For the 11th consecutive year, Major League Baseball has decided to stage a postseason even though the Chicago White Sox aren’t involved. October baseball literally and figuratively begins tonight with the National League Wild Card game. The Nationals will host the Brewers at 7 p.m. CT on TBS, followed by Rays-Athletics on ESPN at the same time on Wednesday.
We’re used to being on the outside looking in when it comes to rooting interests, and here’s this year’s survey of the competition regarding which former White Sox are crashing the party. There are a couple of notable first-timers, starting with…
Adam Eaton joins Chris Sale and Jose Quintana in making a postseason appearance before the White Sox (the Nats also made it in 2017, but Eaton wasn’t healthy). He’s coming off a regular season that would fit right in with his White Sox production…
… but those numbers aren’t quite what they used to be. Offensively, they lose ground with the home run boom, and paired with below-average metrics in right field, he’s down to an average player.
Also, Daniel Hudson has had a nice season. The Nationals are his fifth team in four years, but he’s moving around because of demand this time.
Milwaukee used to be White Sox North, but Junior Guerra may be the only former Sox on the roster, as Matt Albers doesn’t look likely to make the cut. Albers’ ERA the past four years:
- 2015: 1.21 ERA over 30 games
- 2016: 6.31 ERA over 58 games
- 2017: 1.62 ERA over 63 games
- 2018: 7.34 ERA over 34 games
- 2019: 5.13 ERA over 67 games
Gio Gonzalez only picked up five decisions in 19 games (17 starts), as Milwaukee seldom used him for more than five innings.
St. Louis Cardinals
There’s Jose Martinez, whom the White Sox signed out of Venezuela during the Dave Wilder days, but didn’t reach the majors until 10 years and three organizations later. He’s another guy who hasn’t benefited from the power explosion, as he’s hitting .269/.340/.410. Paul Goldschmidt bumped him to right field, where he is not good. All in all, that’s a sub-replacement-level player.
There’s also Rangel Ravelo, who is somebody in the Jose Martinez mold (came into pro ball with the White Sox as a teenager, made it to the majors 10 years and multiple organizations later, not a traditional power-hitting first baseman). He’s on the fringe of the postseason roster. (Added, h/t Steve)
Good ol’ Tyler Flowers makes the postseason for the second time since the White Sox non-tendered him. He went 1-for-7 against the Dodgers in the ALDS last year. His numbers are back to where they were with the Sox — a .229 average and a 33 percent strikeout rate. He’s still a top-three framer though, and that’s what keeps him employed by teams that know better. Also, Anthony Swarzak should make the roster, and some current White Sox might not mind seeing a meltdown from him.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers have avoided playing a former White Sox all season. Jake Peter hit .199 for Oklahoma City this year.
Now here’s a team with some former White Sox.
That was last year’s photo, but Marcus Semien, Chris Bassitt and Josh Phegley are still around and contributing to a postseason team. This time, Semien is an MVP candidate and Bassitt is a 10-game winner in the rotation, with two of them coming against a White Sox team he loves to dominate. Phegley is the only one who looks like we remember him — decent pop, but low OBP and bad defense — but he had to play 106 games because of injuries behind the plate. The A’s don’t seem to mind.
Who else? J.B. Wendelken, traded as a farmhand to Oakland in the Brett Lawrie deal, has resurfaced in the A’s bullpen after a bad start led to him spending most of the year in Triple-A. He’s joined by Joakim Soria, who has been a mild disappointment in the bullpen, but he’s finishing the year strong. Opponents were 1-for-23 against him in September. Frankie Montas would’ve been a part of this, but he’s ineligible for the postseason due to a PED suspension.
Tampa Bay Rays
Add Avisaíl García to the list of former White Sox making his postseason after failing to get there in Chicago. He finally reached 20 homers for the first time in his career after hitting 18 in 2017 and 19 in 2018, attaining the round number in his third-to-last game of the season. He hit .282/.332/.464 over 530 plate appearances for the Rays this season, which basically splits the difference between his last two years with the Sox. Two differences: He stole a career-high 10 bases, and he played 12 games in center field.
Like the Dodgers, the Twins didn’t have a single former White Sox wear their uniform this season.
New York Yankees
The White Sox supplied a fair amount of talent to the Yankees’ postseason roster a couple of years ago, but Latham’s Tommy Kahnle is the last man standing on New York’s side. He’s had a bounce-back year for the Bombers, posting a 3.67 ERA with 88 strikeouts and a 1.06 WHIP over 61⅓ innings. He’s given up a crooked number every three outings over this final stretch, which might be partially attributable to wrist tendinitis, and partially the reason he almost damaged his throwing hand slamming a sunflower seed container in the dugout.
If it weren’t for Chris Devenski — who never pitched above A-ball for the White Sox before he was traded to Houston in the Brett Myers deal — the Astros would have no relevance with regards to this post for the last two years. Devenski’s effectiveness has diminished, and he might not even be a lock for postseason rosters, but it still turned out to be a pretty nifty deal on their side.
Because theirs is the plan I wish the Sox would follow, I’m rooting for the ‘Stros.
The Sox could also be following the Braves model, complete with International FA Scandals
Nah. They’d have to stop trading that slot value away.
Jason Benetti made the playoffs! He’s in the ESPN booth for Rays-A’s
So you’re saying it’s Dodgers v Twins? 😉
I want the Twins to make it to the WS so we get treated to all the whining about the late October temperatures.
Not a big believer in the Twins. They’re under .500 against over .500 teams in the regular season I believe.
I don’t see a woosh. They’re the only postseason club with a losing record against winning teams.
1. Dodgers, .584 (45-32)
2. Yankees, .573 (43-32)
3. Athletics, .565 (35-27)
4. Astros, .555 (35-28)
5. Braves, .547 (52-43)
6. Brewers, .545 (48-40)
7. Rays, .521 (38-35)
8. Nationals, .500 (48-48)
8. Cardinals, .500 (42-42)
10. Twins, .463 (32-37)
I read Ze Robs’ comment as Dodgers v Twins because they’re the only teams with zero former White Sox.
I did, too. But then there’s the matter of the second sentence, which invites general conversation about the Twins.
Take me to comment jail Paulie.
I’ve been on the twins are overrated bandwagon all year… it’s gotten lonely lately though, jump on guys!
Rooting for close games and unforeseen hijinx.
5 hours games…. yay!!
The Cardinals have another old friend.
Thanks, added him.
Surely not our weenie-bat guy….
OK, this guarantees the Cardinals and A’s will fight a seven-game series with Ravelo and Marcus Semien competing for WSMVP.
It has been suggested in some quarters that this is not enough.
What’s more upsetting: that the Sox could still have both Semien and Tatis Jr in the organization? Or that neither one of them would be nearly as good as they are now if they had stayed?
You both it!
I think Semien is essentially the same player he was on the trajectory to become. He’s had some struggles over the years and had a career year this season with 33 homers. His 8.1/7.6 bWAR/fWAR is going to be tough to replicate sans juiced balls though.
If he was still on the Sox, he’d be striking out >30% of the time instead of improving to 13% K rate.
He was on a path to a utility or bench role like Sanchez but by way of worse defense and more power.
Maybe Steverson could’ve helped him take a step with the bat like Anderson and Moncada. We’ve got less reason to think they could coach up his defense.
How do you teach high BABIP?
There are 2 problems with focusing on his BABIP. The first is that some players run high BABIPs, speedy guys especially. The second is that batted ball outcomes weren’t his only improvement.
“Hit ’em were they ain’t”….it’s the new launch angle!
Ha ha. But we do know it’s possible to tailor a swing and approach around contact and singles, swinging with less uppercut and making contact deeper in the zone instead of attacking the ball out front.
To be fair to the Sox if i remember correctly at the time they still had Alexi, Yolmer, Beckham and him all clogging up the same spot and needed to move one of them to clear up the roster clog. And thats before you add in Anderson who i dont remember if he was considered a prospect yet or not. And double checking the 14/15 rosters i forgot Saladino was hovering around the middle infield mix as well.
How it ended can of course be looked at with hindsight. But at the time i dont remember anybody really upset over the loss of any of the players we gave up for Samardzija.
The problem is less the decision to trade him and more the circumstances that made giving up on him a reasonable choice. The A’s completely exposed the Sox deficiencies in evaluation and development.
It’s not even necessarily that the Sox would’ve kept Semien and been better for it if they didn’t have those deficiencies. Maybe they’d have gotten more out of the guys they kept and added or traded for a better caliber of veteran instead, making it a win-win.
I’m not concerned about the decision to trade Semien. Good teams trade good players all the time. I’m sure the Red Sox would love to still have Moncada on their roster right about now. The part that concerns me is the valuation of Samardzija. Chris Sale makes the sting of no Moncada bearable but, just like with Shields, there doesn’t seem to be a focus on organizational fit when it comes to acquiring players. It’s more “Oh look shiny thing” and it ends up being a piece of tin but they try to convince us its a solid silver half dollar.
Semien wasn’t a good player when they traded him. That, along with how they evaluated Samardzija, was a problem.
Shields and Tatis is an example of also not being able to evaluate their in-house talent, too.
I can be fair to Hahn and it can still be an indictment of the organization. I will admit that I thought, at the time, many…maybe most…of Hahn’s trades were reasonable or at worst (Shields) unhelpful. They have almost uniformly been bad. Sometimes very, very bad (Shields). You have to imagine there’s a problem with scouting when the players you give up blossom like Semien and the players you acquire perform poorly like Shark.
*Please note that these observations do not include Hahn’s free agent acquisitions which to me usually seem like bad ideas on their face.
Jerry Reinsdorf said in an interview on Comcast tonight that the White Sox don’t have the resources other large market teams have. Maybe he is counting the GM as one of those resources.
As witnessed by the fact that the Sox payroll is almost $40M less than the affluent Brewers.
The GM resource issue compounds that by requiring $30M be spent on alonso, jay, and herrera.
I have the Nats going to the World Series, but I hope Spanky goes 0-postseason.
I do to!
Nats – Astros
I also have Astros-Nats.
Astros in 6.
I haven’t thought about the number of games, but Astros in 6 seems reasonable. And I have the ‘Stros winning it all.