The State of the White Sox rebuild

Eloy Jimenez celebrates his home run

MSN.COM

Eloy Jimenez celebrates his home run

Brendan Reidy , Sports Writer

Playoff baseball is right around the corner. However, teams like the Chicago White Sox will be looking towards the future, rather than postseason contention this year.

The White Sox began the rebuild all the way back in the winter of 2016. It started with cleaning house of most of their star players at the time. They traded Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox and received corner stone players in Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech. Shortly after, the White Sox traded Adam Eaton for Pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning. They added these pieces with already some of their young talent in Tim Anderson and Carlos Rodon. This was the foundation of the White Sox rebuild, but this was only the beginning of acquiring young talent. The following season they traded Jose Quintana to their crosstown rival Cubs and got back OF Eloy Jimenez and Pitcher Dylan Cease. Then, the White Sox organization went out and signed an 18-year-old OF from Cuba named Luis Robert following the season. So far, most of these players have played in the Big Leagues, and almost all of them have had mixed results. However, during a rebuild, all you want to see is your top young players develop into stars.

This past season, fans of Chicago have finally seen the seeds begin to grow. Tim Anderson has developed into one of the best batters in the entire MLB, and leads all players in batting average for the season. He has also improved his defensive game, and has been a dangerous threat on the base paths, leading the White Sox in steals. Yoan Moncada has also had an incredible season. As of now he is batting .316, and has the third highest batting average in the American League. People were worried about Moncada’s development because he has struggled his first two years in the Major’s, but has finally hit his stride in year three. The left side of the infield should be set in stone with Moncada and Anderson as they look to build off their strong season.

Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease both made their MLB debuts this year, and they have shown flashes early on in their careers. Jimenez had an extremely slow start adjusting to the major league level, but has been lights out the second half of the season. He is currently hitting .298 in the second half, and has hit 30 homeruns in only 118 games. That stat should get White Sox fans feeling tingly inside. Dylan Cease has shown incredible poise on the mound, but has struggled to play at a high level consistently. However, that should change with half a season of major league baseball experience.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for the Chicago White Sox rebuild this year has been Lucas Giolito. He was a former top prospect, but has not even come close to living up to his high ceiling until this year. Last year, he was statistically one of the worst starting pitchers in all of baseball. However, this season, he went back to his old form and developed a nasty changeup, and has been lights out. He made the All-Star game this year, and would be in contention for the Cy Young Award if he was not injured and was on a contending team.

There are reinforcements on the way, and things are only about to get better for one of the most irrelevant baseball franchises over the last 10 years. Luis Robert was named the best prospect of the season, and is in contention to be named the #1 prospect coming into the 2020 season. Robert will be up to start with the team next year, and more importantly their starting rotation will be all healthy and ready to go. Kopech and Rodon will be back, and Giolito will be ready to go. Expectations are high for next season, and I expect this team to win at least 80 games and be in contention for the wildcard hunt down the stretch of the season. 2021 is the year the White Sox will make the playoffs, and put an end to this never-ending stretch of misery for White Sox fans.