Baseball

It’s Time for the White Sox To Call Up Yolbert Sánchez

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When the White Sox traded Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer to the Cubs for closer Craig Kimbrel before the deadline last season, they opened a hole in their everyday lineup in 2022 and beyond. The Sox replaced an injured Madrigal by making another trade for César Hernández from the team formerly known as the Cleveland Indians. That move proved unfruitful as Hernández would slash .232/.309/.299 with an OPS of .608. Hernández would hit just three home runs and drive in only 15 runs in 53 games. The Sox decided early on not to pick up the option they held on Hernández the past offseason.

Moving On

Heading into 2022 the Sox had a hole at second base and with a lockout looming, moves were happening at a ridiculous rate. Suggesting the Sox were ever in on Marcus Semien or Trevor Story or even a player close to that tier via free agency would be blasphemous. The White Sox simply do not spend at the top of the market. Yes, they have the fifth-highest payroll in baseball at roughly 170 million dollars, but they have exactly zero contracts valued at over 75 million dollars. Yasmani Grandal has the highest value contract in team history at 4 years/$73 million. Sox fans knew very quickly they would be bargain bin shopping for a second baseman or trading for one.

While spending 100 million dollars on one contract is not the way of the White Sox and without suggesting it should be, here is a look at the past three World Series champions and their single largest contracts.

While Acuña’s contract is right at the 100 million dollar mark this could prove to be a steal and this past offseason the Braves again paid up for another superstar in Matt Olson with an eight-year, 168 million dollar deal.

Semien signed a mega-deal with the Texas Rangers coming in at seven years, 175 million dollars. Story, although it would take a while, eventually signed a lucrative six-year 140 million dollar deal with the Red Sox. Story, a natural shortstop, was not big on the idea of playing second base until Xander Bogaerts seemingly convinced him to chase a title or two together. Neither of these contracts fit with the White Sox.

Just when Sox fans started to believe Leury García would be the everyday starting second baseman, the team would strike a one-year 5.5 million dollar deal with free-agent second baseman Josh Harrison. Harrison who is almost 35, has been less than impressive thus far on the southside slashing .179/.256/.282 with an OPS+ of 59. An OPS+ of 100 is considered MLB average! While not being in the lineup consistently and injuries here and there have certainly played a part in the season’s slow start for Harrison, the Sox need more.

Hello Yolbert Sánchez

Yolbert Sánchez is currently with the White Sox triple-A affiliate Charlotte Knights and is comparatively raking with a slash line of .319/.388/.389 with an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .776. While we talked about Josh Harrison’s slash line and lack of production, Leury García has not been much better. His numbers have been climbing lately but remain poor at .198/.212/.292 with an OPS+ of just 48. Again, the league average is 100.

There would undoubtedly be adjustments and struggles for Sánchez if he was to receive the call but the Sox need to shake things up. Yolbert seems to have a decent understanding of the strike zone, striking out just 13 times in 81 plate appearances. We all witnessed what a different approach can do for a struggling offensive club last night in Kansas City where the Sox stayed patient at the plate and ran Kansas City’s starting pitcher out of the game after just three-plus innings. While the Sox still have major issues, using this approach, they did muster 7 runs in a single baseball game last night thanks in part to this bomb from Luis Robert.

The window of contention for the Sox should be wide open. Finding a player to fill the black hole at second base should be a priority especially if they can do it without giving up anything in return. Someone who gets on base at a clip higher than Harrison’s .256 or García’s .212 could be a fine second leadoff hitter to slide in the 9th spot in the batting order. The Sox should be doing anything and everything to get better during this tough stretch. What do the Sox have to lose by calling up a young second baseman at this point? Sure, someone would have to be sent down, but some are certainly deserving.

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