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Did Kevin Youkilis save the White Sox season?

When the Chicago White Sox traded for Kevin Youkilis on June 24th, the team was just four games above .500, and was clinging to a half game lead in the AL Central over the Cleveland Indians. Since picking the veteran up from the Boston Red Sox, the ChiSox are 29-21, and their lead in the division is up to two games (over the Tigers as opposed to the Indians, who have collapsed in spectacular fashion). The White Sox made some other tweaks to their team before the trade deadline, including picking up veteran reliever Brett Myers from the Astros and talented yet inconsistent satrter Francisco Liriano from their division rival Minnesota Twins. But there may have been no more important deal for the team this year than acquiring Youkilis.

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Since being dealt to Chicago, Youkilis has performed admirably while dealing with injuries, yet still below his career norms. He's hitting .235/.349/.444, in comparison to his career line of .285/.387/.486. But for the White Sox, that stat line is a godsend. Even including Youkilis' stats in 44 games and 162 at bats as Chicago's third baseman, the White Sox third basemen for the season have hit .196/.282/.306. Remember, that *includes* Youkilis, along with the awfulness of Ray Olmedo, Brent Morel, Brent Lillibridge, Orlando Hudson, and Eduardo Escobar.

Youkilis has hit ten homers as third baseman in Chicago (along with one as a first baseman). The rest of the White Sox players at the hot corner have…one, hit by Hudson in an interleague game against the Astros. Youkilis has four doubles, the rest of the third basemen have combined for six. Youkilis has walked 22 times, every other White Sox third baseman has walked a total of 25 times. Despite that .235 Youkilis average looking pretty dire, the rest of Chicago's third basemen have hit a paltry .174.

This isn't the same Kevin Youkilis that was third in AL MVP voting in 2008, and sixth in 2009. Injuries and age have sapped him of a lot of his former abilities. But he's still having a fantastic year since coming over to the White Sox, Including his two games at first base this year, Youkilis has been a 2.5 win improvement over the White Sox third basemen over the season's first three months, and he's managed to do that in just a month and a half with his new club. If Chicago had Youkilis on their team at the beginning of the year and he was healthy, he'd probably be approaching a three win season right now, and that would have been an even bigger improvement over the dreck that the White Sox were trotting out at the beginning of the year. If Chicago finishes just out of the playoff race, Kenny Wililams might be looking at his third base situation over the first half of the year as a huge mistake.

Photo courtesy of Daylife.com

Joe Lucia

About Joe Lucia

Joe is the managing editor of The Outside Corner and an associate editor at Awful Announcing. He lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is smack dab in the middle of some of the best (and worst) sports fans in the country.

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