By the numbers: Gauging White Sox first-half position
With time before Trade Deadline, reshaping club on the bubble between buying, selling
CHICAGO -- Buyers or sellers?
Contenders? Or are they simply moving in that postseason direction for the 2015 and '16 seasons?
Those are the questions asked presently about the 2014 White Sox, who enter their final first-half home series with a 40-46 record.
General manager Rick Hahn still has time to analyze the team's direction as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, and the reality of the situation is that the White Sox could end up being both buyers and sellers in their current reshaping mode. Let's take a look at where the White Sox stand through three months of the season with some numerical assistance.
7 -- With Leury Garcia's pinch-hit single to left on a rainy Wednesday night, the White Sox produced their seventh game-ending hit of the season and fourth of the non-home run variety. There are areas needing to be fixed on this team, but fighting until the end is not one of them.
32 -- Chris Sale worked seven innings of one-hit ball with 10 strikeouts on April 17 at home against Boston, covering 127 pitches. The White Sox ace missed the next 32 games, or the equivalent of six starts, while dealing with a flexor muscle strain in his left arm.
17 -- The amount of consecutive Yankees hitters Sale retired in his return to the mound on May 22, before Zolio Almonte singled with two outs in the sixth. There are starters in the game as dominant as Sale, but none that surpass him.
8 -- Avisail Garcia played in exactly eight games and had 34 plate appearances before suffering a season-ending torn labrum and avulsion fracture in his left shoulder while diving for a fly ball in right field on April 9 in Colorado. The absence of Garcia, along with the extended absences due to injury for late-inning stalwarts Nate Jones and Matt Lindstrom, will be factored into the equation as Hahn and his staff analyze the White Sox realistic ability to reach the playoffs in '14.
26, 67, .624 -- If Jose Abreu finished the season with 26 homers, 67 RBIs and a .624 slugging percentage, his rookie campaign in Chicago would be considered very successful. He has posted those numbers through July 3, missing 14 games due to an ankle injury. It begs the question of, and with all due respect to other prime offensive contributors, where would the White Sox be without this rookie from Cuba?
4/25 -- Trailing by a 6-5 margin in the ninth, with two outs, the legend of Abreu began on a Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field. He launched an 0-1 fastball from Rays closer Grant Balfour into the right-field stands for a walk-off grand slam. Abreu's statistics have been mindboggling -- his unchanged, calm demeanor and consistent work ethic are even more impressive.
12, 8 -- The deficit in the loss column for the White Sox compared to Detroit in the American League Central and to the Mariners for the AL's second Wild Card, respectively.
5 -- The amount of teams (Seattle, Baltimore, Kansas City, Yankees and Cleveland) at least three games ahead of the White Sox in the loss column for that second Wild Card spot.
1,940 -- Adam Dunn has gone parts of 14 seasons and 1,940 games without ever playing in the postseason, which stands as the highest number in that category among active players. Dunn has talked numerous times about how the 452 career homers and 1,295 walks don't matter to him as much as playing on a winning team. In the fourth and final year of a $56 million deal, a better-situated playoff contender could have interest in the slugger and strong clubhouse influence.
28 -- Tyler Flowers and Adrian Nieto have combined for 28 RBIs, leaving them tied for last with Detroit in the AL at the catcher's position. Flowers has done a solid job handling the pitchers, playing in 71 of 86 games, while Nieto hasn't played enough to judge long-term potential during his jump from the Carolina League to the Majors. The White Sox still might be searching for their catcher at the heart of this reshaping process.
29.8 -- John Danks has thrown his changeup 29.8 percent of the time during his 17 starts, per fangraphs.com. It's the highest single-season career percentage with that pitch for Danks, who has worked at least six innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts. Danks, 29, has formed a formidable trio at the top of the White Sox rotation with Sale and Jose Quintana.
7/18 -- This date marks the deadline for the White Sox to sign Carlos Rodon, their top pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft and the third selection overall. While the left-hander's outside shot to pitch for the White Sox in '14 seems to have evaporated, it still makes best sense for Rodon to join the organization. He could potentially join the White Sox rotation as soon as 2015, and with the White Sox getting the fourth pick overall next year if he doesn't sign, Rodon would have to go in the top three to surpass this year's selection.
4 -- This number stands as the longest White Sox winning streak in '14. The White Sox have played much like a .500 team over the season's first three months, while being improved and far more exciting to watch.
54 -- That .500 effort has been influenced by 54 games decided by three runs or fewer, including 12 of the last 15. The White Sox are 26-28 in those contests, including 16-12 in one-run games.