One of the main storylines of the White Sox 2021 season was the loss of Eloy Jimenez for nearly the season’s first four months. It’s why this degenerate gambler has a decent sized bet on UNDER 90.5 Wins for the White Sox. Most White Sox fans were quite despondent. Angry at fate, but mostly angry at Eloy, who actually injured his pectoral muscle trying to make a defensive play in LF. Or as my guy Brew Hand Lukesaid “He ripped his titty in half trying to catch a flyball”. I think that description was pretty accurate.
In the wake of Eloy’s injury, Rick Hahn steadfastly transitioned rookie First Base slugger Andrew Vaughn to the outfield and pressed the soon to be 23 year old into service as the team’s de-facto Left Fielder. The BeefLoaf was skeptical of such a move. It felt like a lot to handle for a kid that hadn’t faced any pitching above A-ball to not only be expected to hit MLB pitching, but to handle a position change. Then, the season started…..
The early returns were very positive
The BeefLoaf was a little skeptical. Vaughn looked like he was making the transition fine, for a guy who never played the spot, but I hardly thought he was a world beater. To me Vaughn looked slow, deliberate maybe and sort of made some regular plays look more impressive than they actually were. I started to get more excited for the return of Eloy and his speed and hoping he’d improved in LF.
When Eloy returned, he started making it look like he belonged in LF. Well, at least to me. A beautiful shoestring catch early on in Kansas City. His speed and range appeared to be making a difference even though he still looks unorthodox chasing the ball around in LF. Then, he made “THE CATCH”, one that would have everyone having an opinion on what Eloy should or shouldn’t be doing out there on the grass of Guaranteed Rate’s outfield.
After this catch, I felt emboldened to be an Eloy Defense Stan!! In fact in the most recent FromThe108 podcast, I even chose Eloy’s Defense as something that I would choose to Stan. I was a little nervous upon looking for some data to back up my argument, but upon looking at the data below. I hope you’ll even reconsider your thoughts on our two young left fielders.
In much less innings, Eloy has been A LOT more positively impactful than Andrew Vaughn, by a few different measures. First is Defensive Runs Saved from the Fielding Biblewhich is a creation of John DeWan’s crew. If you are an old Scorehead you might remember him joining the Murph show regularly to talk about this stuff. The Second is Outs Above Average from Baseball Savant. Pretty cool!!! After boasting this on the 108 podcast and having my mans Alex Rude back up my claim in both the You Tube comments and at thebar of our most recent live event, I thought it was time to see how the twitterverse was feeling. Maybe they had come around to see the LIGHT!!!
OOF!!! Frents, I’m pleading with you. Just because you saw this happen….
Doesn’t mean you can’t see Eloy’s defense in 2021 for what it is. Pretty good.