The White Sox offense is averaging only 3.5 runs per game to start the 2010 campaign, but they aren't the only club in the organization struggling to put some crooked numbers on the scoreboard. Of White Sox affiliates, only the Knights have scored more on average than the Sox. Let's have some fun with small sample sizes and take a deeper look at the offensive struggles and other first impressions from opening weekend in the minors.
Each of the minor league affiliates has four games under its belt and the early returns aren't all that good. The Barons were the best team in the organization last year, but aren't loaded this year and it shows in their early numbers. They've lost their first four games to the Carolina Mudcats (Reds) and haven't scored more than three runs in a game yet. Kannapolis was shutout in their opening doubleheader and has only mustered seven runs total. The Dash have only scored one run in their two losses. Only the Charlotte Knights have been decent with the bats, but that's not a surprise with Charlotte's prospect-loaded lineup. Here are some stats to prove the awful offense.
The Knights have been about average across the board. Brent Lillibridge of all people is off to a hot start, but so are Tyler Flowers and Stefan Gartrell. Jordan Danks has an OPS over 1, but is still striking out too much (6 in 19 plate appearances).
Birmingham has some eye-gougingly bad numbers. They're dead last in the Southern League in every offensive average. None of the regular starters are hitting better than .250.
Things aren't quite as brutal for the Dash, but that strikeout rate is atrocious. They are blowing away the rest of the Carolina League in failing to make contact.
Kannapolis is last in the South Atlantic League in OPS so it's no surprise they're 0-4. At least Miguel Gonzalez is doing fairly well offensively (4-13) and defensively (5/9 in throwing out base stealers).
- Carlos Torres did his AAA thing (6 IP, 0 R, 8 K, 1 BB, 4 H). The way he dominates AAA you would think he is capable of something, anything in the Majors, right?
- John Shelby is 2-16 with no extra-base hits, no walks and seven strikeouts. Yikes.
- Jhonny Nunez and Nathan Jones both made so-so returns to starting. Nunez gave up five runs in four innings, but struck out four and walked one. Jones gave up three runs (one earned) in 4.2 IP, but struck out five and walked two.
- Eduardo Escobar is actually hitting. 8-16 to start with 3 doubles and a walk. He's one of my favorites. Even my expectations fell after last year's mostly dismal showing for Kannapolis. Maybe his hot finish to last year can carry over after all.
- Nevin Griffith pitched six solid innings Sunday (1 R, 2 K, 1 BB, 3 H). It's good to see him healthy, but two strikeouts isn't going to impress anyone.
- The Kannapolis outfield of Nick Ciolli, Brady Shoemaker and Kyle Colligan that was supposed to, and still should, anchor that lineup is a combined 5-39.
It's really early and baseball is all about streaks, but I was tired of looking at box scores with little to be positive about so I had to turn that into a post.