Mid-Season White Sox Grades - Outfielders


Just like the White Sox outfield, underneath all this mold is a delicious strawberry

It's the 81-game mark, and even after another quality start from Gavin Floyd illuminated just how irrelevant the position players are from the team's ultimate fate, it's still grading time.  I was talked out of making the cover pitcher for this article a "naughty teacher" and going on all about how I was a strict grader but could be convinced into being more lenient, but I guess the uncomfortable sexualization of the relationship between devoted fan and athlete will wait for some other time.  Anyways, on with it!

Juan Pierre, LF,  .256 BA, 0 HR, 13 RBI, .327 OBP, .285 SLG, .611 OPS, 30 SB, 7.7 UZR

Are you familiar with the statistic, OPS?


Ok, you reside firmly in the "Juan Pierre is terrible" camp

Are you excited by stolen bases, and think the 'leadoff man' should be a plucky speedster who 'makes things happen'?

Then you absolutely adore Juan, the league-leader in stolen bases and the owner of a pretty superb defensive rating.  Even at age 32, it is beneficial to have one of the fastest players in the league prowling left field, even if he's 5' 9" on a good day.

However, there are some flaws to be acknowledged.  Glaring ones, ones so obvious you feel dumb for not pointing them out.

Juan has no power...none.  Where as Scott Podsednik elicited shock when he hit a game winning home run in the 2005 World Series, should Juan do the same, it might be reason to immediately call the game as a fraud and grant it to the other squad.


Juan Pierre is on 2nd; chances are he needed help to get there

  As much as Juan has been a bantamweight slap-hitter good only for singles throughout his career, he's actually set to have the lowest slugging percentage of his career this season... by a lot.  He's also only walked more than 50 times per season once in his career, and has no chance of breaking that mark this year.

Juan's still on pace to score a respectable 87 runs and steal an impressive 60 bases, but has always been the type of guy who won't have an even decent statistical season unless he hits .300.  His last good full-time year was with the 2006 Cubs, where he exploded in the 2nd half to hit .311 with a .340 OBP, and an OPS of .758, which gives hope that he may pick things up still.  That 2006 Cubs team also went 66-96....so....

Grade: C (A for his defense and base-stealing, F for his power, walk-rate and throwing arm, it averages out)

Carlos Quentin, RF, .233 BA, 15 HR, 53 RBI, .334 OBP, .476 SLG, .811 OPS, -14.1 UZR

A vengeful man might curse Carlos Quentin for taking off the first two months of the season and being passively mediocre.  A not-even-vengeful-just-pragmatic man might point out that Carlos' defensive metrics are so bad that he can't possibly justify something as egregiously wrong as Ozzie's Monday night lineup of Quentin in RF, and Alex Rios as the DH.

Carlos has made dazzling plays in right field all season, so it's probably rather jarring to see him with a terrible defensive rating.  The numbers indicate that Carlos is diving all out for plays that defenders with superior range and speed would make without difficulty.  I'm not sure how they quantify this, but I would be a damned fool to question the Sabermetric community.  Carlos is bad at defense.  I am robot.  Joey Votto for MVP...bleep...bleep....boop.


With a month of June where he hit 8 HRs, knocked in 23, and recorded an OPS of .936, it finally looks like Carlos is prepared to be something close to the lineup-anchoring masher the White Sox were depending on when the season started, which is great, even if his early-season swoon is part of what dug the White Sox season in a hole to begin with.  Also, my sister has informed me that Carlos Quentin is no longer her boyfriend, Alex Rios is....so he has that deal with.

Grade: B- (You had us convinced you were supremely terrible for a 60-day period, Carlos, be happy that your grade isn't a series of expletives)

Andruw Jones, OF, .190 BA, 10 HR, 22 RBI, .305 OBP, .417 SLG, .721 OPS, 41 SO, 8 SB, -2.2. UZR

You'll never hear me say a bad word about the Andruw Jones' signing; the White Sox paid next to nothing and committed only a single-season on a former star who seemed hell-bent on eating himself out of the league for the past two years.  Andruw, apparently not content to spend the rest of his years resting his paunch on the handlebars of his Segway while teaching youths in his native Curacao how to swing wildly at 0-2 sliders out of the zone, lost 20 lbs and earned the heck out of some playing time to start the season.

And in April, everything seemed great.  Andruw hit 6 HRs in only 54 at-bats, and posted a 1.024 OPS for the month.  With Mark Kotsay playing like he rolled out of the Bullpen Sports Bar three minutes before game time early on, it seemed like a grand time for Druw to establish himself as an everyday player for the White Sox.


So Andruw may not have been a great idea, it's not like it was YOUR $500,000.

Well...screw that!  Andruw is 18-111 (.162 BA) since April, has hit only 4 HRs, and hasn't been that great on defense either with a -2.2 UZR.  Unless he gives killer back massages or has managed to fix the marriage of every player on the team, there isn't much of anything to justify Jones' place on the roster other than his low salary and the fact that every outfield prospect for the White Sox is about 2 years away.  Then again, how far away could any minor league player be from being as bad as Andruw Jones?

Grade: D- (April has to count for something, right?  Besides, the F is reserved for Randy Williams)

Alex Rios, CF, .299 BA, 13 HR, 45 RBI, .353 OBP, .502 SLG, .855 OPS, 49 R, 22 SB, 5.3 UZR

If it wasn't for his recent slump (0 HRs since June 11th, and generally cooling off since a bonkers May), this would have been a section of unabashed gushing toward the great Alex.  If it's any comfort, Alex has regressed back to the levels he played at during his two prime years in Toronto.  So while, a mid .800s may not be nearly as sexy as the potential 40-40 season Rios seemed to be headed toward, at least Alex has proven himself to be capable of playing at such a level.  It's most likely that the White Sox have a very good center fielder for years to come, rather than the best in the league.

But man, what a center-fielder.  Alex is the first five-tool player Sox fans have feasted their eyes upon since...........



did Carlos Beltran ever play for us?



Back in April, Toronto fans booed Rios even though their management had waived him. Not a good moment for the 'Canadians are less ignorant than Americans' argument.

For a fanbase that has mainly spent their time cherishing big, slow, man-beast sluggers like Paul Konerko, Jim Thome, and Frank Thomas, speed-demons like Scott Podsednik and Lance Johnson, or defensive specialists like Ozzie Guillen, Robin Ventura, and Joe Crede, watching Rios hit for power and average, throw leather in the outfield and steal bases has been comparable to an alien spaceship landing on 2nd base in U.S. Cellular.  Just replace 'alien' with 'Canadian' (I'm sure you've done it before), and that about captures it.

Best of all, Alex has solidified a position that's been in a flux ever since Aaron Rowand proved he actually wasn't that great of a hitter in 2005.  Maybe Alex didn't secure an All-Star bid, but he stole my sister's heart, which has been waiting for a White Sox player to step up into ever since Carlos Quentin displayed that he clearly didn't understand Spanish screamed from left field during the '08 season.

Grade: A- (I really wanted to give him an A.  I was dead set on it; then I saw that his OPS had fallen all the way to .855.  I have no problem with being the stingiest writer in town)

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