Armstrong less than meets the eye

If I had no access to minor-league box scores, stats or splits, or maybe if I were just a more casual fan, I would look at Cole Armstrong and wonder why the White Sox went out of their way to acquire Tyler Flowers.
Counting Saturday’s 15-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs, I’ve now seen Armstrong play 11 times.  And because I have a big 100-game scorebook I take to every game that counts, I have a record of Armstrong’s performances when I’m watching.  Over 32 plate appearances, here’s his line:


It includes such performances as his back-to-back 2-for-2’s that briefly put him in the backup conversation a couple spring trainings ago, a big three-run homer in the last game of my Carolina trip last summer, and his amazing Triple-A debut against Richmond:

Cole Armstrong, June 28, 2008.
Maybe I’m Armstrong’s performance-enhancer.  That would be pretty sad. For both of us.
I WATCHED SIX HOURS OF BASEBALL TODAY! Some thoughts on the players needing to make positive spring impressions:
*Carlos Quentin should be put on Mark Buehrle’s spring training schedule.  He looked ready for Opening Day, taking Carlos Silva deep twice while driving in five. He’s sore, but not there:

“I say general soreness,” Quentin said. “No sorer than it would be if I was healthy three years ago. It’s fatigue. Soreness as in maybe my feet just ache —  both of them. That’s must from being in cleats.
“It’s not a thought in my head where I’m concerned about that specific location. I’ll clarify that. So besides spring training, it standard soreness, I’ve been very fortunate and it’s a very touchy subject for me to talk about. It’s been very good so far.”

If he’s trying to limit his running, this is a good way to do it.
*Daniel Hudson didn’t look particularly sharp, but wasn’t roughed up too badly — 3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 0 K. He could have escaped the outing unscathed when Kosuke Fukudome hit a chopper back through the box, but because Hudson falls off to the first-base side, the grounder made its way to center for a two-run single.
*Flowers failed to block a Hudson slider in the dirt for a wild pitch. It wasn’t for a lack of effort — he slid to his left and got his shoulders square, but he couldn’t get his mitt down soon enough. It hit the dirt beneath him and skidded through the five-hole. Last summer, roving catching instructor John Orton said Flowers’ pitch blocking still needed a lot of work, and that might be what he saw.
*Dayan Viciedo will start the year in Birmingham if he has many more days like Saturday.  He was leaping out of his shoes and flailing cluelessly at slow curves.  Oddly enough, he looked competent with the glove at third, ranging to his left a couple times to make clean plays.
*Jared Mitchell jumped on a couple meatballs, ripping them down the right-field line for doubles against Los Angeles.
*Christian Marrero also used the right side of the field against the Cubs — one line drive single, and one of the seeing-eye variety.
*Jordan Danks, on the other hand… I haven’t yet seen him do what Mitchell or Marrero did, getting his bat through the zone like that.  He’s Erstaddy — grounders to the right side, flyballs to the left.  On the plus side, I will say that Mitchell and Danks, along with Flowers, give the Sox a whole different look when it comes to strike zone judgment.  Have the Sox ever had three prospects who could take a walk at any one time?
*Brent Lillibridge and Alejandro De Aza are Saturday’s Campbell’s Bunting Soup-erstars.
*Charles Leesman impressed Ozzie Guillen in his spring training debut, with Scott Merkin tweeting that Sox coaches would “keep their eyes on him.”  Leesman threw two scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out a batter.  A radar gun reading would have helped, but he does have a whippy arm action that might make his fastball look a tick faster.
*C.J. Retherford made a beautiful turn on a tough double play. It was a slow chopper to short, and he had big Mike Restovich (you Charlotte Knights fans remember him) bearing down on him. Eduardo Escobar gave Retherford a nice feed, and Retherford sidestepped, spun and threw in one continuous motion for the 6-4-3.  It was so smooth, I wished it were Gordon Beckham, who wasn’t tested in this fashion.
*Brent Morel only looks overmatched when grounders take bad hops and nearly decapitate him, so far.
*Brian Omogrosso has the potential to be effectively wild with his stuff and arm slot, but would be better off walking only one batter per inning.
*Jhonny Nunez needs to figure out how to approach left-handed hitters.  White Sox Outsider 2010 (BUY IT!) spoiler — he’s trending towards a Wassermannish imbalance between righties and lefties.
*Juan Silverio played!  I keep forgetting about him.

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The unfortunate thing about both games being on TV was having to listen to the likes of Kasper, Brenley, and Charley Steiner. Nice to see two White Sox victories in one day, no matter what the situation. And beating the Cubs 15-3 (on a Cubs broadcast) is icing on the cake.