I originally started this State of the Offense "series" thinking that the offense would eventually wind up somewhere close to league average, but that after the first twenty games they were in an underperforming slump. Then after another twenty games...the offense was still terrible. As I write this, 63 games are in the books, and the White Sox just got shut out in back-to-back games, managing fewer than 4 hits in both of them. At this point it's just a matter of marveling at how bad the offense is.
NOTE: All statistics do not reflect the Tuesday, 6/16/15 shutout at the hands of the Pirates. So that means these numbers are probably better than they will be after getting dominated by Charlie Morton.
There are a few guys who aren't culprits. Jose Abreu, Avisail Garcia, and Adam LaRoche have all been average to above average. Abreu has been "disappointing" in the sense that we all hoped he would keep posting MVP-caliber numbers instead of merely Very Good numbers as he has so far. Perhaps it's reassuring that he's still on pace to hit 30-something homers with an OPS in the mid-.800s and everybody is saying, "What's wrong with Abreu?" Avisail and LaRoche have certainly come back to earth after (odd) banner months of May for the both of them. Still, as the only players not named Jose Abreu with an OPS+ above 100, they don't seem to be worth negativity when so much else is going wrong.
Carlos Sanchez - If I were Micah Johnson I'd be really insulted by what's been going on. Well, he was already insulted to be sent down in the first place, but still. Carlos Sanchez came into today with an OPS below .400. That's breathtaking. And frankly, as Ethan phrased it the other night - for a guy who is nothing but a glove, his glove is really not that good. It's fine, but he's hardly Mark Belanger out there, and even if he were a sub-.400 OPS is REALLY pushing it. Coming into Tuesday's game (where he went 0/2), Sanchez had a wRC+ of seven. There are 18 pitchers with 20 PAs or more who are hitting better than he is. Aaron Harang is hitting better than Carlos Sanchez is.
--Melky Cabrera's OPS bottomed out at .521 on June 7th. Since then he has hit .321/.367/.393 in 30 PAs. Tiny sample, but any movement from a corpse is pretty noteworthy.
--Adam Eaton continues his crawl back to adequacy after his brutal start, as he has hit .277/.333/.426 in June.
--Alexei Ramirez continues to take on water, with another sub-.600 OPS month so far. What's worse is that he has had some ugly moments in the field and they seem to come in clusters. If the question-mark positions like C, 3B, and 2B are going to continue to be complete black holes, Melky and Alexei picked really bad times to have the worst seasons of their careers.
--Gordon Beckham took over pretty much full time at 3B once it became clear that if Conor Gillaspie wasn't going to hit either then they might as well have Beckham's glove out there. It's hard to tell if Gillaspie is losing whatever tiny margin for error he had to his foot injury, or if he's just not good enough to be anything other than some sort of bench bat in the NL. Either way, Beckham is 4 for his last 39 with 3 walks.
--Is Tyler Flowers good enough to play in the majors? Ummm...how low of a bar are you setting at catcher and how much stock do you put into small samples of pitch framing numbers? Soto has been better at the plate, but that's damning with faint praise.
--Jonathan Niese has hit better this season than the White Sox have at the following positions in 2015: C, 2B, SS, and LF.
--With Tim Anderson now slumping (in between random injuries) at AA, Trey Michalczewski is pretty much the only bat in the entire system that hasn't been a massive disappointment. There is nobody in AAA except Micah Johnson you could really call up with a straight face at this point - although I suppose since we're in a world where Geovany Soto is a DH, maybe George Kottaras is worth calling up? So depressing.
In the end, the White Sox still aren't technically out of it by wins and losses. If they win seven out of eight or have another five or six game winning streak they are right back in the thick of things. With their starting pitching that shouldn't be impossible. But the offense has been a lifeless wreck for about 40% of the season now, and there isn't really any help on the horizon - certainly not internally. As frustrating as it is to watch the same lineups fail in humiliating fashion night in and night out, Hahn is going to have to bring in help from the outside if he wants to do something about it - and he may already be done with trading future assets to compete for what looks like a lost 2015.
When does hockey season start again?
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