Is Chicago White Sox Surging Cactus League Offense A Sign Of What’s To Come?
Through five Spring Training games the Chicago White Sox are averaging 8.4 runs per game. The White Sox are also in the top three in the MLB in team AVG, OBP, SLG and OPS. Maybe the most impressive offensive stat from the Sox in their first few games of Cactus League play are their six triples, which is good for 1.2 three baggers per game. Before Sox fans overreact with excitement, it is worth mentioning that we are only talking about exhibition baseball, and the Houston Astros, a projected 100 loss team, are also Spring Training League leaders in some offensive categories. However, is this impressive start to Cactus League play a sign of things to come from the South Siders offense once April rolls around?
In some ways, I believe it is. Obviously, I highly doubt the White Sox will average anywhere near 8.4 runs per game once the regular season begins. But I do imagine their offense, which finished 7th in runs scored a year go, will improve in 2013.
The main reason I believe the White Sox will be better offensively this year is because of their depth. Unlike last season, if Sox hitters Gordon Beckham, Brent Moral and even Dayan Viciedo struggle, the White Sox have ways of replacing them. With the flexibility of new Sox infielder Jeff Keppinger, if Beckham starts 2013 out slow, the South Siders can then move Keppinger to second, and let Morel, or newly acquired Conor Gillaspie play third. Also, if Viciedo isn’t hitting his weight a month or so into the year, the Sox may give their highly rated prospect, Jared Mitchell, a shot. In seven at-bats this spring, Mitchell has posted an incredible .429 AVG/.500 OBP/.714 SLG/1.214 OPS stat line.
While Cactus League play is a time where veterans are working out the kinks, and youngsters are getting their opportunity to prove themselves, the White Sox spring hitting outburst shouldn’t be taken for granted. The first week of spring games has shown that the South Siders have some hitting depth. I for one love the increased competition on the Sox. If certain White Sox hitters can’t seem to get it going in 2013, don’t be surprised if Sox skipper Robin Ventura makes some changes to his starting lineup.
With their pitching being deemed their strength this year, a top five offense for the White Sox would be problematic for the rest of the American League. Although we are still more than a month from regular season games, I’m optimistic the White Sox, to a certain degree, can carry their sizzling bats throughout the entire 2013 campaign.
Matt Malecha is a Chicago White Sox writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattMalecha.