Podcast: Luis Robert Jr. is meeting the hype

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Record Date: 6/25/2023

Rundown:

  • Luis Robert Jr. is the first player in 2023 to reach 20+ home runs and doubles. Despite the team’s record, Robert is meeting the hype that’s followed him since joining the White Sox.
  • Andrew Benintendi is thriving batting leadoff.
  • White Sox plan on managing Michael Kopech’s workload post All-Star Break
  • With the current right field options not hitting, should the White Sox consider bringing back Oscar Colas?
  • Series Preview: Los Angeles Angels

Author

  • Josh Nelson

    Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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Augusto Barojas

The need to manage Kopech’s workload. He is on pace for 160-170 innings, which would be the first time in his career that he has ever thrown more than 120. He is 27, and had TJ surgery in the fall of 2018, so he is almost 5 years removed. Do they have to wait for him to pitch for another team before seeing if he can handle a full season without kid gloves? Maybe just let him pitch as long as he can, while he gets outs, without worrying about him. He’s not going to throw 200 innings anyway, which is something that good pitchers do once in a while. You know, like Buehrle did for 15 straight years (if you count his last year of 198.2 as a 200 inning season).

I’m not suggesting pitching him if he is hurt or something, but to manage his workload like he is frail and about to break at any time out of caution is akin to living a life of fear. Maybe you avoid some pain, but you really never get a chance to see what you can do, either. Let the man pitch if he gets outs, while he is still on your team.

JazznFunk

They probably want to pace him to get him through the season rather than suddenly need another starter. His lack of consistency indicates something. Two more years and he is a free agent in the midst of a rebuild, regardless. So this is what it is.

As Cirensica

Well, it is not like he will be pitching 200 innings, he won’t and probably shouldn’t, but 160-170 innings like Augusto mentioned is not something that scream “whoa, they are breaking him with overwork”. Maybe skip a start if possible. Perhaps when Clevinger returns. That did wonders for him. But let him pitch if he is effective. He is not a 21 yo pitching prospect anymore.

JazznFunk

The Sox have actually been good at keeping their pitchers on the field. This is one area where I have some faith they have a sense of what they are doing. Last season the talk was that Kopech might be best served in the bullpen. That talk comes and goes. It could be this is what he is – a guy who could excel in a bullpen but may need to be managed as a starter.

Alfornia Jones

Agreed, he needs to pitch at least 160 IP just to see what he looks like. They should not be protecting anyone anymore. They might even get him to sign a 2-3 yr extension in the off-season.

150-180IP is the typical workload for a MLB pitcher. Less than 10 pitchers hit 200 IP last year. The way Cease runs up his pitch count he’ll never get close in his career.

Joliet Orange Sox

Last year only 24 pitchers in the American League pitched 160 innings. Only 3 pitched 200 innings (and they barely did so as the league leaders in IP were 201.1, 200.2, and 200.0 innings).

As Cirensica

For how long is the White Sox going to pamper Michael Kopech? The guy is 27 yo. Let him pitch. If he gets hurt, put him on the IL. If he can pitch, he can pitch. There are not many years of control left.

Adam

I agree with most of what you said about the lineup. But I disagree with the statement that people aren’t getting on for Robert. He’s just hit terribly with runners on. With runners on he’s 26-125, 44 k’s, 6 hr, 27 rbi with a .207 avg, .675 ops. Compared to 1.048 ops with no runners on. To me this is where the aggression kills him and the team in some cases. 125 at bats with runners on, 161 with nobody on. So he does come up more often with nobody on but not by a crazy amount.

Compared to an annoying example in Josh Naylor. Only cause my dad is a guardians fan who tells me of Naylor’s clutch hits on a daily basis and they have similar at bats. He 41-129, 22 k’s, 5 hr, 52 rbi for a .861 ops. He’s only walked 8 times so he has similar aggression, he’s just not swinging at literally everything. With nobody on, his ops is only .737. And his at bats with nobody/occupied is more 50/50 where Roberts is 60/40.

I don’t think Robert’s the issue with this lineup by any means. But in my opinion, when the Sox best hitter comes to the plate in a big situation, pitchers know they simply don’t have to throw him strikes and he’ll get himself out.

Jim Margalus

That’s true, but B-Ref says he’s had 16 fewer runners in scoring position than expected, so it’s an opportunity issue as well.

As Cirensica

Robert is not finding runners on? That clearly can’t be true. B-ref is losing it.

knoxfire30

Kopech definitely needs to keep taking the ball, its beyond time to take the training wheels off. Maybe an extra day rest, maybe skip him once, otherwise I want to see him pitch every inning possible this year. Can he be a guy they can realistically count on in future seasons to go over 160-170 innings. Gotta figure it out.

0 reason Colas shouldn’t get the entire second half of the season in RF, sheets and frazier have no futures, Colas already gives you what they do and he is the only one with actual upside for 2024 and beyond.

Augusto Barojas

Your points about Colas are spot on, and make too much sense for Hahn to take them seriously. We’ll probably see Reyes at some point, might as well try every castaway in existence before anybody who might have a future.

Yolmer

I think Colas would have stayed up if this was more of a rebuilding year. Eloy in 2019 had a similarly bad first two months and was pretty inconsistent that year. Maybe they option Sheets or DFA Frazier and give Victor Reyes a could of weeks to catch lightning then give it to Colas after the trade deadline.