Who will lead the 2018 White Sox in homers?

Jose Abreu returned from the disabled list on Monday and looked relatively fine for a guy who had recently undergone a procedure to relieve testicular torsion. He went 3-for-4 in the White Sox’ 4-3 loss to the Royals, and while all three hits were soft singles, it’s a fine showing for a guy who didn’t have any rehab games to help him get back up to speed.

Daniel Palka isn’t so forgiving, though. He launched his 22nd homer just inside the foul pole against Jake Junis to tie Abreu for the team lead in the category with 18 games remaining.

With Abreu back and Palka still thumping, it’s a fair time to raise the question in the headline above. I’ve summarized the cases of the top six contenders, and you can weigh in with the poll below.

Jose Abreu (22 homers)

The case for: He’s led the White Sox in homers in three of his first four seasons, with Todd Frazier’s 40-homer 2016 the only exception. He was on pace for a nine-homer August before he got caught in a bind. Abreu figures to play just about every day, as he’s is working toward his fifth consecutive 25-homer season and the White Sox don’t have any other true first basemen on the roster.

The case against: He’s not the classic slugger, so he can go weeks without homering if his swing is only getting him singles. He’s coming off surgery during a time where there aren’t rehab games, so there’s a chance he’s overdoing it.

Daniel Palka (22 homers)

The case for: He’s basically a single-purpose kitchen gadget, and that purpose is to smash mistake pitches at unsuspecting fans 400-plus feet away. He’s already matched his August home run total in September (three), so he may be looking at something closer to his July output (.657 slugging). He’s vulnerable to changeups, but still manages to ambush opponents on setup pitches.

The case against: He might have to sit more games, especially now that Abreu will make the DH situation more crowded by taking the starts at first base. Opposing managers know they have to account for him, and expanded September rosters mean that teams have more lefties to throw at him. He’s hit 20 of his 22 homers against righties. His strikeout rate is 14 percent higher than Abreu’s, so he has less contact to work with.

Matt Davidson (20 homers)

The case for: He’s had a nice approach the last 25 games or so, resulting in more frequent returns to the home run column. He’s a more well-rounded hitter than Palka, less prone to late-game subbing. He’ll face bad pitching this week.

The case against: With Abreu back, the plate appearances at first base aren’t open. He needed 33 games for his first 10 homers, and 70 games for his next 10. He has the same strikeout rate at Palka, and the superior walk rate doesn’t help in this category.

Honorable mentions

Tim Anderson: He looked like a contender for this category through June, but he’s only hitting .246/.262/.399 since July 1, and with five homers over 59 games. He’s sitting on 18 homers, and he’s not a great bet to reach my 20/20/20 preseason prediction.

Yoan Moncada: He’s been a three-homer-a-month guy, which makes a five-homers-over-20-games pace a little unreasonable.

Avisail Garcia: Despite trailing everybody on this list with 16 homers, I’d give him better odds than Anderson and Moncada when it comes to surprising everybody, as he tends to hit them in bunches. Then again, his balky knee might limit his playing time the rest of the way.

What’s your answer?

[yop_poll id=”1″]

Author

  • Jim Margalus

    Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Josh Nelson

My money is on Palka.

fundman

The Abreu was “in a bind” line made me wince. I’m also on board with Palka

knoxfire30

Probably Palka,

The much more concerning question is why the hell havent the sox put together a team lineup that hits home runs at a reasonable pace. For an AL team playing with the DH in a home run hitting park their failure to do so over the last 5 or 6 years is criminal.

Lurker Laura

“single-purpose kitchen gadget,” heh.

Otter

Down right mean. Palka is more a Lamborghini that doesn’t have breaks.

35Shields

Palka is more like the train ride at an amusement park – pretty fun but, despite the appearances, not very good at getting you anywhere.

asinwreck

Will the 2018 White Sox HR leader be on a major-league roster on August 31, 2019?

Josh Nelson

I’m going to say…yes.

asinwreck

I think so, but am not 100% positive if it turns out to be Palka or Davidson.

Anohito

Going with the Palk. He has the smash going for him at the most consistent rate of anyone currently. Shame for Timmy, really thought he’d reach that 20 HR mark too.

35Shields

I guess he’s been cold lately, but Timmy is still on pace to finish with a 20 HR season. I’m not sure why people are so pessimistic that he won’t be able to hit just 2 more.

Greg Nix

He also has a .785 OPS over the last month. He was bad in July and has been cold the last week, but was pretty good for most of August.

35Shields

Sure, but he’s had a 7.7 games/HR this year, 8.6 games/HR last year and 11 games/HR in 2016. Both Steamer and ZiPS project him to hit 2 more. It just seems weird to buy into a smaller sample and conclude that it’s the most likely trend to continue.

Eagle Bones

Time Baby, activate!

White Sox Activate Nate Jones https://t.co/dAVzg8G0c1 pic.twitter.com/6bzPQAOLKG

— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) September 11, 2018

KenWo4LiFe

I’m going with Palka. I love him. And while I also love Abreu, I can’t trust someone to go yard that is coming off of a twisted nut.

lil jimmy

“twisted nut”
is that the technical term?

Patrick Nolan

I went Abreu on the strength of playing time.

ParisSox

I was just about to type that.  But I WANT Palka to win it just because. 

GrinnellSteve

I voted for Jose based on playing time, too.

My hope is that Ryan Cordell leads the team in homers. That would be a September to remember!

Should be Davidson, but I don’t think he’ll get enough AB’s.