The Sox’ GM thinks he should be getting more from the team he has assembled:
“I’m not happy with a lot of what I see. We’re underachievers. We can be a dangerous playoff team, but you first have to play well enough, play smart enough, play intense enough, to where you show you want to be in the playoffs. It can’t just be lip service. I don’t want to hear it anymore. Get the job done.”
I don’t know if Kenny can expect a ton more from this club. It’s certainly not a bad White Sox team. They’re a rotation slot down until Peavy arrives, but there are no other glaring holes. The problem is that there is no superstar on this team — no one here that can be expected to be playing leaps and bounds better in 2009 than they currently are. No one to carry the team when others falter. They’re 61-58. They’ve scored 555 runs and have allowed 540. Normally, that translates to . . . a 61-58 record.
With even a little luck they’re tied or ahead of the Tigers. You can’t count on good luck, however, and in light of that, this is a team that is performing precisely to expectations.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.