Look at your 2019 major league roster White Sox fans. Despite what you hear about minor league reinforcements, specifically Luis Robert’s invincibility and Michael Kopech’s recovery, a significant percentage of the players here now should be here when the Sox contend again in 2020 or 2021.
Let’s take a look at what’s in the major league cupboard. If a current player is deemed a placeholder, possible replacements will be proffered.
1B Jose Abreu: By all accounts, the Sox brass is in love with Abreu and his leadership skills. Recent comments by Abreu clearly indicate the south side is where he wants to stay. His numbers, his on base percentage notwithstanding, are very Abreu-like this year, and his consistency is something to reward. The Sox will re-sign him before the 2019 season ends.
2B Yolmer Sanchez: With the emergence of Leury Garcia, Sanchez may not slot into his anticipated role as a utility infielder on a contending Sox team. His slightly above average defense just doesn’t compensate for an extremely pedestrian .247/.311/.308 line with 1 home run and 21 runs batted in. Plus, Garcia can play the outfield. 2018 number one draft pick Nick Madrigal is the obvious replacement here. The only question is whether he will start the 2020 season with the Sox.
SS Tim Anderson: Before this season, it may be safe to say the Sox didn’t know exactly what they had in Anderson, other than the fact he is a great athlete and a former first round pick. Manny Machado was most likely coming here to play shortstop, after all. Yet, Anderson has had the best half a season of his major league life thus far, hitting .317/.342/.491 with 11 home runs, 37 runs batted in, and 15 stolen bases before his high ankle sprain put him on the shelf. This spot is his, bat flips and all, for the foreseeable future.
3B Yoan Moncada: Last year, admit it, you thought Moncada was a bust. His transformation has been nothing short of a revelation. He looks extremely comfortable and smooth at third base. With two strikes, he is NOT an automatic out. He doesn’t look overmatched batting right-handed. If a ball is an inch off the inside or outside corner with two strikes, he isn’t going to take it and hope it’s called a ball. Instead, oftentimes he is going to put the ball in play, hitting the ball hard. Only injury will take Moncada off third base in the next seven to eight years.
LF Eloy Jimenez: All he has to do is take 25,000 fly balls this winter. Maybe 30,000. He’ll end up hitting over 30 home runs this season in around 400 at bats. In his first full, injury-free season, which hopefully is in 2020, he’ll hit 45 home runs. At least.
CF Leury Garcia/Ryan Cordell/Charlie Tilson/Jon Jay: With the exception of Garcia in a bench role, these placeholders will be playing in other organizations when the Sox contend again. Perhaps you’ve heard of a guy playing Triple A ball for the Sox that’s pretty good. I am speaking of course of the aforementioned Luis Robert. His line this year between High A, Double A, and Triple A is an astonishing .356/.409/.644 with 19 home runs, 62 runs batted in, and 32 stolen bases. He can’t get to the south side soon enough.
RF Cordell/Tilson/Jay: Cordell and Tilson have played enough with the Sox to indicate what they are-4A players with a ceiling of a fourth or fifth outfielder. Jay, at this point in his career, is a fourth outfielder for a contending team. He very well could be traded in the next two weeks.
So who takes this spot? Blake Rutherford? Steele Walker? Luis Basabe? Luis Gonzalez? Their stars have all shone brightly at one point or another, but their 2019 numbers are ordinary, and they could be better suited as trade chips. Would the New York Yankees trade Clint Frazier to the Sox for Alex Colome straight up? Would the Sox take a flyer on Cardinal’s right fielder Marcell Ozuna, who will be a free agent at the end of this season?
C James McCann: The scout whispers are Zack Collins isn’t a catcher; he’s a first baseman. He was 2 for 26 with 14 strikeouts while filling the injured Wellington Castillo’s spot. McCann is 29 years old and a first time All Star. Like Abreu, this contract extension could get done before the season ends. If McCann continues to produce for another month, that extension is almost a guarantee.
DH Is it A.J. Reed?: Could Gavin Sheets or Andrew Vaughn produce enough in the minors over the next year to force himself into consideration with Abreu to share DH/1B duties? Perhaps 104 games at 1B and 58 games at DH for Abreu in 2020 and the reverse for Sheets? Maybe 104 games at 1B and 58 games at DH for Vaughn in 2021 and the reverse for Abreu?
Pitchers: Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech, Jace Fry, and Aaron Bummer are a nice start. Multiple injuries to Carlos Rodon have put his Sox future in doubt. Minor league reinforcements like Dane Dunning, Jimmy Lambert, and Zack Burdi are all injured. Alec Hansen, despite his size and stuff, has a 7.08 earned run average at Double A Birmingham of which control is most likely the cause. If the Sox were ready to pay Machado $250 million or more, they should be willing to do the same for Gerrit Cole, who will be a free agent after this season. If two legitimate starting pitcher prospects can’t be garnered for Colome, the Sox would be wise to keep him, as he is signed through the 2020 season.
Jimenez. Moncada. Anderson. Abreu. McCann. Giolito. Cease. Lopez (yes, he is going to improve). Robert and Madrigal on the way. The core is here or very close to being here. Who will the supplements be?
Filed under: Uncategorized