Back to on-the-field analysis – The White Sox certainly have made one big move this week regarding their 25-man roster, but there are now even more moves to make. I started a weekly piece last week about who will be the players to complete the Opening Day roster and now there is another hole to fill. While it is possible that the White Sox bring someone in from outside the internal options, I will keep my rankings to current players on the roster. Amongst all of his other inquiries, Kenny Williams did state that the White Sox are happy with their internal options so it may still be possible that they will try to replace LaRoche with what they already have. Here’s a look at the stocks of the players still in question. With the loss of LaRoche, I now am projecting two hitter roster spots in question and three pitcher spots.
Carlos Sanchez (Week two of games: 3/14, 2 BB, 1 K, 4 TB, .598 OPS, 14 TC, 0 E) – STEADY
Sanchez still remains a lock to the roster for me. No stolen base attempts is a mark against him but no errors remains his calling card.
J.B. Shuck (Week 2: 4/14, 1 BB, 0 K, 4 TB, .619 OPS, 1 SB, 7 TC, 0 E) – STOCK UP
Shuck seems to be the biggest benefactor to the retirement of Adam LaRoche. He will not be his direct replacement as a designated hitter, but he will provide depth to the outfield, allowing a possible rotation of outfielders into the designated hitter role. The rotation will allow rest and potentially improve the overall defense.
Jerry Sands (Week 2: 2/11, 1 BB, 4 K, 5 TB, .685 OPS, 15 TC, 0 E) – STOCK UP
Sands is one of the only players on the White Sox roster with some playing time at first base. While it’s only a few tries, it’s more than the majority, and the White Sox currently need a backup first baseman.
Leury Garcia (Week 2: 2/12, 0 BB, 1 K, 5 TB, .583 OPS, 6 TC, 0 E) – STOCK DOWN
With some players rising up, Garcia is being passed. He still provides both infield and outfield abilities but is certainly not a candidate to replace the power from LaRoche.
Jacob May (Week 2: 3/13, 0 BB, 5 K, 7 TB, 1 SB, 7 TC, .769 OPS, 0 E) – STEADY
May continues to look good, although the strikeouts started piling this last week. His speed is still his most attractive attribute.
Travis Ishikawa (Week 2: 6/9, 1 BB, 1 K, 7 TB, 1.48 OPS) – STOCK UP
Brought in simply as a depth piece this offseason, Ishikawa’s depth may suddenly be needed. He may be a poor man’s version of LaRoche, but that may have been what the actual LaRoche would have been this year. Ishikawa has the most turns at first base on the roster, even more than Jose Abreu. A hot streak at the plate was well timed by the veteran, as well.
Matt Davidson (Week 2: 6/15, 3 HR, 0 BB, 2 K, 15 TB, 1.4 OPS) – STOCK UP
Once a top prospect, Davidson has been losing steam with the White Sox organization since coming over from the Arizona Diamondbacks. His numbers have been going in the wrong direction over the years in the minor leagues, with strikeouts being his biggest issue. A few home runs up with the big club allows people to imagine that he could be an option at designated hitter.
It was not a good week for White Sox pitching, specifically the ones that are fighting for a roster spot. One player discussed last week, Daniel Webb, already has had his decision made – he has been sent down to AAA. Clearly that has an effect on the rest of these players’ stocks.
Zach Putnam (Week 2: 1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 ER, 0 HR) – STOCK UP
Putnam had a good recipe for success this week – get injured, and let his competition fail. With the demotion of Webb, Putnam seems to be destined a spot in the bullpen on Opening Day.
Dan Jennings (Week 2: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 0 K, 3 ER, 1 HR) – STOCK DOWN
Jennings keeps a spot due to his left-handedness but Zach Phillips is closing the gap. Jennings inability to miss bats this week is not a good sign.
Erik Johnson (Week 2: 3 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 HR) – STEADY
Johnson got roughed up this week and there are reports that his velocity is down from last season. His stock remains steady because he still has a chance to be the long reliever, but expect his stock to be down next week if he continues pitching this way.
Zach Phillips (Week 2: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K, 0 ER, 0 HR) – STOCK UP
Phillips had the best week of this entire bunch. The White Sox will have at least one other southpaw in their bullpen, along with Zach Duke. Phillips could be that guy.
Tommy Kahnle (Week 2: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 ER, 1 HR) – STEADY
Scott Carroll (Week 2: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 ER, 0 HR) – STEADY
Kahnle and Carroll weren’t flashy this week and didn’t pitch as poorly as some of their competition. It’s still a long shot that either makes the Opening Day roster.
Jacob Turner (Week 2: 3 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 4 ER, 2 HR) – STOCK DOWN
Turner had another poor outing and is not impressing in Arizona. I would not be surprised if he only has one or two appearances left with the White Sox.