Top 10 Things to Watch for this White Sox Season7 min read
So after game 1 it is very clear the 2017 White Sox aren’t “too good” for a rebuild. They aren’t fringe playoff contenders or sneaky. They are bad. The back of the order went Asche-Avi-Narvaez-May. That is Padres rotation bad. We aren’t the front runners for Seth Beer, no, but this team is safely in the top 10 of next year’s draft. So rooting for this team to win night in and night out probably isn’t going to be much fun, but just openly rooting for your team to lose every night sucks too. So here are 10 reasons to stay interested and keep watching White Sox baseball
Jason Benetti in general is a fine reason to tune in, as he is a terrific announcer and always keeps the game interesting. That being said, the thrill of a mid game #SoxMath can’t be beat, and winning #SoxMath is just as cool as winning actual games.
9) Retaining the Crosstown Cup
Now that’s a trophy.
8) Rick Renteria
Hopefully after years of being #MadOnline about Robin Ventura’s garbage managerial choices we can sit back and actually have confidence in the team’s leader for the future.
7) Fringe Younger Guys
In order of intrigue I would rank these guys something like this
- Jacob May
- Tyler Saladino
- Omar Narvaez
- Charlie Tilson
- Matt Davidson
- Yolmer Sanchez
- Dylan Covey
- Avisail Garcia
Fear not, Rodon and Anderson will get their own write up. The guys here are the ones we aren’t totally sure are part of the next great Sox team (Saladino probably is, just is he a starter), but could absolutely be. Jacob May is the most intriguing for me because he could be fun in the field and on the base paths, and the Sox don’t seem to have a real likely future MLB CF, so the job truly could be his if things work out. It could also be Charlie Tilson’s if he ever gets healthy. A full season of Sally should be fun and I truly do hope he wins a spot on this team long term, he is a joy to root for. Narvaez being a long term backup catcher would be excellent, and a full season of ABs will tell of its possible. Davidson making the Addison Reed trade worthwhile would be fun, but doesn’t seem to likely. Sanchez deserves a chance, and Covey probably doesn’t but will get one. Either of them being anything is a bonus. And somehow someway we get another year of Avi so I guess I will list him but I am anything but interested.
6) Veterans Trade Value
Once again, in order of interest, I would probably rank it something like
- Jose Quintana
- David Robertson
- Todd Frazier
- Melky Cabrera
- James Shields
- Miguel Gonzalez
- Nate Jones
- Jose Abreu
Jones and Abreu look to be on this team long term, but hey having them put up huge 1st half’s is cool with me. If we lose a couple loses I’ll get over it if Nate Jones nets some top prospects. Miguel and Shields are interesting because with a competent 1st half they could get flipped, but the return won’t be much. Same idea for Melky and Todd, just a slightly better return. Robertson could really change the outlook of this rebuild with a massive 1st half, as a top closer with 1.5 years left should net a really nice prospect or two. And then obviously a big 1st half from Q is crucial, as he is the final link to this re-build. Shedding him of the team is huge for #TankForBeer and his return should be Eaton-esque. Speaking of which
5) Jose Quintana’s Health
Can’t trade him if he’s hurt. Asks the A’s. If he doesn’t have a great 1st half but is healthy, he’s still getting moved for a big package. He is young, under control for cheap, and has a good track record. But him getting hurt would be a disaster. Stress about every pitch.
4) Hawk Rants
I love that man. 81 games of him is straight electricity.
3) Carlos Rodon
1 of the 2 locks for the next great Sox team, Rodon’s health is a major concern as he will be starting the season on the DL. When he comes back however, year 3 of Carlos Rodon needs to be of real, measurable improvement. He needs to start locating better, and in turn needs to cut the walk rate. A under-control Rodon using that power slider and changeup would be the best thing this rebuild could see in 2017. That 2019 and 2020 opening of the next Sox window will be Rodon’s last two years of control, and he needs to be the headliner of that great Rodon-Kopech-Giolito-Lopez-Hansen rotation.
2) Tim Anderson
Rodon needs to throw more strikes, Tim needs to take more balls. Besides that, an increase in steals and continued quality defense are things to really look out for this year with Timmy. After inking an 8 year extension this spring he is here to stay, and is the only real core piece of this current offense that is for sure a piece on the next great Sox team. Hopefully, he is far more than a “piece” though and is an All-Star quality SS. After watching a guy like Carlos Correa go through a bit of a sophomore slump last year people should have realistic expectations for Tim. He is still extremely raw. Regardless of the slash line, I am hoping for increased plate discipline and good at bats this year from #7. A better approach night in and night on will make this year a smashing success for Anderson.
1) The Call-Ups
The clear #1 reason, though don’t expect any of them to come up until June or so. There will be a 2 month or so summer rush that is going to be so much fun, and I can’t wait. Here is my rough outlook on who comes up and when
- Zack Burdi– First Injury. Once a bullpen arm goes down I think its Burdi who comes up. He is just too advanced for AAA. Could be next week, could be late May. If he isn’t here already by the trade deadline he will be after. The MLB bullpen as constructed now is solid though, so an opening needs to emerge.
- Reynaldo Lopez- Once the service time is figured out. Lopez is ready for the bright lights, so I see him coming up when its of no harm to the Sox control of him. I believe he got a decent amount of time in last year with the Nationals so this will be in like early June. I also personally think he crushes it when he comes up, and am extremely excited to watch him every 5th day.
- Carson Fulmer- July. He got a taste last year, and I think he gets it again this year by mid summer. Between Q, Holland, Shields and Miggy someone is getting traded, and Rodon’s health is no lock, so there should be a demand for starters and I think he gets the look before the struggling Giolito.
- Yoan Moncada- July/August. I think this takes longer than we would want it too, but its the right move. The swing and miss concerns are real, and with Frazier, Tim and Saladino there is nowhere to put him. When Frazier gets traded in the summer I think Tyler gets moved to 3B and he gets his shot and never goes back down. But be ready to wait a little.
- Lucas Giolito- September. Small hot take, but right now Giolito just isn’t close to MLB ready, and I think a season of AAA would be good for him. He is still young and being at AAA at his age is no crime, so I think the Sox give Lopez and Fulmer looks before him and let him figure it out in AAA instead of moving levels every week like last year. Plus, delays his service time. I think we get 4-5 starts of him over the course of September.
- Adam Engel/Danny Hayes/Nicky Delmonico/Jake Peter- These are some possible injury replacements that at least have some shot of playing in the MLB long term. They won’t be as fun as Moncada’s call up but hey I remember being fairly excited to see Matt Davidson get his shot last year so these will have to do.