The Chicago White Sox began spring training action last Saturday with a 5-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they are now 3-4 with one tie after 8 games. During spring training, I always like to look at how young players, newcomers, and players returning from injuries are performing. For instance, I am not particularly concerned how players like Alexei Ramirez and Chris Sale are doing. With veterans like that, it is pretty apparent as to what type of production to expect from them going forward. With that being said, here is a look at some of the notable performers during the first week of games.
Adam Eaton – The White Sox new leadoff hitter is off to a hot start batting .600 (6-10) with two stolen bases. Eaton has also drawn a pair of walks to raise his on-base percentage to .714 in five games. It is severely early, but I have a feeling Eaton will solidify the leadoff spot for years to come.
Jose Abreu – The former Cuban superstar cranked out his first home run in American professional baseball on Thursday, but only has one other hit in his first 10 at-bats. Despite the two hits, Abreu has driven in four runs to date. Abreu will likely need time to adjust to facing new pitchers, but the power is real.
Micah Johnson and Carlos Sanchez – The second baseman prospects have nearly identical stats through their first five games. Both players have four hits in eight at-bats and have combined for three stolen bases and four runs scored. Another year of solid seasons in the minors from Johnson and Sanchez will give the White Sox something to think about regarding Gordon Beckham’s future.
John Danks – The left-hander’s first start of the spring was very encouraging as he pitched three innings while giving up just one hit, two walks, and striking out two batters. Danks reportedly topped out at 91 mph and had great command of his cutter. Now 18 months removed from shoulder surgery, the old Johnny Danks could be in for a bounce-back year.
Erik Johnson – The first spring outing for the White Sox best pitching prospect was a successful one as the righty hurled three innings of one-run ball. Johnson surrender three hits and one walk, while fanning two batters. Johnson will likely have his ups and downs as any rookie starting pitcher would, but I am really interested to watch him pitch this season. From what I have seen, I think he will develop into a legit number three starter.
Felipe Paulino – Paulino bounced-back from a rough first start by pitching better this afternoon. The right-hander, who is still working his way back to the majors from Tommy John surgery, struck out five batters in three innings against the Cincinnati Reds. Paulino’s big mistake was a two-run homer to Jay Bruce, but the key for him is staying healthy and building up his arm strength. The White Sox are in a low-risk/high-reward situation with Paulino’s contract, so anything that he can do to help well be a positive.
*Unlike last season, I will not be posting as much during Spring Training. I did that last year because I wanted to build up readership to a website that was abandoned the year before. In addition, I now have a better idea of how I want to approach the upcoming season. Instead of spending my time trying to breakdown each game or series with stats, I’d like to spend what little time I have discussing and analyzing the future of this ballclub. This season is a transition year and I’d rather talk about how the younger players are developing rather than recapping a 12-3 loss. As a result, I may not be posting as much as I did last season, but I feel I can produce more meaningful content if I stray from doing game summaries. You guys can watch, listen, or read about the games, so I don’t need to regurgitate the play-by-play. Lastly, please feel free to comment on any post, on Facebook, or on Twitter. I’d like to get more interactive and discuss the direction that this team is heading towards.
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