It’s well documented how horribly wrong the final weeks of the 2012 season went for the Chicago White Sox. After leading the AL Central for more than half of the year, the White Sox saw their first place lead over the Detroit Tigers evaporate in late September.
The main reason the Sox struggled in the final month of last season was their hitting, most notably their strikeouts. In the final month of the season, the Sox had more strikeouts than any other month of the year.
So, it was obvious that the Sox needed to bring in a guy this offseason who could not only help their overall offensive production, but also cut down on the team’s strikeouts.
This guy was infielder Jeff Keppinger. In 701 career MLB at-bats, Keppinger has just 173 strikeouts. To put that in perspective, in 539 at-bats in 2012, Sox slugger Adam Dunn struck out 222 times. It’s easy to see why Keppinger was the perfect fit for the Pale Hose.
In his first spring with the White Sox, Keppinger was very impressive. Batting .412, to go along with just two strikeouts in 51 at-bats, the 32-year old may have had the best spring of any Sox player.
With the ability to play three different infield positions, Keppinger will also give manager Robin Ventura some flexibility with his lineup card.
Heading into the 2013 season, many are projecting the White Sox to finish second, third or even as low as fourth in the AL Central. However, with the addition of Keppinger, I believe the White Sox now have what it takes to win the division.
With his resilient approach at the plate, Keppinger will be able to get on base for the Sox’ big bats, and the team will ultimately avoid another late-season collapse in 2013.