On Monday afternoon, the White Sox announced that Eloy Jiménez wouldmiss the Baltimore series due to the death of his grandmother. Nicky Delmonico took his place, and while there isn’t a place on the roster for him once Jiménez returns from the bereavement list, it’s a lot easier to see how one could become available over the course of a few more weeks.
Delmonico was stuck behind Daniel Palka, Jon Jay and Yonder Alonso in the line for left-handed at-bats in a corner spot or DH. Three weeks into the season, the traffic jam has cleared considerably. You can take the developments from Friday’s Ryan Cordell post and apply it to Delmonico — Alonso’s still formidable, but Palka flopped with his chance and Jay has no timetable for his health.
Cordell gets to run with the ball for the time being and he’s so far seizing the day. But with Delmonico raking at Charlotte to start the season — .286/.382/.540 — he was an easy call to replace Jiménez for a series, and he could be a similarly convenient Plan D if one more domino falls. It was hard to see the depth chart falling back in Cordell’s favor when the season started, so it’s safe to say a lot of guys are in play now.
* * * * * * * * *
A week ago, Yolmer Sánchez was hitting .143/.182/.190 with nearly as many errors (four) as hits (six). Down in Charlotte, Danny Mendick was among Charlotte’s stronger starters, and pushed his OBP back above .400 by reaching base four times last Wednesday. Given the larger context of the Sox’ piss-poor start, and there was a considerable amount of teeth-gnashing over the roles of the two, both here and elsewhere.
Since then, Mendick is 0-for-15, sinking his batting average to .200 and taking his other stats along with it (.324 OBP, .333 SLG). Sánchez, conversely, is 8-for-16 with five walks over his last five games, and is now only a few extra-base hits from where the Sox expected him to be all along (.241/.323/.276).
Mendick could still barge his way into the picture, if only because the White Sox will have to consider his Rule 5 status after the season. Sánchez will probably be vulnerable again, as his slumps tend to last longer than most. For the time being, though, this is why you don’t make greater roster decisions like waiving out-of-options players a fortnight into the season.
* * * * * * * * *
Yoan Moncada went 20 games without striking out looking. Then he did so in back-to-back games. His strikeout rate is up to 24.7 percent, up from 22 percent a week ago.
Even then, the rise in strikeouts hasn’t done much to diminish the damage he’s doing. While he’s struck out nine times over his last seven games, he’s also gone 8-for-28 with three homers and three walks, giving him a .962 OPS.
If Moncada can more or less cap his strikeout rate here, it’ll be hugely convenient to writers like myself. Moncada struck out at a 33 percent clip last year, so reducing his K rate to 25 percent is like getting a free plate appearance a game.
You can also point to his improved performance against left-handed pitching for ways he’s making extra opportunities for himself. He’s still searching for his first walk as a righty, but he’s hitting .333/.333/.458 in 24 plate appearances, with only four strikeouts. He slugged .297 last year.
Since we just got done talking about small sample sizes with Sánchez, I’m not going to say Moncada has solved his split chasm. His right-handed swing doesn’t seem to generate the same fluid launch of his left-handed version, and maybe it never will. That said, far be it from me to criticize switch-hitters for being a little uneven. When I try to brush my teeth with my left hand, I end up with a bloody nose.
Setting aside swing planes, the barrel control looks better on both sides, and while I wouldn’t expect him to carry a .950 OPS through the entire season, Moncada is painting a vivid picture of how it would happen. Moncada had 650 plate appearances last year, but it felt like he only had a chance in 450 of them. If he now makes 100 more chances for himself to put up a fight within the same scope of a season spent near the top of the order, that’s a helluva time management trick.
Wait. 30 AB sample sizes aren’t definitive?
Any chance we could Flip Alonso to the Angels? Justin Bour is playing 1B for them right now. They still have Pujols as a black hole at DH and Ohtani is expected back mid summer. But If we offer to pay half Alonso’s salary, perhaps the Angels would bite. This would open the door for a full season on the roster for both Delmonico and Cordell – even if/when Jay Returns.
On the right track, NeatRocks. Eloy then becomes DH and OF is Delmonico LF-Engel CF-Cordell RF. Jay to LF when he returns (3 former CF’s) and Delmonico becomes LH bat off the bench or occasional DH / backup 1B? Until prospects emerge, W Sox just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Way too early to be putting Eloy at DH.
You’re right, Craig – it is a small sample size, but his lack of OF skills are overwhelming. My only point is that I’d like to have 3 OF’s where fly balls don’t hit the grass. If 3 of Robert, Adolfo, Basabe, Rutherford, et al emerge… Eloy will be DH anyway.
Speaking of timing, I had a post scheduled about Eloy’s defensive series in Detroit, but two minutes before it was supposed to go live, the Sox issued the release about his grandmother dying. I decided to hold it for the time being, but it’ll probably show up Thursday or Friday.
Let me guess, its not exactly a great review of Eloy’s defensive abilities… I’m excited to see it, that Detroit series at least felt like it was extra pitiful for ELoy =[
Let’s give Eloy the same chance we give to Viciedo at least. He has been atrocious, I know, but we are not contending this year (or next), so who gives a fuck? Let him play. Alonso will not bring anything useful even if we pay half his salary. Let him play and consume 525 PAs exactly
stupid Hahn. He should have stuck to his guns: Eloy still has work to do in AAA, on defense! Should not have signed him to that long term deal until he was ready to play.
Delmonico is worse than Eloy as an outfielder.
Statcast data disagrees and it’s not close, at least as far as defense goes.
As does the eye test
Depends on the eyes. I suspect recency bias.
We do not want Delmonico to return. Cordell is a somewhat open question.
We have seen 132 games of Nicky. The verdict is in. Guilty of being not good.
Beckham. Delmonico. Davidson. Palka. Etc. The league adjusts quite easily.
Don’t know who odd man out will be when Eloy returns later this week but for me, until L Robert (or some option not currently on 25-man) makes his debut in Chi, Cordell and Engel are both on this team. Both have CF skills (Leury does not). And I can live with Delmonico for the time being.
I think I like Leury in center better than Cordell.
Not I, Pat
Cordell’s gonna be your everyday right fielder for a little while, at least, and Engel’s the best defensive outfielder in either Chicago or Charlotte, so they need him as a defensive replacement/4th outfielder.
Bad arm for Engel, though. Throwing out a runner on a sac fly is like a game of skipping stones.
Robert will not make his debut in Chicago this year.
If he stays healthy the entire season, I could see him getting a call up from Birmingham for September.
If he doesn’t do well, they can just send him to Charlotte to begin 2020.
They will manipulate his time. He was very expensive. He does not need to sign early extensions. He is already loaded with $
It certainly wouldn’t shock me if they did manipulate his service time, but there’s at least less incentive to do it this time around. 2019 is a lost season, so letting Eloy take his lumps in 2019 and find his way is fine.
But the pressure is going to intensify to get results in 2020, and the early struggles of Moncada last year and Eloy so far will provide extra reason to let Robert get some earlier looks so he can hit the ground running in 2020. I definitely don’t think they’ll rush him (nor am I predicting he’ll be up this year. But I think they’ll have much less incentive to play the service time game this time around.
If he’s ready next July, and they bring him up, that is not manipulation of his service time.
Agreed. My point was just that I think they bring him up whenever he’s ready, whether that be July 2020 or September 2019. They have less incentive to manipulate service time than they did with Eloy.
If he goes to Birmingham in the next couple of weeks and mashes (two fairly big ifs), then I think he’ll be up in 2019.
Thing is, he literally already has not been healthy the entire season haha
Hell yeah! Let’s make my bold prediction happen.
The only way that was going to happen was if he was hitting the shit out of the ball at Birmingham AND the team was surprisingly decent to good with a black hole in center. We’ll presumably have the black hole in center, but there’s no sign of the team being surprisingly good. So, pretty safe to assume he ain’t coming up this year.
I’m a little confused on what exactly Engel has done to somehow be gifted a roster spot for such a long stretch. I get CF is a problem depth wise, but geez. He’s now at a 55 wRC in 800+ PA’s. Even at AAA he had around an 8% BB and 29% K. Meanwhile, Tilson hits lefty, is a year younger, and while he can’t hit lefties did manage a .353 OBP in his 100ish PA’s against RHP the mlb level. Only a 66 PA sample but he’s also hitting 351/424/509 at AAA. Engel made some great catches, but the body of work is pretty bad.
I like Delmonico and I hope he shows enough that another team is willing to trade a bullpen arm for him. He deserves to get a shot at replicating 2017 in the MLB, but he won’t be getting it with the Sox.
If you like Delmonico, just hope that he gets picked up. The White Sox will not get anything for him.
Just curious, the more he sucks, the more we can get away with benching Alonso so that that third year of his contract doesn’t vest right? We probably should spread that out so he can’t argue a grievance for just being benched for the last 40 games or not. I don’t see how Yonder focuses into any future (or current) plans…
Jim and Josh talked about this on the most recent podcast.
The summary is basically that we still have plenty of time to let Alonso get consistent ABs before we have to worry about restricting his PAs. if by mid June hes still not hitting well at all, Alonso will basically have no ground to stand on (or grievance to file) if they pull his PAs back by a lot. hes been bad so far.
I think the option vests at 550 PA or 1,100 across 2018-2019. Since he had 574 in 2018, that puts the vesting number at 526. Since his rookie season, he’s only eclipsed that number twice: last year and 2016 when he had 532. So there’s a decent chance he won’t make it without any manipulation. But I do think his struggles warrant a few benchings, especially since they serve this duel purpose.
I have no problem with Yolmer, the problem is the White Sox. It’s obvious he’s not a starting position player at 3B or 2B and the Sox keep trotting him out there and overexposing him because they’re incapable of building a complete roster.
We all agree he’s not a first division regular. The disconnect came when the Sox were being called on to DFA him after 8 games worth of PA’s and annointing Rondon or Mendick as “saviors”.
At least they’ve gotten to the stage of the rebuild where they can platoon him out vs. LHP.
Sox also gave Yolmer $4.6mil for the season. Not likely they are releasing a player like that after a few games
I hope Delmonico stays on the team when Eloy returns and Engel is sent down.
Ricky wants a LH bat off the bench. Having 3 mediocre RH’s on the bench accomplishes nothing, especially since Engel is worthless as a pinch hitter. Engel’s defensive acumen is not needed as urgently now that both Eloy and Palka aren’t in the outfield together and Cordell can cover CF in a pinch.
I’d rather their rotation and bullpen stabilize enough to let them carry the extra bat.
is 13 pitchers not the new normal?
If enough teams chase the bullpen platoon advantage you can even it out or come out ahead by chasing it in the lineup and bench.
I’d rather choose between Delmonico and Cordell, since they’re both corner OF. Engel can’t hit, but Delmonico still sported a .669 OPS (only .050 higher than Engel) last season. If we’re going to play someone who can’t hit, I’d rather play the guy who can play an above average centerfield. If or when Cordell cools off, that’s when you trade him out for Delmonico.
And to be fair to Engel, he plays an elite CF, not just “above average”. IMO he deserved the Gold Glove last year. Hes a monster.
But it is. Sox CF play gives opponents extra 2 or 3 outs, IMO
By Statcast, Adam Engel’s at +2 Outs Above Average, Leury Garcia’s at -1 Outs Above Average. It’s basically been a wash.
Eloy Jimenez, however, is another story.
It’s a wash now, but an out a week is kind of a big deal.
…which brings us to the Eloy post.