White Sox: Who Will Play Center Field in 2018?

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 09: (L-R) Adam Engel (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 09: (L-R) Adam Engel (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Rick Hahn and other members of the Chicago White Sox front office find themselves in Orlando for the annual Winter Meetings this week. While Abreu and Avi trade rumors slowly begin to surface the White Sox brass have another question to answer within their own organization.

When one looks up and down the White Sox roster nothing can possibly look more appealing than the position battle bound to take place for the job in center field. The White Sox had a few guys play that roll in 2017 but none more consistently than Leury Garica and Adam Engel.

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Adam Engel is one of the best surprises so far in the rebuild.  As the year went on fans had to smile when they went to the ballpark and saw him playing center field, just knowing that there was a chance to see an amazing home run robbing catch. In the field, he only had two errors in 96 games played. The range and ability to cover ground definitely will make him a candidate to open next year with the job.

In the spring the White Sox will want to see improvement out of Engel at the plate. He posted a .166 average and .235 OBP in 2017, which is not where one would like it to be but it is to be expected from a players first year in the big leagues.

Leury Garica is more of a utility piece. He can play wherever you need him to on moments notice and is coming off the best year of his career. In 2017 he played in the infield and the outfield for the Sox. The infield sample size is small ( 3 games at 2B and 2 at SS) but it immediately gives him an edge to land a spot on the 25 man roster. He matches Engel’s two errors in the field but had a little bit of a better season at the plate. Garica posted a .270 average and .316 OBP.

Then you have the wildcard, Charlie Tilson. Remember him? He is back and healthy entering the 2018 campaign and is ready to make a splash. After spending most of 2017 on the DL Tilson made a strong return in the Arizona Fall League. It was only a handful of games but seeing progress from a player who just can’t stay healthy is promising.

Tilson has found himself in the top 20 of White Sox prospect rankings following the signing of Luis Robert as well as trades for guys like Eloy Jimenez. With that being said many people including MLB Network are projecting that Tilson will win the job. It will be interesting because, for the most part, you know what you are getting from Engel and Garica. Sure Engel could make a jump offensively but one has to wonder what Tilson brings to the table.

The trade and free agent markets are very active now that Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani have found homes. White Sox brass will need to look for bullpen pieces so it is not impossible for one of these three players to be apart of a trade package, though unlikely.

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Hopefully, fans can settle in and watch these guy battle it out on the field in the spring for the right to be the everyday center fielder of the White Sox.