Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Romy Gonzalez’s Recent Hot Stretch Putting Pressure On Andrus


Romy Gonzalez is white-hot. The White Sox second baseman is 10-for-29 with three doubles, three home runs, one triple, ten RBIs, and six runs scored in his ten games since returning from the IL with right shoulder inflammation.

On Tuesday night Gonzalez’s fingerprints were all over the White Sox’s 7-3 victory over the Angels. He ripped an RBI double down the right-field line in the bottom of the fourth. Gonzalez then stole third base and trotted home after Gio Urshela fanned on the ball while trying to tag him.

In the sixth inning, Gonzalez tattooed a ball that left his bat at 106.6 mph and traveled 407 feet to clear the left-center field fence for his third home run in as many days.

“He keeps hitting home runs, he’s going to find himself somewhere to play every day,” White Sox manager Pedro Grifol told reporters after the game.

It begs the question, could Romy Gonzalez take over the starting second base job when Elvis Andrus returns from injury? Before the season, the White Sox made it clear they were high on Gonzalez. Many assumed he was slated to be the second baseman before the team signed Andrus to a one-year deal.

After going 2-for-4 on Tuesday night, Gonzalez raised his batting average to .224. That number does not jump off the page until you look at Andrus’ .201 batting average in 134 at-bats.

The advanced analytics are not much kinder. Andrus ranks in the bottom first percentile of all MLB hitters in expected slugging percentage and barrel percentage. He is in the second percentile in xwOB, the eighth percentile in HardHit percentage, the ninth percentile in average exit velocity, and the 40th percentile in max exit velocity.

Simply put, he is one of the worst-qualified hitters in baseball. His defense isn’t doing him any favors, either. Andrus has below-average arm strength, a -2 OAA at second base, and -2 defensive runs saved. Meanwhile, Gonzalez sits at a 0 OAA with one defensive run saved at second base.

Andrus is not part of the White Sox long-term plans. He is a one-year rental and should be treated as such. Both Andrus and Hanser Alberto provide veteran leadership and are good in the clubhouse. They are also both middle infielders. Having one of them on the bench when they return is beneficial. Having both of them is redundant.

The White Sox would be wise to play Romy Gonzalez at second and see what they have in him for the rest of the season.

There is a good chance that Romy Gonzalez cannot sustain this level of production at the plate. But Andrus did not give the White Sox any offense either, so they have nothing to lose by playing Gonzalez.

Gonzalez also has a few things working in his favor. For the first time all season, he is a regular starter. This has allowed him to get into a better rhythm and play loose.

As Grifol described it, Gonzalez essentially said, “The hell with it. I’m going to have some fun, and I’m going to play this game the way I know how to play it and the way I’ve always played it.”

Grifol later added, “He’s having fun. I just think he’s relaxed, he’s playing the game loose, the way the game needs to be played. When you let the pressure of this game take away the joy of it, you’re done. You’re done in anything you do in the the game.”

Even when Gonzalez isn’t producing at the plate, he plays the game the right way. He is a scrappy player that hustles every for every 90 feet. The ability to play multiple positions across the diamond doesn’t hurt, either.

Maybe his recent hot stretch is just a flash in the pan. But there is no way to find out unless he plays every day.


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Milada Taisiya
Milada Taisiya
May 31, 2023 12:49 pm

unless he plays every day

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