FAQ: Will Carlos ever hit again?

After an awful start both at the plate and in the field, Juan Pierre has finally found a groove in both facets.  He’s hitting .362/.400/.382 in May, he’s been successful on eight of his last nine stolen-base attempts, and he’s tracking flies without hesitation in left.  He rockets between barely tolerable and fun to watch.  It’s not the easiest way for a ballplayer to make a living, but that’s what he does.
Likewise, Alex Rios shrugged off the bad luck and is the White Sox’s most valuable player right now.  His 12-game hitting streak was snapped on Wednesday, but he drew a walk, stole a base and scored a run on offense, and saved two runs with the best White Sox catch of the year by taking back Michael Cuddyer’s homer.
Even Andruw Jones, at least before he caught Paul Konerko’s sore neck (don’t want to know how), has been hanging tough.  He’s shown some signs of falling back to Earth — his plate discipline has started to wobble, namely — but he’s still been good for a .262/.311/.575 line this month.
This is all to say that Carlos Quentin has no clothes.
Until Jones came down with the neck issue, it looked like Ozzie Guillen was making the first step toward phasing Quentin out of harm’s way by relegating him to DH duty.  But with Mark Kotsay hitting even worse than Quentin, there aren’t many other ways to hide him.
We’ve made the comparisons to Jermaine Dye in the outfield, but he’s looking a lot like second-half Jermaine at the plate, too.  Over the last month — 92 plate appearances — he’s hitting .139/.250/.278, which is terrible anywhere.  He hasn’t even been hit by a pitch in 93 at-bats, which is the longest streak of his career.
If there’s some solace, he’s walking more than ever before.  Unfortunately, that’s partially a byproduct of fouling off pitches he should be putting in play.
This is a most unfortunate development, and one the Sox aren’t well-set to absorb.  It hits on two fronts:
No. 1: An immediate lack of depth. Kotsay would kill to have Quentin’s last 92 at-bats.  Unless you want to hand the DH duties to Tyler Flowers, there’s no shot of an upgrade.  Or at least a credible upgrade.  I suppose you could bat Jayson Nix and Omar Vizquel there and get an average above .139, but that’d just make everybody feel dirty.
No. 2: A lack of future depth. The Sox were kinda counting on Quentin to shore up at least one of the corners for the next few years, what with Paul Konerko’s contract expiring at the end of the season.
Optimists could say that Kenny Williams shored up the outfield enough to allow Quentin to be the fourth-best option.  Pessimists can say that Ozzie Guillen would have had plenty of uses for a left-handed .850-OPS player willing to play for a relative pittance, but turned him down in favor of Nix and Kotsay.
We ranked Quentin as the second-most important White Sox, and that’s playing out right now.  Guys like Jones and Pierre are producing, and they can’t offset what Quentin is taking off the table.
But one could say that Quentin will have the most to do with the feel of the season.  If he can rebound and find some middle ground between 2008 and 2009, a lot of people will breathe easier.  If he keeps this up, though, it will cast quite the pall.
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Brace yourselves for this Greg Walker whirlwind o’ quotes:

“Here we sit and there are some ugly numbers out there, but everyone continues to dwell on the batting average,” Walker said. “Last time I checked, they don’t decide games on how many hits you get. It’s how many runs you get. […] “I don’t even know if we’ve scuffled. We haven’t had a lot of runners in scoring position,” Walker said. “I don’t even know what our batting average is.”

Fair use prevents me from using more, but check ’em out, as well as Joe Cowley’s account, which has a slightly different selection.  In terms of disposition, I don’t know if there’s a whole lot separating Walker from Jerry Owens.
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Minor league roundup:

  • Lehigh Valley 6, Charlotte 5
    • Dayan Viciedo went 2-for-4 with his seventh homer and three RBI. He struck out once.
    • Tyler Flowers homered once (his eighth) and struck out three times.
    • C.J. Retherford also hit a solo shot, his fourth.
    • Jordan Danks went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • Jacksonville 3, Birmingham 1
    • Brent Morel went 1-for-4 with an RBI.
    • Christian Marrero and John Shelby both went 0-for-4 with a K.
    • Jhonny Nunez had a nice night: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.
  • Winston-Salem 12, Potomac 8
    • Brandon Short pounded out four more hits in six at-bats, raising his average to .404. He doubled and drove in two.
    • Jon Gilmore and Justin Greene each went 2-for-5, with Gilmore adding a double.
    • Eduardo Escobar singled and walked in six plate appearances.
    • Charles Leesman was largely ineffective: 4 1/3 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 1 K.
    • Santos Rodriguez threw a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one.
    • Dan Remenowsky allowed two runs on three hits over two innings. No walks, two K’s.
  • Kannapolis 8, Delmarva 3
    • Trayce Thompson snapped his slump with two homers and five RBI.
    • Nick Ciolli went 2-for-5 with a double, and he didn’t strike out.
    • Miguel Gonzalez raised his average over .200 with a 2-for-4 performance. He drove in a run and struck out once.
    • Brady SHoemaker and Kyle Colligan each went 1-for-4.
    • Joe Serafin scattered six hits and four walks over seven shutout innings, striking out three.
    • Ryan Buch allowed three runs on two hits and three walks over an inning of work. He struck out one.

Fun fact: The Birmingham Barons are the second-worst team in all of minor-league baseball.  How fast they’ve fallen.
Also, Fautino De Los Santos is throwing again after undergoing Tommy John Surgery forever ago.

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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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danks50

Looking at two of Walker’s quotes:
“But, overall, we’ve done some good things, some neat things, that trend itself to be a really good offensive team.”
Channeling Bobby Jenks, “That doesn’t even make sense.”
& my personal favorite.
“The only thing we haven’t done is we haven’t got enough singles.”
Bottom five in the league in doubles, triples, hits, obp, rbi, and avg would say otherwise. This offense is basically been built on home runs and steals with this team not getting on base nearly enough for either one to truly matter. If I’m Greg Walker I permanently shut my mouth as nothing that comes out of it hides the fact that this guy for some odd unexplainable reason still has a major league job with the White Sox.
As for Rios he has been everything and more than I hoped for this year and Pierre like you said has basically looked like a completely different player recently.
Quentin on the other hand if he’s not producing is just a bummer to watch. Every single out seems to get him riled up and I’m tired of seeing him pop up or ground out and afterwards see a guy that looks like he’s about to go postal with his louisville slugger in the dugout. The guy needs a shrink.

stopdrop8

I like this one about quentin, “His swing is set up to swing at the ball in the strike zone like everyone else.”
Now that walker’s identified that he’s more successful swinging at strikes than balls because of his swing design, it has to be only a matter of time until he breaks out of the slump.

knoxfire30

When is brandon short ticketed for AA? End of the month?

bigfun

Why so soon? He’s a low-pedigree prospect who hit modestly in rookie ball and low-A and currently appears to be getting pretty lucky (.468 BABIP compared to .336 and .342 in ’08 and ’09).
Unless he’s found another gear in his speed or changed something else, it looks like he’s just had a lot of his ground balls find holes in a small sample size. He also has just three walks to 26 strikeouts, so he’s not exactly stamping his own ticket to Birmingham.

knoxfire30

Im a big believer in pushing prospects. If they can handle it, they can be fast tracked and if they cant well then chances are they arent that great of prospects and who cares anyways. I dont get too carried away with the in depth numbers of minor leaguers as they are developing and things can change but that is an amazingly high BABIP so far for him.

bigfun

Unless he’s hurt or someone has observed some specific hitting mechanics problem, I think there’s some optimism for Quentin. His plate discipline numbers are only slightly off from his career averages and he’s hitting basically the same proportion of ground balls, fly balls, and line drives as he always has, but his .180 BABIP is second lowest in all of baseball among regular starters. He’s always had low BABIPs but he’s due for some upward regression.

Shinons

What really weirds me out about Quentin is that he’s not completely sucking with guys in scoring position – Konerko and Jones are the only guys hitting better than him with RISP, which is both sad and interesting. I’m wondering if there’s a particularly different approach he’s taking in those spots?

striker

We’ve have gotten to the point where we have to do SOMETHING. Praying isn’t cutting it. There is still a chance we come back but we can’t do it scoring 2 runs a game.

bigfun

release Kotsay, sign one of the killer Ds (Dye/Delgado/Dukes (lol))

striker

Those guys would all come very motivated. Just got to wonder if that would translate to results.

Shinons

Dye’s comments “‘I’m not going to a bad team, and I’m not playing for $1.5 million” don’t scream “I’m motivated!” to me. More along the line of “I have a very strong sense of entitlement!”

soxicano

Sox are 8 games back and there is still 128 games left in the season. a two week drought by either Detroit or Minnesota and a two week hot streak by the Sox can change it all at anytime this season. Lets not close the book on this team. Still a heck of alot of baseball left. Neither Detroit or Twins have had a bad drought yet and its nearly impossible to believe that they won’t have one.

Buehrlesque

Every time I see Ryan Buch in these minor league recaps my mind unforgivably thinks of Ryan Bukvich, and memories of 2007 ruin my morning.

yinkadoubledare

At least he gave us an all-time interview quote:
Rongey: “For those who might not be familiar with you, what type of pitcher are you?”
Bukvich: (pauses) “Uh, right handed.”

Buehrlesque

Haha. That’s the first thing I think of with him also!

dpritchett47

I think a good title for the end-of-the season video would be “Team of the Body Snatchers.” Obviously, Carlos Quentin has been taken over by Josh Fields; Gordon Beckham by some unknown player from the Carolina League; and Bobby Jenks and Sergio Santos have switched bodies. On the other hand, Andruw Jones’ body is now occupied by a much younger man.
Who knows what other terrible revelations await us? I do know that reading the Sox’ batting averages to date is one of the most nightmarish things that I have ever read, enough to keep you awake nights. If this continues, the video is going to be one of the most frightening productions of all time.

soxicano

When june rolls around and if Carlos Quentin still isn’t hitting, and if Dayan Viciedo continues to surge in his numbers in the minors, then we have to bring Viciedo up and send Quentin down. We really need Viciedo for his bat anyway, so being a DH fits him nicely. Occasionally he can play first to give Pauly a break. Viciedo ain’t bad at first. So the Cuban Tank has 7 homers in about 30 games, when last season he had 12 in about 130 games or so. What is nice is to see his consistent batting average nearing .290.

bigfun

2010 vs. LHP: .435/.480/.913
2010 vs. RHP: .242/.274/.396
Looks like a textbook platoon candidate to me. He could help them out as a September callup, but as an everday player, he’s 2011 at best.

soxicano

I don’t think we can wait until September for Viciedo. We need him i think even before the all star break if he continues to do what he is doing now and if Quentin continues to sink.

Shinons

I still think of him as the name Ozzie gave him, the Cuban Pimp.