White Sox welcome Yoán Moncada, Joe Kelly to fray; Aaron Bummer hits IL

The White Sox made a couple of highly anticipated moves in advance of their homestand-opener against Cleveland tonight, reinstating Yoán Moncada and Joe Kelly from the injured list. Only the latter comes at a cost.

Moncada completed his rehab stint for the strained oblique he suffered in spring training while Kelly has recovered from the nerve issue in his right biceps that abbreviated his postseason with the Dodgers last October. To make room for Moncada, the White Sox optioned Jake Burger, whose command of the strike zone had gotten away from him. For Kelly, the White Sox placed Aaron Bummer on the injured list with a right knee strain.

The arrival of Moncada and Kelly to the 2022 regular season obviously, intrinsically benefits the Sox, but they stand a chance of making an enhanced impact because their strengths address some specific weaknesses.

Moncada returns to a team that has a .598 OPS against right-handed pitching, which sounds awful — and make no mistake, it is. Yet this number is also a great way to take stock of the misery of scoring runs around baseball.

For one, there are four teams worse than the White Sox against right-handed pitching. More illuminating is that the league’s .661 OPS against right-handed pitching in 2022 would rank dead last on such a list in 2021, as Texas brought up the rear in that split at .678.

One can’t really overstate the White Sox’s struggles against righties, especially since the four teams below them aren’t contenders. One just shouldn’t understate the offensive difficulties around the league. Combine the two, and a little bit of Moncada can go a long way. It’s not so much that he can make the offense above-average by himself, but his positive contributions would also remove some of the responsibility from players who have offered little, and may continue to do so.

As for the bullpen transaction, Kelly is the closest thing the White Sox have to a Bummer replacement, because he kept both lefties and righties in check during his time with the Dodgers:

  • vs. RHB: .211/303/.327
  • vs. LHB: .220/.310/.353

And when you narrow the sample size to his most recent two seasons, it’s even better:

  • vs. RHB: .178/.294/.280
  • vs. LHB: .193/.255/.307

Perhaps Kelly will need some time to knock off the rust, but he’s replacing just about the least reliable form of Bummer, who had allowed 10 free bases (eight walks, two HBPs) in 11 innings. Between his control problems, his command problems and the missing tick or so of velocity, Bummer had established enough consistency in his inconsistency that he has a chance not to be missed in the short term.

The bigger question is whether the knee had been hampering all year, and whether it (and Bummer, for that matter) stands a chance of materially improving with rest. They might be able to bypass the scuffling version of Bummer for a series at a time, but when looking at the shape of the bullpen over the course of an entire season, a prolonged absence of the Bummer they banked on will be a lot harder to cover.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Default image
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.

Articles: 3534
14 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
HallofFrank

I’m excited to see Moncada in action. 2 HR in the rehab stint is encouraging. Whatever help he may have gotten from the park, the version of Moncada that lifts the ball in the air is my favorite version.

joewho112

Plus he brought some warm weather with him. Let’s go Sox

phillyd

Seems like we haven’t gotten any Lance Lynn news in a while. He should be throwing by this point, no?

Qubort

Last week Tony talked about Lynn and he had thrown a bullpen session. I’m guessing we won’t hear anything new until he starts a rehab stint or has a setback. End of May was still the target they claimed he was on pace for.

As Cirensica

Lately, we have been coping just fine in the pitching department. My guess is that they are gonna take it slow with Lynn. He is too important in October.

a-t

In division rival news, the Twins’ pitching breakouts are now breaking down. Paddack was removed with elbow tightness last night, and Ober’s already on the IL. Buxton and Correa have been walking the injury tightrope; Buxton with a mild hip strain, maybe like what kept him out for a chunk of last year. Correa escaped a broken finger on a HBP but like Vaughn the bruising is taking a while to go down so he may go on the IL for a moment, but not long-term.

dwjm3

I could see the Twins hitting a wall at some point their pitching just doesn’t scream division champs level.

As Cirensica

I read somewhere not long ago that they lead the American League in some key stats. That has to be a mirage. Their pitching staff is not THAT good. It had a chance, if all goes well, to be average, but the best in the American League? Nope

metasox

Maybe MN’s staff has been disproportionately benefiting from the league’s low offensive production

a-t

The Sox would have to really completely collapse for Minnesota to win. They looked like they might go that way, with early injuries and slumps, but they look to be fine now with a reasonable record and the cavalry in sight.

Last edited 2 months ago by a-t
calcetinesblancos

Moncada is the kind of player you don’t miss until he’s not there; switch hitter who is actually usable on both sides, good defense, works counts.

Joliet Orange Sox

I find it hard to miss most players when they’re there.

Foulkelore

Yep, this team could really use an infusion of that .375 OBP he had last year too.