The Chicago White Sox will have big trouble stopping opposing running games in 2008 so they better hope they hit the ball. 31-year old lefty swinging A.J. Pierzynski played in 136 games last season for the White Sox and he was 124 for 472 (.263 avg, .712 OPS) with 54 runs scored, 14 homers and 50 RBIs. The White Sox will need Pierzynski to produce more to his career norms (.284 avg, .758 OPS) to make up for his defensive problems. Pierzynski only threw out 16% of the runners who attempted to steal on him last season but pitchers had a ERA of 4.41 when he caught which wasn’t bad considering the pitching staff the White Sox had last year.
32-year old Toby Hall will be the backup again this season for the White Sox but they need him to play better. Hall played in 38 games last season and he was 24 for 116 (.207 avg, .466 OPS) with 8 runs scored, 0 homers and 3 RBIs. He also was awful on defense as he only threw out 10% of the runners that attempted to steal on him and pitchers had an awful 6.12 when throwing to him. In his defense he was playing with a bum shoulder but the White Sox should just cut him loose if he isn’t healthy in spring training. Hall is a better player than he showed last season as evidenced by his .262 career batting average (.674 OPS) and he needs to prove it.
31-year old righty swinging Paul Phillips was signed in the off-season. He played in 8 games last season for the Royals and he was 2 for 14 (.143 avg, .414 OPS). Royals pitchers had a 3.03 ERA when throwing to him which really says a lot about his defensive ability. Phillips has played in 58 games in his major league career and he is 39 for 151 (.258 avg, .635 OPS) with 18 runs scored, 2 homers and 16 RBIs. He will likely start the season in AAA unless he beats Toby Hall out in spring training which is a possibility.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR 2008 SEASON: C-