2019 Team Preview #1: Chicago White Sox

 

Welcome to my attempt at a shoddy, half-baked, season preview! Rather than go down the divisions – I’m going to go team-by-team, ideally one per work day until we reach Opening Day. I’m using good ol’ random.org to randomly pick my team for the day til we get through them all.

On to the preview!

Last Year

2018 Record: 68-94, 3rd in the AL Central, 30 games back

Last year was a bit of a rough one for the Sox – finishing much further back than I think GM Jonathan Hodges had envisioned. Some bright spots are to be found though for the upcoming 2019 season

Key Additions

LF J.D. Martinez (TOR via Trade)
RP Kyle Zimmer (TOR via Trade)
Manager Brian Snitker
RP Derek Law (OAK via Trade)
SP Hudson Boyd (CIN via Trade)
SS Asdrubal Cabrera (COL via Trade)
RP Michael Fiers (FA)
CF Jared Mitchell (COL – Waivers)
3B Juan Francisco (NYA via Trade)
CL Javy Guerra (FA)
RP Scott Ronnenbergh (CLE – Trade)
LF Eric Thames (FA)

Key Losses

RF Antonio Diaz (TOR via Trade)
RP Joe Kelly (FA)
CF Desmond Henry (OAK via Trade)
3B Korbin Vitek (CIN via Trade)
SP Stetson Allie (Rule 5)
LF Floyd Wallace (Rule 5)
SP Joseph Musgrove (NYA via Trade)
2B Alonso Martinez (NYA via Trade)

Lineup/Rotation Projection

Quite a busy off-season for the Sox! Lots of players in and out, but the big additions are certainly to the lineup: JD Martinez (.855 OPS and 31 HR) and Juan Francisco (.807 OPS). They will slot into the heart of the White Sox lineup and pair with last years’ standouts – SS Miguel Leon (.260 w/21 HR) and 1B Jorge Alvarado (.290 w/20 HR) – to form a solid core. 2018 All-Star Luis Serrano, out since August after hitting .337 over the seasons first 100 games, won’t be back for Opening Day but isn’t too far off from rejoining the team.

The White Sox also made an effort to re-tool their pen, adding Closer Javy Guerra (1.79 ERA) in Free Agency along with Michael Fiers (5.06 ERA) and trading for Kyle Zimmer (2.20 ERA). The rotation returns largely intact with former Red Hudson Boyd (2.48 ERA in 13 GS) joining an all-26-or-younger rotation of Bill Black (14-10, 3.13), Porter Curran (10-13, 3.41), Cody Ponce (15-7, 3.49) and Jeff Wallace (2-6, 4.92 ERA)

Outlook

The Sox again have good reason for hope as they enter 2019 – but they’ll face off with 2017 Champion Minnesota and a Royals team certainly on the rise. The Indians and Tigers are rebuilding but are certainly capable of putting up a good fight.

I think best-case for the Sox is they start hot, stay healthy and battle all year for a Wild Card spot. I don’t think they have the guns to take down the Twins, but should be in that tier (along with the Royals) hanging on the periphery of the 2nd wild card all year. While I predict them to finish 3rd in the AL Central, I see them going a solid 84-78, good for a solid 16 game improvement and a team to keep an eye on when 2020 comes around.