Monday, October 7, 2013

WSC Birth Years: Josh Phegley

Card #141 - Josh Phegley

Born: February 12, 1988

Josh was selected in the first round (38th overall) of the 2009 draft by the Chicago White Sox. After an injury setback in 2010, Phegley moved up the ranks in the ChiSox minor league system until his call up in July 2013.

Phegley made his MLB debut on July 5, 2013 in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays, where he collected his first hit, a single, and his first RBI. Two days later, Josh hit his first home run off of the Rays' David Price. Four days after that, Phegley hit his first grand slam off of the Tigers' Anibal Sanchez.

After an initial power surge to kick start his career, Josh's bat cooled off and settled at .206 average. While he had four home runs of the 2013 season, three of those came in his first five games. It is unclear if Phegley will earn a backup position in 2014, but he will need to build on his major league experience for that to happen.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Panic At The Disco Not At The White Sox

The 2013 White Sox season could be summed up in a Panic! at the Disco song title. "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage". It's overly complicated and how some people think the season went. I could sum up my involvement with another song title from the same group, "I Write Sins Not Tragedies". And it was a sin the way the White Sox essentially wasted the season.

Why have I been comparing the 2013 White Sox to a baroque pop outfit? Maybe because they're both a little baroque?


Can't be fixed?

I'll show myself out.

I could tell you that I am happy with the 2013 White Sox... and I wouldn't be lying.

Don't get me wrong, this season was awful, but it was only frustrating  because I knew that this team was better than this and they were trying. A White Sox team from my childhood seemed to abandon all hope, yet that team had a better record. That team lost me before the season ended. The 2013 team had me watching all throughout the season, albeit from afar, in Michigan.

2013 was worse than 1989, as far as White Sox seasons go, yet I didn't feel abandoned by this team, as I did by the 1989 squad. While things were slowly improving behind the scenes in 1989, the team on the field was superbly lackluster, as they slipped further down than the previous year. The turnaround in 1990, seemed to come out of nowhere.

This past season slipped lower, but unlike twenty-four years ago, I can see a quick recovery. I'm not saying that the White Sox will be World Champions in 2014, but I think they can contend. Here's why.

2013 was a year of freak injuries. Danks was coming back from one, Floyd went down for the season, Beckham was injured at a key part of the season and shut down momentum, Crain went down early, Keppinger was playing hurt, and Flowers probably was too.

This team had a lot of career low years that happened concurrently. Every team goes through their share of slumps every year, but generally there are a few who carry the team through these periods. Most everybody slumped at the same time. It's rare that everyone slumps at the same time.

Great pitching was given by most on the pitching staff, but isn't noticed because of fundamental errors behind them in the field. Someone clicked the off switch on the defense and it cost the Sox a lot of games. The spotty defense taxed the pitching staff, giving the opponent four or five outs in an inning. Those add up quick. Shoring up the defense should be the number one goal of the offseason. A good chunk of that poor defense was from players playing hurt. The rest was just from down years.

The third worst winning percentage in the majors has a few advantages. The Sox were able to trade hefty contracts for prospects and some of these prospects have shown sparks in the latter half of the season. Injured players were able to shut down early, so they can be ready in 2014 at full strength. Low records equal high draft picks and with the scouting improved in the last few years, this should help greatly.

There are a lot of things to be optimistic about regarding the White Sox in 2014. If nothing pans out next season, at least there should be more White Sox baseball cards being made with all the players that have been/will be traded and/or promoted in the second half of 2013 and the first half of the 2014 season.

See? There's always a silver lining.
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