The Chicago White Sox are in good position to make some big splashes in the coming weeks, and they have very high hopes for the future! Does the future start in 2019?
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the Chicago White Sox this offseason. What moves are they going to make? Are they going to get one of the two free agent mega fish? All of this on top of the hype of Eloy Jiminez’s projected call up. With all of that said, there is reason to believe that the White Sox can be the 2019 American League Central Division Champions.
There has been a lot of buzz around Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the two best free agents. Harper seemed to be the White Sox free agent target for most of December, but a quick change seems to see Machado as the likely target and many see the White Sox as the favorites to land him.
The White Sox have added his brother in law Yonder Alonso and good friend of the family Jon Jay. Many see this as a trick the White Sox are trying to lure Machado into signing with them. Whether it works or not is to be seen, but it certainly can’t hurt their chances.
Joc Pederson is also in conversation to potentially be dealt to the White Sox by the Los Angeles Dodgers. This would also be a pretty big boost to the lineup. Pederson is the type of hitter that would thrive playing at Guaranteed Rate Field, a hitters park. A 30+ home run season is definitely in play should he be a member of the team.
They have added starting pitcher Ivan Nova to the rotation, joining Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Carlos Rodon and Dylan Covey. I’m sure changes could be made but if Lopez and Giolito take a step forward and Rodon stays healthy, this could be a pretty good staff. Michael Kopech is a highly touted prospect but is out for the season after having surgery last year after only a few starts. He hopes to be ready for opening day 2020.
Having Alex Colome and Kelvin Herrera to the bullpen could be a pretty big boost, and make it where games feel a little safer after the 6th or 7th inning. Every team in baseball needs a good bullpen and the White Sox are building towards that.
The pitching needs to be complemented by the ability to score runs. It is time for Yoan Moncada to take the next step offensively. If he can cut down the strikeouts and perhaps be a bit more aggressive, he has all the tools to be an elite hitter. He also had some terrible luck on called strike threes last season, so you’d expect that to drop as well.
The impact that Eloy Jimenez has upon his arrival is unpredictable. He could hit the ground running on the way to an American League Rookie of the Year award, or he could take some time to adjust. In all likelihood, it will be somewhere in the middle. He is an incredible young prospect and the White Sox are hoping for big things from him.
If a lineup has a grown-up Moncada, Eloy, Machado, Pederson, and of course the always consistent Jose Abreu in the mix, this would be a lineup that can score some runs with great regularity. If they can keep other teams from scoring by having good pitching and play well defensively, they have a real chance to attempt to make it to the playoffs, and possibly win the division.
Why is the division possible? Because this has the potential to be one of the worst divisions in baseball. The Cleveland Indians are losing players left and right, and have been rumored to be in talks to deal their ace, Corey Kluber. They are still probably the favorite but they are not as scary as they once were. The Minnesota Twins are always a wild card, but you never know what to expect from them. The Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers seem to be in earlier stages of a rebuild than the White Sox so they’re likely not much of a threat.
So the White Sox have a chance to be division champions if a lot of things go their way in the coming weeks. Either way, Rick Hahn and the White Sox are coming, and they will be there to stay for a long time once they are on top. The other teams in the division are surly noting what is going on on the south side of Chicago.