Saturday, March 25, 2017

2017 Pre-Season Profile: Chicago White Sox


Many people say the Chicago White Sox won the offseason by how well they were able to reset their franchise and start their rebuild.  How much success will this lead to in 2017?

My 2016 Predictions
5th in AL Central
Manager Robin Ventura will be fired before the All Star Break.

2016 Results
78-84, 4th in AL Central
Going into the 2015 season, the White Sox were stuck in limbo.  Were they going for it, or were they rebuilding?  They were trying to do both at the same time, and instead did neither.  They were stuck in the middle going nowhere.  Robin Ventura wasn't fired before the All Star Break, but he was fired after the season was over.  Something needed to change either one way or another.

Additions / Subtractions
Finally, the White Sox decided to hit the reset button, and did so better than almost anyone has done in recent history.  The White Sox traded away two stars and single-handedly reset their farm system.  Chris Sale was sent to the Red Sox, and Adam Eaton was sent to the Nationals.  The prospects they brought back became five of their current top ten prospects in their system, including their top four prospects.  The only veteran talent the White Sox brought in this offseason was starter Derek Holland and outfielder Peter Bourjos.  Possibly the most significant addition the White Sox made was hiring new manager Rick Renteria, who is finally getting a fair chance as a manager after he was cast aside across town when Joe Maddon became available in 2015.

Most Important Hitter
Todd Frazier
With everything the White Sox did over the offseason, they could have done more.  All their veteran talent was on the trading market, but not all were able to be moved.  Todd Frazier is the biggest bat that is still on the team.  If he has another year like he did last year, the Todd-Father will be on the move for more prospects, making him quite the significant hitter for this team.

Most Important Pitcher
Jose Quintana
Quintana is an important pitcher for the same reason Todd Frazier is an important hitter.  Quintana is hands down the ace of this pitching staff now, however the Sox have been trying to move him as much as they wanted to move Chris Sale.  You have to give their front office credit though.  They refuse to settle for a sub-par offer on any of their stars.  This is how they got such big returns for Sale and Eaton.  Because of this uncompromising approach to their rebuild, Quintana is still on their roster.  This will serve them well because he is a great pitcher.  At the same time, he can still provide that big return the White Sox are looking for if another team gets desperate for a starter mid-season.

Player to Watch
Yoan Moncada
There are so many names that could be placed in this spot.  Easily, each of their top seven prospects could see time in the big leagues this year, highlighted by starting pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, who they picked up from the Nats in the Eaton deal.  However, the crown jewel of their farm system, as well as their offseason, is Yoan Moncada.  The centerpiece of the package the White Sox got back from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale deal, the 21 year old switch-hitting infielder is as close to a can't miss superstar prospect as they get.  This Cuban import will be a regular in Chicago before the end of the season.

2017 Prediction
4th in AL Central
The White Sox are going to be one of the most exciting teams to watch this season.  They won't be very good just yet, but they will surprise some people as their youth will emerge hungry and ready to compete.  Their record will probably be worse than it was last year, but at least this franchise has a clear direction in where it is going.  They broke this franchise down to take it to new heights.

Fearless Prediction
Half of the White Sox' Opening Day lineup will not be on their roster at the end of the season.
Like I said, the White Sox had a great offseason as they started their rebuild, but they still can do more.  I don't think this team is done breaking down this roster.  Look for players like Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana, Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Avisail Garcia, Peter Bourjos, Derek Holland, and closer David Robertson to be on the trading block throughout the season.

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