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Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Mid-Season Report Card (Hitters)

Not a very original idea, I know. But what else is there to do with three off days in a row? The Sox only have 3 off days the entire second half. On one stretch they play 27 games without an off-day. That's insane. They had to OK it with the players union and both teams.

So let's get this think kicked off. I originally intended this to be an evaluation of the first 81 games, but since I'm a procrastinator it's turned into the first half(84 games). In keeping with my original plan, the stats will only reflect the first 81 games played(at least I didn't procrastinate on something). 81 game stats are great; they're so easy to project to full season numbers, since all you have to do is multiply by 2. Most of us can do that without a calculator, so these are the most accessible stats there are prior to the end of the season. So here we go....

Batting Stats (through 81 games)
            G   R   H  2B 3B  HR RBI  BB  SO SB CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS

White Sox 81 449 778 161 13 117 427 291 527 46 22 .277 .348 .468 .816


NAME            G  AB  R  H  2B 3B HR  TB RBI BB SO SB CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS

Carlos Lee 79 315 49 92 23 0 9 142 45 30 50 7 4 .292 .358 .451 .809
Juan Uribe 74 296 49 83 19 4 11 143 36 23 55 7 4 .280 .334 .483 .817
Paul Konerko 76 275 40 80 11 0 21 154 57 36 49 1 0 .291 .379 .560 .939
Joe Crede 73 268 41 65 17 0 12 118 38 21 50 1 1 .243 .298 .440 .739
Jose Valentin 63 244 48 63 14 3 17 134 46 24 78 5 1 .258 .326 .549 .875
Frank Thomas 74 240 53 65 16 0 18 135 49 64 57 0 2 .271 .434 .563 .997
Willie Harris 64 222 34 60 8 1 0 70 13 27 45 9 2 .270 .347 .315 .662
Aaron Rowand 63 196 34 59 18 1 8 103 20 11 33 9 1 .301 .344 .526 .870
M. Ordonez 42 167 26 52 7 2 8 87 34 14 16 0 2 .311 .370 .521 .891
Timo Perez 52 148 22 40 6 0 3 55 22 12 15 2 0 .270 .325 .372 .697
Miguel Olivo 46 141 21 38 7 2 7 70 26 10 29 5 4 .270 .316 .496 .812
S. Alomar Jr. 34 105 13 29 4 0 1 36 11 9 12 0 0 .276 .328 .343 .670
Ross Gload 52 105 11 28 6 0 2 40 20 8 20 0 1 .267 .330 .381 .711
Jamie Burke 20 37 3 11 3 0 0 14 6 2 6 0 0 .297 .333 .378 .712
K. Dransfeldt 15 30 5 10 0 0 0 10 4 0 6 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667
Pitchers ? 17 0 3 2 0 0 5 0 0 4 0 0 .176 .000 .000 .000
Ben Davis 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000


Carlos Lee -- *** B *** -- Once again Carlos is the "Ironman" of the Sox offensive arsenal. He leads the team in games and AB's. That's about all he leads the team in though.

Carlos has been one of my favorite players to watch develop. Since batting over .300 in his rookie season, he has yet to return to that plateau. He has improved his game in other areas though. His defense is infinitely better than it was when he debuted, and his plate discipline continues to improve.

Carlos' first half highlight has to be his franchise record 28 game hitting streak. Which just shows what Carlos can do when he puts his mind to it. The disappointing thing about the streak was the lack of power he showed during it. He had only 12 extra-base hits during the streak, less than Jaun Uribe had over the same span. He has shown that he still has power though lately. Now if we could only get him to stop admiring shots, and bust hard out of the box we might have something.

Juan Uribe -- *** B *** -- Well, well, well, look who's second on the team in AB's. What had appeared to be a rather innocuous trade in the off-season has paid huge dividends for the Sox already.

He carried the team in April and May. He gave the entire line-up a shot in the arm, and probably had more to do with the Sox good start than the managerial change many attributed it to. His grade would be much higher if he hadn't been batting near the Mendoza line since June 1st. Overall, a great pick-up, and a pleasure to watch play. I especially love the way he fires every ball to first base while playing the field.

Paul Konerko -- *** A *** -- First Half MVP. There's not much else to say after that. He's already a leading candidate for comeback player of the year. Let's just hope this guy can put together two good halves in the season, something that has plagued his career of late.

Pauly is a favorite of mine. I can remember defending him last season, saying that if he had any speed at all his average would be 30 points higher, and people wouldn't complain as much. He routinely ends up on the wrong end of "Web Gems" because of his lack of speed. This season, though, I can remember at least 5 infield singles for Pauly. Maybe it signals a change of fortune for Konerko. I sure hope so.

Joe Crede -- *** D+ *** -- Ugh. Where to begin? .230 in April, .184 in May, .164 with RISP; batting .205 on June 1st. In Short, terrible. I guess we've grown used to Joe's slow starts, but this one was nearing epic. He has shown some turn around though, batting .329 in June. July has been unimpressive so far.

Joe's defense has been adequate. He hasn't been a liability at the third sack, but I think his defense is a little overrated. I guess I may be picking one him, but I think your defense stands out more when you're struggling at the plate. He has a LONG LOOPY swing that tends to get him in prolonged slumps. I feel that if he doesn't find a way to shorten up his swing, his stay on the White Sox won't be as long as originally planned.

Jose Valentin -- *** B+ *** -- Clutch. Clutch. Did I mention, clutch? I loathed hearing Hawk during the 2000 season profess how Valentin's errors didn't cost the team. There was no amount of persuading that anyone could have done to make me think that his defense hurt the team. Jose had another bad start in the field this season, but I have finally seen the light. Since 200, I have defended Jose, though. His defense has been underrated, and he makes the difficult plays. It took me until this season to recognize Jose's errors didn't cost us because of his own ability to make up for it at the plate.

Most recently, during one of the Cubs games I believe, Jose booted a ball that cost Loaiza a run. Having already seen the light, I placed a bet with the 3 friends I was watching the game with that Jose would hit a HR in the next inning. Sure enough Jose is due up second, puts one in the seats to put the Sox back up a run. Error erased; all is forgiven. That has to be at least the 4th time I've witnessed this happen this season, not to mention his other late inning heroics. His "Close and Late" statistics are unreal.

Frank Thomas -- *** B+ *** -- It looks like the first half was the return of the Big Hurt of old. He was walking. He was slugging. He was crushing left-handed pitching. Well, 2 out of 3 aint bad. This is the biggest mystery to me in the return of Frank Thomas. His career average versus lefties is .333, with an OPS of 1.100. This season, he's batting only .200 versus southpaws, with an OPS of .840. He used to be the most feared hitter in baseball against lefties. Now it seems to be the only chink in his armor. I have no real way to explain it. It's the only thing that's keeping him from entering Barry Bonds territory.

Willie Harris -- *** C+ *** -- At the beginning of the season if you had told me that Willie Harris was batting .270 at the halfway mark of the season, I would have been ecstatic. Now that I've seen what he can do with the stick, I have to say I'm disappointed overall. I have to give him credit; he has been better than I expected him to be, but the low number of steals, and the complete lack of extra-base hits make his average and OBP relatively useless.

Aaron Rowand -- *** B- *** -- Quite possibly the most underrated player on the Sox. After an unimpressive start, during which he lost his starting centerfield spot to Willie Harris, he has quietly put together a solid season. Rowand is the type of player that Ozzie should love. He plays hard every day. His defense is solidly above average, and even better while covering more of right field in the absence of Maggs in right field. The one weakness in in Rowand's game that seems to get questioned is his ability to hit RHP. He is a career .255 hitter versus righties. This season he's hitting .261 against them. That's not that bad, especially when you compare it to some other ugly splits on our team; Frank vs. LHP (.200), Willie vs. LHP (.135), Crede vs. RHP (.225), Valentin vs. LHP (.194), etc.

The one area that I would like to see Aaron make a marked improvement in is hitting with RISP. So far this season he's hitting a woeful .171 in those situations. Over his career he has been a .286 hitter with RISP, so I expect him to get better in the second half. In the mean time, he looks like he has settled nicely into the #2 spot in the order.

Magglio Ordonez -- *** INC *** -- Just before he went on the DL with his knee injury he was leading the AL in RBI's. Maggs is Maggs; consistent, reliable, steady. His season will be judged on how he is able to come back from the first real injury in his career, while simultaneously dealing with the media circus of a pennant race and contract talks.

Timo Perez -- *** B *** -- In his first regular season at-bat with the White Sox, he hit a weak grounder back to the pitcher, and trotted slowly to first base. He never dropped his bat, and never actually did touch first. It was an ominous start to a decent season. There are times when Timo doesn't appear to be trying, and then there are times when he does exactly the right thing at the right time. Thankfully for the Sox, he has done the right thing more often than not. His .429 average with RISP leads the team. So it would make sense that in a late game situation, to pitch hit with him; wrong. He has just 1 hit as a pinch hitter, batting .083.

I've learned to accept Timo for his seemingly lackadaisical play at times. As long as he continues to keep hitting in key situations, I'll live with the one handed catches that he barely gets to in the outfield.

Miguel Olivo -- *** C+ *** -- Perhaps his greatest contribution to the team was his departure, which brought Freddy Garcia over in a trade with Seattle. Miguel's defense this season had regressed from last season, and he was never really a part of this team for his bat. After he was traded, Kenny Williams said that the staff had taken issue with his play calling. (He ranked 3rd in the AL in catcher's ERA last season, and was in the bottom half of the same category this year).

Some good things about Miguel: He was absolutely crushing LHP with and OPS about 1.400. That's amazing. He was undoubtedly one of the best guys in the clubhouse. He always had a smile on his face, and always seemed to be having a good time. He got us Freddy Garcia.

Sandy Alomar Jr. -- *** C *** -- The veteran catcher is not what he used to be, and that's OK. He's not going to be the reason we win or lose this division. He needs to be a clubhouse leader, and call a good game. I can't really tell if he is doing either. That's not an indictment of Alomar that just means that it's not something I can quantify with a bunch of stats. So for that he gets a C, he's been average, about what I expected.

Ross Gload -- *** C+ *** -- Out of the gate it looked like Ross Gload would be the White Sox "super-sub", coming off the bench, and filling in occasionally at almost any position. That has not been the case as the season has moved on. Ross has the ability to hit at the major league level, but it appears that the lack of playing time has started to get to him lately. He has looked a little lost at the plate recently, and his average has taken a dive. His defense has been less than spectacular filling in for Maggs in right.

Jamie Burke -- *** B+ *** -- Take this grade while you can kid, because I'm sure you're not going to be able to keep it up. Jamie played above his ability immediately after his call-up, which made the trade of Miguel Olivo seem less painful. I expect his play to level off. Just like Sandy though, he will not win or lose the division for us. All I ask of him is to call a good game, and that his hits be timely ones.

Kelly Dransfeldt -- *** B *** -- Won a game with a clutch pinch hit single, and cost us a game with a big error in a key situation. Net gain 0 games. That's all I ask for from a guy who's just keeping a seat warm for an injured player.

Ben Davis -- *** D *** -- Do you think Fisk will come out of retirement for one last pennant run?

Expect the Pitcher's report card some time tomorrow.