Chicago White Sox 2017 Team Preview

2016 Recap: 78-84, 4th in the AL Central. After missing the postseason for the eighth consecutive season, the White Sox decided it was finally time to hit the reset button and start rebuilding. They kicked things off by dealing super ace Chris Sale to Boston for a huge package that included the majors top hitting prospect Yoan Moncada. Less than 48 hours later, the White Sox sent leadoff hitter Adam Eaton to Washington for package that included baseball’s top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito. Not a bad way to start off a rebuild and with veteran assets like David Robertson, Todd Frazier, and Melky Cabrera still in the fold, Chicago is far from done in building for the future.

Offseason Moves:

Significant Additions: INF Yoan Moncada, RHP Lucas Giolito, RHP Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech, LHP Derek Holland, C Geovany Soto, OF/INF Cody Asche, OF Rymer Liriano, OF Peter Bourjos

Significant Subtractions: LHP Chris Sale, OF Adam Eaton, 2B Brett Lawrie, C Dioner Navarro, OF JB Shuck

Projected Lineup and Breakdown:

  1. CF Charlie Tilson
  2. SS Tim Anderson
  3. 1B Jose Abreu
  4. LF Melky Cabrera
  5. 3B Todd Frazier
  6. C Geovany Soto
  7. DH Cody Asche
  8. RF Avisail Garcia
  9. 2B Yolmer Sanchez

Chicago’s lineup won’t look like this for very long as Yoan Moncada won’t stay in the minors all season. The White Sox will also look to trade any of the above names except for maybe Jose Abreu. Abreu is 30 and not ideal for a rebuilding team, but is currently on a contract well below most of your top tier first baseman and is under team control until 2020. Abreu hasn’t quite had the consistent elite power some thought he would when he came over from Cuba, but Abreu has been around a .300 hitter for his career and has been extremely durable. I wish there was more to breakdown with this Chicago lineup, but the majority of these players are just placeholders. Shortstop Tim Anderson is the only one I could see being apart of the White Sox next playoff team, but I have my doubts after Anderson struck out 27% of the time his rookie season. If Anderson cannot get that rate down he won’t stick as an everyday big leaguer.

Projected Rotation, Bullpen, and Breakdown:

Rotation –

  • LHP Jose Quintana
  • RHP Miguel Gonzalez
  • LHP Derek Holland
  • RHP James Shields
  • LHP Carlos Rodon

Bullpen –

  • RHP David Robertson – Closer
  • RHP Nate Jones
  • LHP Dan Jennings
  • RHP Zach Putnam
  • RHP Tommy Kahnle

Jose Quintana has been one of my favorite pitchers in the A.L. for a few years now. Quintana has pitched 200 or more innings in four consecutive seasons, kept his walk rate at 2.52 or lower, and had an ERA between 3.20-3.60 all four seasons. Nothing fancy, just consistent quality pitching from Quintana. Fellow lefty Carlos Rodon is someone who has the potential to put up huge ace like numbers and after lowering his walk rate nearly 2.0 BB/9 from his rookie year to his second year, the breakout could be happening very soon. Outside of Quintana and Rodon, there isn’t much happening at the big league level, but with top prospects Lucas Giolito, Carson Fulmer, Reynaldo Lopez, and Michael Kopech all in the high minors, this White Sox rotation could become really fun to watch really fast. Closer David Robertson saw his walk rate nearly triple from 2015 to 2016 and if that trend continues into 2017 his trade value could quickly become non existent. Assuming Robertson finds a happy medium between 2015 and 2016, he will almost definitely be dealt by the trade deadline and if there is a major injury to another closer between now and the start of the season we could see Robertson dealt really soon.

Fantasy Analysis

Stud: 1B Jose Abreu. Abreu’s 3 year average: .300, 30 homers, 102 RBI and a .513 slugging percentage. His counting numbers might suffer this year in what could be a terrible White Sox lineup, but there’s no denying how good of a hitter Abreu is. Take Abreu as your starting first basemen and don’t look back.

Sleeper: SP Carlos Rodon. A 24 year old starter who last season stuck out over a batter per inning and nearly cut his walk rate in half from the previous year? Where do I sign up for that? That same starter is currently going outside the top 50 SP’s? Well then I plan on owning that guy in basically every league. Rodon has all the makings of a future fantasy ace. Get him now while the price is super low.

Bust: RP David Robertson. As I’ve mentioned throughout this piece, the White Sox will look to move basically everyone on their 25 man roster, including Robertson. Unfortunately there is no guarantee the team Robertson is deal will let him close, eliminating his fantasy value. There are currently closers like Francisco Rodriguez who have better job security and Sam Dyson who I think is just a flat out better pitcher going after Robertson in drafts. Do not draft Robertson at his current price.

2017 Record Prediction: As great of a job as the White Sox front office has done in jumpstarting their future, 2017 will not be pretty. I could even see them becoming competitive as soon as 2018 if their young pitching develops quickly, but as for now they will to keep looking up at their crosstown rivals for awhile as a 100 loss season is in play this year. 61-101, Last in the AL Central.

-Randy Haines

Check out our other 2017 team previews here.

Photo Credit: MLB.com

Statistics are courtesy of Baseball reference and Fangraphs

Projected rosters are courtesy of rosterresource.com and accurate as of 3/8

Fantasy ADP data courtesy of STATS.com and The NFBC

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