Spare Parts: After not worrying about homers, White Sox hit a couple

Entering Wednesday, Andrew Vaughn had tested a few of the country’s finest warning tracks, settling for doubles or deep flyouts whether he tried left, center or right. The .357 slugging percentage belied strong contact that seemed destined to end up on the other side of the fence sooner or later, before or after temperatures rose out of the 40s.

That said, the zero in Vaughn’s home run column did contribute to the White Sox’s unimpressive total in that department. The White Sox are dead last in homers, and left field is a natural place to start since Eloy Jiménez might’ve been expected to be in double digits at this point.

The discussion isn’t an urgent one. Vaughn’s above-average production in other departments — the .295 average and .389 OBP over his previous 20 games — means he’s holding his own just fine. He’s driving the ball, he’s taking his walks, he’s playing an acceptable left field, and although he can be neutralized by a decent MLB righty, his rough games don’t seem to carry over the next day. He’s doing about as well as anybody could hope for given his lack of experience, and so the lack of homers didn’t rise to the level of a crisis.

Frank Menechino thought along the same lines. He talked to reporters about an offense that’s on a roll regardless of whether they hit a ball into the seats, and he wasn’t in the mood to nitpick.

“I’ve told Andrew to hit .300,” Menechino said. “‘I don’t care if you don’t hit one home run. Hit .300, work on hitting .300.’ And if he goes into that where he’s going to look to hit .300?

“Everybody wants to see the home run and see (Nick) Madrigal hit a home run. I don’t want to get excited, but f— the home run. Let’s hit .300. Then we will worry about the other stuff later.”

This is the kind of quote that could get lampooned under different circumstances, because most teams are short on guys who can hit a .300 without immense luck. The White Sox just happen have a few, and so they lead baseball in batting average (.262), and the American League in OBP (.345). With that kind of pressure, they can league AL in runs per game even while trailing the rest of the AL in homers.

And you’ll note that I had to start this post with “entering Wednesday,” because entering today, Vaughn has a homer.


Yasmani Grandal saw the post written about his bizarre slash line a couple days ago and vowed to make it weirder. He’s added single hits in back to back days, and both left the yard, which won’t help his BABIP. He also drew two walks on Wednesday to make up for his shockingly walkless performance the night before. He’s now up to .130/.384/.333, giving him a wRC+ (122) that’s above his career average (118), and an OPS+ (109) that’s within normal (115).

In the middle of James Fegan’s potpourri is a note about Ben Hansen, the now-former White Sox biomechanics specialist who left the organization for a position with Intel. Chris Getz says Hansen isn’t taking the title with him out the door.

“Ben did a phenomenal job with us and he’ll certainly be missed,” White Sox assistant general manager Chris Getz said. “From a biomechanical standpoint, we did assessments for all of our players, to kind of do a deep dive and personalized plans for our players. From a workload management standpoint, both on the pitching and position-player front, he provided a lot of information for our strength and training staff, that would be relayed to our coaches to not only get the best of our players from a performance standpoint, but also health-wise.” […]

“Thankfully he’s been around now for some time so we’ve been able to have some people around him to learn under him, and pick up the workload that he’s leaving behind here,” Getz said. “And we’ll look along the way here to find his replacement.”

The Padres and Yankees are dealing with COVID-19 cases within their ranks. The Padres haven’t yet hit the 85 percent threshold for loosening restrictions, whereas the Yankees did. In fact, three of the Yankees’ COVID cases are breakthroughs involving members who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The White Sox reached 85 percent with the J&J shot, so it’s worth following how the Yankees and Major League Baseball respond to their situation in the event the White Sox experience something similar. There are bound to be some such cases given the one-shot J&J vaccine has an overall efficacy of 65-75 percent, and MLB players are tested far more frequently than the general population. The efficacy against hospitalization still makes it worthwhile.

Speaking of situations worth monitoring, Major League Baseball is stepping up its efforts to pressure Oakland into providing the Athletics favorable terms for a new ballpark and related real estate. The A’s could theoretically build on the Oakland Coliseum site, but MLB won’t allow it, because the ability to reap rewards from the surrounding area with additional developments isn’t there.

This is probably going to be a conversation coming to the White Sox by the end of the decade, so I’ll once again recommend enjoying a baseball-oriented facility while it’s largely uncomplicated.

There were a lot of things I didn’t understand about Todd Frazier, like why a guy who wore his New Jerseyness on his sleeve could’ve been a voice actor for Peyton Manning. I also didn’t get why he searched his name on Twitter for criticism that wasn’t finding his account directly, but I suppose that makes him MLB’s Kevin Durant.

Anyway, his career might be coming to a close after a profoundly unhappy stint with the Pirates. It opened with him griping about something a columnist said, it ended with him griping about a different columnist, and in the middle he went 3-for-35. If the best revenge is living well, Adam Eaton is winning that war.

(Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski / USA TODAY Sports)

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Jim Margalus
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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I still don’t understand the Eaton/Frazier beef. Did something specific actually happen, or do they just naturally get on each others nerves?

As Cirensica

Eaton isn’t known to be Mr. Popularity. I guess most players choose to ignore him, but Frazier wasn’t one of them. The beef was one of the unfortunate sequel of the Drake Laroche clown show.


When two obnoxious guys get together, they either become best friends or worst enemies


Also, that team OBP is crazy, and we have Cease to thank.


Sox record with a homer vs without is pretty slanted… keep hitting homers!


Wonder if the biomechanics guys can figure out why so many of our players keep pulling their hammies.


I can’t believe I’m going to write this. But are the Sox trail blazing a new path the rest of MLB? They seem to be zigging when the rest of the 3 outcome league is zagging. With the sudden dominance in pitching, their approach to working counts and making contact is driving their success. It may be completely by accident, but guys like Madrigal, Vaughn and Mercedes are the kryptonite to how pitchers pitch and how defenses defend. Hit the ball all over, work counts, take walks. Don’t focus on launch angles and exit velocities. Put the ball in play and good things will happen.


If I ever have a child I would teach the Mercedes approach its more or less looking to murder/drive the ball strikes one and two, then its a short and quick defensive two strike approach looking to punch any pitch in play to any field. Way more productive then full blown swings and lots of k’s. Really refreshing to see a sox order with lots of tough outs.

Root Cause

The last few games have been a lot of fun to watch. Hits create a lot more action and angst. Baserunning, misplays, and bang, bang plays at the bag. I like homers too but it is either feast or famine and mostly famine.

Watching Hamilton knocking down the 10 pin (Donaldson) seemed to defy science.

As Cirensica

That was the secret to the Astros success (well…also the bang trash cans) during their World Series push. They lead the majors in contact rate. They were among the leaders on fewer Ks. There are also analysis written out there where generally the teams with fewer Ks and high contact rates tend to be the most successful.


That Menechino quote can be something to joke at in a month if the team’s offense takes a dive. But it does look like the team overall has adjusted to the loss of a guys like Eloy and Robert. Maybe they have bought in to that “Dont try to be the hero” stuff and are just playing and letting the runs come when they do. I dont want to heap too much praise on LaRussa cause of the missteps hes had this year at times but i can see that being something he would excel at compared to a Renteria in getting a team to refocus after some bad losses of personnel.

Of course it also cant hurt that the starters have been great so far and the offense usually has that time to stay even or get out ahead.


Why is Lamb batting second today while Vaughn is 6th? Bonkers

As Cirensica

I have a better question, why is Lamb still on this team?


the Padres link goes to the Fegan article. Little copy/paste whoopsiedoodle