All-City team: Cubs, Sox starting pitchers outshine hitters

Center field: David DeJesus

Oh, if only everyone approached their jobs the way DeJesus does. He moves around Wrigley Field like a Little Leaguer, seemingly thrilled to be shagging fly balls and taking batting practice. He has been a strong hitter this year, too, with an .816 OPS, which ranks him behind only Shin-Soo Choo, Mike Trout and Carlos Gomez among regular center fielders. He could bring a nice return in a trade, perhaps back to the Royals, where his career began. Alejandro De Aza has been steady for the White Sox.

Right field: Alex Rios

He's no kid at 32, but you can argue that Rios is the only star position player on either side of town who is in his prime. He goes largely unnoticed nationally, but among regular right fielders only Jose Bautista has a higher OPS than Rios' .893. He's a two-way player, too, as solid in the field as at the plate. Signed through 2014 with an option for '15, the White Sox can ask a lot for Rios if they decide to shop him, but they are painfully aware that they don't have anyone on hand to replace him. Nate Schierholtz has been a solid signing for the Cubs.

Catcher: Welington Castillo

Castillo is doing a good job handling pitchers and is throwing out would-be base stealers at a solid rate (31.4 percent). He's a semi-tough hitter but has struggled with men in scoring position. Tyler Flowers has been what you'd expect when he replaced A.J. Pierzynski, which means the White Sox have had a significant drop-off at the position.

Bench: Cody Ransom and Hector Gimenez

Released by the Padresafter an 0-for-11 start, Ransom, 37, has been a good fit with the Cubs. He can play anywhere and drives the ball when he makes contact. He and Valbuena have been a nice platoon at third base. The switch-hitting Gimenez is more talented than his 4A portfolio suggests. He's a solid backup catcher who can hit (.907 OPS in 140 at-bats in Venezuela in the winter) with the versatility to play other positions. It speaks to the White Sox's level of commitment to Flowers that Gimenez hasn't started more games.

Closer: Addison Reed

The White Sox had a great draft in 2010, getting Sale in the first round and Reed in the third. You wonder if Reed might be able to move into the rotation down the line, but he's doing such a great job as closer that he might be pigeon-holing himself. He has All-Star-worthy numbers this year and has had a 90 percent save ratio since being given the job last season. Kevin Gregg, signed after a good spring didn't land him a job with the Dodgers, has been fine after Carlos Marmol and Kyuji Fujikawa left an opening at the end of the Cubs' disappointing bullpen.

Setup men: Jesse Crain and James Russell

Crain missed most of spring training, but it hasn't stopped him from being as reliable as any setup guy in the majors. He is getting strikeouts and not allowing many hits — a nice combination. He might be the most likely guy to be traded if the Sox decide they can't hang in playoff contention. Russell, the left-handed complement to Samardzija (at least in terms of hair, or "weeds'' to use Samardzija's vernacular), wasn't scored on until May 8. He appears remarkably durable as he has been better this year than a year ago, when he made 77 appearances.

Manager: Robin Ventura

Steady as she goes, as they say at sea. Dale Sveum is a tireless worker and relentless optimist. But to have such a poor won-lost record with consistently good starting pitching speaks at least in a small part to his decisions not bearing fruit (his Pythagorean score is -5 already this year after -4 last year). But his commitment is clear. The White Sox can't be so sure that Ventura is in it for the long haul as he quietly turned down a contract extension after last season.

Twitter @ChiTribRogers



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