Gavin Sheets got a taste of life in the big leagues and he has been patiently waiting for an opportunity to get back ever since he was sent back down to Triple-A Charlotte on August 9th.



Patiently Waiting

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Sheets was the casualty of a roster crunch, not poor play. This is one of the drawbacks of playing on World Series caliber roster with depth. There are only so many roster spots.

Gavin Sheets did everything asked of him when he was initially called up for an extended stint in the big leagues on June 29th. The 6-5 left-hander tapped into his power and launched six home runs in 29 games with the White Sox. Sheets contributed to the lineup right of the bat.

He singled on the second pitch he saw during his first career at-bat. In the third inning, he notched his first career RBI and tied the game. Later, he hit an RBI double making him the first White Sox player since Craig Wilson to have multiple hits and RBIs in his Major League debut.

He followed that up the night by hitting his first career home run. Sheets had a knack for big home runs. He hit a home run while playing in front of a collection of his hometown family and friends in Baltimore. On July 19th, he thrilled the Chicago fans with a walk-off home run to complete a come-from-behind win over the Twins.

The White Sox couldn’t ask much more of Sheets who had 16 RBIs and a .776 OPS. Even after being sent down, he continued to produce in Charlotte slashing .295/.362/.507. Sheets was counting down the days until September 1st, eager to get back to the show when rosters expanded.

“Obviously, I hoped to get back here as soon as possible,” Sheets said.

Sheets’ Grand Return

He announced his return to the big leagues with a bang on Wednesday night. After being added to the 28 man roster, Sheets proceeded to crush a three-run homer off of Pirates starter, Max Kranick with two outs in the fourth inning.

He was not done, however. In the eighth inning, he smacked his eighth home run of the season to provide an insurance run and extend the White Sox lead to 6-3. It marked the first multi-homer game of his career.

What made his second home run so impressive was that it was the exclamation point of a great at-bat. Sheets fell behind in the count 0-2 to Pirates reliever Duane Underwood. After fouling off five straight pitches he was finally able to put in in play and over the center-field fence.

“The last home run was just a battle,” Sheets said after the game. “It was just backing things up a bit. I was ahead of his offspeed and just trying to back things up, and got a heater over the middle of the plate.”

Wednesday night was Sheets’ 30th career MLB game. He became just the fourth player in White Sox history to have eight home runs or more in their first 30 career games. The others are Zeke Bonura in 1934 and two of his teammates. José Abreu did it in 2014 and Luis Robert accomplisjed the feat in 2020.

Sheets is using September as an audition to make the playoff roster. He is a valuable weapon to have as a designated hitter or a left-handed power bat off the bench.

“Gavin is a great hitter,” White Sox starter, Carlos Rodón said. “It’s nice to have a left-handed power bat like that who can impact a game with just one swing. He’s been really fun to watch.”

Spot On The Playoff Roster?

In a lineup full of right-handed hitters, Sheets is certainly an asset.Against right handed pitching this season the 25-year old rookie is slashing .278/.356/646 with a 1.002 OPS, five doubles, eight home runs and 20 RBIs.

His roadblock to sticking in October will be that the White Sox have five outfielders who are better defenders along with Adam Engel who will be returning at some point. If the White Sox opts to keep a starting pitcher off the playoff roster or Engel is not ready to go in time, the door for Sheets could be open.

If Sheets wants to play in the postseason he needs to continue to hit. But right now he is just focused on the present.

“I’m not even going to think about that,” Sheets said when asked about a spot on the playoff roster. “Obviously, I think you all know how I would feel about getting a spot on the playoff roster. Obviously, that would be incredible. But right now, it’s about just playing this month, and whatever happens, happens.”

But make no mistake Wednesday night was a statement.

Mitchell Kaminski
Mitchell studies sports communications at Bradley University and works for Braves Vision, an organization that works alongside ESPN broadcasting games and covering Bradley sports. Creator of Dorm Room Dispute podcast.