During the Ozzie Guillen tenure as manager of the White Sox all the talk was of how the team was going to play small ball. The team didn’t exactly follow that philosophy with players like Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and others jacking home runs as the main way of producing runs.
It seems like the White Sox of 2014 are going to try to mix their philosophies up. Today at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, AZ Adam Eaton and Alejandro DeAza were working on their bunting skills in the cages.
Eaton talked to Scott Merkin of WhiteSox.com yesterday and said, “Another part of my game that you have to work on, and I think any small guy has to. It’s all the same message: Get it down in a place where no one else can get it; different techniques and different styles, and how to go about it. As long as you have production, you are all right.”
Eaton had four singles off bunts with the Diamondbacks last season in 250 at-bats. DeAza actually had seven bunt hits last season as well. Both will more than likely be utilized at the top of the lineup, and are left-handed hitters. If the two are put at the top of the lineup, then that would have all three everyday left-handed hitters in the top four.
In this scenario it would leave the Sox vulnerable in later innings when the opponent brings in relievers. If they put all three left handers in the top four spots, the other team can bring in their left-handed specialist. If he manages to get both DeAza and Eaton out they could walk the third hitter, and try to get Dunn out in the fourth spot.
Production from the lineup is very important this year, especially considering how little there was last season. This leaves Manager Robin Ventura with a big decision on how he handles the lineup, especially since Adam Dunn and DeAza have right-handed replacements on the bench if the situation arises. This will definitely be something that he’ll tweak and test out throughout spring training.