A major void in the White Sox lineup over the past several seasons has been good left-handed hitting; a problem that seemed to be solved entering 2011 with the addition of Adam Dunn.
Instead, for the third year in a row, the White Sox had the fewest home runs hit by lefties of any American League team.
White Sox Home Runs hit by Lefties; Last three seasons
HR AL Rank
2009: 51 14th
2010: 24 14th
2011: 28 14th
The totals of 24 and 28 the past two seasons are two of the three worst totals in the AL from 2000-2011 (2000 Royals also had 28), and Oscar Gamble, Robin Ventura, and Jim Thome remain the only three Sox lefties to slug 30 longballs in a season over the 111-year franchise history.
Furthermore, the Sox were one of only four American League teams to have less than 50 percent of their team plate appearances with the platoon advantage, meaning left-handed hitters facing right-handed pitchers and vice versa.
2011 Worst Percentage of PA in American League with Platoon Advantage
Blue Jays 40.3
White Sox 47.2
The Indians, on the other hand, led the league with 67.7 of their team PA with the platoon advantage. That's a large reason why they were able to squeak out a surprise second-place finish in the Central.
71.5 percent of American League plate appearances were against right-handed pitching in 2011, so finding quality left-handed hitting is certainly a detail not to be overlooked.
Of the 2,187 White Sox plate appearances by lefties in 2011...
711 (32.5) were by Juan Pierre (.657 OPS), and
496 (22.7) were by Adam Dunn (.569 OPS)
A bounceback season by Dunn as well as continued success by Alejandro de Aza (.920 OPS in 171 PA in 2011) can make a huge difference for Ventura's 2012 Sox.