Back when I wrote the White Sox Outsider books, I recapped each month of the season with a feature inspired by Bill James’ Historical Baseball Abstract called Month in a Box.
I haven’t done one since writing the last Outsider in 2014, which means I’ve never published one for free. Now that I can save posts for all the Patreon people like yourself, I still haven’t published one for free.
Enjoy, and thanks for your support.
- Record: 12-14
- Standings: Fourth, 4½ GB
- Longest winning streak: Three, April 14-16 and 27-29
- Longest losing streak: Five, April 6-10
- Largest margin of victory: 10, April 22
- Largest margin of defeat: 8, April 10 and 23
- Batting average: .375, Tim Anderson
- On-base percentage: .394, Anderson
- Slugging percentage: .615, Anderson
- wRC+: Anderson, 172
- Home runs: 6, Anderson and Yoan Moncada
- RBI: 24, Jose Abreu
- Walks: 16, Yonder Alonso
- Strikeouts: 28, Leury García
- Stolen bases: 10, Anderson
- Wins: 3, Carlos Rodón
- Losses: 3, Reynaldo López and Iván Nova
- Innings: 31⅓, López
- Strikeouts: 40, Rodón
- Appearances: 14, Kelvin Herrera
- Relief innings: 14⅓, Herrera
Coming and Going
- White Sox debuts: Yonder Alonso, Iván Nova, Kelvin Herrera, Eloy Jiménez, James McCann, Alex Colomé, Manny Bañuelos, Ervin Santana, Josh Osich
- White Sox departures: Santana
- Going up: Osich, Ryan Cordell, Nicky Delmonico, Carson Fulmer, Jose Ruiz, Aaron Bummer, Dylan Covey
- Going down: Caleb Frare, Daniel Palka, Covey
- Ian Hamilton: Right shoulder inflammation
- Jon Jay: Hip, back, groin soreness
- Lucas Giolito: Strained left hamstring
- Nate Jones: Right elbow inflammation
- Ryan Burr: Right a/c joint inflammation
- Eloy Jiménez: Right ankle sprain
Most Valuable Player: Tim Anderson
Anderson led the White Sox challenged .400 for a lot of the month and finished leading the team in all rate stats, at least among regular players. Even if other players trumped his slash-line components, Anderson would get extra credit for making people talk about the White Sox due to the combination of his breakout season and emerging personality. His defense doesn’t grade well right now thanks in part to six errors, but nobody defended circles around anybody in April, so that leaves only production to consider.
Least Valuable Player: Daniel Palka
Palka started the season 0-for-32. He went 1-for-35 in April, resulting in a .029/.190/.029 line. Throw in his defense, and Baseball-Reference.com said he needed only 13 games to accumulate -0.9 WAR. His only hope for avoiding this designation was that his demotion would render him ineligible somehow. It didn’t.
Even with Palka’s start, the White Sox are somehow second in the league in batting average.
Most Valuable Pitcher: Carlos Rodón
Rodón finished the month with a 4.94 ERA, which is, sadly, good enough to lead the rotation. It was 2.89 entering his final start of April against the Tigers, but three disastrous innings caused it to explode. Having four watchable outings out of six made him the clubhouse leader, although Reynaldo López made a late charge.
Least Valuable Pitcher: Ervin Santana
Santana and Iván Nova had three awful starts fueling ghastly ERAs, but Santana didn’t have two good ones like Nova did. Also, Santana racked up more walks than strikeout, so his FIP (9.56) was more than double Nova’s (4.55). That said, Santana’s gone, so Nova and Co. have no cover.
Fire Man: Alex Colomé
Both Colomé and Kelvin Herrera lent their veteran credibility to a bullpen that sorely needed it. Colomé went 6-for-6 in save opportunities and faced the minimum in seven of his 12 outings, so he gets the edge.
Gas Can: Jose Ruiz
The league batted .448/.500/.655 against Ruiz in April, although oddly lefties are 0-for-6 with two walks against him. But that means righties were 13-for-23 with two homers against him. A right-handed LOOGY is no way to make a living.
Bench Player: James McCann
He and Welington Castillo are tied with 60 plate appearances, so one can argue whether he actually qualifies as a member of the bench. That said, he entered the season with second-catcher status and he’s doing what he can to outgrow the label, batting .357/.400/.536 with pleasantly average defense.
Stench Player: Adam Engel
Rick Renteria has thankfully given the bulk of center field starts to García, who has thankfully stayed healthy enough to make use of them. When things went right, Renteria saved Engel for late-game leads. When things went wrong, Renteria played Engel, Engel hit .171/.227/.293, and the game found him at the most inopportune moments.
Gold Glove: Yonder Alonso
The White Sox hemorrhaged outs, and while you’d like to blame position changes like Moncada, there’s no excuse for Anderson and Sánchez committing as many errors as they did. Even Engel ended up short on highlights, which left Alonso as the guy who provided the most relief when he was out there. He had a lot of throws to dig out, and he was better at it than Abreu.
Hands of Stone: Eloy Jiménez
He threw his body around awkwardly in Comerica Park’s left field before nearly destroying his leg on Guaranteed Rate Field’s fence. He didn’t look this bad in Charlotte. I think I would’ve remembered it if he did.
Ugly weather: Opening Day in Kansas City was delayed by an hour and 46 minutes due to rain, setting the tone for a month that had four postponements, three rain delays and one game cut short after six innings. One of the PPDs was due to snow … on April 27. (March 28)
Embarrass yourself with Goose: The White Sox officially unveil the latest modification to Guaranteed Rate Field with the Goose Island in right field, although the aforementioned weather keeps it from looking like a happening place to be. Somebody’s gotta hit one of those geese. (March 29)
Embarrass yourself without Goose: Daryl Van Schouwen might sound like he’s exaggerating the White Sox’ early defensive issues, but he wasn’t. Recapping the first series of the season:
In the three games against the Royals, the Sox were charged with four errors (two throwing by shortstop Tim Anderson), and all nine players were involved in at least one of the following: throwing error, fielding error, bad throw, bobbled ground ball, miscommunication on a fly ball or pop-up. (April 3)
Can’t spell “Kluber” without “L”: The White Sox hand Corey Kluber his first loss against them since July 24, 2015, after chasing him in the fourth inning of an 8-3 victory at Progressive Field. This foreshadows more about Cleveland’s former ace than the White Sox’ 2019 season. (April 3)
Home opened: The White Sox’ 10-8 victory over Seattle gave them their first victorious home opener in five tries, although they did turn a 6-1 lead into an 8-6 deficit along the way. (April 5)
So snot right now: In an otherwise dreadful evening that stands as the clubhouse leader for the most visually depressing White Sox game of the season, Tim Anderson wiped his nose on Ji-Man Choi’s sleeve in the middle of another multi-hit game, and Choi let him finish the job. (April 10)
At least somebody’s doing well: As the White Sox close out a five-game losing streak, Forbes Magazine reports that the Sox are sixth in baseball in operating income, mostly due to the reduced payroll. (April 11)
Eloy erupts: After going homerless over his first 11 games, Eloy Jiménez makes up for lost time with two at Yankee Stadium, helping snap said skid. (April 12)
A middle infield divided: On the same day Anderson hits the Sox’ first grand slam of the season, Sánchez runs into the clumsiest TOOTBLAN of the year.
Still, they win a series in Yankee Stadium for the second straight season. (April 14)
Let the kids play, then punish them: Anderson once again upsets the Royals when he chucks his bat and screams toward his dugout after a go-ahead homer off Brad Keller. Keller then drills Anderson in the backside, after which benches clear and both players were ejected. Keller’s role was clear, but Anderson’s was not handled well due to cultural blocks. (April 17).
A palpable hit: Daniel Palka’s miserable season-opening hitless streak ends at 32 at-bats when he shoves a broken-bat single through the left side. But then he grounded into a double play and grounded out to end the game, so he headed to Charlotte 1-for-35. (April 17)
Pulling the plug: Ervin Santana exits his third start against the White Sox after just 71 pitches and 4⅔ innings, having retired 10 of the last 12 he faced. Everybody had just seen enough, and Santana was designated for assignment shortly afterward. (April 24)
The over-the-fence single: With the White Sox trailing Detroit 10-9 in the seventh inning, Jose Abreu hits a three-run homer that puts the Sox ahead by two … only to see it reduced to a two-run single because he passed Anderson while rounding first base. Abreu thought he flied out and rounded the bag aimlessly; Anderson thought he might be flying out and turned toward first to tag up. The run ended up mattering, because the Tigers tied it at 11 the following inning. (April 27)
Bat Toss Part Two: Fortunately, Anderson ended that game a walk-off solo shot, and yet another triumphant hurl. The White Sox had trailed by seven at one point and lost Jiménez to an ankle injury on the wall, so nobody objected to the emotions here. (April 27)
Happens in threes: Three White Sox hit the injured list on the same day. Everybody saw Eloy Jiménez leave the previous game with the sprained ankle, but Nate Jones joined him, and so did Ryan Burr after the fact. (April 28)
A good record: Reynaldo López strikes out 14 Tigers over six innings, and Jace Fry, Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colomé throw in two K’s apiece to set a franchise record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game. (April 28)