Game 1: White Sox 1 – Reds 7

Game 2: White Sox 5 – Reds 0

Game 3: White Sox 3 – Reds 7



That’s really the only descriptor that can sum up this weekend of White Sox baseball. The starting pitching, the timely hitting, the focus, all…meh. Which is really kind of understandable, really, to come out a little flat after the balls to the wall series against the Twins earlier in the week. If the next series looks like this, then perhaps we might begin to worry. As for now, treat it as an aberration and move on to the next one.





-We learned two main things this weekend: Jonathan Stiever is young and inexperienced (DUH) and Dain Dunning is the team’s number 3 starter until proven otherwise.

-Dylan Cease finally found a bullet he couldn’t dodge: the patient plate approach of the Cincinnati Reds. The book was out on him, and the Reds hitters were all prepared to make Cease get THEM out and do him no favors in the process. Cease went 3+ innings and threw 80 pitches while walking 7 hitters. Almost every count went full, and Dylan just had no answers to their patience. His breaking stuff actually looked the best that it has in quite awhile, but his fastball control flat out sucks right now. Obviously after seeing the lows and highs of Lucas Giolito I’m not willing to write Cease of by any means, but if his control isn’t there he’s not much more than a 5th starter for this team.

-The Tim Anderson/Trevor Bauer headline lived up to the hype, as Timmy managed to take him deep in the 5th inning on Saturday night. Credit to Bauer for taking it with good humor saying TA should have bat flipped it.

-Nomar Mazara also managed to go deep off Bauer, however, so how hard can it be?

-Dallas Keuchel struck out a season high 7 batters, but he didn’t complete the 5th inning which is not something that’s happened in quite awhile. The K’s are nice, but I don’t think anyone would trade 7 Ks for 7 innings.

-Matt Foster and Cody Heuer are now officially “A Thing”

-Luis Robert is in a full on slump now, and a night off might not be the worst thing in the world for the kid. Give him a chance to get his brain in order.

-As of right now, the Cubs and Twins have each won one this weekend with tonight’s game to go so the lead still stands at 2.5 over the Twins. Go Cubs….I guess.

-Next up is 4 against Cleveland, which taking 3 of 4 could possibly result in the Indians missing the post season 2 years in a row because of the Sox. I’d love to see it, because I don’t think any of us want a 3 game series with that pitching staff in the first round.


Moving on…




Records: White Sox 5-4 / Brewers 3-3

Start Times: All Games @ 7:10


Bud Selig’s Ghost: Brew Crew Ball



Game 1: Carlos Rodon (0-1, 12.27 ERA) vs. Brett Anderson (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Game 2: Lucas Giolito (1-1, 6.52 ERA) vs Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 1.59 ERA)

Game 3: Adrian Houser (0-0, 1.80 ERA) vs Dallas Keuchel (2-0, 3.38 ERA)

Game 4: TBD vs. Gio Gonzalez (0-0, 7.36 ERA)


After this very successful weekend for the Pale Hose, our attention turns to the next series against the Brewers. Having had their weekend tilt against the Cardinals postponed due to some apparently casino-related Rona action, the Brewers not only sat around and didn’t do much, but they lost Lorenzo Cain as he decided the risk wasn’t worth it and opted out for the rest of the season. While he hadn’t been what he was during his heyday in KC, Cain was still a solid contributor who posted at least an .800 or greater OPS in 3 of the last 5 seasons. He was also a plus defender on the other side of the ball, having won a gold glove last year.

Replacing him in the OF will most likely be Ben Gamel, who is the definition of “a guy,” and he’ll be joined Old Friend Avisail Garcia and all-universe Miami cast off Christian Yelich. The Brewers infield has improved simply from bringing their #1 overall prospect Keston Hiura up late last season. Hiura managed an impressive .303/.368/.938 slash line last year with 19 home runs in only what amounts to half a season. The kid has pop in his bat for days and the patience to match, making him and Yelich a deadly combo at the top third of their lineup.

As far as their rotation goes there really aren’t many big names here, but they somehow always manage to be at least league average. Brandon Woodruff is the de facto ace of the group, who relies on his mid 90s fastball and a plus changeup that he uses for his punchout pitch. He came tearing out of the gate last year, going 11-3 and earning his first ever all star game nod before he hit the IL with an oblique issue in July that kept him on the shelf until just before the playoffs.

After Woodruff, the rest is just sort of there. Craig Counsell is the type of coach that’s not afraid to go to his bullpen and when it’s as good as the one he has you can’t really blame him. With the back end of Brent Suter, Corey Knebel and Josh Hader shutting down pretty much everything from the 7th inning on, teams have to make hay against the starters in the early innings while they can. If the Sox bats can get ahead of Woodruff and company, they stand a decent shot of being able to make Counsell go to his pen early and often hopefully wearing them down.

The Brewers with Cain were a pretty solid offensive team in 2019, ranking 10th overall in the league so the starters should probably have their A game especially with Hiura and Yelich at the front. Keeping the walks to a minimum is a must, as the Brewers like to swipe bags when they can (ranking 3rd overall in the NL last season). Grandal and McCann are going to have their hands full, so keeping as many Brewers off the basepaths will be appreciated.

As for the Sox, they announced the arrival of Nomar Mazara today off the RONA-IL, which hopefully should signal the end of the Nicky Delmonico Experiment for the time being. With Leury Garcia most likely out for at least game 1 of the series while he tends to a death in his family, Danny Mendick and his creepy mustache will most likely get another start at SS. Luis Robert has probably cemented his spot atop the lineup for the foreseeable future with his performance in KC over the weekend. His easy power is a sight to behold, as I’ve never seen someone seemingly put less effort into ponging baseballs off the outfield fence.

With the Sox now sitting in 2nd place division-wise this week should provide a good test for the young team. Carlos (Hard Karl) Rodon gets a shot at redemption, and I fully expect him to have the same result that Dylan Cease did yesterday. If he’s able to turn it around, suddenly the only question in the pitching rotation is Gio Gonzalez (who looked pretty pedestrian in his 3.2 innings on Saturday). If he’s unable to start giving the Sox at least 4-5 innings per start I could see Rick Hahn eyballing Dane Dunning for some starts.

This should be a fun series between two very solid teams. Bare minimun here for the Sox should be a 2-2 split, which the way the rotation lines up should be pretty achievable. 5 is better than 4, keep the party going. Let’s Go Sox.


White Sox "Elite" Image By @SavesTuesday



Rick Hahn made it a point to call out Right Field as at or near the top of his shopping list for the 2019 off-season. It was well chronicled how historically awful the White Sox were in 2019 at the position, but if you’re unaware they were on pace for a worst-in-history 54 wRC+ before a couple big games in September saved them from immortality. So what was the solution as the team looks to turn the page on the down years of the rebuild and march toward the post-season? A post-hype, RHP mashing/LHP flailing Nomar Mazara. Hahn is eager to prove his club can unlock the untapped potential of the former mega-hype prospect from Texas…

2019 Stats


6.0 BB% 23.0 K%

19 HR 66 RBI 69 R

.327 wOBA 94 wRC+ 0.5 WAR

-4 DRS

LAST WEEK ON NITRO: Mazara turned in his fourth MLB season in much the same fashion as the three that preceded it – by underwhelming. Nothing if not consistent, Mazara posted another season of mediocre production while crushing RHP to the tune of 13 HR/110 wRC+ in 302 ABs and bowing to the whims of LHP with just 6 HR/55 wRC+ in 127 ABs. Mazara seemingly is what he is at the plate at this point, with 64 of 79 career HR coming off RHP and a career 53 wRC+ against LHP that screams for a platoon. Mazara actually went backward in some ways in 2019 as he turned in the worst K/BB ratio of his career with a career high 23% K rate and 6% BB rate.

Mazara is also mediocre (at best) in the field, turning in a -4 DRS and keeping with a theme of being somewhere between -3 and -6 DRS for his career in RF. Nomar was slowed a bit by left oblique strain that kept him to only 116 games played, the lowest of his four full seasons in the bigs. No real speed to his game, Mazara appears to be a curious choice to end the RF woes all on his own.

TOO SWEET! TOO SWEET! (WHOOP WHOOP): Mazara, still just 25 as of late April, finally taps into the unrealized potential that scouts and industry prospect hounds drooled over as he assaulted the minors en route to Texas in 2016. The former top-25 prospect finally figures out how to crush all pitchers the way he’s been able to against RHP (for sizable stretches), allowing him to set a career high in games played and homers as he goes over 150 and 30 for the first time.

“So, sometimes, you need to lean a little more heavily on your scouts, sometimes need a little more heavily on the analytic side. And there’s some projection, especially with younger players involved.” Hahn is rewarded for acquiring such a young player that just never could seem to put it all together and helping him to realize all that potential. Mazara even turns in a passable RF defensively, aided by Luis Robert covering a nice big chunk of Right Center on a regular basis.

YOU FUCKED UP! YOU FUCKED UP!: Mazara is, in fact, a bit worse than what he appears to be. Every once and a while he drives a mistake deep into the Chicago Summer night, but all too often it is he that is the mistake. LHP remains the bane of his existence, exploiting the holes in his swing so harshly that Mazara finds himself in a platoon with Leury Garcia (or Nicky Delmonico??) by June. The K/BB ratio gets even worse as he devolves to a 25%+ K rate and becomes an expensive LH power pinch hitting option off the bench in August and September as the Sox find more a defensively capable replacement at the trade deadline in their quest to reach the first post-season berth in over a decade.

Mazara is then non-tendered in the Winter and drifts through the majors on short term deals with whichever team’s GM convinces himself that his staff can solve this human puzzle. After ‘flirting’ with the top of the market in Mookie Betts and George Springer, Hahn inks Marcell Ozuna to a four-year, $65M deal a year after he probably could’ve had him for 5/70 instead of spending prospect capital on the allure of what Mazara could’ve been.

BAH GAWD, THAT’S MAZARA’S MUSIC!: I tend to think Nomar Mazara is what he is after over 2,000 Major League at bats and he’ll become Hahn’s most regrettable move of the 2019 Winter. Regrettable might not be the right choice of word, considering the cost of Steele Walker(Texas Ranger) probably has a ceiling for essentially what Mazara is right now. This just feels too much like the type of move you make when you’re a year or so out from contention, trying to catch lightening in a bottle and get a few years of cheap-ish quality labor out of a corner OF spot. The problem is that while the Sox may be a year out from REALLY contending, they went ahead and filled basically every other hole they needed to with what amounts to major upgrades, leaving a little more to be desired from the absolute pit that has been Right Field.

This is not Mazara’s fault, and maybe he does have something left to show us. I think it’s foolish to think he’ll give anything more than a .260/.315/.450 line and a wRC+ around 90 overall, and it’d have been a good idea to have a platoon to hit LHP and realize his best usage. Maybe that’s the real plan, that this is the way Garcia gets at bats after he’s moved off 2B for Madrigal in May or so. Garcia did turn in a 110 wRC+ in 183 ABs against LHP in 2019…so a combined 110 wRC+ between the two would be nearly 40 points higher than 2019 amalgamation of shit that was White Sox Right Fielders.

We’d all happily take that, especially if it’s part of a playoff formula.




There was a long and painful discussion about whether or not we would do a write up for Leury Legend in this preview series – mostly because the painful part was trying to figure out who would have to subject themselves to spending time writing specifically about freakin’ Leury Garcia. But, considering he was the starting CF last year and figures to be Nick Madrigal‘s caddy the starting 2B until Nick Madrigal is deemed ready for the bigs, it felt right to give the Legend his own post. So let’s do it.

2019 Stats

.279/.310/.378, 8 HR, 40 RBI

1.3 fWAR, 1.6 bWAR, 0.3 WARP

3.4 BB%, 22.5 K%

.294 wOBA, 83 wRC+ .688 OPS

-5 DRS, 1 Out Above Average

Last Week On Nitro: Leury’s 2019 season wasn’t a stat filler or game changer, but in this humble writer’s opinion, it was a bit more valuable than the stats designed to measure value make it out to be – not from a production standpoint, but because he provided a steady-enough presence as the everyday centerfielder and leadoff hitter for a team whose aspirations were not high anyway. Obviously a player with an 83 wRC+ is not the ideal everyday type, but to his credit Leury was asked to do more than he may be realistically capable of. The fact that he served as an above average CF (1 OAA is good enough for 62nd percentile in the stat, because there are far more bad fielders than good ones) despite being a natural SS shows just how versatile he is and how much he excelled in a less than ideal situation.

On top of that, while his 2019 OBP left something to be desired and I am certainly not one to espouse the virtues of batting average, a team designed to not be good could do a LOT worse for a leadoff hitter than a guy who hit .279 and got on base at a .310 clip. The production obviously was not there overall, as Leury will never threaten to be a power hitter, but that’s also not what was asked of him. I don’t want to be too bullish on what was truly an unimpressive season, but I do think it’d be hard to ask him for much more than what he gave.

TOO SWEET (WHOOP WHOOP): With Leury set to move from everyday CF to temporary 2B and then Swiss Army Knife bench piece in 2020, I think we’re already looking at the best case scenario for how he should be used. He can realistically play every position but catcher (and maybe 1B, as he’s tiny) for you in a pinch, and is likely to do a decent amount of spelling Eloy Jimenez and Nomar Mazara in the OF when they need off days, and might even fill in for Tim Anderson at short occasionally. Overall, the best case scenario for the Sox is that they don’t need Leury’s services in more than 60-70 games, and even that would be an inflated number from spending most of the first month or two waiting for Madrigal to come to take his job. I wouldn’t expect him to hit leadoff anymore, and actually think he will be inversed in the lineup card and hit 9th – that allows the Sox to limit his ABs but still use him as a decent table setter for the big bats when the lineup turns over. From a numbers standpoint, just give a similar enough copy of 2019 and I will be fine.

YOU FUCKED UP! YOU FUCKED UP!: Again, keeping the expectations low here, there really isn’t a worst possible outcome for Leury that comes from an utter lack of production or total falling off at the plate. He’s already unimpressive there, although I suppose if he has a Yolmer Sanchez 2019-esque season that could get bad quickly. Overall, though, you already don’t expect him to be an above average hitter, so even if he’s a bit closer to 70 wRC+ as a bench piece, it’s whatever.

What would represent the worst possible scenario for the Sox is if Leury is called into more than just a bench piece role due to injury at any position other than 2B. The reason I say other than 2B is that, as you may see tomorrow, I don’t have the hugest expectations of Nick Madrigal’s bat, and second is such a weak position all across baseball that Leury playing there frequently because Madrigal is hurt or needs more time in AAA wouldn’t hurt you all that much. But if Leury becomes an frequent flier in the outfield or at short because any of those players are hurt, the Sox are in for a bad ride, though it won’t exactly be Leury’s fault.

BAH GOD THAT’S GARCIA’S MUSIC: I may have done a bit too much of this in the TOO SWEET section, just because it’s hard to dream on a player like this. He’s 29 and has been in the bigs a few years already, so you know what you’re getting from him. In a starting CF role, that didn’t go far enough, but it was for a bad team so it was fine. As a starting 2B it will leave something to be desired but certainly not enough to cripple the Sox, and he will only be there until June at the absolute latest unless something goes wrong for Madrigal. And as a utility player on the bench and an occasional pinch runner, Leury’s skillset could arguably be a coveted one around baseball. Again, plus-defenders and plus-baserunners are rare on their own, and even rarer in one package.

Basically, if you feel strongly about Leury’s 2019 or 2020 presence in either direction, you may care too much about it. He’s just a guy, but that’s all the Sox need him to be.


Well that was a fun few months, wasn’t it?

Honestly if you had asked me back at the end of October what my hopes were for a good White Sox off season I would have told you I would’ve been satisfied with the team adding somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-8 WAR by plugging up the Black Hole of Sadness that was RF, DH and the 5th starter positions.

After the past few winters and the lack of anything that could be described as “remotely exciting,” my expectations were not enormous, despite this off season looming as the type that could be critical to make the last step from “rebuilding” to “competing” a reality. Which is understandable, as you can only watch guys like AJ Reed and Dylan Covey so long before your soul becomes jaded and calloused.

So when the Sox blew the market open just before Thanksgiving by signing the best (switch hitting) catcher on the market in Yasmani Grandal to a 4-year, $73 million dollar deal I nearly drove off the road and through the razor wire-covered fence separating me from the Air National Guard base in Atlantic City. Thankfully that didn’t happen, because then I would’ve missed out on the Sox hot pursuit of Zack Wheeler. While not ultimately successful, the rumors of the contract offered to Wheeler showed that Rick Hahn truly was not going to be fucking around this winter.

The Sox also traded for Nomar Mazara to play in a potential platoon in RF this season, which hopefully assures positive production out of the right field position for the first time in what feels like decades. The trade itself initially didn’t move the needle very much for me, but after reading between the lines of what Rick Hahn has said about Mazara’s potential and how little the Sox committed to the position financially makes me think there might be bigger things down the road for that spot in the OF (man George Springer would look good out there).

Lest anyone think Hahn was done, he then went and solved the 5th starter spot by welcoming back Gio Gonzalez to the South Side for a 3rd time on a 1 year deal. It doesn’t really need to be said, but Gio compared to the dreck that had been oozing out there every 5th day is a drastic upgrade to the staff. A few days later, Hahn put an end to the narrative that the Sox would never deal with a Scott Boras client by inking Dallas Keuchel to what is essentially a 4-year deal with club options. Keuchel isn’t Zack Wheeler, but he’s not exactly Jamie Navarro either.

At this point most of us figured that Hahn was about finished with signing people, and the majority of fans out there would have considered this winter to be a success. Yet Hahnta Claus had a few more gifts to deliver, the first showing up on Christmas day with the signing of Edwin Encarnacion to a 1 year deal worth $13 million with a club option for 2021.

Encarnacion is not the same player he was when he was batting .280 for the Blue Jays with 80 HR and 200 RBI. That being said he’s far from a league average player. While missing some games last season split in-between the Indians and Yankees due to a wrist fracture, Encarnacion was still able to mash 34 taters and knock in 89 RBI, all while maintaining a .344 OBP and ending the year with a 129 wRC+ rating. While his K rate has risen by about 4% in the last 2 seasons, his walk rate has stayed the same, which is what you’d expect from a player entering his age 37 season. If he can keep both at about 20 and 10% respectively there’s no reason to expect anything less than a 2.5 WAR season from him.

This is a sneaky-solid signing for the Sox, as Encarnacion has essentially been the same player for the last 8 years. Never less than 30 home runs in a season, and always right around an .875 OPS. His splits work pretty much the same against pitchers of either handedness, which solves some issues the Sox had against right handed pitching last season.

This also creates a hydra option at DH for Ricky Renteria, as you now have Encarnacion, Jose Abreu, Yasmani Grandal and James McCann available for the position. Managing Abreu and Encarnacion’s workload this season should be fairly simple work and keep both of them fresh throughout the year. It’s also an enormous upgrade at DH, and Encarnacion has the distinct chance to become the best hitter the Sox have played there since Jim Thome got run off because Ozzie and Kenny Williams fucking hated each other.

So at this point Hahn had solved the issues in RF, DH, 4SP and 5SP. Fuck it, may as well avoid the service time questions about Luis Robert by signing him to what amounts to an 8 year deal and buying him out of all his arbitration years. This deal at it’s core is very similar to the ones Hahn signed Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Timmy Anderson and Eloy Jiminez to. By betting heavily on what is essentially your future, the Sox get cost certainty for their payroll and potentially room to expand it the next two seasons.

This also all but guarantees that Robert will be the starting CF for the Sox on opening day, which makes the potential starting outfield look like Eloy/Robert/Mazara which is infinitely more palatable than what last year’s Eloy/Engel/A Department Store Mannequin.

With the starting outfield now pretty much set, Hahn added a solid bullpen arm in Steve Cishek on a one year deal for $5.25 million with a team option $6.75 million. Cishek had two good years with the Cubs, taking on a pretty hefty workload with the dumpster fire state of their bullpen. He racked up 134 innings in two seasons with a 2.55 ERA. He held righties to a minuscule .183/.260/.293, and his numbers against lefties weren’t to the point where he’s a specialist (.217/.367/.361).

While his peripherals sound a few alarm bells with a 4.54 FIP, some of that can be attributed to the sheer amount of work he was forced into with the Cubs. His strand rate was in line with his career averages, as were his BB and K rates, so the hope is with more workload management he can stave off any regression in the Sox bullpen.

So as it stands right now, the Sox opening day roster looks something like this:

C: Grandal/McCann

1B: Abreu/Encarnacion/Grandal

2B: Garcia

SS: Anderson

3B: Moncada

LF: Jimenez

CF: Robert

RF: Mazara

DH: Encarnacion/Abreu/Grandal

SP1: Giolito

SP2: Keuchel

SP3: Cease

SP4: Gonzalez

SP5: Lopez/Kopech/Rodon?

CP: Colome

RP: Marshall

RP: Herrera

RP: Cishek

RP: Bummer


Now that’s a lineup that will not only put some butts in seats (glares at Kenny Williams), but will give the Twins and Indians notice that the Central division is no longer a two horse race. For the first time in what feels like forever, hope blooms on the corner of 35th and Shields. How long that will last will depend on whether the Sox horrible injury luck persists into the 2020 season, and whether or not Hahn has the flexibility to trade or sign for the last few pieces needed for that final leap. It’s time to have fun watching Sox baseball again, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time considering the state of the other sports teams in Chicago. Game on!




There was once a time when acquiring Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers would have been a move that inspired excitement and a great deal of hope in White Sox fans. Back in the winter of 2016, Mazara was the rumored headliner of the Rangers’ offered package for Chris Sale. What the Sox did get for Sale ended up being much better than anything the Rangers had to offer, both at the time and in overall MLB results since then as Yoan Moncada has turned into a star and Mazara has been well….. not good.

So you will be more than forgiven if the Sox acquiring Mazara Tuesday Night, in exchange for Steele Walker, is no longer an exciting move for you. Despite being a former top-25 prospect with huge power that many thought would blossom into a middle-of-the-lineup force, Mazara has struggled in the major leagues, never really improving much from his rookie numbers that were considered promising at the time, but when you post the same numbers for four seasons in a row you go from promising to frustrating very quickly. And that is what happened to Mazara and the Rangers, as it appears Texas was just done with waiting for the potential to deliver.

As you can tell by my headline, I don’t think much of this move – meaning I do not love it or hate it. It’s basically, as our friend and fellow FFUD Sox writer AJ put it, a giant shrug emoji of a trade.

It’s somewhat cliche to say that former top prospects who have disappointed early in their careers “still have potential,” but that cliche feels very applicable and appropriate in Mazara’s case. Like I said, his rookie year was promising with a .266/.320/.419 slash line and a 91 wRC+, but he has not improved significantly since. The last two years he has posted wRC+ of 95 and 94 respectfully, though 2019 did see home post a career high SLG% of .469.

Pretty much all of his offensive value comes against RHP, where for his career he’s barely inched above average (103 wRC+) but 2019 was one of the best of his career in that regard with an .844 OPS and 110 wRC+ against righties. Please don’t ask me about his numbers against LHP, and save yourself the trouble/stress and just don’t look them up. Just trust me when I tell you they are bad, and Mazara will be best used in a platoon.

Which is where the major question mark from this move comes in – is this all the White Sox plan to do to address right field? If it is, this could end up being something of a bad move – it’s the kind of flier they should’ve been taking on players the last three years rather than going into a 2020 campaign where they are supposedly trying to compete. However, if they don’t dust their hands and call it a day, and try to go out and find a genuine platoon partner for him, Mazara could prove to be something of a savvy addition. You can do a lot worse than a guy who produces like he does against RHP (which the Sox struggled with in 2019) as a platoon OF and bench piece. Asking him to do more than that could be a fool’s errand.

The cost is very reasonable, as while Walker was the #6 prospect on MLB Pipeline’s list for the Sox system, they’re the only publication with him that high. His ceiling has always been limited, and while Mazara has struggled to hit in MLB, Walker is just 14 months younger and struggled in high-A last year. While I am a fan of Walker and think he could be an MLB regular some day, his age and ceiling compared to Mazara’s make this is a very worthwhile move.

So while this is hardly an exciting move, it doesn’t strike me as one to be upset about in any way.  The Sox appear to believe they see something in Mazara, both in the analytics and in his tools, that leads them to believe they can fix him. New hitting coach Frank Menechino is a preacher of a more patient approach and an analytics advocate, which is what made his hiring a good one and may provide a sliver of hope that the Sox can indeed help Mazara reach his ceiling. It’s not like a change of scenery for a mid-20’s former top prospect with a lot of power being a launching point has not happened before (hello, J.D. Martinez). I am hoping this won’t be the only move they make to address RF, because there are some good platoon options out there in free agency (I will take Domingo Santana, please) but until we know for sure what the Sox’ overall plans are for Mazara, this move strikes me as nothing more than an upside play that makes sense for the Sox to try.


What to make of Joey Gallo? When the Rangers drafted him in the late stages of the first round in 2013, they were hoping they had found their power hitter of the future. The rock they could build their roster around for years to come. During his trek through the minors, Gallo looked to be exactly that, averaging well over a 120 wRC+ throughout multiple levels of their system. Parallel to that was his extraordinarily high K-rate. Through his 3 1/2 years in the Rangers minor league system, the lowest K-rate he ever posted was  29% in high A ball, and that was with less than 250 plate appearances. The highest was in AAA where he spiked to 39.5% with 228 plate appearances.

So the Rangers had found their power threat, and when they called him up full time in 2017 he proved just that, swatting 41 home runs in his rookie season to go along with 80 RBI. The thing that stands out about that is that more than 50% of Gallo’s runs batted in that season came from the long ball. That’s inordinately high, as the MLB average in 2017 was just under 40% for the top 20 leaders in home runs. He also carried over his penchant for striking out at a hilariously high rate, with his K-percentage sitting just under 37%. These trends showed up the following season in 2018, with his K-rate again in the upper 30’s, his home runs in the low 40s, and his RBI totals in the upper 80s.

Then this year happened. He started out the season on an absolute tear, hitting 16 home runs with 42 RBIs. His K-rate was still high, but his walk rate spiked as well, going up to almost 20%. Gallo was attempting to buck the narrative that he was a true “three outcomes hitter” by displaying doubles power to the opposite field all of a sudden. Gallo also showed some maturity in the field, matching his career high for assists in a season (8) within the first two and a half months. Had he continued at that pace, he would’ve easily passed his season records for singles, doubles, home runs and RBIs. Unfortunately, he also spent a considerable time on the IL this season, most recently fracturing the hamate bone in the palm of his hand. Based on most projections pertaining to healing times, he’s probably done for the season.

So who is Joey Gallo, really? Is he the dinger/strikeout/walk guy from 2016-2018? Or is the complete player that appeared this season? Looking at his advanced stats from this year, his BABIP sits at .368, which is fairly high but not to the point where you would think regression would cut his progress so far off at the knees. When you combine his BABIP from the previous two seasons it sits at .250, which is .118 lower then his BABIP this season. It’s also way below the league average, even for a power hitter such as him. If you split the difference between the two you get .309, and looking at Gallo’s numbers he put up before the hamate injury that seems to be just about right. His wRC+ for 2019 was at 144, with it being around 120 the previous two seasons.

Looking at the big picture for the Rangers it seems like Gallo has turned into exactly what they were hoping for: a gigantic lefty power hitter who the club can build around for seasons to come. The main question for them now is are they doing a good enough job with it? Danny Santana has busted out in a big way this year, but a peek at his advanced stats shows a lot of smoke and not much fire. Delino DeShields started slow but appears to be coming on now. Elvis Andrus is still awesome, but at 30 years old now is he going to be a part of this rebuild the Rangers now find themselves in? Nomar Mazara was supposed to be a thing, but he’s just a guy. Rougned Odor throws a mean right and is good for 25 home runs, but can he bat above the Mendoza line?

These are all questions the Rangers need answered if they’re gonna build around Joey Gallo. He’s definitely the kind of guy you can build a contender around, but I don’t know if they’ve done a good enough job so far to make use of him properly.

Sounds a lot like Jose Abreu.