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  • Central Intelligence: White Sox Rising

    Cody Christie

    Chicago missed out on the Manny Machado sweepstakes but there are plenty of other up and coming stars on the southside of Chicago. Even though the White Sox lost 100 games last season, there is hope for some of their young core to take the next step.

    Winning the division might not be out of the question in 2019, but the White Sox are building a core that could compete in the years to come.

    Image courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

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    Key Additions: Alex Colome, Kelvin Herrera, Ivan Nova, Yonder Alonso, Jon Jay, James McCann

    Chicago’s bullpen might be its most improved part. Colome and Herrera have combined for over 100 saves the last two seasons. This includes Colome’s league leading 47 saves in 2017. Ivan Nova is a familiar name as a former Yankees pitcher, and he looks to take over the veteran role in a young White Sox rotation.

    As will be clear in the Indians preview tomorrow, the Tribe dumped as many pieces as possible this off-season. This included Yonder Alonso who could help Jose Abreu in the middle of the line-up. Jon Jay was brought in to help lure Manny Machado to Chicago but that didn’t work out. Instead the club will add an everyday corner outfielder that isn’t projected to have that much pop.

    Key Departures: Miguel Gonzalez, James Shields, Avisail Garcia

    Nova takes over the rotation role left vacant by James Shields. Shields led the AL in losses last season with 16. He pitched over 200 innings for the first time since 2015 but he posted a 4.53 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP to go along with a 154 to 78 strikeout to walk ratio.

    Garcia’s was not tendered a contract even though he was an All-Star in 2017. Last year in Chicago, he hit .236/.281/.438 with 19 home runs and 49 RBI in 93 games. Gonzalez only pitched in three games last season and allowed 17 earned runs in 12.1 innings. For his career, he has a 4.06 ERA in over 880 innings pitched.

    Potential X-Factors: Yoan Moncada

    He was once considered baseball’s best prospect, but he is coming off a season where he had over 200 strikeouts. He finished the year hitting .235/.315/.400 with 17 home runs and 32 doubles. He could be a difference maker in the line-up if he can finally put it all together at the big-league level. His batting average has been in the tank since making his big-league debut but he is only 24-years old, so there is still time for him to take the next step.

    FanGraphs Projected 2019 Record: 70-92

    My Projected 2019 Record: 74-86

    2018 Record: 62-100, (4th Place in the AL Central)

    2017 Record: 67-95 (4th Place in the AL Central)

    2016 Record: 78-84 (4th Place in the AL Central)

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    This team may be under-rated. In fact, I'm wondering if the AL Central as a whole isn't a bit under-rated. Like with the Twins with Sano and Buxton, it wouldn't be a shocker to see Moncada get it figured out and Eloy Jiminez burst onto the scene to help transform this team.  

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    This team is dangerous. Not saying they're going to compete, their record will be bad, but I'd bet there will be points at which they'll be a very difficult team to deal with. Colome/Herrera/Nate Jones/Jace Fry could be a very solid bullpen. The rotation is projected to be very bad, but it's young so who knows?


    If Moncada and Eloy Jimenez hit the ground running they could be a huge pain to deal with at points. Still difficult to see them maintain any kind of sustained success.

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    The biggest weakness Sox teams have had in the past is the ability to catch the ball. Unless those issues have been addressed, the team will not progress.


    The White Sox undeniably have talent but I have to wonder about the coaching staff when it comes to fielding.

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    Average offense at best and poor pitching. Numerous elite prospects are struggling to be average Major League starters. 


    The rotation is bad.  Dylan Cease could break this bust trend or be right where the others are and be below average with the occasional dominant game.  Their most experienced starter (Ivan Nova) is taking a mid 4 ERA and FIP from the NL into the American League.  Good chance their ERA leader in the rotation is a 4+ ERA.


    Here are the 2018 FIPs for their starters.  Keep in mind this team ranked 26th in dWAR last season.  Mixing 4 pitchers who struggle in the Fielding Independent Pitching metric with one of the worst fielding teams in MLB is not a good mix.


    Rodon - 4.95

    Lopez - 4.63

    Giolito - 5.56

    Nova -  4.57


    This rebuild is not going according to plan.  Jose Abreu remains their only prospect to actually breakout in the big leagues and he is a free agent after this season.  90+ losses is my prediction.

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    This team may be under-rated. In fact, I'm wondering if the AL Central as a whole isn't a bit under-rated. Like with the Twins with Sano and Buxton, it wouldn't be a shocker to see Moncada get it figured out and Eloy Jiminez burst onto the scene to help transform this team.

    God forbid.

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