This is my first discussion on my website. This will consist of: player previews, articles, keys to 2020, and more.
The White Sox Rebuild: A look Back
When Chris Sale was traded on December 6, 2016, the White Sox had made it official. We all saw this coming. That is, everyone except me.
I was 9 in the winter of 2016. I was hungry for more baseball, as I was a diehard Sox fan. I hated the Cubs, their newborn fame, and all of their fans. The only White Sox fan I knew was my dad, and even he had jumped a little on the Cubs bandwagon. My favorite player at the time was Adam Eaton, and I desperately wanted for him to be back in Chicago in 2017. I also wanted Chris Sale back, and I was too naive to know that he would be traded, along with anyone that had value. Cough, cough Adam Eaton. When I heard that Chris Sale was traded, I was mad. It would only get worse the next day. A lot worse.
On December 7, 2016, Adam Eaton was traded to the Nationals. Now I was mad. SUPER mad. I was mad at baseball. I was mad at Rick Hahn. And I was mad at Adam Eaton, because I thought at the time that players choose to be traded. While I didn’t know it at the time, Rick Hahn wasn’t looking to make me, a 9 year old boy, mad. He was looking for the benefit of the team.
When I got back from a Cubs playoff game in 2017, I told everyone I knew that the White Sox would secure the 2nd Wild Card spot in 2018. So I was still naive. Let’s talk about why.
One: The White Sox had ended up 67-95, and they had no pitchers with more than 7 wins. That’s depressing. Two: Their starting CF, Adam Engel, had batted .166 the year before. Three: They had no starter below a 4.30 ERA. Four: The rebuild wasn’t done after the Sox traded Jose Quintana midseason. And I could keep going.
My 2017 prediction was wrong, wrong, wrong. The Sox finished 62-100 with their ace having 3.91 ERA. Also, they got lucky. Stupid lucky. Their 10 win pitcher, Lucas Giolito, finished with a 6.13 ERA. Now I had lost hope. But I still wanted that Wild Card.
Last year was a big improvement over 2018. Win wise, batting wise, pitching wise, and fielding wise. It was just an all-around better season. Now I have hope. Not false hope either. And hopefully this discussion will cover why.
The 2020 White Sox
This offseason has been so chaotic. This is my attempt to give a roster preview.
1. Yamsani Grandal (2019: .246/28 HR all-star)
2. James McCann (2019: .273/18 HR all-star)
3. Zack Collins (2019: .186/3 HR played part in minors)
Position Prediction: Grandal will start, McCann will serve as part time DH, and Collins will be traded.
1. Jose Abreu (2019: .284/33 HR all-star)
2. Edwin Encarnacion (2019: .244/ 34 HR traded mid-season)
Position Prediction: Abreu will start, Encarnacion will play DH splitting time with McCann.
1. Nick Madrigal (2019: .311/4 HR minors A+, AA, AAA)
2. Yoan Moncada (2019: .315/ 25 HR last played 2B in 2018)
Position Prediction: Madrigal will come up early, and Moncada is just an if necessary 2B.
1. Yoan Moncada (2019: .315/ 25 HR moved to 3B in 2019)
2. TBD (See below in next article)
Position Prediction: Moncada wins an easy battle against nobody.
1. Tim Anderson (2019: .335/18 HR won MLB batting crown)
2. Leury Garcia (2019: .279/8 HR utility leadoff man)
Position Predicition: Anderson easily wins, and Garcia isn’t looking for competition for SS.
1. Eloy Jimenez (.267/31 HR big rookie prospect last year)
2. Nicky Delmonico (.206/1 HR backup to Jimenez)
Position Prediction: Unless Jimenez gets eaten by sharks, Delmonico won’t provide competition.
1. Luis Robert (.328/32 HR tore up minors, has a bad habit of terrorizing pitchers)
2. Adam Engel (.242/6 HR starter last year)
3. Leury Garcia (.279/8 HR could get ahead of Engel)
Position Prediction: Robert is a big prospect, and Garcia is starting in RF. Engel will go to AAA.
1. Nomar Mazara (.268/19 HR hits for power but does not field)
2. Leury Garcia (.278/8 HR hits for a ton of average; very fast)
Position Prediction: Garcia didn’t play RF too often last year (45 games) but he is the best guy for RF.
1. Edwin Encarnacion (.244/34 HR not a great fielder; hits for power)
2. James McCann (.273/18 HR all-star great hitting catcher)
3. Nomar Mazara (.268/19 HR not a great fielder)
1. Lucas Giolito (3.41/14-9 all-star made a strong rebound over 2018)
2. Dallas Keuchel (3.75/8-8 his signing made the rebuild come to a close)
3. Michael Kopech (5.02/1-1 (2018) sat out in 2019 due to Tommy John surgery)
4. Gio Gonzalez (3.50/3-2 started 17 games free agent signing)
5. Dylan Cease (5.79/4-7 prospect last year will be stronger this year)
1. Aaron Bummer (2.13/0-0 played in 58 games was a dominant reliever)
2. Evan Marshall (2.49/4-2 played in 55 games was #2 reliever on the team)
3. Jace Fry (4.75/3-4 played in 68 games was #1 dominant reliever at beginning of the season)
4. Kelvin Herrera (6.14/3-3 was a major disappointment but will recover this year)
1. Alex Colome (2.80/4-5/30 SAVES was one of the game’s best closers)
Pitching Preview: Will be much, much better than it was last year.
What Should the Sox do About 3B Backup?
Yoan Moncada is clearly the starter. But the White Sox need a good, consistent backup. And I think even though they signed Cheslor Cuthbert who plays 3B, they still need someone else. They don’t need a Josh Donaldson, but someone smaller than that. Maybe a .250 guy, 15 home runs, good fielding. Cuthbert played with the Royals last year where he hit .246 as a backup swingman.
Keys to 2020 and Making the Playoffs
►Get the pitching going early. Baseball is confidence, especially pitching. The Sox don’t need Keuchel or Giolito slumping early in the season.
►Make sure Moncada and Anderson don’t go back to 2018. Both weren’t too good, and they helped the Sox majorly in 2019.
►Alex Colome needs to still dominate in 2020. He doesn’t have to be amazing, just a solid, reliable closer.
►Don’t sleep early in the season. As demonstrated by the Red Sox in 2019, never say ‘Wake me up in the playoffs’.
►Get past those Twins. The Twins are due to fall in 2020, and the Sox need to scoop up the division. The Sox can’t compete with the Wild Card competition.
►Don’t let the pressure overwhelm the season. Sure, expectations will be high, but the Sox shouldn’t listen. A tiny slump, and you’re mad, being mad leads to drama, and drama isn’t good.
How to Pass the Twins
The Twins won the AL Central in 2019 at 101-61, and the White Sox will look to win it in 2020. Here’s how they can do it:
►Beat the Twins head to head. That will be important late in the season, and it will give the Twins losses that the Sox can control.
►Crush AL Central opponents. This will be easy against the Royals and Tigers.
►The Indians are out of it after trading Corey Kluber, so don’t overestimate them. But that can be a trap, so don’t not take them seriously. Find the happy medium.
What are the White Sox’s Needs?
Obviously I make it look like the White Sox are a perfect team. Doesn’t everybody make their perfect team look great? Well, the Sox are not perfect. They still have flaws, and positions that they need to improve. Let’s start by taking a look at last year’s positions of need, and then see how the White Sox adjusted. Then we’ll take a look at this year’s places of need, and we’ll see how the Sox adjust.
2019 White Sox Flaws
Adam Engel started full-time last year, and he was just okay. He finished with a .242 AVG with 6 HR and only 26 RBIs, but I guess that evens out. He wasn’t too good, so I am counting that as a position of weakness.
In: Luis Robert (Minors)
Out: Adam Engel
Ryan Cordell played in 97 games last year, and he hit .221 with 7 home runs. He’s not too good at defense, he doesn’t hit for average, he certainly doesn’t hit for power, so what does he do? He’s a good placeholder? That’s just not going to cover it Ryan.
In: Nomar Mazara (Trade)
Out: Ryan Cordell
Yonder Alonso started out the year at DH, and he slumped early in the season. He stunk oink. Let’s discuss why. First, he hit .178 with a .275 OBP. Second, his OPS was .576. Third, he only hit 7 home runs. Do I need to go on?
In: Edwin Encarnacion (Free Agent)/James McCann
Out: Yonder Alonso
Only 2 guys below 4.00, the big signing had a 6.14 ERA, and I’m just to note this is excluding closers. Aaron Bummer’s name pretty much sums up this bullpen, which was among one of the worst in baseball. Worst part is, the White Sox haven’t done anything about it yet.
2020 Needs As of 1/3:
Still no changes, and although I think that Kelvin Herrera will step up, it just won’t be enough.
One thing that I forgot to cover, and I saw as I was publishing was that Luis Robert signed a 6 year, $50 million contract.