brantly (career .235/.298/.325 hitter) has returned from the disabled list and been reassigned to Birmingham. We're almost three years removed from that one time he made tons of contact and drove the ball with authority in barely over a month of MLB time. Since then he's done things like be the worst hitter on a Triple-A team as a 24-year-old, or be a part of the 2013 Marlins offense. Geovany Soto's approach of "hit the crap out of one pitch per week" is warming on me given how power-starved the team is as a whole. Tyler Flowers being one of the strongest men in the sport and rocking with a .104 ISO will never stop being one of most irritating things in the world. He can do a ton of damage in a short period of time and drag his production numbers up quickly, but the wait for a hot stretch is getting perilous. 

5. Kenny Williams called the team's early season performance "embarrassing," in a Doug Padilla article that listed off the Sox current standings in ERA, runs, errors in such a way where 23-26 seems like a miracle (basically the way all articles about the Sox come off). Williams says the most frustrating element is the defense, because it's something he feels the Sox can control.

I...don't like this reasoning, and if we explore the implications, I don't think Williams will either. It's borne of the same "defense is just about effort" thinking that's falling out of vogue in basketball as legitimately talented defenders are becoming more easily identified. Someone who employed Dayan Viciedo for years should have a healthy understanding that defense cannot be made entirely out of effort and focus, and if it is, it just draws more scrutiny on Robin Ventura, who somehow can't get results despite above-average (by most accounts) amounts of drilling and routine. If you feel defense is the most easily controlled element, it only calls more scrutiny on those in control.

6. As happy as I am to live in this post-drought hellscape where Adam LaRoche is a successful middle-of-the-order hitter with a .395 slugging percentage, Dan Hayes had a post on LaRoche embracing the challenge of the DH role, and I figured I would check out the splits and ho-HO-HOLY CRAP:

1B: 40 PA, .333/.450/.848

DH: 148 DH, .203/.338/.268

As always, we're front row in the Small Sample Size theater, where LaRoche has been hot of late while Abreu has been banged up, and when you have only six home runs, the distribution of them can tip things pretty severely. Also, they took a career National League guy and threw him into something he had never done before at age 35; growing pains have resulted. LaRoche has the most proactive attitude about the issue as could possibly be hoped for, and Abreu's bumps and bruises means there will be plenty of first base action anyway.

7. Tuesday Rangers starter Colby Lewis is more machine than man at this point, 35-years-old, prone to fly balls while somehow pitching for years in Arlington, the owner of a career 91 ERA+, the last good year he had was also the last good year Rob Brantly had...and the Sox scored one run off him in 14.1 innings last season.

8.  Is Avisail Garcia an All-Star in a run-starved environment? Well, he's ninth among American League outfielders in wRC+ while playing right field on a balky knee. So, the answer is "No," but you don't deserve to have things thrown at you for asking. The "No" might be shouted, though.

9. The White Sox are on CSN+ in favor of the Cubs despite there being no Bulls or Blackhawks games tonight. We've kept things civil for a while but this is surely the transgression in media coverage of the two teams that cannot be tolerated.

10. Oh boy, it will be fun to have old teammates Avisail Garcia and Prince Fielder playing on the same diamond again.