Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Live Blog 5: Fields tossed, walkoff HR

FORT MILL -- After a relatively quiet day at the ballpark (if you don't count screaming school children screeching at every foul ball), the Knights gave fans some 9th-inning drama.

First, Josh Fields strikes out on a pitch that looked right down the middle, possibly a little low, but from my view behind home plate, appeared right down main street.

Fields, apparently not thrilled about the call - or maybe his 0-for-4 day with 2 Ks - dropped his bat right beside home plate and walked to the dugout. Nothing appeared to be said, but home plate ump David Rackley sent him to the showers anyway.

But if anyone has a right to be frustrated about the White Sox/Knights personnel struggles this spring, it's Fields. Sure, Owens lost out on his opportunity, but Fields has an All-Star caliber second half last season, only to get sent back down to Charlotte because the White Sox re-signed Joe Crede and couldn't find a suitable trade partner in spring training.

Fields hit .308 with 23 HR and 67 RBI in 2007 after Crede's season was cut short by back surgery. Those are solid numbers, but when you realize they came on 100 games and 373 at-bats, they're outstanding. Fields has to be thinking what do I have to do to get a big league gig?

Not to give Fields a pass on showing up an umpire, there's no place for this in baseball, but you can understand Fields' frustration. Currently, he has 3 HR and 6 RBI and his average dropped to .262 after today.

Two batters later, though, Brad Eldred sent Knights fans home happy, drilling one over the left field wall for a 3-1 victory. The HR was Eldred's 4th of the season and the 1B now has 20 RBI, but his average is still well below his weight (.231) and with Konerko in front of him, Eldred might need a trade to get a call any time soon.
Fantasy spin: Eldred has brute strength (he hit 15 HR in 311 at-bats in 2007), but he struggles elsewhere, hitting .209 last year with a .275 obp. 
Fields, however, will be a fantasy factor soon. His number is likely on Kenny Williams' speed dial. But it'll take an injury or trade to Crede for Fields to get an opportunity. He's a must own in keeper leagues or formats with a bench spot. If the White Sox decide to keep Crede long-term, Fields is too good to stay down. He'll end up starting at 3B somewhere in 2009.


Anonymous said...

Good blogs today!