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Chicago White Sox 2018: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Expert Insight

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

Scoreboard watching will not focus on Cleveland and Minnesota at Guaranteed Rate Field this summer. Charlotte, Birmingham and Winston-Salem will be the preferred ballparks to watch — again. That is a kind way to say the rebuild will continue for the Chicago White Sox, who have traded their best starting pitchers (Chris Sale, Jose Quintana), outfielders (Adam Eaton, Melky Cabrera), relievers (David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle), third baseman (Todd Frazier) and others since the end of the 2016 season.

That leaves a prospect-driven franchise with a handful of proven everyday players, one proven starter (on the downside of his career) and no proven bullpen arms as the Sox continue their push to contend in the American League Central by 2020.

Dynamic prospects, primarily acquired from the Red Sox, Cubs, Nationals and Yankees, will drive the process. Multiple pieces (second baseman Yoan Moncada, starters Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez) arrived last season. More help from Charlotte, Birmingham and Winston-Salem should arrive this summer from a farm system that has improved from one of the game’s five worst to five best.

Opposing Scouts Size Up the WHITE SOX

“I’m very impressed with the way they’re rebuilding. They could have been an 80-win team last year, but by trading elite players with years of control, they’ve really sped up the timeframe for their next true contender. Unless they unload Jose Abreu — who is very important both as a run producer and a mentor — their best trade chip could be Nate Jones. It almost hurts to watch him because of his terrible arm action, but if he can somehow stay healthy, they could turn him into another Tommy Kahnle and get a good haul in July. Avisail Garcia probably had a career year, and he did get lucky; his BABIP was almost .400. But he’s a solid player; he could absolutely start on a good team. They have some really high-ceiling guys in that lineup who will be there when they win, like Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson. I’m intrigued by Nicky Delmonico; he’s bounced around a little, but he looked really good over the last two months.”

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Beyond the Box Score

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Hawk's Farewell Flight

As much as Frank Thomas or any player, announcer Hawk Harrelson has been the face of the franchise for more than 30 years. But Harrelson will turn 77 in September — and that will be his final month as the TV play-by-play man. Harrelson moved into a reduced role of calling only road games last season. In 2018, he will work 20 games, handing the microphone to Jason Benetti.

The Magic of 2005

The White Sox have made the playoffs once since winning the 2005 World Series. Personalities from that team remain as popular today as they were then. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf recognized that, and the Sox signed two 2005 players (catcher A.J. Pierzynski and pitcher Jose Contreras) and a coach (Tim Raines) as team ambassadors. They’ll appear at select home games and team functions. Pierzynski has pledged to call one game on TV with Harrelson, his friend.

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Cuban Connection

Few teams have built stronger relationships with Cuban players than the White Sox. The 2005 champs featured Contreras and Orlando Hernandez. Alexei Ramirez played infield for eight seasons. This team features two Cuban stars — first baseman Jose Abreu and second baseman Yoan Moncada. Outfielder Luis Robert, signed for a $26 million bonus last year, is slotted to become the team’s center fielder by 2020.

Managerial Prospects

The team believes it has two of the best managerial prospects in the minors in former All-Star infielder Omar Vizquel and Justin Jirschele. After four years as a coach with Detroit, Vizquel will manage at High-A Winston-Salem. Jirschele, who will turn 28 in April, will return to Low-A Kannapolis, where he led the team into the playoffs last season as the youngest manager in the minor leagues.

Tough Luck Tilson

 Getting traded to the White Sox in July 2016 was the thrill of Charlie Tilson’s career after he grew up a Sox fan in suburban Chicago. He singled in his first game but left that game with a torn hamstring and missed the rest of the season. Expected to win the center field job last spring, Tilson suffered a stress reaction in his right ankle, an injury that led to other issues. He was unable to return until October, when he played nine games in the Arizona Fall League. Tilson is finally healthy and expected to compete for an outfield spot this spring. 

Projected Lineup

LINEUP
CF    Leury Garcia (S)
2B    Yoan Moncada (S)
1B    Jose Abreu (R)
RF    Avisail Garcia (R)
LF    Nicky Delmonico (L)
C    Welington Castillo (R)
DH    Matt Davidson (R)
SS    Tim Anderson (R)
3B    Yolmer Sanchez (S)
BENCH
C    Omar Narvaez (L)
INF    Tyler Saladino (R)
OF    Ryan Cordell (R)
INF    Casey Gillaspie (S)
ROTATION

RHP    James Shields

RHP    Miguel Gonzalez

LHP    Carlos Rodon
RHP    Lucas Giolito
RHP    Reynaldo Lopez
BULLPEN
RHP    Nate Jones

RHP    Joakim Soria

RHP    Juan Minaya
LHP    Luis Avilan

RHP    Danny Farquhar
RHP    Gregory Infante
LHP    Aaron Bummer