No products in the cart.
The Detroit Tigers’ 6-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians officially eliminated the White Sox from playoff contention.
From this point on, wins and losses themselves don’t mean much. The Sox are virtually guaranteed to have a protected first-round pick (top 15), and that’s all that matters. You could say that they’re better off losing, but it’s a more charming idea in theory than practice, considering it involves alienating paying customers to various extents.
Anyway, here’s a quick list of five players who would benefit from getting off the bench for the final nine games. It doesn’t count Daniel Hudson since he’s starting Sunday and that’s about all you can hope for:
No. 1: Jhonny Nunez. Nunez’s season line (4 1/3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER) is skewed by his last appearance against the Royals, in which he allowed two runs for every batter he retired (two). I don’t think the Sox should plan around him by any means, but he’s a lights-out spring from being in the mix for 2010. He hasn’t walked any of the 20 batters he’s faced this season, so at least he’s challenging hitters. Guillen should challenge himself and give Nunez a few more looks this season, especially in situations where it might hurt (higher leverage, against lefties, etc.).
No. 2: Alex Rios. It might feel like a kick in the nuts if he turns it on in garbage time, but it’d be nice if he could create some video of good habits to study in the offseason. He might be the most crucial position player of the 2010 team, which is a little bit scary, but we’ll wait to see what Kenny Williams does with the designated hitter spot.
No. 3: Tyler Flowers. I hope Flowers doesn’t start 2010 with the Sox, because he still needs work defensively, and if he’s A.J. Pierzynski’s backup… he ain’t going to get much practice. Still, after watching him rope that double off the right-field wall, it’d be nice to know if there’s more where that came from. Please — no more pinch-hitting with Mark Kotsay.
No. 4: Chris Getz. Since he suffered so many small injuries, it’s hard to get a feel of Getz’s true talent level. Right now, I think that’s going to be a theme — a different malady will come up and bite him every so often, (mis)leading us to believe there’s more than meets the eye. I still think a platoon with Jayson Nix is the best bet, but we know what Nix is about, so Getz should play out the string, if only to prove he can actually play out the string.
No. 5: Carlos Torres. I still think he’s D.J. Carrasco insurance at present, but if Carrasco gets an elevated role in a world without Octavio Dotel, Torres might be next year’s long man. Let’s see if he can wring more effectiveness out of that cutter.
I picked up the latest copy of Baseball America because it had a nice article on C.J. Retherford I wanted to clip ‘n’ save, and I ended up feeling sorry for Lucas Harrell.
Why? Because he’s the latest recipient of The Phil Rogers Kiss of Death:
Righthander Lucas Harrell has had an impressive season after needing much of 2008 to recover from elbow surgery the year before. He was 12-4, 3.21 through 24 starts between Birmingham and Charlotte, solidifying his spot on the 40-man roster and putting himself in position to contend for a big-league spot in 2010.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a bigger Harrell fan than yours truly, but Harrell wasn’t “impressive” by any other stat, whether it was WHIP (1.404), walks (4.3/9 IP), strikeouts (5.7/9 IP) or groundball rate (56.7 percent). Barring some sort of big turnaround, Harrell’s closer to falling off the 40-man roster than joining the 25-man version.
Rogers has a habit of using wins and ERA to try to find his sleeper, which has led him to endorse:
- Heath Phillips (couldn’t crack the Royals’ staff this season)
- Lance Broadway (5-9, 6.17 ERA between Charlotte and Buffalo this season)
- Wes Whisler (who may be known for a 13.50 ERA and a .000 BAA if he never gets back to the big leagues)
There is a glimmer of hope, in that Rogers was on the Clevelan Santeliz bandwagon shortly after he made the 40-man roster by surprise. Santeliz’s numbers aren’t impressive across the season at Double-A, but he finished the year by striking out 17 over his last 12 innings, allowing just 13 baserunners and two earned runs.
When it comes to starters — especially starters without strikeout stuff — an endorsement from Rogers usually foreshadows doom.