Publish date:

3 WHITE SOX

Author:

ENEMY LINES

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP CHICAGO

It's gonna be a rough year, but they're headed in the right direction.... There will be growing pains with Yoan Moncada. He's got a little hand hitch in his swing, which really affects his timing. He's been really bad on off-speed pitches this spring. If he struggles, he should go back to Charlotte.... Tim Anderson needs to work on his strike-zone discipline. Every advance report on this guy is that you don't have to throw him good pitches.... Avisaíl García got himself into shape. Guys killed him with the fastball in, but he made an adjustment.... James Shields is their Opening Day starter but in reality he's a fifth starter. He doesn't have a plus-plus fastball and changeup anymore. The biggest contribution he'll make is being a mentor to the young starters.... Reynaldo López has a big fastball—95 to 99—and a good curveball. He's got to command his fastball down better.... Lucas Giolito is big—6'6", 248—but he doesn't have a big fastball: just 90 to 95. There are issues with his arm action—a deep arm swing that he's going to have to smooth out.... Michael Kopech will dominate Triple A, but to be a major leaguer he has to develop his command. He's got the body and the athleticism and throws 100. They've done a great job collecting great young pitchers, and Kopech has the highest ceiling of all of them.

THE PAYOFF PITCH

The White Sox bottomed out last season, the first of their rebuild. They won't contend for a playoff berth in 2018, but they will start putting the team on the field that will do so beginning in '20, the one GM Rick Hahn built with aggressive trades in the '16--17 offseason. Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López will open the season in the starting rotation, with Yoan Moncada at second base. Power righty Michael Kopech, a top 10 prospect, should be up later in the year. Prospect hounds can track outfielder Eloy Jiménez and righties Dylan Cease and Alec Hansen, all top 100 types on track for debuts next year. There's a championship-caliber core being assembled on the South Side—the Sox are roughly where the Cubs were in '13, and we saw the results of that makeover.

OVER / UNDER

68

The Sox are in full rebuild mode, but there's too much young talent—Moncada, Giolito and López are all ready to make an impact—for them to be miserable.

THE LINEUP

1. SHORTSTOP

Tim Anderson

.264 BA/14 HR/14 SB

FANTASY BREAKOUT

2. SECOND BASE

Yoan Moncada

.242 BA/18 HR/24 SB

His first crack at a full season; 20 homers, 20 steals is within reach.

3. FIRST BASE

José Abreu

.289 BA/.519 SLG/30 HR

4. RIGHTFIELD

Avisaíl García

.282 BA/19 HR/6 SB

5. CATCHER

Welington Castillo

.244 BA/.427 SLG/16 HR

6. LEFTFIELD

Nicky Delmonico

.244 BA/.431 SLG/18 HR

7. DH

Matt Davidson

.211 BA/.398 SLG/22 HR

8. CENTERFIELD

Adam Engel

.205 BA/9 HR/19 SB

9. THIRD BASE

Yolmer Sánchez

.248 BA/10 HR/9 SB

THE STAFF

1. RH STARTER

James Shields

7 W/5.54 ERA/1.51 WHP

2. RH STARTER

Lucas Giolito

7 W/5.02 ERA/1.50 WHP

3. RH STARTER

Reynaldo López

6 W/5.10 ERA/1.45 WHP

4. RH STARTER

Carson Fulmer

5 W/5.85 ERA/1.66 WHP

CLOSER

Joakim Soria

5 SV/3.88 ERA/9.3 K9

THE SKIPPER

Rick Renteria