White Sox

Hoge’s White Sox Mailbag: More Home Runs – Dunn Or Pujols?

Adam Dunn. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Adam Dunn. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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By Adam Hoge-

(CBS) Coming off a three-game sweep of the Mariners in Seattle, here is this week’s mailbag (questions are left unedited):

What is your Take on Adam Dunn right now? – Tony L

Dunn has been just fine. I’ve heard other people say they’d still like to see Dunn be even better, but his numbers are actually close to his career totals. Now, those career totals also include last year’s disastrous season, but at this point, I don’t expect him to be the player he used to be so I think it’s fair to use his cumulative career numbers as a barometer this season. Here’s how they compare:

2012: .246 BA, .348 OBP, .509 SLG, .857 OPS
Career: .243 BA, .374 OBP, .503 SLG, .876 OPS

In a perfect world, you’d like to see that OPS creep closer to .900, but I’d take what he’s giving you right now, White Sox fans.

What’s worse? Moral at 2? Or Moral and Beckham back to back lower in the order? – Seth H.

Thanks for the e-mail, Eric Karros. I appreciate it.

Robin Ventura finally moved Morel down in the order Sunday, putting Alexei Ramirez there instead. Ramirez is probably a better option just because he’s going to have more hits than Morel, but he’s still not an ideal No. 2 hitter. The move also left the White Sox with two slumping players at the bottom of the order with Morel batting 8th and Beckham 9th. That cost them in the 8th inning (after they took a 7-4 lead in the inning), when the White Sox had runners at 1st and 2nd and nobody out. Morel struck out and Beckham hit into a double play to end the inning.

All-in-all, Morel and Beckham combined to decrease the White Sox’s win probability by 18% at the plate Sunday, a remarkable number in a game they won by three runs. Together, the two infielders were 1-for-8 in the game.

So, to answer your question, both lineup options are bad, but it’s probably better to have them both at the end of the lineup. Ramirez got an extra at-bat and even though he popped up to center with the at-bat, in the long-run he’ll get on base more than Morel in that spot. But, like I’ve been preaching for weeks, they need a better option there.

Which brings us to…

Should Lillibridge be playing every day? – Jon, Orland

Just because I mentioned how Morel and Beckham affected the White Sox’s win probability Sunday, I’ll do the same for Lillibridge. Taking into account his five plate appearances and two stolen bases, Lillibridge increased the White Sox’s win probability by 13% Sunday. It’s important to remember that’s just one game though.

A constant debate we have at The Score is whether or not Brent Lillibridge can play every day. At this point, I think the average fan would rather see him in there than Morel or Beckham, but Lillibridge only has three hits in 14 at-bats and he also has eight strikeouts. That said, his OBP is .313, much better than Beckham’s .250 and Morel’s .185. He also has five stolen bases.

The problem is, if you put him in there every day for Morel or Beckham, the defense would likely take a minor hit. Lillibridge prefers to play infield, but his glove isn’t as good as either current starter’s. You’d also lose him as Viciedo’s late inning defensive replacement in left field, unless you bring in Escobar and move Lillibridge to the outfield late. The point is, Lillibridge has a ton of value off the bench, and while he might seem like a better option right now to play every day, would his overall value be as good, considering the defensive hit you might take? It’s a tough question.

I like Lillibridge, but mainly as a very good bench player. I think his value decreases if he plays every day. The White Sox would be much better served finding a reliable No. 2 hitter elsewhere.

Which brings us to…

if the Sox are in a playoff position just before the trade deadline, does Kenny make a big trade to help the team? – @JRu131

If the White Sox are on the Tigers’ heels in July and it’s still obvious they need one more reliable bat, then yes, I can see them making a trade. I don’t think we’ll see a “big” trade though, mainly because the White Sox can’t afford to add payroll. Not with only 11,000 fans showing up to games right now.

who ends the season with more homers: AJ or Pujols? Oh, serious questions…Dunn or Pujols? – @NeneDoesIt

I’ll take Pierzynski.

OK, but seriously, this is an interesting question. Pujols has yet to hit a home run in 70 plate appearances. To me, it’s even more amazing that he only has five walks. I’m not sure what’s going on out there in California, but I think it’s safe to assume he’ll pick it up. He’s only hit less than 37 home runs twice in his career, the last time coming in 2007 when he hit 32. Dunn, by comparison, has five 40 home run seasons. Pujols has six.

I’m not sure Dunn’s power numbers will be where they once were, but it’s worth noting that he would have had at least two more home runs last week in Chicago if it wasn’t early April. He crushed one against the Tigers that basically hit a brick wall with the win blowing in and resulted in a double. I think both players will pick up the home run numbers as we go along, but ultimately, I got to go with Pujols.

Send your White Sox questions to Adam at ahoge@cbs.com or tweet them to him at @AdamHogeCBS.