Conor Gillaspie has been on a roll since getting more playing time.
Think about it.
See, while I am thoroughly on the Jeff Keppinger bandwagon and believe he will eventually fit into the White Sox offense as general manager Rick Hahn expects, he is not getting the job done. As the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers noted Wednesday, Keppinger “isn’t responding to the chance to be a regular.”
Gillaspie, on the other hand, is taking advantage of the opportunity afforded him following the injury to Gordon Beckham.
Since Beckham left the game on April 9 against the Washington Nationals, Gillaspie has collected nine hits in 25 at-bats and drawn six walks. That shakes out to a .484 OBP, which is exactly what the White Sox need from their No. 2 hitter.
And while Keppinger has had four multi-hit games in the last week or so, it is his apparent inability to walk that necessitates the move. In 60 at-bats, he has failed to draw a base on balls.
Couple Keppinger’s on-base problems with the struggles of Adam Dunn—which Dave Cameron from FanGraphs.com broke down on Monday—and the White Sox have a serious problem.
They need baserunners, period.
And forget about having two left-handed hitters at the top of the order. Gillaspie (.387/.416/.506) gives the White Sox the best chance to generate scoring opportunities early on.
Spreading out the lefties is only effective when they produce. Right now, some of them are not.
Here is a potential batting order for the White Sox with Gillaspie in the two-hole:
1. Alejandro De Aza—CF
Will moving Gillaspie up in the order lead to more offense?
2. Conor Gillaspie—3B
3. Alex Rios—RF
4. Paul Konerko—DH
5. Adam Dunn—1B
6. Alexei Ramirez—SS
7. Dayan Viciedo—LF
8. Jeff Keppinger—2B
9. Tyler Flowers—C
(Note that this order has Alexei Ramirez batting ahead of Dayan Viciedo. That is due to Ramirez's .327 batting average and .379 OPB.)
Things will change throughout the season, of course, but this order could work.
And even though the White Sox put up seven runs and shut out the Blue Jays on Wednesday, they have an offense that is prone to stagnation and struggles to get men on base, Look no further than the seven games prior to the shutout when they failed to score more than four runs.
Gillaspie’s presence at the top should pay immediate dividends.