What Conor Gillaspie wouldn’t give for a ground ball with eyes right about now.
A Texas leaguer would suffice.
Heck, even a few duck snorts would get the job done.
Compared with six weeks ago, the White Sox rookie feels much better when he stands in at the plate. No longer does the process of hitting at the major league level have the third baseman dumbfounded. He knows he has room for growth, but Gillaspie has confidence he can string together a few good at-bats.
Now he just needs some results to accompany that assurance.
And the fact a few extra hits haven’t fallen in when he has put as many good swings on the ball as he thinks has brought Gillaspie to another level of frustration. Through 105 games, Gillaspie, who was acquired from the San Francisco Giants in a February trade, is carrying a .237 average at which he can’t stand to look.
“I just need something to build off for myself,” Gillaspie said. “I kind of went through my learning curve in June and the first part of July. But since the middle of July I’ve been putting together a lot better at-bats and what can you do? I feel like I could have 20 more hits, it just hasn’t worked out that way. … That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Gillaspie admits he’s probably a little down on himself more than he should be.
After all, he has begun to understand major league pitching.
He knows pitchers won’t just offer up a 2-0 fastball to him. Gillaspie also has a better idea of what pitches he can hit and which ones to lie off.
And he did a good job keeping the ball out of the air. Of the 266 balls Gillaspie has put in play this season, 147 have resulted in a ground ball or a line drive.
But Gillaspie has fallen on poor luck as his batting average on balls in play sits at .263. His lowest BABIP in the minors in four full seasons was .291 and he also posted a .314, .327 and .339.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Gillaspie said.
Gillaspie has a .174 average this month. Manager Robin Ventura has seen a lot of Gillaspie’s hard contact and thinks an adjustment here or there could change the rookie’s fortunes.
“He hits the ball hard consistently, but he’s had a lot of balls he hit right at people,” Ventura said. “But that’s part of playing and learning, being able to adjust to it and get over it. That’s just normal stuff. I’ve seen a guy do that. He has a pretty simple swing. It’s simple to maintain, which is good news.”
Gillaspie is able to take some comfort in the fact he feels good at the plate and not lost. If he continues to hit the ball the way he has, Gillaspie is due for a few balls to drop in for a hit.
But that doesn’t make his struggles an easier to take.
“It’s still just as frustrating,” Gillaspie said. “Obviously it’s better than going up and giving away four at-bats every night and you’re thinking ‘This guy is young, can he even do this.’ There’s probably more positives outside of what I’m thinking than what I’m seeing right now. All I see is I haven’t done anything in a month-and-a-half it seems like. … I am getting better. I am learning, but when you just look at the numbers, I’m like, ‘Really?’ I’m not going to hit .300 or even come close, but I could have seen myself 30 points higher than where I’m at right now but I can’t think about that.”