Amidst blown saves and dropped balls, games have been up and down in Chicago to start the season. A team Chicago fans thought was “All in” this year, is turning out to be a team still trying to find themselves at the plate and in the field.
As the White Sox attempt to find their game, one fact should stand to take notice: With everything happening on the South Side, we know we have three Gold Glovers playing this year.
Mark Buehrle was the only White Sox player to win a Gold Glove last year. He did so through his ability to field his position, and most importantly, hold the base runners at first base. Through his career Buehrle has managed to hold attempted base stealers to under a 50 percent success rate.
So far this season, the south paw has picked up where he left off. During Monday night’s game against Oakland, Buehrle was able to nab a bouncing ball and turn it into a double play to end an inning. This was the second of two double plays started by the Sox pitcher this year.
Even though he was unable to deliver another Web Gem of the year on Opening Day, Buehrle is proving his past accolades were no fluke.
Up the middle, past the pitchers mound, lies the next future Gold Glove winner. Alexei Ramirez has been playing nothing less than phenomenal at the shortstop position this year. He has shown the ability to make difficult plays look easy. He has gone out of his range to turn difficult plays into outs.
In short, Ramirez has been flashing some serious leather on the field.
According to fangraphs.com, Alexei has increased his revised zone rating and has made three plays outside of his zone so far this season.
Over the weekend, the Cuban Missile was able to make flying grabs, throws while unbalanced and backpedal to plays half way into the outfield.
On the other side of second base is Alexei’s double play partner, Gordon Beckham. This season Beckham has shown a definite comfort level at second base and has ventured out of his position to try to make plays. His tenacity on the field has made him quite the awe-inspiring sight with Alexei.
So far this season, Beckham has greatly increased his revised zone rating and has outdone Ramirez by making four plays outside of his zone.
His speed to the ball has allowed him to reach hits up the middle that should be singles, backpedal into the outfield and make sliding attempts at foul balls past first base. This shortstop and second base duo’s style of play resembles two brothers constantly trying to outdo one another.
While the tandem of Ramirez and Beckham may never reach the heralded level of Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio, White Sox fans can rest assured that this middle infield duo may be the best in the AL Central since Omar Vizquel and Roberto Alomar played in Cleveland.