All posts by soxnerd

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: REYNALDO LOPEZ

My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at REYNALDO LOPEZ:

*Based on his 2021 stats, Reynaldo Lopez’s future may be in the bullpen.

Exclusively a starter from 2017 to 2020, Lopez thrived as a reliever in 2021.

In 11 appearances out of the bullpen, the right-hander was 2-1 with a 2.21 ERA. In 20.1 innings, opponents slashed .147/.178/.338 with a 0.639 WHIP while striking out 22 times.

As a starter, Lopez was 2-3 and his ERA was 4.10 in nine outings.

According to one stat, Lopez should be given a lot of leeway as a starter.

When Lopez got the chance to face the order three times, he dominated.

In fact no Sox pitcher (minimum seven at bats) had ever held opponents hitless the third time through the order in a game until Lopez did it in 2021 (0-for-8).

*Lopez turned in one of the most dominating relief performances ever on Aug. 27 vs. the Cubs.

After starter Dallas Keuchel lasted just one inning, Lopez fired five perfect innings with a whopping seven strikeouts.

That performance made him the first reliever to throw at least five perfect innings in a game since Eddie Cicotte accomplished the feat on June 23, 1917 vs. Cleveland. In addition, Lopez joined Cleveland’s Jake Westbrook (April 19, 2004) as the only pitchers to throw 5.0-plus perfect frames of relief with seven-plus strikeouts.

That outing was part of a stretch where Lopez retired 26 consecutive batters (including starts).

*Lopez held leadoff hitters to a .077 average, which was the lowest total (minimum 26 at bats) since Don McMahon’s .067 in 1967

NEXT: LANCE LYNN

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: JIMMY LAMBERT

My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at pitcher JIMMY LAMBERT:

On Sept. 7, 2021, Jimmy Lambert became the 555th pitcher to earn a win for the White-Sox. Roy Patterson got the Sox first win on April 24, 1901 in the franchise’s and the AL’s inaugural game.

Making his sixth big league appearance (third start), the right-hander limited the host A’s to one run on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts in five innings for the win.

Lambert became the first Fresno State product to earn a win for the Sox since Sept. 24, 1982 when Warren Brusstar finished off Minnesota with 4.2 innings of shutout relief in a 4-3 victory.

Lambert is the first Fresno State Bulldog to earn a win as a starter for the Sox.

Other Bulldogs who have played for the Sox include Steve Wapnick, Ted Willis and Frenchy Bordargaray

NEXT: Reynaldo Lopez

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: JAKE LAMB (I SAID EVERYBODY!)

My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at JAKE LAMB:

*Jake Lamb joins Alex Rios (2009) and Mark Teahen (2011) as the only players to homer for the White Sox and the Blue Jays in the same season.

Lamb hit six homers in 43 games for the Sox and one homer in 12 games in 2021.

He was claimed by the Jays off waivers from the Sox on Sept. 3, 2021.

*Lamb hit all six of his Sox homers in the first three innings of a game in 2021.

Prior to 2021, Lamb’s last homer prior to the fifth inning was a blast in the first for Arizona at Miami on June 25, 2018 (a span of nine homers).

NEXT: Jimmy Lambert

TAKING A LOOK AT 2005 WHITE SOX CLOSER AND BIRTHDAY BOY DUSTIN HERMANSON

A few nuggets on birthday boy and 2005 White Sox closer Dustin Hermanson …

*Signed by the White Sox as a free agent Dec. 9, 2004

*Joins Bob Nieman, Steve Huntz, Art Kusnyer and Steve Stone as Kent State products to play for the White Sox

*Led the 2005 White Sox with a career-high 34 saves after taking over the closing duties from Shingo Takatsu … Bobby Jenks became the closer when Hermanson was felled by a back injury

*Streak of 21 consecutive scoreless innings to begin a season in 2005 was the longest by a Sox pitcher since at least 1969

*34 saves in 2005 were the most by a Sox pitcher since Keith Foulke’s 42 in 2001

*Coverted 34 of his 39 save opportunities for the 2005 World Series champion White Sox … The Sox were 44-13 when he pitched in 2005

*His best performance was when he struck out the side on 17 pitches in a perfect inning for his 26th save in a 5-4 win over Toronto on Aug. 4, 2005 at then-named U.S. Cellular Field

*Hermanson’s last save was a gem. He entered in the ninth of the Sox Sept. 7, 2005 home game vs. the Royals with two on and one out charged with protecting a 1-0 lead.

The right-hander got Matt Diaz to fly out and then retired Sox-killer Mike Sweeney on pop up to preserve the win which came courtesy of a Paul Konerko homer in the third.

*Hermamson and his sore back kept him out of the League Division Series and League Championship Series.

He did pitch one-third of a scoreless inning but allowed an inherited runner to score in the White Sox epic 7-5 win in Game 3 of the 2005 World Series in Houston.

Hermanson entered in relief of Neal Cotts with two on and two out in the eighth with the Sox leading 5-4. He got ahead of Jason Lane 1-2 but couldn’t finish him off. Lane delivered a double that would keep the game tied until Geoff Blum hit what I call “the greatest home run in White Sox history.”

The Springfield, Ohio native then got Brad Ausmus looking to end the frame.

That was the last the Sox would see of Hermanson for nearly a year.

Back woes kept him on the sideline until he made six relief outings, which turned out to be the last ones of his career, in September of 2006.

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: MICHAEL KOPECH

My 2021 White Sox alphabetical player review rolls on with a look at MICHAEL KOPECH:

*Kopech’s average of 13.37 strikeouts per nine innings in 2021 is second in Sox history among pitchers with at least 63.2 innings to Liam Hendriks’ 2021 output of 14.32.

Interestingly, four of the five top spots on the list are from 2021 (Carlos Rodon, 12.55, third; Dylan Cease, 12.28, fifth).

*Kopech was most effective in tandem with Zack Collins in 2021 and it really wasn’t close.

With Yasmani Grandal at catcher, Kopech had a 3.03 ERA while hitters slashed .235/.299/.391 in 19 games covering 29.2 innings (4.2:1 K-to-BB ratio). With Seby Zavala behind the plate, Kopech posted a 7.20 ERA in 13 games (15 innings) with an opponent’s slashline of .232/.328/.464.

*Kopech tied the Sox postseason relief record with five strikeouts in Game 3 of the 2021 ALDS (also held by Jose DeLeon Game 5 1993 ALCS and Clayton Richard in Game 1 of the 2008 ALDS)

*Kopech had one of the best interleague seasons ever by a White Sox pitcher.

The hard-throwing right-hander was unscored upon in nine games covering 12.1 innings with a .167/.321/.214 slashline against National League teams.

Only Mark Buehrle (16.1 innings in 2005) and Matt Foster (12.2 in 2020) had more scoreless interleague innings for the Sox than Kopech’s 2021 output.

*it is generally accepted that Kopech will be a starting pitcher.

His performance in 2021 has Sox fans hoping that day comes sooner rather than later.

Kopech’s 1.93 ERA and 0.174 WHIP in four starts (14 innings) has Sox fans yearning for more starts. More promising starting numbers: He also had 23 strikeouts against three walks while allowing just seven hits.

The only fly in the ointment here is Kopech’s stats the second time through the order.

As a starter Kopech held hitters to a .069 average (2-for-31) with a .121 on-base percentage and .161 slugging percentage the first time through the order in 2021. The second time through opponents slashed .294/.333/.471 vs. Kopech as a starter in 2021.

*Kopech was the first reliever to appear in a big league game in Iowa and the first reliever to log a strikeout in the Hawkeye State (Aug. 12).

NEXT: Jake Lamb

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: CRAIG KIMBREL

My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at CRAIG KIMBREL:

*Craig Kimbrel and Ryan Tepera are the only pitchers to earn saves in the same season for the White Sox and Cubs

*A whopping 38 percent of the hits Kimbrel surrendered for the 2021 White Sox were homers

*Kimbrel’s 14.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 2021 were the highest by any Sox pitcher (minimum 23 innings) age 33 or older

*The Sox were 17-7 when Kimbrel pitched in 2021

*Yasmani Grandal and Kimbrel were not a good battery.

In 11 appearances with Grandal behind the plate, Kimbrel posted a 5.06 ERA and gave up three homers.

Kimbrel was worse throwing to Seby Zavala, posting a 6.48 ERA in eight outings.

Zack Collins and Kimbrel were a good tandem. In four appearances, Kimbrel posted a 2.25 ERA throwing to Collins.

It’s too bad the Sox couldn’t pry Wellington Castillo from the Cubs last season. Kimbrel was unscored upon in 31 games covering 29 innings while teaming with Castillo in 2021.

*Let’s pray the Kimbrel of the first four months of 2021 is the one the Sox get in 2022.

NEXT: Michael Kopech

ROLAND HEMOND IS ON MOUNT SOX-MORE

Note: This is a tweaked compilation of the blogs I had written on Roland Hemond over the years.

Roland Hemond, who passed Monday, is certainly in the running for the title of “Most Significant Figure in White Sox History.”

Without stretching the bounds of credibility too much, it could be argued that if Hemond had never joined the White Sox, the White Sox would be no more.

On Sept. 2,1970, Hemond was hired as White Sox general manager with the team mired in its worst season ever. When 1970 ended, the White Sox were 56-106,42 games out of first place and had drawn only 495,355 to Comiskey Park.

Hemond and manager Chuck Tanner improved the Sox by 23 wins and nearly 400,000 fans in 1971.

Following that campaign, Hemond made one of the greatest trades in club history when he acquired the enigmatic Dick Allen from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Tommy John and Steve Huntz.

It was a deal that provided the White Sox with a superstar drawing card and it carried the franchise through the middle part of the decade.

“That club was in dire straits when Chuck Tanner and I joined them in September of 1970,” Hemond said to me in a 2006 interview.

“We made quite a number of trades that first winter and improved by 23 games. The next year, Al Campanis of the Dodgers said he would consider trading Dick Allen. He wanted Tommy John and Terry Forster. I said, ‘ I can’t give you Forster. He could be another Koufax.’ In any event, we arrived at a trade.

“Chuck Tanner had known Dick real well. They lived in the same area. I said, ‘ Chuck, what do you think? ’ And Chuck said, ‘ I’d love to have him.’ ”

Allen went on to win the 1972 American League MVP Award in becoming (with the help of the club’s TV voice Harry Caray) one of the most popular figures in Chicago.

The sheer force of Allen’s talent kept the Sox in the hunt for the division title for most of that season before they succumbed to the eventual World Series champion Oakland A’s.

“Allen came and he was a success story, the MVP,” Hemond said. “The club drew over a million. If (third baseman Bill) Melton (who had won the last two A. L. home run titles) didn’t come up with a herniated disc in mid-season, he played just 60 games that year, I think that club would have gone onto the World Series.”

Four years later, another crisis surfaced and it appeared the Sox were headed out of town. Bill Veeck arrived on a white horse with investors and kept the team (and Hemond) in Chicago. In Hemond’s second season with Veeck, the Sox fielded one of the most entertaining teams in club annals, “The 1977 South Side Hit Men.”

Hemond-acquisitions Richie Zisk, Oscar Gamble, Eric Soderholm and Chet Lemon powered the Sox to 90 wins and another strong, franchise-saving showing at the gate (a record 1,657,000 fans).

Two years after that, owner Bill Veeck and Hemond took a chance on an untested 34-year old named Tony La Russa and appointed him Sox manager.

That gamble is still paying off for the Sox.

When Jerry Reinsdorf’s group bought the club in 1981, they wisely kept Hemond and La Russa. Two years into the ownership, the “Winning Ugly” Sox — one of the most popular teams in team history— cruised to the American League West title.

The franchise was unable to sustain that momentum and faltered badly in 1984.

Hemond responded to that malaise by acquiring an effervescent 20-year-old shortstop named Ozzie Guillen in a blockbuster trade with the San Diego Padres that had the Sox surrendering LaMarr Hoyt just a season removed from 24 wins and a Cy Young Award.

While Hemond didn’t know he was acquiring a World Series manager at the time, he said Guillen displayed leadership ability early in his professional career.

“(White Sox) scouts Jerry Krause and Duane Shaffer told me how much (Guillen) loved to play,” said Hemond, who was wearing his World Series ring when I interviewed him.

“When he showed up the next spring, I was stunned to see how small he was. La Russa had a great chat with him in spring training (in 1985) and he went about his work real well.

“He took charge of the infield. He’d come in and talk to the pitcher. He was always very much into the game. He showed traits of leadership and managerial possibilities. When he was playing in the farm system of the Padres, he was the same way.

“He showed the attributes of being a manager. You can’t predict what happened (with the World Series) but it’s not surprising that he was Manager of the Year and had all that success.”

If that wasn’t enough, Hemond’s administration drafted Kenny Williams the general manager who assembled the 2005 World Series team into the White Sox organization.

The Sox used a third-round pick on Williams in the 1982 draft and lured him away from the Stanford football program, which at that time had John Elway at quarterback.

“Jerry Reinsdorf helped to sign him,” Hemond said. “He visited with the family to sign him. We knew since he was a football player he would be tough to sign but we got him.”

There was some turbulence between Hemond and the White Sox.

He lost his general manager’s job to Ken Harrelson after the 1986 season.

Following stints in the Baltimore and Arizona organizations, Hemond was brought back to Chicago by Williams as an Executive Advisor the General Manager.

In his sixth season back with the White Sox, Hemond watched the scrawny shortstop he acquired from the San Diego organization and the outfielder he talked out of a football career at Stanford push the White Sox to a championship.

In addition to Williams, many of Hemond’s protégés, including Dan Evans and Dave Dombrowski, went on to be successful executives.

He attended Games 3 and 4 of the World Series in Houston — because of the length of Game 3 both contests fell on his birthday — and watched the Sox finish off the Astros for the title.

“It was hard to describe,” said Hemond, a baseball lifer who spent 66 years in the game.“It was very emotional for me. That’s the ultimate of my career.”

Not a bad run for the Most Significant Figure in White Sox History.


2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: DALLAS KEUCHEL

My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at DALLAS KEUCHEL:

The left-hander started 2021 as the White Sox No. 3 starter and finished it as a spectator.

In between, Keuchel suffered through the worst season of his decorated career.

Most every stat — ERA, hits allowed, WHIP, hits per nine innings etc. — were among the worst, if not the worst — of his career.

Here are some others …

*His 5.33 ERA was the third-highest by lefty in Sox history with at least 160 innings. Pat Caraway tops this list at 6.22 in 1931. Keuchel’s ERA was the highest by a Sox lefty since Frank Baumann’s 5.61 in 1961

*Keuchel’s 4.80 ERA at home in 2021 was the highest by a Sox pitcher at home (minimum 80 innings) since Jeff Samardzija’s 5.33 in 2015 and the 16th highest overall. Keuchel’s home ERA was the highest by a Sox lefty since Mark Buehrle’s 4.89 in 2010.

And the good …

*Keuchel joins Jim Kaat (1974, 1975), Buehrle (2009, 2010, 2011) and Jake Peavy (2012) as Sox pitchers to win a Gold Glove

NEXT: Craig Kimbrel

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: ELOY JIMENEZ

My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at ELOY JIMENEZ:

*There has been a lot of clamor for Eloy Jimenez to become a full-time designated hitter because of his … um … exploits in left field.

Nice sentiment but …

Jimenez has struggled mightily as a DH.

In 2021, Eloy slashed .179/.286/.313 with two homers and 12 RBI in 18 games at DH.

Believe it or not, his 2021 performance was his best as a DH.

Jimenez entered 2021 just 5-for-36 with three solo homers as a DH.

You may not want to burn that glove just yet.

*Another alarming split was Jimenez’s performance vs. lefties in 2021.

After hitting .259 and .289 against southpaws in 2019 and 2020 respectively that number sank to .170 in 2021.

The slugging dropoff may be more disturbing.

Jimenez hit just two homers with two doubles vs. lefties in 2021, which led to a paltry .321 slugging percentage. He slugged .459 and .556 off LHP in each of his first two seasons.

Eloy’s average against righties in 2021 was .275, which was better than the .270 of his rookie year but down from the .298 he posted in 2020. His slugging against RHP has gone .535, .560 and .475.

*THANKS CUBS!

Jimenez continued biting the hand that once fed him by terrorizing the Cubs in 2021.

I’m sure the Cubs were thrilled when their one-time farmhand got healthy in time to face them in 2021.

Jimenez slashed .364/.440/.909 with three homers and 10 RBI in six games vs. the Northsiders last season. His 10 RBI are tied with Yasmani Grandal (2021) for second in club history against the Cubs behind Jose Abreu’s 12 in 2020.

That production brought his career splits to .340/.426/.830 with six homers and 15 RBI against the Cubs. Jimenez’s slugging percentage is tops among Sox players with at least 13 games vs. the Cubs.

*Jimenez had one of the best Sox seasons hitting in the third inning in 2021.

Eloy’s .450 average in the third was the 11th highest in team history (minimum 23 plate appearances). His average in the frame was the highest by a Sox player since Avisail Garcia hit .511 in 2017.

Pablo Ozuna hit a Sox-record .567 in third in 2006 for players with at least 23 plate appearances.

*NEXT: Dallas Keuchel

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: CESAR HERNANDEZ

My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at the departed CESAR HERNANDEZ:

*Hernandez was the first Cesar to play for the Sox

*Hernandez was the first No. 12 to play second base for the Sox since … Roberto Alomar in 2004

*On Aug. 6 at Wrigley Field, Hernandez became the 663rd player to homer for the Sox. Frank Shugart hit the homer on April 29, 1901

*Hernandez suffered through one of the worst Augusts in Sox history in 2021.

His .190 average (19-for-100) was the sixth-lowest in team history for players with at least 100 at bats.

Only Pete Ward (.157 in 1965), Adam Dunn (.176 in 2012), Dave Gallagher (.177 in 1989), Avisail Garcia (.180 in 2018) and Luis Aparicio (.186 in 1962) had a lower August average for the Sox than Hernandez’s output in 2021.

NEXT: Codi Heuer

A FEW NUGGETS ON WHITE SOX HALL-OF-FAMERS MINOSO AND KAAT

A few items, @soxnerd style, on recently-elected White Sox Hall-of-Famers Minnie Minoso and Jim Kaat:

*Minoso and Kaat give the Sox 37 Hall-of-Famers (38 if you count Jocko Conlan who played for the Sox before embarking on a HOF umpire career)

*Minoso broke the White Sox color barrier on May 1, 1951 against the Yankees at Comiskey Park. In an 8-3 loss to the Yankees, Minnie launched the first of his 135 Sox homers. That game, witnessed by 14,776 fans, also featured the first of Mickey Mantle’s 536 homers.

*Kaat was the last left-hander to post a 20-win season for the White Sox (20-14 in 1975)

*Minnie became the only player post-1900 to appear in five decades when he pinch-hit for the White Sox on Oct. 4, 1980

*A member of the franchise’s All-20th Century team, Minoso had his No. 9 retired by the White Sox in 1983

*Kaat was the last Sox pitcher to throw 300 innings in a season (303.2 in 1975)

*Minoso was a two-time Gold Glove (1957, 1960) winner in the outfield for the White Sox

*Kaat won three of his record (since broken) 16 Gold Gloves (1973, 1974, 1975) with the White Sox

*Nicknamed the “Cuban Comet,” Minoso led the A.L. in steals from 1951 and 1953 and never hit below .280 in any of his nine full seasons with the Sox

*Known for being a quick worker, Kaat was on the losing end of a 2-0 decision in Detroit that took just 1 hour and 35 minutes on Memorial Day 1975. … Kaat’s fastest nine-inning complete game was a 2-1 win over Kansas City in 1:40 on Oct. 1, 1974 at Comiskey Park

*Minoso hit .400 with two doubles and two RBIs while representing the White Sox in seven All-Star Games

*Kaat represented the Sox at the 1975 All-Star Game in Milwaukee and pitched two perfect innings with no walks or strikeouts. … He entered the game in the fifth and retired future Hall of Famers Lou Brock (ground out), Joe Morgan (pop out) and Johnny Bench (line out). In the sixth, he retired Steve Garvey (fly out), Reggie Smith (fly out) and Ron Cey (ground out) .

*Minnie turned in the greatest Opening Day performance in Sox history in 1960. In his return to the team after a two-year hiatus in Cleveland, Minoso hit a grand slam and a walkoff homer in a 10-9 win over Kansas City before 41,600 at Comiskey Park. Minnie’s slam came in the fourth and his walkoff came a half inning after Kansas City had tied it.

*While pitching for the Yankees, Kaat gave up Harold Baines’ first big league hit (a single) on April 17, 1980 at Comiskey Park

*Minnie hit .250 (7-for-28) with three doubles. A homer and three RBI vs. Kaat. Minoso never struck out in 33 plate appearances against Kaat.

*Minoso started at DH and collected as a single at age 53 in the Sox 2-1 win over the Angels in the first game of a doubleheader on Sept. 12, 1976 at Comiskey Park.

*Minoso and Zack Collins are the White Sox all-time leaders among DHs with three starts in the ninth spot

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: LIAM HENDRIKS

My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at LIAM HENDRIKS:

*His 38 saves in 2021 are tied for sixth on the Sox single-season list and the most ever by a pitcher in his first year with the club

*Hendriks averaged 14.32 strikeouts per nine innings in 2021, which was the highest output by any pitcher in Sox history with at least 70 innings and the 14th highest mark overall

*Hendriks led the American League with 38 saves for the 2021 Sox. He became the first Sox pitcher to do that since Bobby Thigpen posted an MLB-record 57 saves in 1990.

*The only other Sox to lead the A.L. in saves in the save era (since 1969) are Terry Forster (1974) and Goose Gossage (1975).

*White Sox relievers to poll Cy Yoing votes: Hendriks 8th in 2021; Keith Foulke 10th in 1999; Roberto Hernandez 6th in 1996; Thigpen 4th in 1990; Gossage 6th in 1975

*Hendriks was named American League Reliever of the Month for Sept./Oct. He is the only Sox pitcher to win the award (he also won it in May)

*Hendriks was the first Sox pitcher to earn an All-Star Game save since Virgil Trucks in 1954 (1st since the save became an official stat since 1969)

*NEXT: Cesar Hernandez

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: BILLY HAMILTON

My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at BILLY HAMILTON:

*Hamilton was successful on all nine of his stolen base attempts for the 2021 White Sox.

He joins Tim Raines (13-for-13 in 1994), Tony Bernazard (11-for-11 in 1982) and Dewayne Wise (9-for-9 in 2008) as the only Sox to post a 1.000 stole-base success rate with at least nine attempts in a season.

*Hamilton, Oscar Gamble (1985), Mark Ryal (1985) and Jarrod Dyson (2020) are the only Sox to wear 0.

*Hamilton made an amazing catch, prompting this tweet from the Nerd: https://twitter.com/soxnerd/status/1412842600034414594?s=21

Next: Liam Hendriks

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: YASMANI GRANDAL

My alphabetical recap of each member of the 2021 White Sox continues with a look at the fascinating season of YASMANI GRANDAL:

*No player with at least 375 plate appearances in a season (since 1900) had a higher on-base percentage and lower batting average than Grandal’s .420 and .240 in 2021

*Grandal set a Sox record for catchers with a .420 on-base percentage in 2021

*Grandal used the fewest plate appearances to post a 20-homer season for the White Sox in 2021

*Grandal’s 23 homers were the most ever by a Sox switch-hitting catcher and tied for the fourth-most by any Sox catcher

*Grandal’s 31 homers with the Sox are one more than the total of every other switch-hitting catcher in team history

*In 2021, Grandal became the first Sox player with more walks (87) than strikeouts (82) with at least 87 walks since Frank Thomas in 1999 (87/66) … Grandal is the only catcher in Sox history to accomplish this feat

*Grandal’s 87 walks in 2021 were a Sox record for catchers

*Grandal’s eight RBI on Aug. 27 tied a club record and were the most ever by a Sox catcher

*Grandal is the only catcher to lead the Sox in walks in consecutive seasons (2020 and 2021)

*His .446 on-base percentage with two outs was the highest by a Sox player (minimum 100 plate appearances) since Frank Thomas’ .475 in 2004

Next: Billy Hamilton

A @SOXNERD LOOK AT THE NEW GUY — KENDALL GRAVEMAN

Here’s a look — @soxnerd style — at impending signee pitcher Kendall Graveman:

*The right-hander will join the Sox after going 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in the postseason for the 2021 Astros. Included in that run were three outings against the Sox in the American League Division Series where he logged a 3.00 ERA

*Graveman ranked fifth in the American League in opponent batting average (.180), third in
opponent OPS (.536), third in ERA (1.77) and 12th in WHIP (0.98) for the Astros and Mariners in 2021.

*Graveman’s eighth and ninth inning numbers in 2021 are a little concerning considering he won’t be the closer and in light of the Craig Kimbrel debacle.

Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers ever, joined the White Sox in 2021 with a 2.35 career ERA in the eighth inning. Good? Yes but it’s not even close to the dominating numbers he posted in the ninth throughout his career. The Sox would have taken that 2.35 ERA. Kimbrel posted a 4.42 ERA in the eighth in 2021.

Graveman’s eighth-inning ERA (3.12 in 27 games) was over two runs higher than his ninth-inning ERA (1.02 in 18 appearances) in 2021.

The good news here, though, is that Graveman’s 2021 ERA in the seventh was a nifty 0.96 in 12 outings.

*This will mark the second consecutive year the Sox plucked a reliever from the team that ousted them in the postseason. Last year the Sox got closer Liam Hendriks after he finished them off for Oakland in the first round of the playoffs

*Graveman wore No. 31 for Houston last season. That won’t fly in Chicago because Hendriks wears 31.

*Graveman will be the first Mississippi State product to play for the Sox since pitcher Matt Ginter in 2003. … His teammates at MSU included Adam Frazier, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Woodruff.

*Graveman spent a majority of his first few seasons as a starter. Between 2014 and 2018 all but five of his 83 appearances were starts. He made 78 consecutive starts between 2015 and 2018.

*Graveman’s only shutout came at Guaranteed Rate Field.

On Aug. 19, 2016, Graveman faced one over the minimum in the A’s 9-0 win over the on-the-brink of tearing it down White Sox.

Making his 45th start (54th appearance), Graveman yielded singles to Jose Abreu in the second and Adam Eaton in the seventh. Both hits led off innings and both runners were erased on line drive double plays.

Facing a lineup that featured the likes of Todd Frazier, Tim Anderson, Melky Cabrera and Justin Morneau, Graveman struck out five with no walks while throwing 69 of his 98 pitches for strikes.

That was the last of Graveman’s three career complete games.

*The switch to the pen has been career-changing for Graveman. After going 23-31 with a 4.26 ERA as starter, the soon-to-be 31-year old has gone 6-2 with a 2.17 ERA and 10 saves in 67 relief outings.

As a reliever, Graveman has allowed just 45 hits in 70.2 innings with 70 strikeouts and 23 walks. Hitters are slashing just .184/.274/.261 against Graveman when he comes out of the pen.

*Other Graveman starter highlights: Oakland’s Opening Day starter in 2017 and 2018 … Joined Kenny Rogers (1998) and Todd Burns (1988) as the only Oakland pitchers to go unbeaten at home with five-or-more decisions

*Graveman hails from Alexander City, Ala. The only other big leaguer from the town in eastern Alabama is outfielder-first baseman Johnny Watwood, who began his six-year career with four seasons with the Sox from 1929 to 1932

*Graveman had 10 saves for the Mariners before being dealt to Houston this season. He entered with no saves as a pro or in college.

*Graveman made just two minor league appearances in the Cubs’ system in 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018. The Cubs signed Graveman knowing that he was on the mend but they allowed him to become a free agent on Nov. 4, 2019.

The surgery meant that Graveman once went 807 days (May 11, 2018 to July 27, 2020) between Major League appearances.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! A FEW RANDOM FACTS ON WHITE SOX HIT MACHINE JORGE ORTA

On his birthday, here are a few facts on Jorge Orta, one of the White Sox top hitters of the 1970s:

*White Sox all-time leader among natives of Mexico in every statistical category including homers (79), average (.281) and hits (1,002)

*Finished second to Rod Carew (.364) with a career-high .316 average for the 1974 White Sox

*Represented the White Sox at the 1975 All-Star Game at Milwaukee County Stadium (did not play)

*Fell one game shy of the record held by Stan Musial and Ty Cobb by recording three 5-hit games for the 1974 White Sox

*Second place finish in the 1974 batting race was the highest by a Sox player in 14 years (Al Smith)

*Joins Cass Michaels, Nellie Fox and Ray Durham as the only second basemen to make the All-Star team for the White Sox

*Joins Esteban Loaiza (2003-2004) as the only natives of Mexico to represent the White Sox at an All-Star Game (1975)

ON THIS DATE IN 1976: STEVE STONE RETURNS TO THE WHITE SOX

Following three years on the Northside, pitcher Steve Stone returned to the White Sox when he signed with the team as a free agent on this date in 1976.

The right-hander pitched for the Sox in 1973 following two seasons with the San Francisco Giants. After the 1973 season, Stone was shipped to the Cubs in the Ron Santo deal. Stone went 23-20 in three seasons with the Cubs.

He was the ace of the 1977 staff, winning a team-best and then career-high 15 games. Following a 12-win season in 1978,

Stone departed for the Orioles where his career culminated with a 25-win campaign and the 1980 A.L. Cy Young Award.

Stone returned to the Chicago baseball world again in 1983 to start a career as analyst which continues to this day.

2021 WHITE SOX PLAYER REVIEW: BRIAN GOODWIN

My alphabetical review of the 2021 White Sox rolls on with a look at BRIAN GOODWIN:

Beyond the stats, the highlight of Goodwin’s season was his epic bat flip on Aug. 1 vs. Cleveland at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Upon launching his walkoff homer, Goodwin sent his bat skyward in what has to be the highest bat flip in Sox history.

It was awesome.

About that homer …

*It handed the Sox their 213th walkoff win at New Comiskey Park/US Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field

*It was the seventh of eight walkoff wins for the 2021 White Sox, their most since the 2017 team had nine

*It was the Sox 65th walkoff home run at New Comiskey Park/US Cellular Field/Guaranteed Rate Field

*It was part of an interesting pattern. Goodwin hit all his homers early (six in the second inning) or late (one in the ninth, one in 10th)

*It was one of six homers (of eight) that either tied the score or gave the Sox the lead

More on Goodwin’s 2021:

*Just call him “Mr. Second Inning.”

—Goodwin’s .784 slugging percentage in the second inning was the third-highest in team history (minimum 40 plate appearances) behind Richie Zisk’s .881 in 1977 and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson’s .789 in 1920

—No player hit more second-inning homers in fewer games, at bats and plate appearances than Goodwin in 2021. Goodwin’s six homers in that frame came in 41 games, 41 plate appearances and 37 at bats.

—Despite the low number of games etc. Goodwin’s six second-inning home runs in 2021 are tied for the sixth-most in Sox history behind Ron Kittle’s nine in 1985, A.J. Pierzynski’s nine in 2012, Jermaine Dye’s eight in 2005, Paul Konerko’s eight in 2001 and Kittle’s seven in 1984.

Thanks to Chris Kamka for his help on the second-inning material

NEXT: Yasmani Grandal