“If you build it, they will come.” Well, the Chicago White Sox haven’t built anything even close to an October ball club since they last made the post season in 2008. But things are about to change in the South Side of the Windy City and it could be as soon as the 2020 season.
The White Sox went out and signed the top free agent catcher on the market in 30 year old Yasmani Grandal. On a 1 year deal with Milwaukee, Grandal hit .246 with 28 HR. Combined with his respectable defense and 153 games played your talking about a guy who can add some beef to the middle of the lineup.
Last season was a boost for a lot of their current young players. Tim Anderson hit for a surprising .335 and slugged over .500 in 123 games. Eloy Jiminez hit 31 HR with 79 RBI’s in 122 games. Yoan Moncada chipped in 25 HR with 79 RBI and hit .315 in 132 games. These guys are entering their prime at the same time. Well look for them to be on prime time tv a lot more moving forward with the lineup they have. We all know what Jose Abreu is capable of and they recently committed to him another 3 years at $50 Million. Now of course barring any health concerns, that’s an incredibly strong 5 in your lineup. Though I do think they need to get another 20+ games from Anderson, Jiminez and Moncada. You also need to add a couple of more pieces which I expect they will do before spring. Prospects like Luis Robert and Andrew Vaughn are exciting to think about as well. Look for them to contribute next year, especially if they are in a hunt for the division or wild card.
As far as pitching goes, the White Sox need to add a few more guys to boost the rotation. Giolito had a break out season last year, making the All Star team and finishing a respectable 6th in AL Cy Young voting. He also threw shutouts against the Twins and Astros who are both 100 win playoff teams. The key is for Giolito to take that next step and become a solid number 2. If he can step up and become a number 1, that’s a huge bonus, but I think patience is key with him.
Chicago really needs to go out and get another 1 or 2 starting pitchers to add some depth. I like Reynaldo Lopez entering his 3rd full season even though he has had a rocky start to his career. I expect him to settle down and really showcase his potential in 2020. Michael Kopech is coming back from Tommy John and will likely be limited on Innings Pitched. But to get him back is a huge positive as he still remains one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. Some names that stand out to me are Zach Wheeler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and maybe take a chance on a Rick Porcello or Wade Miley.
I expect this ball team to be in the wild card race or possibly compete for the division if they can make a few more strong moves this off season. The AL Central should no longer take the White Sox lightly as 2020 will be a huge step in the right direction for this organization.