Friday, April 19, 2024

The White Sox Need To Have This Player On The Opening Day Roster


After letting Yasmani Grandal walk in the offseason, the White Sox found themselves with uncertainty at the catching position in 2024. They acquired Edgar Quero from the Los Angeles Angels in the Lucas Giolito trade, but he was likely not going to be ready until the end of 2024 at the earliest.

This left just Carlos Perez and Korey Lee on the roster to compete for the starting job, pre free agency. But, it seems that Chris Getz did not want to hand the job to either one of them, as he went out and acquired two major league catchers in the offseason. First, he essentially traded nothing to get Max Stassi from the Braves, and then he signed Martin Maldonado to a one year deal worth four million.

These moves clouded Lee’s 2024 season, as it seemed that the two catchers on the roster would be Stassi and Maldy, but this Spring Training could have potentially changed things.

Martin Maldonado has never been known for his bat, as he is a defensive first catcher, but this Spring Training has been abysmal for him with the bat. He is currently 2 for 24 with just one homer. However, he does have a 1.000 fielding percentage and he has caught 2 out of 8 potential base stealers. Overall, just not a great Spring Training for Maldy.

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Max Stassi has been a bit better with the bat, as he is 4 for 20, still not great though. He has also been solid with the glove, as he has a 1.000 fielding percentage and he has thrown out 4 out of 14 potential base stealers. Like Maldy, Stassi has been known for being a defensive first catcher, as he has never been an elite hitter.

Neither of these veterans have played as well as Korey Lee this spring. So far Lee is 7 for 20, good for a .350 average. He has added three homers, eight RBIs, and two walks. He has a OBP of .417, a slugging percentage of .900 and a 1.317 OPS. These are very good offensive stats out of the young catcher. However, he has been just as impressive with the glove. He has thrown out 4 out of 14 potential base stealers and has added a 1.000 fielding percentage.

This is a fantastic development for Lee, as last year did not go the way he wanted it. According to Scott Merkin, he made some changes to his swing in the offseason, and it has shown in his performance.

While Spring Training stats aren’t everything, Lee has shown that he deserves an extended look this year. This should be a year for the White Sox to figure out what they have in their younger players. Lee is one of those younger players that deserves an extended look.

At this point, Maldonado and Stassi are veterans that play very good defense behind the plate. Pitchers are known to like them, but they offer little with the bat. The White Sox don’t need to keep both of them on the roster. They should pick between one of the two and let Lee split time with the other.

I’m not sure if that is what the White Sox will do, but they should. But, due to the fact that Lee has minor league options that Stassi and Madly don’t, the decision could be already made. They could keep three catchers, but again, that is very unlikely.

Unfortunately, the likely situation is that Lee will start at AAA and come up due to an injury or continued poor play. Unless Chris Getz shows us he wants the best 26 man roster and does not care about contract status, Lee will start at AAA instead of in the majors where he belongs.

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