White Sox to roll out committee of designated hitters
It took all of about a minute for the speculation to begin.
After the Chicago White Sox drafted Zack Collins with the No. 10 overall pick in last June's amateur draft, the All-American catcher from the University of Miami was quickly cast as the club's future designated hitter.
Collins insists he has the defensive skills to be a major-league catcher, and so do the Sox.
We'll have to wait and see on Collins' position when he arrives with the White Sox, perhaps at some point in 2018.
In the meantime, the Sox are going with a committee at designated hitter this season. Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier, Avisail Garcia and Matt Davidson all appear to be in the mix.
"It does take a certain mentality to be able to handle that," manager Rick Renteria said of the DH role. "Hopefully, we are able to communicate with them and get them to a point where they are able to use it to their advantage in certain moments."
Abreu is adamant about his preference to play first base on a full-time basis, Frazier prefers playing third base and Garcia is thrilled to be back in right field.
Last season, Garcia had to take over at DH after Adam LaRoche abruptly retired in March.
Garcia was the designated hitter in 63 games. He played 46 games in right field and 10 games in left.
As the Sox's DH, Garcia hit .230 with 6 home runs and 26 RBI. As an outfielder, he hit .263 with 6 homers and 25 RBI.
"It's tough," Garcia said of bouncing around. "It's like when you're a starting pitcher, then a closer, then a starting pitcher. It's hard to prepare."
Matt Davidson is a third baseman by trade, and he can also play first base.
If he breaks camp with the White Sox, Davidson might emerge as the regular DH. Out of minor-league options, Davidson has good power but is strikeout prone.
He debuted with the Sox last June but fractured his right foot running the bases and missed the rest of the season.
"It was definitely a tough pill to swallow, but I felt I did everything I was capable of doing and you can't control getting hurt," Davidson said. "I took last year as a complete positive and I kind of left it at that. I didn't let that injury affect my confidence. It was very unfortunate, but luckily they kept me around and they're giving me another opportunity, so I'm just going to focus on that."
Davidson would be happy to be the White Sox's DH, a role he filled at times with Class AAA Charlotte the past three seasons.
His versatility also makes Davidson a viable option off the Sox's bench, and he could be joined by Yolmer (formerly Carlos) Sanchez and left fielder/third baseman Cody Asche, another DH candidate.