Thursday, March 9, 2017
Chicago White Sox 2017 season preview
With a record of 78-84, the Chicago White Sox finished 4th in the AL Central, missing the playoffs. The first place Cleveland Indians were 16.5 games ahead. With a weak farm system, the White Sox were still looking to rebuild. GM Rick Hahn made some big moves that will change the franchise. Let's look at what Hahn did.
Key additions: 2B Yoan Moncada, SPs Lucas Giolito, Derek Holland, OFs Cody Asche, Willy Garcia, Rymer Liriano, Peter Bourjos, C Geovanny Soto, RPs Giovanni Soto, Anthony Swazak, Michael Kopech.
Key subtractions: SP Chris Sale, OFs Adam Eaton, J.B. Shuck, Austin Jackson, 2B Brett Lawrie, RP Matt Albers, SS Jimmy Rollins, DH Justin Morneau, C Alex Avila.
Biggest move: The White Sox made the biggest move of the offseason, selling LHP Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox for big prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech. The also sold OF Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals for a top 3 pitching prospect in Lucas Giolito.
X-factor: The team will most likely be out of contention in 2017, but they'll still expect a big year out of 24 year old LHP Carlos Rodon. He's yet to break out, with a 3.90 ERA over 2 seasons in the big league. He has 307 Ks in 304.1 IP. I think he can have a really good season, even if the White Sox are really bad.
Biggest bounce back: In 2013, OF/DH Avisail Garcia hit .283 with the Sox and the Detroit Tigers, after coming to Chicago in a midseason trade. Since then, the highest he's hit in a season was .257, in 2015, where he reached 500 ABs for the first time. He also had a career high in HRs in 2015, with 13. He dropped off slightly in 2016, with 12 HRs and an average of .245. If he can hit at least .255, and set a career high in HRs with 15+, I'd deem 2017 a success for the 25 year old.
Biggest breakout: with an average of .283 and 10 SBs in 410 ABs in 2016, 23 year old SS Tim Anderson received some third place votes for AL ROY. If he can perform even better in a full season in 2017, Anderson can take a big step in being a top SS in the game. He's the Sox SS of the future, and there's no denying it.
Guaranteed star: Since coming to the USA from Cuba in 2014, 1B Jose Abreu has 91 HRs and 308 RBIs, with an average of .299 over 3 seasons. He has 30 HR power, with 100+ RBIs each MLB season.
The White Sox starting lineup should look like this.
1. CF: Leury Garcia
2. SS: Tim Anderson
3. 1B: Jose Abreu
4. 3B: Todd Frazier
5. LF: Melky Cabrera
6. 2B: Yoan Moncada
7. RF: Adonis Garcia
8. DH: Tyler Saladino
9. C: Omar Narvaez
The Sox starting rotation will probably be this.
1. Jose Quintana
2. Carlos Rodon
3. Derek Holland
4. James Shields
5. Miguel Gonzalez
CF Jacob May, 3B Matt Davidson, Yolmer Sanchez, Cody Asche and C Geovany Soto will be on the bench.
David Robertson will be their closer, with Nate Jones and Jake Petricka setting him up.
For my prediction, the Chicago White Sox will finish 4th in the AL Central (ahead of the Minnesota Twins), but still be at the bottom of the league. They'll be in the 60 wins-90 losses category in 2017, but be playoff contenders in a few years.