White Sox Power Rankings: Early May Edition
It's been three weeks since our last edition of the White Sox Power Rankings, and things are looking pretty god damn good if I say so myself.
It's May 2, and the White Sox have more wins than any other team in baseball, the best record in the American League by 2.5 games over Boston (who happens to be our next opponent), and lead the division by three games over the Tigers.
Sure, not everything is perfect, nor will it be while John Danks continues to pitch every fifth day, but when Danks is the only thing we have to complain about, life is good.
So let's get to ranking the White Sox based on a highly scientific method I use to determine how much POWER they currently have.
10. Erik Johnson/Miguel Gonzalez/Jacob Turner (Last time: Not ranked): We all had the chance to see the Miguel Gonzalez experience up close and personal in Toronto, and while it wasn't exactly pretty, at least the White Sox won the game. Unfortunately for Miguel, he had to leave his latest start at Charlotte early, and he could be headed for the disabled list.
Then there's Erik Johnson, who has a somewhat respectable 3.74 ERA at Charlotte, but is only striking out 6.6 hitters per nine, has a 2.9 BB/9, and is allowing 9.6 hits per nine innings. Add that all up and you get his 1.385 WHIP.
Jacob Turner is faring much better, as he has a 2.49 ERA in four starts and a K/9 of 9.1, but is walking 4.2 hitters per nine, which shows me that he's playing with fire a bit, but he hasn't set the house ablaze just yet.
What all three of these men have in common, aside from some personal struggles, is that they're Not John Danks, and right now being a starting pitcher in Charlotte who is Not John Danks is a powerful position to be in.
Barring some miraculous turnaround by Danks, we're going to be seeing one of these three in Chicago soon enough. Probably before the I do the next set of White Sox Power Rankings.
9. Jose Abreu (NR): April was one of the roughest months of Abreu's career, but he picked things up at the end of it. The White Sox went 5-2 on their road trip, and in those seven games Abreu hit .379/.455/.414 with six RBI.
Now, that's much better, but there is a lack of power in this streak. Of his 11 hits on the road trip, only one went for extra bases -- a double against Toronto in the 10-1 win.
I'm not that worried about it, though. It's clear that in order to break out of his funk Abreu decided to start taking everything to right field. That's forced him to wait back on the ball, and it's keeping him from lunging at every breaking ball low and away like he had been.
Now that he's getting right again, I expect to see him hitting ropes all over the field again rather soon.
8. Dioner Navarro (NR): When Alex Avila left the game on April 24 against the Rangers, Dioner Navarro was hitting .069 (nice) /.069 (nice)/.069 (nice) which may have been thrice as nice, but wasn't good.
Since Avila went down, Navarro's taken on a much bigger role, playing in every game but one, and he's hitting .320/.367/.680 with two homers, a double, a triple and eight RBI. In other words, he's started to look like the hitter we expected to see, though his framing behind the plate has been troublesome at times, but even so, pitchers don't seem to be all that angry about it.
In the end he's taking advantage of a chance at regular playing time, and maybe when Avila comes back, he'll be able to hold on to it. If not, well, it's only a matter of time before Avila gets hurt again.
7. Melky Cabrera (8): Hey, Melky, what would you have said if I told you in March that after the first month of the season, you'd lead the team in batting average (.298) and you'd be tied for the team lead in OBP (.377)?
6. Matt Albers (3):
The Sox are scoring 4.1 runs per Quintana start, which doesn't seem like a ton, but the Sox are scoring only 3.9 runs per game overall, and in his career Quintana received 3.9 runs per start heading into 2016.
But the fact is, the run support really hasn't mattered, because he hasn't needed much.
He has the best ERA among all the starters at 1.47, and his FIP leads the team as well at 1.76. Oh, and he has the highest K/9 (9.4) of any of the starters as well.
He keeps this up and he might get an All Star nod in July.
4. Todd Frazier (10): Overall Frazier's slash line isn't that impressive, as he still only has an OBP of .295, but that being said, he seems to have shaken off the shackles of the New White Sox Curse.
Frazier's hitting .292/.386/.625 over the last two weeks with five home runs and 11 RBI. And he still only has a BABIP of .231 in that span, so things could be even better.
Throw in the stellar defense he's been playing at third -- which has helped him accumulate 1.2 bWAR already -- and it's hard to complain about a guy currently on pace for 45 home runs this season.
3. Adam Eaton (1): Speaking of WAR, can you guess which Major League Baseball position player led the league in bWAR through the month of April? It wasn't Bryce Harper, it wasn't Josh Donaldson, nor was it Nolan Arenado or Manny Machado.
It was our Adam Eaton, who was worth 2.2 bWAR in April.
If you're into defensive metrics, Eaton has been worth 12 defensive runs saved already this season, which is five more runs than the guys in second place (Arenado and Nick Ahmed). The next-closest outfielder is Stephen Piscotty.
The move to right field has been a revelation for Eaton, as he's not only covering all the ground that's humanly possible, but he's throwing everybody out too, and the scouting report is now out. Teams are no longer going to test Eaton's arm because they know the truth.
2. Brett Lawrie (NR): When the White Sox traded for Tweaker I was prepared to be annoyed. I have nothing against guys who try hard all the time, and get labeled as gritty grinders with fire and passion. It's just, most of the time, those guys hustle so hard it overshadows the fact they generally aren't very good.
That being said, I wasn't expecting Tweaker to be anything special, but even league average production with his bat would have been an increase.
What we've received through the first month of the season is a guy who is hitting .290/.377/.505, is showing more power than he has at any point in his career, and is also walking twice as often as ever before.
In 149 games last season, Tweaker drew 28 walks. He's already at 12 through 26 games this year, and if he stays patient, we're going to continue to see him riding his imaginary horse to first base.
1. Chris Sale (5): Chris Sale looked worse in his start against Baltimore on Sunday than he has at any other point this season, and he still managed to allow only one run in 5.1 innings (and it should have been five shutout innings, but Robin Ventura sent him out there to start the sixth inning for reasons unknown to me).
Sale's completely revamped the way he pitches this season, and while we can't be sure how it will play out over the course of an entire season, it's certainly worked so far.
As of now he's 6-0 with a 1.66 ERA in six starts, and even if his strikeouts are down, he striking out 4.22 times as many hitters as he's walking.
It's like he's evolving in front of our very eyes. He's gone from being a stone-cold killer to a kinder stone-cold killer.
No Longer Ranked: Austin Jackson, Mat Latos, David Robertson, Jimmy Rollins