After modest results in his first big league audition in 2015, Tyler Saladino was in the thick of the race for the starting shortstop job out of spring training. The White Sox ended up handing the job to veteran Jimmy Rollins out of the gate, but Saladino stayed on the major league roster as a super utility player and performed capably. With a good number of starts intermingled with appearances off the bench, the 27-year-old delivered a 93 wRC+ in 93 games. He continued to struggle with his approach, as he posted a walk rate below 5.0 percent for the second season in a row. His playing time down the stretch began to dwindle due to injuries, and his season ended up being cut short by a couple weeks due to a back issue. Saladino's showing was likely good enough to give him a similar utility role on the 2017 squad, although his long-term upside is limited, as Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada are the White Sox's clear double-play tandem of the future.
Saladino went 2-for-4 in Saturday's 7-0 loss to the Indians. Saladino stood out in a lineup that generated just three hits Saturday. His two singles raised his season average to .214, which was the fourth-best average of the Chicago players that finished Saturday's game. He's not the sole reason for Chicago's offensive slumber -- the team is last in average (.205), on-base percentage (.265), OPS (.595) and next-to-last in runs per game (3.06) -- but his spot as the team's starting second baseman is the most vulnerable. There's little hitting talent within the organization ready to make an impact at the major-league level, but second base prospect Yoan Moncada (four home runs, .899 OPS) stands out. Will the White Sox continue to resist the siren call to promote Moncada?
Saladino is not in the lineup for Friday's game against the Indians. The regular second baseman gives way to Yolmer Sanchez while he takes a routine rest day. Saladino has been ice cold as of late, going 1-for-14 with seven strikeouts over his last four games.
Saladino is not in the lineup for Thursday's series finale with the Indians. The 27-year-old infielder holds a solid .385 OBP atop Chicago's order this season, but he'll get the night off after going 0-for-4 in Wednesday's contest. Yolmer Sanchez will start at the keystone in his stead.
Saladino is out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Twins. White Sox manager Rick Renteria looks to just be giving Saladino a maintenance day after the second baseman started in each of the team's first four games of the season. With a .500 on-base percentage in those contests, Saladino seems to have solidified himself as the team's leadoff hitter against both right- and left-handed pitching, but he'll cede those duties to Melky Cabrera on Sunday.
Saladino went 1-for-2 with a double, a walk and a run scored in Saturday's 6-2 win over the Twins. Saladino came out of spring training as the White Sox's leadoff hitter despite a career 4.4 walk percentage over 573 career plate appearances entering 2017. He's taken to the role well early, walking four times in 18 plate appearances (22.2 percent) while hitting safely in three of four games played. With top prospect Yoan Moncada's eventual call-up to Chicago inevitable, Saladino's days as a starter and leadoff hitter are numbered, but he's doing a credible job in the role and giving the White Sox the breathing room needed to get Moncada ready for major-league pitching.
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