The White Sox have been a fairly annoying team this year. Depending on when you watch them, they can look like a potential threat in the playoffs or a team fighting for the first pick in the draft.
This weekend's series against Boston is just another example of that. After a brutal road trip that essentially killed their playoff chances, they came home and took three of four from the Wild-Card leading Red Sox.
I realize that most publications didn't expect the White Sox to do much this season. However, there is obviously talent on the Sox; they simply haven't performed to expectations in several areas.
Who do you think has been the biggest reason the Sox have struggled to find consistency this season?
Here's a run down of the major culprits.
If you're going to pick one player as the most frustrating or disappointing player on the roster, my vote is for Contreras.
His struggles at the back end of the rotation have really hurt the team. The Sox were 7-14 in games that he started. His performance also put more stress on an already-struggling bullpen.
What bothers me about his performance is that the stuff is still there. He can still hit 94 on the radar gun and his forkball can still be a devastating pitch. He simply had no command of his pitches and had a tendency to implode when things went downhill.
After his breakout season where he played like an MVP, no one quite knew what kind of production to expect from Carlos. His 2008 season was far better than anything he had done previously and he was returning from a wrist injury.
Quentin has never quite found a groove this season. While he still hits for good power and gets on base, his batting average has been hovering below .240 for the entire season.
I personally can't blame him too much because of the foot injury, but the Sox definitely need more from him now and in the future.
Scott Linebrink/Octavio Dotel
If you count these two as one entity, they're a solid candidate to win this poll. While their ERAs look relatively respectable, they both put far too many runners on base and have cost the Sox a lot of games.
These two relievers were supposed to give the Sox one of the strongest bullpens in the league. Instead, they played a major role in the team's struggles to pull out close games in the clutch. The Sox were 16-24 in one-run games. A better performance from these two could have had a profound impact on the standings.
His Jekyll and Hyde performance this season has really hurt the team in the second half. After an excellent first half where he was arguably the team MVP, he has posted a horrendous .576 OPS since the All-Star break. It doesn't help that he's a sub-par fielder with little range either.
While his second-half disappearing act has bothered me personally, I can't really consider him in this poll because of what he did in the first half. Without his .942 OPS, the Sox could have fallen out of the race a lot earlier.
Ramirez has been a popular target among Sox fans for much of the season. His play at shortstop is fairly erratic and his weak plate discipline hurts his impact at the plate.
However, I don't think he's the biggest problem. While his tendency to botch relatively easy plays is frustrating, he does have a lot of range and a strong enough arm to make some spectacular plays. He actually has an above-average ultimate zone rating this year.
I also don't have a major problem with his offense. For a bottom-of-the-order hitter that plays a premium defensive position, his offensive contributions aren't as big an issue. Only seven everyday shortstops significantly out-produced him at the plate (for my purposes I'm defining that as someone that had a higher OPS than him by at least .05 points).
While his erratic production can definitely be frustrating given his talent level, I don't think you can call him the most disappointing player on the roster. However, I will leave him on the poll.
So what do you say Sox fans? Which player's performance this season has bothered you the most?