2017 Fantasy Recap: Chicago White Sox
The 2017 Chicago White Sox team posted their worst record and their lowest win total since 2013, which led to their lowest attendance since 1999. Typically reserved to “second-class” status in a city that hosts the lovable Chicago Cubs, the White Sox have a few key pieces to start their rebuilding process, much like their cross-town rivals.
First baseman Jose Abreu led the White Sox in home runs in 2017. The 30-year-old posted his fifth multi-homer game of the season and the 11th of his career over the last week of the regular sason. With a career-high 189 hits this season, the slugging first baseman closed out the campaign with a .300-plus average for the first time since his dominant 2014 season. He finished the year with a gaudy .304/.354/.552 slashline with 33 long balls and 102 RBI; he also finished second on the team with 35 walks.
Young shortstop Tim Anderson went 21 straight starts in the month of September, while slashing .322/.337/.444 during that span. He had the second games played (146) of any player on the White Sox last year, leading to his 151 hits (third most on the team). Now, if he could just improve his 236 strikeouts at the plate (second highest on the team), he could do some real damage in the White Sox batting order.
Rightfielder Avisail Garica’s batting average (.330) and on base percentage (.380) were both team-high’s. Garcia showed improvement across the board over the 2017 campaign, logging 18 home runs and 80 RBI, both of which are the best of his career. Although the question for the White Sox is whether he’s more valuable in their lineup, or in someone else’s, if that other team is willing to send more young prospects to the South Side.
After all, it was a trade like that which enabled promising young pitcher Lucas Giolito to Guaranteed Rate Field home. Optimists will point to his 1.71 ERA over his last five starts, as he bounced back after struggling to a 6.75 ERA in his first taste of the majors last season, compiling an impressive 2.38 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 45.1 innings for the White Sox this year. After displaying flashes of why he was once a top pitching prospect, Giolito could be poised for a breakout campaign in 2018. He should be on track to toss around 200 innings next season.
Keep an eye on two other young pitchers for the White Sox. 24-year old Carlos Rodon only managed to make 12 starts this year with a 4.15 ERA, but he flashed nasty stuff as he struck out 76 batters over just 69.1 innings. After undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left (throwing) shoulder, the club stated that he could be ready for action as soon as Opening Day.
23-year old Reynaldo Lopez finished the season with a no-decision and heads into the offseason with a 3-3 record and 4.72 ERA over eight starts. Despite what appear to be pedestrian marks, the young right-hander threw at least six innings in seven of his eight starts and showed improved command at the major-league level. He’s done enough to warrant a spot in the team’s rotation in 2018.