2018 Season Preview Chicago White Sox
The fact that the Chicago White Sox had the third-lowest winning percentage in Major League Baseball (MLB) last year wasn’t much of a surprise. Before the season started, they essentially publicly declared their intention to undergo a full rebuild, when they traded pitcher Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox and centerfielder Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals.
And fans from the South Side of Chicago will likely begrudgingly admit that they’re in for more of the same in 2018.
The mix of veterans
Sure, there are a mix of veterans, including 33-year old Miguel Gonzales and 36-year old James Shields in the pitching rotation, and 31-year old Jose Abreu splitting time between first base and DH. But other than that, 2018 is really not much more than a year for some of Chicago’s shiny prospects to get more experience, and start to creep towards contention at least for a Wild Card spot in 2019 or 2020 (likely the latter).
Players of note
After the resident “gray beards” in the starting rotation move on, it will be time for Chicago’s pair of prospects in Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez both of whom were acquired from Washington, in exchange for Eaton to really show their promise.
Giolito looked phenomenal towards the tail end of the 2017 season in the seven starts he registered, one of which included a no-hitter with Chicago’s Triple-A Charlotte team. Lopez started eight games in 2017 for the White Sox, going 3-3 in those eight starts (comprising 47.2 innings). He had a 4.72 ERA, but if you’re looking for a silver lining, his ERA did come down to 4.10 in his six starts in September of last year.
Nobody in any part of Chicago is anointing the duo as the second coming of Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine just yet, but between the veterans on the team and the coaches who’ve closely monitored their development, the early returns are very encouraging.
Hope of the team and its fans
But any fanfare around those two dynamic young pitchers is easily overshadowed by all the buzz around second baseman Yoan Moncada, whom the team received as part of the deal that sent Sale to Boston. Moncada was once the #1 prospect in all of baseball, and even after coming to the South Side, he consistently does things that captivates the interest and fans the hope of the team and its fans.
He admittedly did get off to a very slow start in Chicago, hitting only .198 through the end of last August, but he rebounded with a better September, raising hitting .274 over the course of the month, which included five home runs, 11 RBI, and two stolen bases, while drawing nine walks. To anyone that would doubt the young stud’s potential, the coaching staff and front office would be very quick to remind you that, entering the 2018 season, he’s still only 22 years old.
Young, green, and full of potential
In general, that seems to be the theme with anything related to the White Sox, at least for this season: this team is young, green, and full of potential. But like an unripe fruit, you’re going to have to wait a little bit before you can truly enjoy what this team really has to offer.