Ah, Opening Day. Between the crack of the bat, the smell of peanuts and hot dogs, the packed ballpark and just pulling your kid out of school so he/she can catch the first game of the year, there’s no other day quite like it. It’s a special day and no doubt one of the best days of the year. It offers new hope for everyone: hope for players that had a disappointing season in the previous year, hope for general managers that their transactions result in a better team, hope for fan bases that this could finally be the year, and hope for the general public, that the cold of winter is over and the warm air of spring and summer is just around the corner. There is no excuse for anybody to not be happy that Opening Day has arrived. It’s a fresh start for everyone.
But let’s take one more look at the stats and results of the Chicago White Sox 2014 spring season.
C – Tyler Flowers – 42AB 5R 2HR 5RBI 0SB .214AVG
C – Adrian Nieto – 25AB 3R 0HR 6RBI 0SB .240AVG
Neither player had an outstanding spring, but the catcher position is usually the weakest hitting position in baseball. It is more important for catchers to call a good game from behind the plate. Only the elite catchers post stat lines with an average around .300. That being said, Tyler Flowers is getting the nod as Opening Day catcher.
1B/DH – Jose Abreu – 56AB 5R 3HR 12RBI 0SB .286AVG
1B/DH – Adam Dunn – 51AB 2R 1HR 7RBI 0SB .216AVG
1B/DH – Paul Konerko – 41AB 4R 1HR 7RBI 0SB .244AVG
Jose Abreu showed us why the White Sox spent so much money in acquiring him this offseason. He did all the things he is capable of: he hit for power, drove in runs, and had a solid batting average. It is no surprise that he will be starting at First Base on Monday.
This season marks the first time since 1998 that Paul Konerko will not be in the starting lineup on Opening Day. Adam Dunn will be the designated hitter. This too comes as no surprise as the organization has said all along that Konerko will see less playing time this season, and serve more as a player coach.
2B – Gordon Beckham – 30AB 3R 1HR 2RBI 0SB .167AVG
2B – Marcus Semien – 54AB 10R 1HR 7RBI 0SB .333AVG
Beckham and Semien were supposed to be battling over who would get the starting nod. However, Beckham made the decision pretty easy with his offensive struggles combined with hurting his oblique. Beckham is currently on the 15-day disabled list and Semien will be starting at second.
SS – Alexei Ramirez – 61AB 2R 0HR 4RBI 1SB .230AVG
Ramirez didn’t show us anything new this spring, but he has been a staple of the White Sox infield since his arrival with the team. He is a well-rounded hitter who can hit for power at times as well as steal some bases. He is the only returning starting infielder who started last Opening Day for the team as well. Hopefully he will step up and provide some veteran leadership to the new arrivals.
3B – Conor Gillaspie – 53AB 9R 3HR 6RBI 0SB .264AVG
3B – Jeff Keppinger – 16AB 1R 0HR 3RBI 0SB .125AVG
There isn’t too much to say here. Gillaspie will be returning to third base, which he took over last season after a Gordon Beckham injury forced Keppinger to move to second base. Gillaspie showed some signs of power, which he can hopefully carry into the regular season. Keppinger has an injured shoulder and will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list.
OF – Alejandro De Aza – 47AB 9R 2HR 6RBI 1SB .282AVG
OF – Adam Eaton – 57AB 7R 1HR 3RBI 3SB .368AVG
OF – Avisail Garcia – 64AB 8R 1HR 7RBI 2SB .250AVG
OF – Dayan Viciedo – 50AB 5R 0HR 1RBI 0SB .280AVG
It was a good spring for the White Sox outfield. Every player posted quality numbers and showed that they are ready for the season. Perhaps the fact that there was some competition for the third outfield spot is what drove the good performances. Garcia and Eaton were acquired this offseason so it was understood that they would likely start Opening Day. Viciedo won out the third spot so De Aza will be serving as a backup. I like the move because in late game situations, the team will have some speed (in De Aza) for a pinch runner.
John Danks – 24.1IP 1-1 2.96ERA 13K
Erik Johnson – 17IP 1-1 6.35ERA 14K
Felipe Paulino – 22.2IP 1-2 6.75ERA 21K
Jose Quintana – 11IP 0-2 16.36ERA 6K
Chris Sale – 17.2IP 0-2 4.58ERA 16K
None of the starting pitchers had an outstanding spring, but that is not surprising, as pitchers don’t generally post great spring numbers as they are focused more on developing their form and pitch locations. That being said, Danks carried the momentum from the end of last season into this spring. The White Sox already had a good idea of who would be the starters so their performances didn’t decide anything other than maybe the rotation order. The ace of the rotation, Chris Sale, will be starting Opening Day.
OK White Sox fans, take one last look at these stats and then forget them, because they mean nothing. Opening Day for the White Sox is Monday March 31, 2014. The first pitch will be at 3:10pm at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Be sure to tune in.