This version of Charlie Tilson has legs. Does it have legs?

Nine games into his second chance at extended playing time with the White Sox, Ryan Cordell carried a .381/.409/.762 line with two homers and two doubles, and without a worrisome amount of strikeouts.

It’s been a slow slide to .250 since then as the strikeouts piled up. His plate discipline is decent, but he still looks like he gets caught in between and swings through both fastballs and changeups. Rick Renteria is playing him most days to see whether he can dust himself off, and Cordell has responded with three hits and no strikeouts over his last two starts. It’s going to be a battle, but Cordell had some selling points before a couple of serious injuries — fractured vertebra, then clavicle — and it’s worth seeing if he can get back there.

You can basically take Cordell’s track and apply it to Charlie Tilson. Just like Cordell, he was worthy of an audition when the White Sox acquired him, but then his hamstring rolled up on him like a treasure map, and then he battled a stress reaction in his ankle while trying to get back into regular action.

And just like Cordell, his second attempt at claiming a regular job is going better than his first. Tilson is 3-for-7 with a double, a walk and three strikeouts over two starts against Cleveland, and his legs are getting into the action, too. He’s scored two runs, he’s stolen a base, and he made a fine diving catch in left after kinda embarrassing himself out there last year.

If a psychiatrist put me through a word-association exercise with Tilson before this season, I’d probably come up with:

  1. His hamstring explosion in Comerica Park’s outfield.
  2. The fly ball he thought he caught, only to be hilariously mistaken.
  3. Not being able to lift the ball.

Then I’d ask her if we could talk about something else.

But that last one is key — between Charlotte and Chicago, he hit about two-thirds of his batted balls on the ground.

Smash-cut to Monday and Tuesday, and hey now:

This is fun, and more importantly, it’s different. Tilson’s performance at Charlotte before his promotion — .333/.396/.475 — also qualified as “fun and different,” although his 58 percent ground-ball rate suggests he didn’t exactly transform his bat into a mortar. It is 10 percent better than what he was doing before, and more in line with how he looked in St. Louis’ system before the White Sox acquired him for Zach Duke in 2016.

The White Sox acquired that version of Tilson with the hope that he could serve as an on-base guy who could handle center, even if he didn’t excel there. Nearly three years and two major leg injuries later, a capable center field is probably out of reach for him, but the Sox still need players who aren’t so easy to get out, so here he is.

If his legs can’t quite help him in center, they might still be able to help him at the plate. James Fegan wrote about Tilson, who credited Charlotte hitting coach Frank Menechino with helping him remember how to use his base again:

“I’m getting loaded and using my lower half,” said Tilson. “I think that would be my biggest key. The ability to stay on the fastball has been a big difference maker for me. That’s where I really struggled last year. I was late on the heater and falling back in counts and not being able to take advantage in hitters’ counts. I think getting back on the fastball has really helped me be more productive at the plate.”

There are enough legitimate reasons to think we haven’t seen the real Tilson the last two seasons to give him a clear-eyed chance this time around. Like Cordell, any hot start could gradually erode to replacement level, but until Jon Jay comes back, he’s the best use of those at-bats against right-handed pitching. The hope is that Tilson continues to square up MLB pitching without swinging outside himself, making him the best use of those plate appearances well after Jay returns, assuming Jay ever does.

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If Tilson continues showing even mediocre mlb play there is basically no reason for Jay to ever take an at bat from him.

Its long overdue the sox let guys like Jay, Alonso, Castillo, find new homes or simply remain on the bench. Anyone who isnt a viable option towards contending in 2020-2021 doesn’t really need to factor into 2019.

Trooper Galactus

Nothing against Alonso, but when Eloy returns I’d prefer he DH and Alonso get chucked so they can keep Tilson and Cordell in the roster. They’re pieces for the future and there’s no reason to keep letting Alonso build toward his vesting option.


I’m all for Eloy pulling an occasional DH duty, but they have to see if they can make him not horrible in left first. It would would allow for so much more added value.

Cant imagine giving up on that in a still rebuilding year to keep cordell in the lineup

As Cirensica

Can we do that without seeing Alonso taking at-bats? He has been Adam Engel atrocious. If the White Sox let Alonso’s option to kick in, then Hahn must be revised by a psychiatrist.


I think the outfield situation is the best it’s been in a few years, though that’s not saying much. When Eloy comes back, and assuming he doesn’t kill himself out there, he’ll cover left. Tilson/Leury/Cordell can be a decent three-headed platoon for CF/RF. With Leury/Tilson against most righties, that would allow Cordell to be mostly a platoon piece against lefties. I really think they need to bite the bullet and make Eloy a DH or see if he can play first for 2020. They cannot afford to lose his bat because of another outfield injury. There are several decent corner outfield bats available this winter that might even be in Reinsdorf’s budget. Ozuna would be the best, but Reinsdorf probably won’t pay for him.


We have a lot of guys that fall into the “DH or see if he can play first” category. At some point, someone needs to play defense and with Collins, Sheets, and Burger all still potentially being part of the plan, Eloy’s best value comes in the OF. None of them will knock him out of the lineup even if DH is his highest and best use but I don’t think he’s proven incapable of playing defense yet. But then again, I’m old enough to remember Carlos Lee.


The scary thing is that Eloy hurt himself playing outfield and had 2 or 3 other episodes where he almost got hurt. And that was in only 1 month. I remember Carlos Lee being a butcher out in LF, but I don’t remember him hurting himself. We need Eloy’s bat in the lineup every day.


They had to teach clee and mags the hook slide thing, which helped.

I would hate to make Eloy a DH this early, but maybe 1b after they get by with him in LF for a couple years.

Trooper Galactus

If all three of those guys prove viable major league hitters, they’ll just trade the excess.

Lurker Laura

I hope Tilson sticks, because I laugh every time he runs the bases, with the whole “can’t find a helmet to fit his 12-year-old sized head” thing.


bring back palka already.


White Sox Baseball: Get Loaded and Use Your Lower Half. 


White Sox 2019: living 2 games at a time.

Also, Engel hitting .750. Can’t believe the Sox would block him with Leury and light hitting Eloy Jimenez.

As Cirensica

I keep forgetting Jon Jay exists.

Lurker Laura

Me, too!

Trooper Galactus

Technically, we have little proof he does.


There is that promo commercial that NBCSN suspiciously keeps playing 


I keep seeing Menechino get a lot of credit from hitters.  Could we dream that he replaces Steverson?

karkovice squad

Need is a strong word. But early returns from Anderson, McCann, and Moncada aside, the Sox’ ongoing struggles to hit pitchers they’ve never faced before suggests they’re leaving production on the table with their current approach. They could stand to benefit from someone with an updated gameday approach.

No idea whether Steverson would work well with an assistant who brought that to the table or if he’s an obstacle himself. The latter would mean replacement.


Living in the St. Louis area, I can tell you their radio stations/fans think they have the same problem.

They also have a much higher HC turnover

lil jimmy

If you are blaming the hitting coach, the problems are most likely bigger than the hitting coach.

karkovice squad

There’s definitely an overall approach issue. But it’s a lot easier to address in the Trackman/Statcast era with tools like the Eon simulator. You don’t need a team of elite advanced scouts. You need a data analyst and a coach who can act as the translator/facilitator and is willing to.


but then his hamstring rolled up on him like a treasure map, 

Um, okay. I appreciate the effort. Definitely not a cliche. 


Kiley attending Abrams’ games for a second straight week, essentailly to scout what FO’s and scouts are there. New mock next Monday.


2080 Baseball has released their White Sox org write-up.


Who puts together a lineup with 3 of your worst hitters hitting 2,3,5? Ricky Renteria, that’s who.


With those 3 in the top 5, the odds on having a lead in the late innings is not very good.


So that means because I’m lefthanded, I would bat 2nd in the Sox order? Nobody’s going to switch to a lefty in the late innings to face Delmonico because they wouldn’t want any righthanded hitter to replace him. You put your best hitters at the top of the lineup.


It’s just another example of Ricky’s failings as a manager. We sat thru 5 years of Robin, now are subject to Ricky. I just wish we had a competent manager. But with loyalty the most important aspect of our management team, incompetence is rewarded.

As Cirensica

You have to agree that handiness aside, seeing Alonso hitting clean-up is an eyesore.

As Cirensica

Oh yes, I can see the reasons Jim. This is just like deciding to ride on a car with a flat tire rather than riding it while missing a tire.


Cleveland BA’s-
2 spot- .209
3 Spot- .197
5 spot- .206.


And Cleveland basically has a AAA lineup, yet the Sox 2-3-5 are actually worse.

lil jimmy

wait a minute. you expect the Sox to be better than the Indians?
They have won the division every year since forever. Saying they have a AAA lineup does not make it true. you need a big dose of the real world.

karkovice squad

This isn’t the same Cleveland team that’s rolled the Central.

They’ve now got 3 major league bats in the lineup give or take.