It’s taken a couple of months, but the Chicago White Sox may finally have their dynamic leadoff hitter back.
After emerging as a solid 2.6 fWAR player in his first full season and flashing a tantalizing power-speed combo, Alejandro De Aza had a bit of a difficult time with the encore in 2013.
Despite a dismal .229/.272/.406 month of April that showed off little more than his power (four home runs), the White Sox leadoff man hung around the top of the lineup, but doing little of the table-setting that he was expected to do while the team’s offense floundered in 27th place with 89 runs.
Another team might have pulled the plug the shifted the lineup to give the leadoff man a breather, but Chicago stayed put through the De Aza’s still-disappointing .716 OPS month of May — and it’s a good thing they did, because that patience may have finally paid off.
Whether it was the outfielder finally making the adjustments he needed of just that it took a little longer to warm up, the 29-year-old put together hits in consecutive games at the end of May … and to put it simply, he hasn’t really stopped hitting since.
Including yet another impressive 2-for-2 performance on Sunday against the Houston Astros that included his first triple of the year and his first home run of June (seventh on the season), De Aza has now hit in all but two for the 13 games he’s played in this month.
Not only that, but seven of those games have been multi-hit performances, and even though it took him a whopping 30 games between homers, it shouldn’t tarnish his nifty .345/.393/.491 triple-slash through 61 PA in June.
Now, if he had only more than the two stolen bases …
With their leadoff hitter back and in good form, it’s no surprise that the White Sox offense is surging these days, climbing all the way to 19th in June headed into play on Sunday, with De Aza being responsible for scoring six of the 50 runs and collecting eight of the 50 RBIs.
Sure, it’s still just a little behind the middle of the pack, but considering that they started at rock bottom, it’s safe to say that it’s a little more than a sizable step forward for this Chicago team.