HomeBaseballThe 5 – How a shortened season hurts the White Sox
The 5 – How a shortened season hurts the White Sox
April 1, 2020
We examined in another 5er how the Sox could benefit from a shorter season. Now let’s look at how a shortened season may just F them in their collective A.
The AL Central Elders
When we did our AL Central Preview, I mentioned that for the Twins it is all about how their older players fare. Typically what you’d see from a player mid-30s and up is that they start strong and then fade late. Come to the 108 and watch me drink on a Friday night after a long work week and you’ll see what that looks like. With a shortened season, guys like Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson, Rich Hill, Homer Bailey, Sergio Romo, Tyler Clippard, and Alex Avila will have less time to be injured or tired or overused. That does not bode well for the Sox.
The AL Central Injured
While I noted that Carlos Rodon coming back would be helpful to the Sox, the Indians likely have more to gain in terms of pitching health than the Sox do. They have consistently had pitchers on the shelf. Mike Clevinger was hoping to possibly be ready for opening day, now he most assuredly will be. Carlos Carrasco is coming back from serious illness and likely won’t need to worry about an innings limit due to a shortened season. Shane Bieber who was likely overworked last year, throwing 214 innings at age 24 (38 more than Lucas Giolito) will have more time to rest and a shorter season.
I love Luis Robert, you love Luis Robert, but I think we all expect there to be an adjustment period much like we saw with Eloy Jimenez. In fact, it might be worse, due to Robert’s propensity to strike out. Nearly 25% of his AAA plate appearances ended in strikeouts. Again, I expect this to be a short transition and for him to be great, but in a shortened season that transition is amplified. A 30 game stretch in 162 games is less than 20% of the season. In a 100 or less game season, well you get the picture.
For all the 108 has said about tempering your Tony Gwynn-esque expectations of Nick Madrigal, we will be livid if he’s not on the opening day roster. However, we have no idea how team control rules will work with a shortened season. If the Sox decide to save money/time and keep him in AAA, the problems I described in my article on why he should start at 2B opening day will be far worse than I initially imagined.
It sounds far more delicious than it is. Three of the 6 possible starters did not pitch for the White Sox last year. There is a new DH, 2B, CF, RF, and C in town. There will need to be time for pitchers and outfielders to adjust to the park. There will be variations on the lineup until Ricky finds one that works well. There will be injuries and players added to that already fluid mix of batters. Each time the Sox move in the wrong direction on these it will be a worse problem than in any other season.