SuperJuan: Uribe comes up clutch in World Series

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SuperJuan: Uribe comes up clutch in World Series

Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010
6:12 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

Some fellas just know when to step up and make an impact, and Juan Uribe - author of the three-run clout that sprinkled the last bit of dirt over Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday - is one such fella.

Scour all you wish, but you wont find Uribe on the list of top 10 game-changing plays of the Chicago White Soxs 2005 World Series run. He came close, with his heroic defensive efforts to clinch the Series for the White Sox (sprinting into the right-field stands to snag Chris Burkes foul pop for the second out and his super-quick catch-and-fire retirement of Orlando Palmeiro to end the game) both adding 14 percent to the White Sox win probability.

But in contrast to his budding reputation as a playoff hero, Uribe has been a fairly lousy postseason performer. The sleeping Giant simply knows when to pick his spots and when he picks one, he doesnt miss.

For his career, Uribe carries just a .660 OPS into Thursdays Game 2 - thats downright bad, perhaps even duck-and-cover awful. The then-shortstop batted and slugged .800 in the American League Division Series vs. the Boston Red Sox in 2005, but his main clout was a homer in the runaway Game 1 win. He put up an .806 OPS in the 2005 World Series courtesy of three doubles in 16 at-bats, but his offensive output in that series - along with every other hitter on both the White Sox and Houston Astros - was underwhelming.

But overall, you could say Uribe was consistent in the 2005 playoffs, hitting in 10 of 12 games - and one of the games where he went hitless was Game 4 of the World Series, and we all know his ninth-inning defense helped make up for that.

In 2008, Uribe was horrible for the White Sox in the ALDS vs. the Tampa Bay Rays - two hits in 12 at-bats, with five strikeouts. Coupled with his .682 OPS in the 2008 regular season, Uribes work in the 2008 playoffs helped earn him his bus ticket out of town.

This year with the San Francisco Giants, Uribe kicked off the playoffs with his worst series ever - a .205 OPS, with just one hit in 14 at-bats and five strikeouts in the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves. Uribe was looking just as bad in this seasons National League Championship Series, heading into Game 5 vs. the Philadelphia Phillies just 1-for-11.

But then came Game 5, when Uribe went 2-for-3 with a home run and reached base three times in four plate appearances. It was unquestionably his greatest playoff game (his .306 Win Probability Added means Uribe alone can claim about one-third of San Franciscos win). In fact, Uribes impact in Game 5 was almost twice as great as any playoff game hed ever played in.

And Wednesday, Uribe had the ultimate all-or-nothing day, chasing his greatest playoff game by maximizing his impact in the World Series opener. The burgeoning Bay Area folk hero offset three strikeouts with that three-run homer that put the game away. It wasnt his second-best playoff game, not even close - but it did wonders to expand his legend.

Uribes hustle that ended the 2005 World Series is very likely the greatest succession of defensive plays to end a Fall Classic, rightfully earning the manic Dominican a place atop the World Series monument in Champions Plaza outside of U.S. Cellular Field. But it takes nothing away from the man that not a soul in Chicago would ever have expected him to be impacting another World Series so positively, some five seasons later.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

The White Sox agreed to one-year contracts with five players on Friday, including a $12-million deal for Todd Frazier.

Frazier established a franchise record for home runs by a third baseman in 2016 when he blasted 40 in his first season with the White Sox. A free agent after the 2017 season, Frazier hit .225/.302/.464 in 666 plate appearances, drove in a career high 98 runs and produced 2.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. 

Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez is set to earn $5.9 million this season. The team also agreed to deals with relievers Dan Jennings ($1.4 million), Zach Putnam ($1.1175 million) and Jake Petricka ($825,000).

The White Sox acquired Frazier in a three-player trade from the Cincinnati Reds in December 2015. It's expected they would try to trade Frazier, who has hit 104 homers since 2014 and participated in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby three consecutive years, before the Aug 1 non-waiver trade deadline as part of the club's rebuilding efforts. 

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Gonzalez went 5-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) after he was signed to a minor-league deal in early April. 

Jennings posted a 2.08 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. 

Putnam had a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings with 30 strikeouts before he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. 

Petricka was limited to nine appearances before his season was ended by hip surgery.

Both Petricka and Putnam are expected to be ready for spring training.

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

It was a limited look, but Yoan Moncada made a strong first impression on the White Sox this week.

Acquired from the Boston Red Sox last month in the Chris Sale trade, Moncada arrived in Glendale, Ariz., earlier this week with the franchise hopeful he'd offer a glimpse of the skills that earned him the designation as baseball's top prospect.

Moncada didn't disappoint, either, as he had White Sox evaluators excited throughout a three-day hitters camp. Whether it's his physicality, how he carried himself or his baseball IQ, White Sox staffers couldn't have been happier about their first experience with their new prized possession.

"(Moncada) looks like a linebacker, but he moves like a wide receiver," player development director Chris Getz said. "He's got good actions. He's obviously a switch hitter. He's got power. He can hit. He's got a good smile. He seems to be enjoying himself out here, he interacts well with his teammates.

"So far it has been very impressive, and we look forward to seeing more."

Hitting coach Todd Steverson said Moncada, 21, looked every bit the part when he first observed him from across the hall at the team's facility. Steverson spoke to friends in the scouting community and wasn't the least bit surprised when he encountered the 6-foot-2, 205-pound second baseman. Moncada was just as impressive on the field with his skills and effort, Steverson said.

"This is a large specimen right here," Steverson said. "He's put together pretty well.

"On defense it looks like he has some really good hands.

"He got in the box and he hadn't swung for a while. But still, you could tell he had good hands going through the zone, has a nice approach and wants to work real hard."

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Moncada's fancy tools have been well publicized since he received a $31.5-million signing bonus from the Red Sox in March 2015.

MLB.com graded Moncada's hit tool at 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale while his base running is 65 and arm is 60. Moncada's power received a 55 grade, and his fielding is 50. Moncada received an overall grade of 65, which suggests he has the ability to be a perennial All-Star and worth 4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com.

But the White Sox weren't just impressed with Moncada's physical ability.

One of manager Rick Renteria's top objectives for the camp was to emphasize fundamentals and what's important to the team. Renteria wanted to identify specific game situations and how players are expected to handle them so they're well prepared for the future. Moncada handled that area well, too.

"Yoan is a very knowledgeable baseball player who has experience on a multitude of levels," amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. "In the brief time we had with him this week, he showed a tremendous ability to drive the ball the opposite way as well as drive balls to the gap and out of the ball park from both sides of the plate. That ability will help him handle and any all situations that Ricky asks him to do at the plate. Defensively his hands and feet are very good and will have no problem there. He's a bright hard-working kid that is part of a bright future for the organization."