We haven’t even formally met our 2018 White Sox yet, and already we’re thinking of where they might be in 2021. Why is that? Well, truth be told, the White Sox are most likely not going to contend for a division title or either of the two wildcard spots this season. However, in 2021, devout fans like me expect to still be hungover from the 2020 World Championship celebration. So the question is, how many members of the 2018 White Sox (the major league team only) will still be around in 2021?
In order to answer this question, let’s fast forward to the eve of Opening Day to determine a 25 man roster.
Position players (13)
1B Jose Abreu
2B Yoan Moncada
SS Tim Anderson
3B Yolmer Sanchez
LF Nicky Delmonico
CF Charlie Tilson
RF Avi Garcia
C Wellington Castillo
DH Matt Davidson
IF/OF Leury Garcia
OF Ryan Cordell *
IF Tyler Saladino **
C Omar Narvaez
- Cordell may be more capable of putting up average offensive numbers in comparison to Adam Engel. Engel might be better served getting more at bats in Triple A.
- Tyler Saladino should be fully recovered from recurring back problems that hampered him in 2017. I expect him to outperform recent waiver claim Jose Rondon for the backup infielder spot.
- It seems the White Sox are always very mysterious when it comes to the health of their pitchers. Oft-injured Rodon could be back by Opening Day, but if 2017 is any indication, he’ll be on the shelf until the All Star break.
Take a long, hard look. Please, feel free to play along at home. Who’s here, who’s gone, and if you’re really brave, if they’re gone, think about where they might be.
Abreu: We know the numbers. At minimum, an average above .280, 25 home runs, 100 runs batted in, an above average on base percentage, and smart at bats are guaranteed. He is that consistently productive. However, he will be entering this season as a 31 year old making 13 million dollars, with one arbitration year left in 2019. Despite my biased love for Abreu, he is better suited for a contending team, and he could be moved at mid-season. Gone
Moncada: Expectations might be ridiculous and unfair for Moncada, since his name will always be directly connected to the Chris Sale trade. Despite Michael Kopech’s cannon, Moncada was the centerpiece-the #1 prospect in all of baseball when he was acquired from the Boston Red Sox. He doesn’t need to be great, but he needs to be good. He has five tool ability, and the White Sox hope it manifests itself over the next decade on the south side. Here
Anderson: The White Sox have a history of being very patient with the prospects they really like. Think Joe Crede and Jon Garland. Like Moncada, if you watch the White Sox as religiously as a dedicated fan should, you’ll see Anderson display his five tool potential both offensively and defensively. The reality is he made 28 errors last year, his career on base percentage is .289, and he struck out 162 times last season juxtaposed against 13 walks. This is a make or break year for Anderson, and the fear is he might be Joe Borchard or Brian Anderson-great athletes that didn’t figure it out. Gone
Sanchez: It would be fantastic if Sanchez is a 29 year old utility player for the contending 2021 White Sox. His glove plays anywhere in the infield and his energy is infectious. His gradual improvement right before our eyes over the last several years is heartening. However, if Sanchez is the starting 3B for the 2021 White Sox it means Jake Burger didn’t work out, and the Sox were too stingy to find a big bat in free agency. Gone
Delmonico: He is keeping Eloy Jimenez’s spot warm. Gone
Tilson: As fans, we need to concern ourselves with whether or not Charlie can survive a week at the big league level. The hope here is that, like Delmonico, he is keeping this spot warm as well, albeit for a little bit longer. Luis Robert will be 24 years old in 2021. Gone
Garcia: How many White Sox fans want Avi’s 2017 season to be for real?! .330 batting average, .380 on base percentage, .506 slugging percentage, 18 home runs, 80 runs batted in, improved defense. It seems unlikely that Rick Hahn, he of the deal he wants or nothing at all, will get the deal he desires for Garcia. It is simply too risky for other teams to consider dealing a Top 100 prospect, plus another B level prospect, for a player that struggled for two full seasons before his breakout. He will be 30 years old in 2021, which could make him a veteran leader on a winning team if he continues to improve. This is the toughest position player guess. Here
Castillo: Castillo will be 34 years old in 2021, and the White Sox have intriguing catching prospects in Zack Collins, Seby Zavala, and Evan Skoug. Gone
Davidson: Hahahaha. Gone
Bench: Benches tend to be transient in the major leagues. Like Avi Garcia, Leury Garcia is intriguing because he seemed to be turning a corner before an injury slowed his progress. Leury will be 30 years old in 2021, and he could be a valuable super utility player. All gone except L. Garcia
Giolito: Giolito looked like a rotation mainstay after he arrived from Triple A Charlotte in August of last year. Provided he stays healthy, he will be a number 1, 2, or 3 starter. Here
Lopez: Despite a 4.72 earned run average in 8 starts, Lopez showed flashes indicating he could be a solid rotation piece-a good #3 or a great #4. Here
Shields: The number 1 prospect in the San Diego Padres system is Fernando Tatis, Jr. His 2017 line, 22 home runs, 75 runs batted in, .278 batting average, and .379 on base percentage between Single A and Double A ball, came at the age of 18 years old. He will be 19 years old and most likely will start the 2018 season at Double A with most players being 3 to 4 years his elder (Fangraphs 2012 study has the average age of a Double A player at 23.8 years old).
Why am I telling you all this? The White Sox traded Tatis, Jr. for James Shields. Settle down, settle down. It’s almost over. Looooooooong gone
Gonzalez: Who will bet me $5 Gonzalez will be traded again this season for a prospect ‘project’? Gone
Fulmer: Like Anderson, this is a make or break year for Fulmer. That might be unfair, but I believe it’s true. He was the White Sox 1st round pick in 2015, 8th overall. After a miserable 2016 at the big league level (0-2, 8.49 earned run average, 7 walks in 11.2 innings pitched), he started the 2017 season at Triple A Charlotte and continued to pitch poorly (7-9, 5.79 earned run average, 96 strikeouts to 65 walks in 126 innings pitched, with 132 hits allowed). Despite these concerning numbers, he was called up in July of last season. After a bad start, he righted the ship to the tune of a 3-1 record with a 3.86 earned run average and 19 strikeouts to 13 walks in 23.1 innings pitched. Hmm. The eye test says he will struggle as a starter and put up pedestrian numbers as a reliever, perhaps a little bit better than that if he improves his control. Gone
Rodon: Rodon is a Scott Boras client that can’t stay healthy. My guess? He’ll have a career year in 2021, the year before he is to become a free agent. The catch? He’ll do this with another team. Gone
Bullpen: I am laughing hysterically right now!! Bullpen?! Really? Who remembers Zack Putnam, Jake Petricka, Al Albuquerque, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Dan Jennings, and Anthony Swarzak? They were all here very recently, and now they are long gone. The only member of this current bullpen who has a slight chance of being around is left hander Bummer, who showed promising flashes in 2017 and won’t be a free agent until 2024. All gone except Bummer
P.S. The Sox have Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning, Zack Burdi, and Thyago Vieira in the system to fill holes in the rotation and the bullpen. The Sox will need to acquire a couple nearly major league ready position players via trade and sign a massive bat in free agency prior to the 2019 season.
Next: Is McCutcheon a good trade comparison for Jose Abreu? Avi Garcia?
After that: There is a trade chip on the White Sox that no one is talking about.