Tag Archives: Leury Garcia

Upates from Glendale: Burger undergoes surgery, Giolito and Jimenez start hot

By Cat Garcia

It’s been anything but dull for the first few weeks of White Sox training camp in Glendale, Arizona. Sox fans have been able to catch a glimpse not only of live action baseball, but of their stars of the future.

With that being said, it certainly hasn’t been a Spring Training for the faint of heart. Multiple injuries have mounted on the field, Miguel Gonzalez struggled in his first outing back in a White Sox uniform, and folks caught a glimpse of the less refined version of their future superstar pitcher Michael Kopech.

From Jake Burger to Nicky Delmonico, let’s take a look at the biggest takeaways from camp so far.

Jake Burger Out For 2018

White Sox first-rounder Jake Burger ruptured his Achilles during a sprint to first base during a game against the Athletics on February 27th. Burger underwent successful surgery on his Achilles on March 1st in Chicago and is expected to miss the entire 2018 season. Despite the shocking turn of events, Burger has a positive outlook on the situation. “I can focus on nutrition, focus on my diet, focus on my body,” Burger told the media in Glendale after the injury occurred. “I actually texted my academic guy back at Missouri State, and I’m going to go back for an intersession course, get three hours in.” Burger said he spoke with newly appointed White Sox ambassador and former starter Jose Contreras, who suffered the same injury in 2008. “He was like, ‘Look, man, it’s a tough recovery, but you’ll get back,’” Burger said of Contreras. “He said he lost 30 pounds while going through it. I’m looking forward to that and I’m looking forward to being back with my family for a couple of weeks.”

Lucas Giolito Impresses

The future is bright for young White Sox starter Lucas Giolito, who showed flashes of brilliance in his short debut with the big league club at the end of 2017. But in training camp, Giolito seems to be picking up where he left off. Giolito has started two games and pitched a total of six innings, while accumulating nine strikeouts, and eight of those nine punchouts came on Saturday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs. Giolito walked two on the afternoon and pitched four solid innings. “I was just trying to mix my it up a lot,” Giolito told the media after his outing on Saturday. “I was throwing the slider pretty much for strikes and was throwing the curveball a bit sharper, which is what I have been working on. With two strikes, I was able to get guys out with it. Overall my breaking stuff was working pretty well.” Giolito allowed just one earned run on Saturday, a homer off Cubs backup catcher Victor Caratini.

Nicky Delmonico and Tyler Saladino Suffer Outfield Collision

As if the White Sox stockpile of injuries could mount any higher — two most players were added to the heap on Sunday. Outfielder Nicky Delmonico and shortstop Tyler Saladino collided trying to catch a pop-up in the seventh inning, and the collision prompted manager Rick Renteria to remove Saladino from the game and place him on the 7-day concussion list, while Delmonico has suffered a separated shoulder. “Just extended it,” Renteria said of the Delmonico injury. “Didn’t pop it. Didn’t do anything. Just got extended and jammed it a little bit.” With just two weeks until Opening Day, it is possible that for precautionary reasons, Delmonico will open the season on the disabled list. Delmonico was slated to be the White Sox starting left fielder, which now leaves the club ready to test the waters with Ryan Cordell, Leury Garcia and other options to fill that role.

Eloy Jimenez Returns

Not all of camp has been exceptionally gloomy in the way of injuries for the White Sox this spring. After being sidelined for two weeks with left knee tendinitis, the infamous Eloy Jimenez played his first full game of the spring on Sunday against the Diamondbacks. Jimenez first stepped up to the plate as a pinch-hitter in Saturday’s game, only to hit a go-ahead home run that tied the game 4-4. Sunday, Jimenez continued his success, hitting another home run in his first at-bat off Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin. Jimenez went on to hit a triple on a line drive to centerfield and walked in his final plate appearance of the day. Despite the success, Jimenez has only played a handful of games above Class A and will begin the season in Double A Birmingham, even if the stay there is short before he ventures up to Charlotte. The show will go on for Jimenez, just not with the big league club for right now.

White Sox Trade Melky Cabrera to Royals

By Connor McKnight, WLS-AM News

(CHICAGO) Just before Sunday’s game against the Indians, the White Sox completed their sixth trade since the start of 2017. This time, Melky Cabrera, and cash, was sent to the Kansas City Royals for two pitchers, A.J. Puckett and Andre Davis. Meekly is the ninth player to be traded by GM Rick Hahn since the team began the rebuilding process this winter. In all, the six trades have returned 19 prospects to the organization–10 of whom are rated in the top 100 Prospects by MLB.com.

Melky, one of the last tradable assets on the 25-man roster, was a leader in the club house and professional hitter. Since the start of June, Cabrera slashed .325/.358/.483 and played a solid, if unorthodox, left field for the White Sox.

After announcing the trade, the White Sox reinstated Leury Garcia from the DL. Garcia had been on the shelf since June 16th with a finger sprain and went 0-4 in his lone rehab game at AAA Charlotte on Saturday night. Garcia was then subbed into the lineup for Cabrera.

The MLB Trade Deadline is 3 p.m. CST on Monday afternoon. The White Sox could, theoretically, still trade a player or two. Miguel Gonzalez has pitched well since coming off the DL (three starts, 19.1 IP, 2.33 ERA) and could be a piece added to the back-end of a contender’s rotation or even into the bullpen. Infielders Yolmer Sanchez and Tyler Saladino have show enough defensive ability to be a utility player on any team although their offensive potential may not boost their trade value all that much.

Jose Abreu is unlikely to move but has produced enough at the plate that a team could make an offer for him. Whether the White Sox would move a player that, with all the trades, has become the center and heart of the clubhouse is a fair question.


@ 2017 WLS-AM Sports

The Only Yolmer in the Game

Yolmer Sanchez has been a killer on the auto correct of many a White Sox beat writer since day one of Spring Training. Yolmer (whose name my auto correct wants to change to Holmer) is the only Yolmer to have ever played Major League Baseball. Yolmer is an up-beat, positive guy in the clubhouse. He seems to always call people “my friend,” whether he knows their name or not. Yolmer has been a favorite of White Sox manager Ricky Renteria since the latter took the job… and possibly even before. It’s possible it’s because of the former’s personality but, more likely, because of his production.

Yolmer (I’m going to buck convention and keep using his first name in this post so as to teach my auto correct a lesson) has been an everyday player since April 25th. The Sox have played 22 games over that stretch and Yolmer has started 15 and played in 19. Over the 61 at bats he’s accrued in that run, he’s slashing .361/.412/.475.

Two immediate issues have allowed for Yolmer to take the bulk of the playing time since the April showers turned to… well… May showers.

One: The White Sox have been desperate for left handed production in the lineup. As a switch hitter, Yolmer provides in that department. Renteria has hit Yolmer mostly in the two- or seven-spot in the lineup and, while the Sox really could use a left hander who’s a middle-of-the-order thumper, it’s worked out well.

Two: Tyler Saladino, despite taking the second longest average at-bats for the White Sox this year (4.45 pitches per plate appearance, a rate that would be good for a top-five placement in MLB if he was qualified with enough PAs), hasn’t been able to put the ball in play enough. Saladino has walked plenty (13 walks is second on the team, behind Omar Narvaez and Todd Frazier) but his 34 strikeouts (also good for third on the team, behind Matt Davidson and Tim Anderson) have been too much to bear.

That brings us to the tipping point, perhaps, on Yolmer. He hasn’t walked a whole lot—just six times in 99 trips—but his 21 K’s are somewhat concerning. That Yolmer likes to swing isn’t a bad thing in a vacuum, it’s just that the White Sox have plenty of hitters who fit that description.

While the White Sox wait for Yoan Moncada (heir to the keystone and potential usurper of Most Popular White Sox Whose First Name Starts With A ‘Y’) it will be interesting to see how quickly Renteria shuffles his options at second base.

The Latest Garcia to Take Off for the White Sox

It isn’t unfair to say that the 2017 White Sox are not exactly the most interesting team in Major League Baseball this season, so much so that most folks are keeping a sharp eye on their minor league system with perhaps even more interest than their big league roster.

Among this misshapen team of veterans mixed with young players just breaking into their new roles, there is an unlikely, yet possibly extremely beneficial, story blooming in the progression of utility man Leury Garcia.

Besides his memorable appearance pitching against the Boston Red Sox a few seasons ago (likely just behind Adam Dunn as my favorite White Sox Position Player Pitching appearance), there isn’t much that comes to mind when you think of Garcia. He’s part of the trifecta of Garcias on the White Sox roster and has taken on the role of filling Adam Eaton’s shoes in centerfield. That’s about it.

The arrival of new White Sox manager Rick Renteria has installed a fresh coaching perspective to this team and perhaps revived a stale bench. These days, Garcia is seeing a bounty of playing time—more than he’s seen at this point in the season during any year of his career. The consistency seems to be having a positive effect on his performance.

Garcia has always been a fourth outfielder type. A player who has struck out anywhere from 46 to 26 percent of his plate appearances. Just last season, Garcia walked at a rate even lower than Tim Anderson. Garcia’s only true asset was his undeniable speed which aids in his ability to steal bases (21 over his four year career).

Things are a bit different now. Garcia is currently slashing .302/.340/.479 over 104 plate appearances — just around 70 shy of how many plate appearances Garcia previously racked up over any full season of play.

After Friday’s two-home run game against the Padres, Garcia is now comfortably slugging near the .500 mark. His slugging percentage rose nearly 70 points that evening because small sample sizes this early in the season show drastic fluctuation. . Unfortunately, that isn’t sustainable for Garcia. His speed, however, should help him keep his OBP at a healthy level. Garcia is also putting up a 126 wRC+, meaning that he’s sitting 26 points above league average. Again, Friday’s game tacked onto that number, but Garcia was still around a 100 wRC+ before Friday’s game, which is league average. League average is not a term that I suspect anyone ever felt would be attached to Garcia.

Besides seeing more regular playing time, what’s the major difference been for Garcia this year? Well, it’s actually quite obvious once you look a bit deeper into his numbers. Garcia’s plate patience and ability to read good pitches to hit has skyrocketed:

O-Swing% O-Contact% Z-Swing% Z-Contact% SwStr%
2014 37.9 67.3 69.3 83.5 11.9
2015 31.4 45.5 66.7 77.8 16.1
2016 32.3 65.6 69.8 77.6 13.3
2017 32.8 79.3 73.4 89.5 7.2

Garcia’s outside-the-zone swings have become extremely productive. He’s barely raised his percentage of swings outside the zone, while tacking on nearly 14 percentage points to his outside-the-zone contact rate. Garcia is also seeing pitches in the zone better, swinging at them just 4 percentage points higher than last season, while making 12 percent more contact.

And this is all while Garcia has only raised is overall swing rate by 3 percentage points, added a ton of quality contact, and lowered his swinging strike rate by 5 points. Oh, did I mention that his strikeout rate has nearly halved this season? Garcia struck out in 27 percent of his plate appearances last year. This year, he’s striking out at just a 13 percent clip. Pretty impressive. (His walk rate is still menial but, hey, the guy can’t fix everything at once.)

Garcia may never be an everyday player on a strong, contending team but, if he continues to see regular at bats during a time when the White Sox can afford for him to scuffle in the name of finding his stride, Garcia will round out to be a solid, valuable asset to the future of the White Sox’s bench arsenal; a major key to the success of any well rounded team. Looks like all Garcia needed was to be given a chance to show that he is able to play successfully at the Major League level, something he wasn’t truly afforded in his previous seasons on the South Side.

My Right Arm for a Lefty Bat

Over the course of the White Sox six-game losing streak, runs have been tough to come by. No kidding, right? That’s what makes a losing streak. Still even when the White Sox have clicked, there’s been a glaring deficiency: A lefty bat.

Friday night against Jhoulys Chacin, the White Sox two-through-six hitters were all right handed. Chacin, also, is right handed. The White Sox entered the game hitting .218 off right handed pitching–last in the league. The White Sox two-through-six went 2-15 with one walk and three strikeouts against right handed pitching. The White Sox could really use a lefty bat.

That’s not so say they don’t have just such bats. After starting hot with two doubles in the season opener and steady work through April, it’s been a rough May for Melky Cabrera. Melky (who’s obviously a switch hitter) has much better numbers against right handers (.256/.308/.341) this year than left handers (.182/.250/.273) but neither slash line really jumps off the page. That such a veteran and versatile bat has been cold to start the year has been tough for the Sox to swallow. Good news is Melky is hardly striking out. Perhaps it’s just a run of the mill slump. After a putting up a .289/.429/.667 slash line in Spring Training, Cody Asche looked like he might give the White Sox some of the balance they needed. At least he’d be counted on to give a competitive at-bat in a platoon split with Matt Davidson in the corner/DH role but Asche’s struggles have been mighty and lengthy. Yolmer Sanchez gives a bit of pop off the bench and in situational roles but the switch-hitting, sawed-off utility man is buried behind Tyler Saladino and Tim Anderson in the middle of the infield and, Matt Davidson and Todd Frazier at third.

Omar Narvaez has been productive, but in a very unsurprising way. His .377 OBP is second on the team (Avisail Garcia is first at .382) but he simply doesn’t hit for power. Don’t get me wrong, a .260 average and a .380 on-base is just fine for a backstop but it seems the plan all along was to have Narvaez work in a time share with Geovany Soto (now Kevan Smith with Soto on the DL for the second time). That plan, too, makes sense as Narvaez has just 388 plate appearances above high A ball with 183 of those coming in The Show. How nuts is that? Kind of makes you look at ‘ol Omar (he’s 25) in a different light.

Which brings us to another switch hitter: Leury Garcia. The Middle Garcia. After plugging two home runs in Friday night’s loss to the Padres, the Median Garcia is hitting .304/.343/.489. It gives him the second highest average, the third highest on-base, and the third highest slugging percentage on the White Sox this year. Leury the Middlemost has never hit for power. Ever. His career slugging percentage in the minor leagues is .275 though, to be fair, he did hit the crap out of the ball in the 2011 Arizona Fall League (.361/.379/.590). Right now, past be damned, Leury might be the most intriguing player on the White Sox. He just turned 26. He can handle at least three and possibly up to six positions at major-league average caliber. He has raked. His strikeout rate, which was at 27 percent all through his minor league career and 33 percent in all of his major league time, is at 14 percent this year. Fourteen percent! That’s in the DJ LeMahieu-Francisco Lindor-Ian Kinsler-Anthony Rizzo range.

I have no idea if Leury can rise above the Mean and become Leury the… well… other meaning of mean. Odds are, no, he can’t keep up this kind of production. But, hell, every early-season column ends up with that same conclusion and that’s absolutely no fun. So, for now, enjoy what we’re watching and just maybe the White Sox have helped Leury elevate from the middle ground.