CLEVELAND — The White Sox’ best position player? If you value wins above replacement as the best gauge of player worth, as many do, it’s infielder Yolmer Sanchez. That is, according to Baseball Reference WAR, which has Sanchez at 1.9 WAR, same as right-hander Reynaldo Lopez. Shortstop Tim Anderson is third at 1.4.
FanGraphs WAR has a slightly different take, with Anderson on top at 1.4. Designated hitter Matt Davidson and second baseman Yoan Moncada are next at 1.2, followed by Sanchez, Lopez and right-hander Dylan Covey at 1.0.
Sanchez entered the Sox game against the Indians Wednesday with a .260/.310/.408 hitting line with a major league high eight triples, four homers and 29 RBI.
Sanchez’s versatility provides some value to manager Rick Renteria, as well. A middle infielder as a prospect coming up through the Sox farm system, the switch-hitting Sanchez is the Sox’ primary third baseman in 2018. After appearing in 78 games at second base in 2017 and 52 at third base, he has appeared in five games at second base and two at shortstop this season.
Sanchez still takes fly balls in the outfield on occasion, just in case he’s needed there in a pinch. He played once in right field last season and wants to be ready if needed again.
“I don’t know if the opportunity will come but I do my work, and I feel really good out there so if the day comes and my team needs me in the outfield I’ll be there,’’ Sanchez said.
That said, “you can practice all you want but a game is different,’’ Sanchez said.
Sanchez is one who thoroughly playing on the defensive side of the ball. He doesn’t play much shortstop any more, with Anderson manning that spot, but shortstop is his favorite — not unusual for infielders — because there’s more ground to be covered, relays to be made and more overall activity there.
“I do love to play third base, though,” he said. “I love a lot of action so let’s say shortstop and center field [are my favorites].”
“Why not? I just love to play defense.”
Major League Baseball has overturned an official scoring ruling from the Sox game at Minnesota on June 5, giving Sanchez an error on a Brian Dozier ground ball off Nate Jones during the eighth inning. It was originally ruled a single. As a result, all four runs scored off Jones now are unearned, lowering his ERA from 4.01 to 2.86.Jones has since gone on the disabled list with a strained right forearm.Any day nowLook for Avisail Garcia to rejoin the Sox, perhaps as soon as before Thursday’s game against the A’s at Guaranteed Rate Field. Garcia, on the DL since April 24 with a Grade 2 right hamstring strain, is 7-for-21 with two homers and seven RBI in six rehab games at Class AAA Charlotte. He will play his seventh game Wednesday night, and general manager Rick Hahn said Garcia would need seven to 10 games when he was sent out.“He’s getting close,” Renteria said. “I’m sure we’ll have a conversation after today’s game. He has to play another game.”
Utility man Leury Garcia (sprained left knee) also appears close to a return. He is 4-for-10 with two doubles and three RBI in three games at Charlotte.
Probables for A’s
Here are the probable pitchers for the four-game series against the Athletics at Wrigley Field:
Thursday: Chris Bassitt (0-2, 2.45) vs. Lucas Giolito (4-7, 7.19), 7:10, NBCSCH+, 720-AM
Friday: Sean Manaea (6-6, 3.56) vs. James Shields (2-8, 4.63), 7:10, NBCSCH, 720-AM
Saturday: Daniel Mengden vs. Dylan Covey (3-2, 2.90), 1:10, NBCSCH, 720-AM
Sunday: Paul Blackburn (1-1, 8.03) vs. Carlos Rodon (0-2, 4.41), 1:10, Ch. 9, 720-AM