On Saturday evening, I was at an excellent bbq / fundraiser hosted by the Yumper and Svo at the Show crew. It was a veritable who’s who of White Sox twitter folks. Much food and drink was consumed and many opinions and laughs were had at the event. The group even got me to take a #ClassPic in remembrance of the event.
At some point during the evening, I strolled by a table full of White Sox fans and uttered the words, “You know, Eloy Jimenez is having a sneaky great 2nd half”….this was met with the snarky dismissiveness that you generally get when you proclaim goodness of a White Sox player that has fallen out of favor.
I guess I partially get it. Jimenez has been mediocre at best on defense in his only playable position (left field, although the narrative that Andrew Vaughn is better than him at the position is crazy town banana pants). He’s also had significant difficulties staying on the field over his 4 years as a major leaguer, including leaving Friday night’s game on a swing, which was pretty odd.
Still, I could help but notice that in the last week worth of games, the Houston Astros and Cleveland Guardians, two of the smarter organizations in MLB, were actively pitching around him. My eyes were telling me that Eloy was getting the old Jose Abreu treatment, from the pre-contention window days. So how good has Eloy been?
Below is a table cut from Baseball Reference’s Stathead that shows by OPS+ (a measure that corrects for park factor and then compares players back against the entire league, with 100 being average), he’s having a downright dominant 2nd half.
Based on the table, in the 2nd half Eloy has a 183 OPS+, which means he is 83% above league average. That’s a monster half (so far). You can see the remainder of White Sox hitters and even the always dependable Jose Abreu, who has been really great, is pretty far off of Eloy’s current pace. It got me wondering how this stacks up against White Sox 2nd half performances of recent vintage.
This table is the best OPS+ in the 2nd half by any White Sox (minimum 100 PA) since 1978. You can see that Eloy is in some pretty rarified air in the numbers he’s putting up so far. Granted, this is a shorter 2nd half than normal and we still have a little more than half of it to go, but it’s been pretty got-damned impressive to this point. And it’s been hilariously quiet. I really don’t see a lot of praise for Eloy on twitter. Quite the contrary.
I’m at a loss, given I see so much discussion about letting Jose Abreu walk after the season (YES, the plan is to get rid of the best hitter, it will improve the team, ALLEGEDLY!) that I have started mocking it with regularity.
My only thought is this, for a team that is starving for offense, I hope White Sox fans re-think their blood lust for removing quite possibly the two best hitters from the roster. No matter how you got to that conclusion. It’s pretty difficult for me to envision a good 2023 White Sox offense without both of them.