It's no secret the White Sox are not a good hitting team, but their offensive woes are particularly acute against left-handed pitching. Here are the Sox's team hitting splits:
White Sox vs. RHP: .255/.310/.394
White Sox vs. LHP: .240/.292/.344
The team batting average and on-base percentages take a dip against left-handers, and there's a significant drop-off in slugging percentage. The Sox could use a hitter or two who hit lefties well, and right now the hope is rookie outfielder Trayce Thompson becomes one of those guys.
Thompson went 3 for 4 and finished a home run short of the cycle Tuesday against Boston lefty Wade Miley, leading the Sox to a 5-4 win over the Red Sox. Thompson's two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning provided the winning margin.
With that performance, Thompson is hitting .522/.560/.957 in 11 games (6 starts) since he was called up. We know, of course, he will never keep up that pace, but his performance thus far against left-handed pitching is worth noting: He's 10 for 17 with two home runs and five RBIs.
It shouldn't be hard for Thompson to keep his roster spot and serve in a platoon role if he can produce above-average numbers against lefty starters.
The Sox lineup is full of guys who struggle against lefties:
Adam LaRoche vs. LHP: .163/.198/.325
Carlos Sanchez vs. LHP: .179/.225/.269
Adam Eaton vs. LHP: .227/.271/.295
Melky Cabrera vs. LHP: .230/.258/.333
Jose Abreu vs. LHP: .240/.307/.375
Even Abreu, the Sox's best hitter, is a mere mortal when he sees a left-handed pitcher. Thompson is a nice luxury for manager Robin Ventura to have, because now he can sit LaRoche on days when the opposition throws a left-handed starter. Thompson can handle any of the three spots in the outfield defensively, so Ventura has his pick of DH'ing Cabrera, Eaton or Avisail Garcia on the days Thompson plays.
We don't know yet how "real" this early hot surge from Thompson is, but it sure is refreshing to see the Sox farm system send a potentially useful position player to the major leagues.