WHITE SOX COUNTING ON ERSTAD
The [tag]White Sox[/tag] announced some news about their lineup. And apparently they really believe this grinder, small ball stuff.
[tag]Ozzie Guillen[/tag] said Sunday he plans to bat [tag]Darin Erstad[/tag] second against right-handed starters.
“[[tag]Scott Podsednik[/tag]] is a better leadoff guy, and [Erstad] handles the bat better than Pods in hit-and-run situations,” Guillen said. “We can play games even though Pods is our leadoff guy.”
That should last for the 9 or so games they play together. The Sox do face a lot of lefties within their division. But Erstad has been in a career fizzle for a long time and he hasn’t slugged over .400 since his career year in 2000. He played only 40 games last year. Perhaps he is decent at making contact for the hit and run but…
Podsednik isn’t exactly stellar at getting on base. And he’s coming off major groin surgery. So the theory that Erstad may get a lot of fastballs? Probably the same as any other #2 hitter. I think Ken Williams made one big mistake in not getting a leftfielder in the offseason. Podsednik is not fully healthy nor all that good. I doubt highly that Erstad is the outfielder he was years ago. I’d rather take my chances with [tag]Brian Anderson[/tag].
Anderson had a .694 OPS in the second half last year. While that might not knock your socks off, look at Erstad’s last 6 seasons of OPS: .691/.702/.642/.746/.696/.605. When you consider that Anderson has less than 400 career ABs, he was replacing a fan favorite and starting in center field as a rookie on a World Series champion, you can make a case that .694 could climb considerably this season. He draws walks and has some power. He had a 110-game errorless streak last year. He hit .276 in his last 69 games. In the 3 minor league seasons he hit .306/.375/.486. Point is that he was coming around and he’s likely a better option than Erstad. To replace him with someone like Erstad is, well, so Cubs.