The Chicago White Sox are the champions of the 2021 American League Central. They are AL Central champions for the first time since 2008 and it is the first time that they have gone to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons in franchise history. A lot of work went into this and it is finally all payoff off.
The White Sox started a rebuild in 2016. Just a few weeks after the Chicago Cubs ended their 108-year drought, the pressure was on the White Sox to come out of their shadow. They have done that now by executing this rebuild flawlessly. It started by trading Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and two other prospects.
Since then, they added prospects like Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, and Luis Robert amongst others. They acquired veterans like Lance Lynn, Yasmani Grandal, Liam Hendriks, Craig Kimbrel, and Dallas Keuchel amongst others via trade or free agency which has really helped them out.
With great players that the White Sox stayed loyal to like Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, and Carlos Rodon, there was plenty to build around. As important as playing the game the right way is in baseball, having talented players is a big part of it and the White Sox surely has talented players.
The White Sox have also done well drafting lately. Andrew Vaughn, Nick Madrigal, and Garrett Crochet are a few recent ones that have all made big contributions in different ways. If that continues, they will have sustained success for a very long time.
The Chicago White Sox has a division-winning formula in place right now.
All of these things happening guaranteed nothing but Rick Hahn clearly made a lot of great decisions. Tony La Russa was a very controversial hire by the White Sox as well but they have all come together to reach the common goal of winning the division. They have much loftier goals than winning the AL Central but this is an amazing start.
The clinching game was a perfect example of what this team is. Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, and Eloy Jimenez led an offensive outburst and Reynaldo Lopez had a great start as the White Sox run a six-man rotation. It was the first game of a doubleheader and they got the job done in the early game. They restated everyone in the second game and still almost won before Cleveland took it on a walk-off.
Of course, the White Sox had a big narrative following them this season and that has been the injuries. Robert, Jimenez, and Grandal all missed significant time with bad injuries. Somehow, the White Sox got through it which is why La Russa and Hahn deserve even more credit. Hahn for making sure the depth can withstand the injuries and La Russa for using that depth right. The White Sox are going to the playoffs and everyone should enjoy it.