Saturday, July 13, 2024

The White Sox Are About To Run Into A Serious Problem

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For the most part, the White Sox have been playing more competitive baseball as of late. They have hit a at least one homerun in the last 13 games, and while they don’t have the wins to show for it, the games have been entertaining to watch up until the 7th inning or so.

The starting pitching has been absolutely outstanding, as they have dominated in this Seattle series so far and they looked very good in the Boston series. A lot of bats have looked good as well, as most of the early season slumps have faded away for guys like Andrew Vaughn. The bullpen has blown mainly all of the games, but that is a different story.

With the recent competitiveness of the games until the 7th inning, it is hard to ignore what Corey Julks has done in his full time role in left field. In the last two games he went hitless, lowering his average a bit, but besides that he has been absolutely fantastic.

On the season through 79 at-bats, he is hitting .253 with a .322 OBP. He has three homeruns, seven RBIs, and three stolen bases. He also has a very solid .765 OPS. He already ranks among some of the best WAR on the team, despite being there for significantly less time than most of the other players.

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But now with Andrew Benintendi back, there is a chance that Corey Julks gets significantly less playing time. Manager Pedro Grifol has loved playing Benintendi, and now that he is back, that might continue to be the case.

While he started Julks over Benintendi last night, Grifol made the move to pinch hit Benintendi late in the game. Benintendi proceeded to strikeout, but then went to play left field. While Julks wasn’t having a great game, Grifol has to think of the implications in the outfield. It was a close game and a base hit in the outfield could win the game. Julks has a better arm than Benintendi, so subbing him out made no sense.

Hopefully Pedro Grifol comes to his senses and still continues to play Julks until he shows he can’t play anymore, as Benintendi has been one of the worst hitters in baseball this year. If they take Julks out of the lineup for Benintendi, the offense and defense on the White Sox get significantly worse, making this a big problem.

I have nothing against Andrew Benintendi, but he simply hasn’t had a good season thus far. That could change, but he shouldn’t be in the lineup just because he is the highest paid player on the team.

Now, Tommy Pham is close to returning and will likely be activated at some point today. While he should play everyday, as he has been one of the better hitters on the team and they need to get the most value for him for trade purposes, it will take at-bats from younger players like Oscar Colas and Zach DeLoach who have looked good in their returns to the major league club.

Pham needs to play, as he is one of the best players on the team, but the White Sox should focus on the development of younger players as well. I know Pham is likely counting down the days until he gets traded, so trading him sooner rather than later if a deal comes about might not be the worst move for both parties.

The White Sox are going to be faced with some tough decisions over the next month and it is up to Chris Getz and Pedro Grifol to be on the same page to prioritize what is best for the team now and in the future.

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