2011: A Retrospective – Infielders
Coming into the season the White Sox looked to have improved the defense with fielding-minded Brent Morel taking over for failed project Mark Teahen. Captain Paul Konerko and AJ Pierzynski, both, were re-upped for 3 years and 2 years, respectively; and Keystone Combo, Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez looked to build on 2010.
Brent Morel, coming into the season, was one of the big question marks, the .305 career MiLB hitter was slated to endure his first Major League season. He batted, .247,right about where you would have expected, his power numbers were a bit low with only 10 homers, 8 coming in the last month of the season. Paul Konerko proved his contract as he was just as solid as the year prior, batting .300 while driving in 105 runs and hitting 31 bombs his 5th season of 30+ homers and 100+ RBIs.
The Keystone Combo of Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham continued to play solid defense up the middle. Offensively, the pair did not improve. Alexei stayed about the same with a .267 average and a .326 OBP on the year. Beckham regressed at the plate again, after putting up averages of .270 (’09), .252 (’10) he hit .228 this year. Beckham struck out more often, increasing his K%, from 18.5% to 20.3%.
AJ Pierzynski started slow batting .264 in April, but heated up as the season wore on finishing with a .287 average
The infield looks to stay intact going into next year with all players signed. Tyler Flowers had a solid call up when he replaced the injured Ramon Castro, so look for him to make the opening day roster, 2012. Gordon Beckham is coming to “put up or shut up” point in his career. Though his defense has been outstanding his bat has been very underwhelming, regressing once again putting up OBP’s of .347, .317 and .295 over the last 3 years. Look for Konerko to return to his 1st base position after another solid season.
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