Brent Lillibridge is clubbing the ball at present, that much is obvious. Through the 6th inning Sunday he had a line of .302/.392/.605 with 4 HRs in a scant 52 plate appearances. That's combined with being the fastest player on the team and a heckuvalotta range and athleticism in the outfield. If the current starting outfield situation cries for some Dayan Viciedo, it certainly cries for some more Bridge.
At the very least he profiles as the ideal reserve; an excellent
defensive replacement or pinch-runner, and capable of running into one
and cranking a homer in any spot-start.....and bad enough contact-wise
that he'll never challenge someone's job.
The thing about having a horrible track record is that a 50 PA hot
streak just doesn't buy the respect it might if it was coming from
someone there was hope for. Lilli started off plenty hot last season,
then hit .157/.181/.243 for the last two months, started short-arming
throws while filling in at 2nd base, and led me to write "The deceptive
thing about Carlos Quentin rating as a replacement-level player, is that
it assumes the White Sox have other players in the organization capable
of playing at a replacement level."
Or I think I wrote that. Whatever, I'm writing it now...retroactively.
So the question of whether this is real seems to be answered already.
At 27 years old, the label of 'prospect' isn't being applied to Brent
anymore, but the label 'The guy who finished third in a positional
battle in 2009 where the two other guys were Chris Getz and Jayson Nix'
still is. He is who he is, and that's not great.
And judging from peripherals, then yeah, this isn't real. For all
Brent's pop, it's just as big of a war for him to make contact as ever
(30.2% K-Rate), and while his BABIP isn't as absurd as it was during his
hot start last season, .333 is still pretty high, and 28.6% of his
flyballs leaving the yard is only sustainable if Brent is, in fact, Jose
The Bridge hasn't slugged over .500 since he was in Low-A ball, and has
scant facial hair, so he's probably not actually Jose Bautista, which
makes his strikeout rate unacceptable--Adam Dunn hit around 40 dingers a
year at that rate and people still hated him for it.
Hawk said on Saturday, "When you're trying to win a division, and you
start out as bad as we did, you play the hot hands." I don't quote
Hawk often because he's not statistically oriented and horrifically
crippled by personal bias, but this rings true, especially with the case
of Juan Pierre.
While Quentin is one of the few potential mashers in the batting order,
and Alex Rios is so heavily invested in that Kenny Williams would be
willing to cover-up murders for him, Juan Pierre doesn't figure to be
part of the White Sox plans for any longer than Lillibridge does. And
with his declining speed and age, he isn't any surer bet for production
In some ways, they're the perfect diminutive platoon; they're opposite handed, Bridge lives on fastballs while Juan Pierre's bat speed is plummeting, Juan's prime is coming to a brutal close while Brent's tragically never began...
While there's no reason to trust Lillibridge going forward, with holes
begging to be filled in the outfield, he should earn more playing time
so long as he continues to earn it.