The White Sox who are playing out more than the string

White Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn
(Photo by Matt Marton/USA TODAY Sports)

Now that the smoke is clearing from the trade deadline, it’s easier to see what the White Sox are right now (in tank mode), and a little more apparent to project the foreseeable future (2024 no, 2025 maybe).

The White Sox opened that rest of the season with a sleepy 2-0 loss to the Texas Rangers that will probably foreshadow the liveliness of the remaining 54 games on the 2023 schedule.

Yasmani Grandal and Elvis Andrus are still with the team, and there are probably reasons for it, or else every club would jettison its remaining veterans the day after the trade deadline. Maybe a team wants to wait for an injury elsewhere before placing a player on waivers, hoping for some salary relief. Maybe there’s a transition that needs to happen with game-planning. Maybe a team wants to shorten the amount of time it gives to overmatched rookies. Maybe everybody appreciates two weeks’ notice whenever possible.

None of the reasons are compelling to the viewer, but merely sets an appropriate tone for the next two months, during which we’re going to have to make our own fun. Don’t underestimate how long two months can last when little about the roster feels essential. There’s going to be ample time to get tired of everybody.

While there won’t be much inspiration for fans to hang on every pitch, a sizable chunk of the roster has all the motivation to remain invested on a day-to-day basis.

For the players who can treat every MLB inning as a gift — your Zach Remillards, your Touki Toussaints, your Jesses Scholtens — obviously there’s something to play for. The same can be said for the catchers, as Seby Zavala and Carlos Pérez now have to contend with Korey Lee and Edgar Quero being on the horizon. This could be as good as it gets, so they have to enjoy the unfettered — or minimally fettered — opportunities for as long as they last.

For the mainstays who are staying, there are four in particular I’m monitoring the rest of the way, even if watching them on a game-to-game basis won’t be all that enjoyable.

Andrew Vaughn

I wish I could see what the White Sox see in Vaughn, whether it’s considering him untouchable before the trade deadline, or Rick Hahn considering him a potential leader in the aftermath.

“I think it’s going to be a really interesting clubhouse over the next few months,” Hahn said. “I mean that in a good way. It will leave room for some of these young guys to grow and blossom. They can take some of the leadership reins. I talked to Andrew Vaughn about his former college teammate today before we traded for him, that’s a guy I think will take a new leadership role in that room.”

Maybe, but here’s a counterpoint: Vaughn hasn’t been good. This is not to rule out the possibility of him becoming good, just because every draft prognosticators thought Vaughn would hit, but his present form offers the possibility that he can’t create the swing leverage to damage MLB pitching the way an MLB first baseman needs to.

There’s also the matter that he’s faded to the finish in each of his first two seasons, hitting .169/.222/.261 over 40 September games. He’s still trying to figure out how to survive a six-month grind, so it doesn’t seem like he’s in a position to set an example.

If Vaughn can elevate his game over the last two months, it makes it a little easier to see how the White Sox might be able to fashion a sort-of contender in 2024. Then we can see what the leadership stuff is all about.

Eloy Jiménez

It’d be kind of fitting if Jiménez finally reached his ceiling as an all-world hitter just in time for it to actually hurt the cause, but it’d still serve a purpose. He needs to prove that he’s capable of playing 100 games. Maybe it helps the White Sox come closer to a building a threatening offense for 2024, or maybe it inspires another team to fork over somebody who diversifies the roster’s skill set. Both are better than merely riding out the rest of his contract, because the White Sox are already doing that with Yoán Moncada, whose back makes it harder to trust him beyond the next 48 hours.

Gavin Sheets

It seems like Sheets is being phased out of the White Sox’s plans. Granted, he’s doing his own part by going 57 plate appearances without an extra-base hit, dragging his season line down to .215/.290/.355, but he’s only started one game over the last 10 days, with Grandal taking some starts at first base in his place.

Before the season, I’d wondered if the shift ban would hurt Sheets more than help, because his ability to tap or flip a pitch to a vacated left side helped mask the fact that he just doesn’t hit the ball all that hard. It seems like those fears were warranted when looking at his hit charts from last year to this one.

After hitting .404 on balls to left field over his first two years, Sheets is hitting .152 this season. He’s pulling the ball more (from 38 percent to 48 percent), and he’s lifting the ball more (ground-ball rate down to 37 percent), but it just doesn’t go anywhere.

Now that Jake Burger’s in Miami and Grandal is blocking young catchers who need an evaluation period, Sheets might get one more blast of playing time, even if he just helps fill out the lineup card. If he doesn’t, that’ll tell you the White Sox have seen all they need to see.

Oscar Colás

Colás is a reason why I don’t think it’s necessary to eliminate all veterans with extreme prejudice. He’s hitting .215/.235/.246 with 21 strikeouts over 68 plate appearances since he’s returned. Obviously that failure is more valuable than watching somebody like Sheets come up short in right field, but it’s still a lot of failure to witness. The same can be said for Lenyn Sosa, who everybody wants to see in Chicago until a week after seeing him in Chicago.

The difference is that the Sox have options beyond Sosa in the near future. Colás represents the only internal upside in the outfield, and if he still doesn’t look any more under control in the plate or on the field, then he can’t be considered a given for 2024. White Sox fans are used to dealing with uncertainty in right field, but lump it in with the fresh questions in the rotation and left side of the infield, and that’s way more than a front office can be expected to answer over one winter. Especially this front office.

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It’s at the margins, but I would have traded Vaughn before Burger. Burger at least does one thing well at the MLB level (hit HRs).

What does Vaughn do well?

The frustrating thing about Hahn is, a GM who knows he won’t be fired could cut bait on sunk costs like a high draft pick that didn’t pan out, but Hahn’s ego forces him to see something in Vaughn that isn’t there.


The answer to what Vaughn does well is the same answer as to what teams would give up for him in a trade.


Vaughn’s a former high draft pick who’s still got some upside and years of team control. We’ll never know since Hahn considers him “untouchable”, but I think teams would see some value there.


I agree with this. Even the smartest teams will always have a little bit of “we can fix em” mindset. This applies to Eloy as well.


The Sox development staff is not capable of fixing anyone. That’s been the problem the last 15 or so years.


He’s untouchable because there are no other first basemen in the system and Sheets is not the answer.


1B is a position that does not have to be such a challenge to fill. Candelario, who was just traded from the Nats to the Cubs, had signed for 1 yr at just $5mil after a down year

Last edited 1 month ago by JazznFunk
As Cirensica

Vaughn’s a former high draft pick who’s still got some upside and years of team control

I frankly don’t see any upside. Maybe there is something that will move him from being a 0 WAR player to 1 WAR player. So, nothing to see here.


Vaughn makes a lot of contact and consistently hits the ball hard. I’m not at all convinced the Sox can do it, but I think if a smart org got Vaughn they’d turn him into the guy everyone was ready to draft top 5 even despite the small R/R 1B profile.


You could only “have traded Vaughn before Burger” if a major league GM was willing to give you something for Vaughn.


Yeah, exactly. Deadline trades are “we need someone NOW.” They’re not upside “let’s see what we can do with this guy and maybe in 18 months we’ll have something” deals.

Alfornia Jones

He is the poster child(along with TA & Robert))for an organization that doesn’t take enough pitches and thusly don’t get BB’s. Even on an 0-2 or 1-2 count, they don’t seem to understand that no decent MLB pitcher is going to put anything over the plate. The demoralizing part of this is that its fixable, and fairly quickly. Hopefully they are trying to address this in AA and lower. He gets close to 1 or 1.5 WAR just by upping his OBP, but the hitting HR’s part probably can’t be fixed.

The Sox could be competitive in 2024 just by enforcing a hitting approach that is broadly endorsed by most MLB teams. They don’t score enough runs because they don’t take enough pitches that lead to BB’s, that lead to teams burning pitchers, etc. Adding a focus to hit more HR’s in one of the most homer happy parks aren’t just good ideas, they are necessary to compete.

I agree AV (and everyone else) doesn’t do anything well, but he could do at least one thing better.


Yes. I came here to say this. Why trade Burger and not Vaughn? Burger’s better offensively, has more position flexibility (such that it is), is a better runner, and about a third of the PAs as Vaughn. The only reasons I can muster is Vaughn is a couple of years younger and the prospect status. But I have to wonder if Vaughn doesn’t return more because of those things, too.


Are the White Sox the only team that can’t seem to produce any outfielders? Most teams seem to have too many.


Arby’s continues to be busy with white sox fans.


I wish Sheets could play like 15 games in a row to see if he truly sucks as a hitter. He probably would but I’d still like to see it. Vaughn has obviously been a disappointment but I’d still take him over Abreu at this point. Is it him or have the batting instructors screwed him up? As we all know, the Sox lack development big time.
We have to be patient with Colas and he still may not be ready for the bigs. I’ve about given up on Jimenez as I have on Kopech. He’s been a Sox prospect for what…………..7 years now?


Since June 1, Abreu’s OPS is .780 and Vaughn’s is .699.

To be clear, that’s just an illustration of how bad Vaughn has been. Letting Abreu move on was the right decision, but in typical Sox fashion, they’ve messed up the consequent decision badly enough that it negated any benefit of the first one.


And that was kind of my point. Not paying Abreu what he wanted was a smart move. I still think that Vaughn is capable of 25 HR’s and 100 RBI’s. I also thought he would hit around .280+ with an OBP of maybe .340. They aren’t within reach this season but……………….


Sheets has had 813 major league PA. Best thing would be for another organization to have a look at making adjustments, if possible.


I don’t understand what’s happened to Vaughn. On the plus side he does hit the ball hard, and seems to care (not all Sox do). His prospect reputation was that he was selective at the plate, forced pitchers to throw to the strike zone. My memory is that he was more selective in his early Sox days, now much less so – particularly with sweepers away and fastballs up (I’m basing this on watching 95% of Sox games since he came up – indeed I am an old glutton for punishment guy. If somebody chooses to look up some advanced stats, fine). He also appears to have a thick build – maybe a (little) weight loss, combined with flexibility training might help.

Last edited 1 month ago by mrridgman

I want to say Jim or Josh talked about this on the podcast, pitchers are not afraid of Vaughn because he does not punish their mistakes into the bleachers like Robert, so they throw in the zone.

Last edited 1 month ago by vince
As Cirensica

Josh discussed this in one of his podcasts:

Pitchers discovered that Vaughn has short arms, and he has trouble hitting “sweepers” (his extended arms plus length of bat is still not enough). Unless Vaughn figures something out, pitchers will continue to throw him sweepers. He can’t do damage.


Ah, I knew it was something like that.


I’m right there with you. Maybe he’s feeling too much pressure having replaced Abreu or maybe the coaching staff has messed him up. Like JazznFunk stated, maybe it will take another organization to get him going.

Right Size Wrong Shape

By what measure does Vaughn “seem to care”. I’m not saying that he doesn’t, but I saw the same comment about Burger yesterday. It rankles me that both of those guys can suck for long stretches, but boy do they seem to care, while guys like TA and even Robert go into a slump and they get called lazy, prima donnas, etc. I think they all care, but the fact that some players get singled out is unfair.


Agreed – they all care. I’d say it blows my mind how often players’ characters get attacked… but sadly it doesn’t. But, I gotta say in his defense… Vaughn does seem to care more than the average bird. That dude throws his helmet and yells more than anyone (partly because he gets so many chances).

But I’d much rather watch Robert be “lazy” than Vaughn “care” any day.


The key word here is “seem” to care. I don’t know the individual motivations of any of these players. I do know what the appearance to the outside world is when a hitter swings at 3 balls well outside the strike zone and emotionlessly walks back to the dugout.

Right Size Wrong Shape

A guy putting on a phony act of yelling and throwing stuff doesn’t make me feel better about him striking out.


Do they wear signs that say “this is phony”?

Joliet Orange Sox

I think in sports like the rest of life that some people are more demonstrative than others. I personally am not a very demonstrative person and I’m sure I’m not the only one on this site who is this way. I have some co-workers who do go off swearing and kicking furniture when things go wrong and if I’m being honest it makes me very uncomfortable.

Non-demonstrative people can be seen as uncaring by demonstrative people. Demonstrative people can be seen as phony by non-demonstrative people.

I think using the word “caring” when we mean “demonstrative” causes some of the conflict on this issue.


Good enough.

Augusto Barojas

Colas will be 25 next month. He either adjusts to mlb pitching between now and 2025, or he will wind up being a bust. Which frankly looks likely. Unfortunately he is the only option they have with any chance of becoming an MLB RF. Not looking good so far, aside from a couple really impressive throws he has made.

I’ve about given up on all of it. Who wants to follow a team that might not see another playoff game before 2030?


And there’s that.


This is probably wishing for too much, but I hope the FO reevaluates him as a 4th OF and puts actual resources into RF.

karkovice squad

Sheets sucks as a hitter. But the lack of hard contact could probably be solved by getting him to use his legs to add some linear motion towards the pitcher. He’s too rotational.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

The Sox should use the rest of the season for the purpose of Remembering Some Rebuild Guys. I would be far more attentive watching a team of Daniel Palka, Leury, Billy Hamilton, Nicky Delmonico, Odrisamre Despaigne, Thyago Viera, and Tyler Saladino win 14 games the rest of the way than I will be watching the current roster win 16.

Josh Nelson

Dallas Keuchel is a free agent


Not funny, Josh!


It would take me the rest of the season to learn how to pronounce some of those names!


If the Sox were serious about India, it makes me think they are not that excited with their internal 2B options.


Trades brought in good sp depth and c depth that were desperately needed, now the obvious glaring hole in the system would be outfielders.


Vaughn is such an enigma. He hits the ball hard often and his LA has really improved this year at 13.5 degrees (vesus 7.5 degrees last year), doesn’t strike out an obscene amount, improved his ground ball and fly ball rates etc. yet his BAPIP this year is only .283 (.287 career.) He’s even pulling the ball way more than in the past few seasons.

Is this a case where his lack of speed and the way Guaranteed Rate plays are suppressing his numbers?


With as many sub 6′ superstars as this league has/had are we really going to play the height card here? I agree though that watching Vaughn hit to right center is like watching corn in cans. On the flip, there are few who can hit the ball to right center like Eloy and Robert is just demolishing balls everywhere this year.


We are not talking about what positions they play or speed, we are talking about hitting a baseball.

Joliet Orange Sox

I think “little defensive value” may be overrating Vaughn as a fielder.


Of course but I was replying to “Any time he hits a remotely promising fly ball to right of center, I assume it’s going to be caught, which is why I suspect his size holds him back”.
Manny Ramirez was about the same size as Vaughn with little defensive value, and no baserunning value, and yet was a monster with a baseball bat in his hands. I doubt highly that his package size was any hinderance to his hitting abilities.

Right Size Wrong Shape

PEDs and a juiced ball were also not a hindrance.


Right, just don’t say he doesn’t care. Them are fighting words.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Did he not get suspended for using PEDs?

As Cirensica

How many short guys have elite batting skills again? I want to say there aren’t many.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Lots of them. But short power hitters are rarer.

As Cirensica

I meant to say power hitters. I know we have a bunch of Arraezes here and there, but like Jim stated above, these players can field and run. When you are stuck at 1B, hitting for power becomes increasingly important.


Remember Mike Squires?

As Cirensica

Not really

Joliet Orange Sox

I remember Mike Squires well. He played a lot of first base for the Sox in the late 70’s through the early 80’s. He had a good glove at first and walked a bit but had no pop at all. He’s one of the tiny number of players who threw left-handed to play catcher in mlb which happened a couple/few times.

He was not a good player so I’m unclear why his name is coming up.

King Joffrey

We’ve got our third catcher!!!

Joliet Orange Sox

Betts and Altuve are two great hitters who come to mind immediately. There are others.


I’m talking about his batted ball metrics though. He hits the ball hard, he hits line drives and fly balls, he’s pulling it almost 40% the time. His launch angle is the best it’s been but he’s seeing worse results.

It’s just weird, and the only thing I can come up with is the ball(has there been anything written about the ball they’re using this year anyway?) or the park that he plays a majority of his games in.

Hell, even his 3 year Zips projections have him as a ~30 HR hitter with an 800+ OPS. I just don’t get the disconnect between the data and what’s on the field.


He’s hitting an awful .189 with 2 strikes and a similarly bad .192 with 3 balls. He just doesn’t seem to have a feel for fighting off pitches or taking pitches to get ahead in the count for that matter.


League average with 2 strikes is .171, so he’s actually above average there.


Hmm interesting


No. He’s hitting too many warning track distance fly balls. Part of it is that he’s got merely 55ish raw pop; part of it is that he doesn’t elevate his hardest contact.

He hits the ball hard (defined as 95+ mph) respectably often, withhave a mean launch angle of 12.1 degrees, which is 45th percentile. But if you increase the threshold up to 100+ mph, that mean LA falls to 9.9 degrees, 36th percentile. If we bump that to 104+mph (104 being approx. the mean exit velo of homers) Vaughn’s avg LA falls to 8.1 degrees, 26th percentile.

There are a few excellent hitters in the latter neighborhood, like Ronald Acuña. The difference is that an absurd 32.7% of Acuña’s batted balls are 104+ MPH, whereas Vaughn is at 15.8%. That’s still not *bad*— for example, Freddie Freeman is at 15.3%— but Freeman’s avg LA for those 104 MPH+ rockets is 17.0 degrees.

If AV had another full grade of raw power, he’d be an excellent hitter. But he doesn’t have that. His hit tool does let him make hard contact significantly more often than most guys with his raw pop, but his swing needs adjusting such that when he crushes a ball, it’s gone, instead of being subject to the whims of spray angle.

karkovice squad

Along with not having a good swing plane on his best contact, he also doesn’t hit the ball all that hard. Max EV is more strongly correlated with HRs than avg EV. Vaughn’s is well above average but lackluster for the rest of his liabilities. It’s also noticeably down from his rookie year


The saddest part of all the “if” and “maybe” the White Sox are littered with in terms of players and “ceiling” is other teams either look at the roster and think they can fix these guys way better than the Sox, or the Sox have done so much damage to their psyche that the career of players may be done before it even started and no one wants to risk “bounce back” with any assets. This franchise needs an enema but probably wont get there with Jerry running the show.


At this point I give Vaughn the benefit of the doubt but I agree that we don’t yet know what the Sox have in him.
He was drafted in 2019, no baseball in 2020, brought to the MLB in 2021 with little to no minor league experience. He was asked to play the outfield because of injury and because there was no one else. He was asked to play a position for which he lacked the skill set while learning to hit MLB pitching. He didn’t complain once that I heard.
The next year the Sox actually planned to have him play the outfield thus ruining his second year of development. This is his final year before arb so he’s cheap and he will be cheap next year. This is his first year playing the only position for which he is suited but it is new to him at the MLB level. Might as well wait and see.

Greg Nix

I thought Vaughn would walk more. Still somehow feels like he should. That wouldn’t solve everything, but if he had a .350 OBP it’d take some of the pressure off other parts of his game.

As Cirensica

Pitchers don’t fear Vaughn too much. They are throwing him strikes. Hard to walk that way.


He helps them by swinging at more balls than when he first came up.

Greg Nix

There are plenty of guys who are roughly as threatening as Vaughn (or less!) but walk more frequently. Sheets and Benintendi are two of them. If Vaughn walked as frequently as Sheets, his OBP would be 20 or 30 points higher.

Put another way: Jake Burger never walks, and his BB rate this year is 6.8%. Vaughn’s is 7%.

As Cirensica

Well, that’s depressing


Ah yes, in an ideal world we would get to see all the young guys play the rest of the way so we can see what we have. But this is the Sox, and both our bonehead GM and bonehead manager will not allow this to happen. I fully expect to see a lot of Grandal, Elvis, and everyone else you don’t want to see on the field.


Old friend alert — Blake Rutherford getting the call in Washington after hitting <checks notes>
AA (32 games): .341 / .390 / .612
AAA (30 games): .349 / .400 / .547



The Washington Nationals called up Blake Rutherford today. In 62 games this season between AA and AAA, he hit .345/.395/.583 with 11 HR and 43 HR. The Nationals outfield also features former White Sox prospect Alex Call (.207/.307/.314 with 6 HR and 32 RBI).

Last edited 1 month ago by NancyFaustsOrgan

It’s been a rough year for Liam Hendriks, even if this is not the greatest health challenge he’s faced.


Rick will no doubt use this when defending his ridiculous ‘compete in ‘24’ comment.


Liam Hendriks had Tommy John surgery last week. Are we just learning this from the Sox?


That may be it for his career since he won’t pitch again until 2025. That dude has been put through the ringer this year.

Greg Nix

The dude pitched like a month after chemo. I’m pretty sure he’ll be back out there in 2025.


Good for him if he is pitching in his 36th plus year.

Right Size Wrong Shape



Tough break.

So do the Sox pick up the option and pay him off fast or decline and pay at a mil a year? Knowing Jerry he’ll string it out and claim poor in the future.


This is awful news. Devastating for a likeable guy who now has to miss even more baseball. Bad for the team if they genuinely want to compete in ’24 because the bullpen cupboard is pretty bare and they wlll have trouble finding another top closer who wants to come here. I guess that weird deferred option is getting used after all.


Sheets seems like a guy that would be best suited visiting a place such as Driveline, and/or perhaps instituting a weighted bat program. He looks the part of a LHH, he has the stature, the swing has natural loft, but as Jim wrote, the ball goes nowhere.

After his rookie season, I had hopes he could be the LH 1B/DH they need.

As Cirensica

Sheets looks like a guy that would be best suited visiting popular friendly neighborhoods in Japan or Korea.


the sox are last in mlb in on-base % and walks. there are too many high strikeout, low walk, low on-base % players on the team.
they need more players like benintendi.
also, sox pitcher are 2nd worst in HRs allowed and walks allowed. but they’re 3rd best in strikeouts.
i’ve been watching the sox since the early ’80s. they always have a lot of underachieving power hitters. so, i don’t think reinsdorf’s #1 priority is winning. i think it’s ticket sales. people who don’t know anything about baseball like to see HRs. they also like to see strikeouts by pitchers. i could be wrong about his priorities. but, after > 35 years, wouldn’t he have learned to make amore efficient team?


Option Vaughn to the minors and give Sheets 2+ weeks of starts every day at 1B. Vaughn should be able to “get right” down there, and it lets you evaluate Sheets clearly.

If you need OF help, try Victor Cruz next. Show Quad-A type players that if you play well enough for Charlotte, the White Sox will give you another shot in the Majors. (I know Cruz only has 1 option year left, and you burn that if he comes up and needs sent back down).

Andrus needs to go, and Lenyn can play everyday at 2B for a month. Remillard will stick as UT for now. Jose Rodriguez or even Nate Mondou can serve as the callup for injury.


according to espn, grandal has the worst dWAR of any catcher in mlb: -0.6. and last season, his dWAR was worst in mlb: -0.7. why is he still in the line-up as catcher?
anyway. i blame reinsdorf, williams, and hahn for making a roster with only 1 player who gets on base: benintendi.
but the players aren’t blameless. this season, almost every starter, including pitchers, has been worse than their career averages.
p.s. this season proves that la russa wasn’t the problem.

Last edited 1 month ago by bw414