clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

White Sox All-Star talk: Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Todd Frazier

Adam Eaton, right, slides safely into home to score on a single by Jose Abreu as Minnesota Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki dives too late to make the tag during the third inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Thursday, June 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Adam Eaton said he had no expectation of being named to the American League All-Star team, even though, based on one wins above replacement system, the right fielder ranks higher than anyone on the White Sox.

That includes Chris Sale, who was the only White Sox named Tuesday.

“Not good” is how Eaton, who took a .274 batting average with an AL high seven triples, four homers, 27 RBI, 41 runs scored and team-high nine stolen bases into the Sox game against the Yankees Tuesday, sums up his first half.

“Offensively not good, not to what I expected, power wise and average wise,” Eaton said Tuesday. “I’m happy with my on-base percentage [.357], but the glamorous numbers aren’t that great. I hope I will be a second half player again this year.’’

After a slow start, Eaton hit to a .335/.418/.486 slash line with eight homers and 38 RBI in the second half last season. Moving from center field to right field this year, Eaton’s Gold Glove caliber defense has been second to none with a major league best 16 defensive runs saved and 11 outfield assists.

“Defensively I couldn’t ask for a better first half,’’ he said. “I think that’s what you can expect from me going forward in right field.’’

Eaton’s WAR is 3.5 by Baseball Reference, which means he is worth 3.5 wins more than a replacement-level player. Sale’s is 3.3, Jose Quintana’s 2.9 and Todd Frazier 1.7. FanGraphs rates Quintana (3.1) and Sale (2.9) above Eaton (2.6).

Sale takes the fifth

Sale joined former great Billy Pierce as the only Sox pitcher to make the All-Star team in five consecutive seasons. Pierce, also a left-hander, made the run from 1955-59.

Sale has already surpassed his win total of 13 last season and is only four wins shy of his career high 17 in 2012, his first season as a starting pitcher. His 14 wins are the fourth-most in Sox history before the break and the most since knuckleballer Wilbur Wood, who often pitched on two days rest, won 16 in the first half in 1974.

Sale leads the majors in wins and is first in the AL in innings (120) and WHIP (0.98). His 2.93 ERA ranks third.

Sale, who has pitched in relief in three All-Star games and didn’t pitch at all in last year’s game, stands a good chance to be the starter, although AL manager Ned Yost said on ESPN’s All-Star selection show that he hasn’t decided yet.

“It’s just a nice little feather in your cap when you’re the guy that’s been tabbed, the guy that starts the game,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said, “so I hope he gets a chance to be that guy. To me, he’s earned it. He deserves it, and I hope he enjoys it if he gets that chance.”

Frazier to defend Derby title

Former All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier didn’t make the team but he will defend his Home Run Derby title at Monday’s contest in San Diego.

“I don’t mind if Fraze does it,’’ Ventura said. “He enjoys doing it, he has the personality to handle it. Win or lose, whatever happens in that home run hitting contest isn’t going to change him. It’s not going to hurt or help his swing.’’

The participants haven’t been named yet. While some will decline invitations, Frazier can’t wait to participate again.