The Chicago White Sox are headed in the right direction. Their postseason appearance and Jose Abreu’s AL MVP season were refreshing. They came up second in the AL Central last season, and they could well be the winners of the division this season. Chicago is balanced at the plate and the mound, and has depth. This could be another great season for the White Sox.
Chicago White Sox 2020 Results
Chicago made the postseason for the first time since 2008 last season. The White Sox went 35-25 during the shortened MLB season, and despite winning Game 1, they were defeated by the Oakland Athletics in the AL Wild-Card Series, 2-1. Chicago finished a game back of first place in the AL Central, and will look to capture the division title for the first time in over a decade.
This could be viewed as a turning point in franchise history. Just over 15 years ago, Paul Konerko, Mark Buehrle, and Jermaine Dye led the White Sox to their third World Series title, and reigning AL MVP Abreu has a chance to build on last year’s success and potentially do the same.
The Chicago White Sox were in a position to get better and they did just that by acquiring a workhorse of a pitcher in Lance Lynn. Chicago manager Rick Renteria has the luxury of three trustworthy arms at the top of his rotation.The pick-up of Dallas Keuchel last offseason paid dividends immediately, and this add instantly makes the team stronger and deeper.
The return of Adam Eaton will be huge. too. Eloy Jimenez’ pectoral injury won’t haunt them as badly, as they will have a familiar face in the veteran Eaton they can slot at each of the three outfield spots. Former A’s closer Liam Hendriks ended their season in the first round, and he’ll now be closing games for the White Sox. Hendriks has recorded 39 out of 46 saves over the past two seasons.
Four of Chicago’s starting pitchers return for 2021, and the acquisition of former All-Star Lance Lynn will make it stronger. Chicago ranked sixth in the league with a 3.81 ERA. The White Sox’ rotation will be headed by ace Lucas Giolito.
Giolito turned a corner in the 2019 season, earning his first All-Star appearance after finishing with a 14-9 record and career bests in strikeouts (228) and ERA (3.41). The 6-foot-6 right-hander took that form into the 2020 season and led the White Sox in strikeouts with 97. Giolito was far more impressive than his 4-3 record, and he threw the first no-hitter in Chicago since Mark Buehrle in 2009.
The addition of Keuchel paid off. The former Cy Young Award winner signed a three-year 55.5 million contract, and was worth every penny. After a decent season in Atlanta, Keuchel came to Chicago threw for the lowest ERA of his career (1.99). He posted a 6-2 record and tossed 42 strikeouts.
Lynn will slide in here as the workhorse third starter. Chicago wants to build on the playoff appearance, and that’s why Lynn was brought over. The former World Series champion will eat up innings and bring in valuable postseason experience. Lynn recorded a 6-3 record and 89 strikeouts with Texas last season. He had seven double-digit win seasons prior to the shortened 2020 season; if the White Sox can get that kind of production from him this season, watch out. There’s a three-headed monster brewing in the South Side of Chicago.
Dylan Cease and Carlos Rodon round out the rotation, and if they can produce solid outings, they’ll be a tough out every night. Cease improved in his second season in the majors. Despite leading the MLB in walks (34), he improved his ERA from 5.79 to 4.01, and posted a winning record of 5-4. Rodon will receive another chance with Chicago this season after signing a one-year prove-it deal.
Hendriks will attempt to solidify a bullpen that was inconsistent last season. With solid relievers like Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall, and Jace Fry in place, Hendriks can come into the closer role immediately and thrive. Matt Foster and Garrett Crochet were two names to keep your eyes on.
Chicago is led offensively by Abreu. He was dominant during the 2020 season, leading the American League in RBI (60), slugging percentage (617), and hits (76). Abreu is one of the most rounded players in the league, and the White Sox can count on his production daily. Along with capturing the MVP award, Abreu snagged his third Silver Slugger Award.
The infield combination of Tim Anderson and Nick Madrigal presents both upside at the plate and in the field. Anderson is the best power hitter at his position, and he also captured the Silver Slugger as well. Anderson won the AL batting title in 2019, and hit 10 home runs last season. Madrigal had a solid first year in the majors, batting .340 through 30 games.
Jimenez is a stud in the outfield. The second-year left fielder had 14 homers and 41 RBI last season. His presence will be missed while he’s out with a torn pectoral muscle for 5-6 months. Luis Robert is back after a solid rookie season that saw him homer 11 times. Yasmani Grandal and Yoan Moncada bring strong veteran presences. Grandal has been one of the consistent backstops at the plate over the last decade, and he tallied eight home runs and 27 RBI in his first year in Chicago. Moncada had an impressive 2019, hitting 25 homers and 79 RBI from the third base spot. He’ll look to regain that steam this season.
If Chicago wants to build on its first playoff appearance since 2008, reigning AL MVP Abreu will need to have another great season. Abreu will be looking for his sixth 100+ RBI season and a second straight batting title. He’s the key to the White Sox engine.
With Jimenez out for at least half of the season, Chicago will need production from elsewhere. Anderson could cement his status as one of the best shortstops with a big 2021. He’s not the power hitter Jimenez is, but he’s versatile and can be slotted anywhere from leadoff to cleanup.
The potential three-headed monster at the top of the rotation has to excite fans coming off of a playoff season.Giolito is prepared to take the next steps, and the arms are in place for him to do so. The pickups of Keuchel and Lynn during back-to-back winters could pay off this season. The championship pedigree and postseason experience they bring will be helpful when Fall rolls around.
Chicago plays in one of the toughest divisions in the majors annually, so it might not be a breeze returning to the postseason, but they have the pieces to do it. The luxury of having a trio of arms like Giolity, Keuchel, and Lynn will be tested early with road trips to Los Angeles and Boston. Once Chicago finds their flow, you can look for them to win over 120 games this season.
The White Sox’ success in 2021 will depend on the offense. They will have to be more consistent and score more runs, so the burden is not worn by the pitchers night after night. Chicago has one of the best rotations in the entire American League, and if the offense continues its strong play, they will contend this season.