Chicago White Sox 2019: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

How will things shape up in the AL Central?

The safest prediction to make for the White Sox is that 2019 cannot be as miserable as 2018, even if the franchise manages to lose 100 games again.


It couldn’t be. Not after relief pitcher Danny Farquhar nearly died in the dugout with a blood clot on his brain in April. And 2017 top draft pick Jake Burger ruptured his left Achilles tendon in spring training before tearing it a second time in May. And top pitching prospect Michael Kopech was shut down for Tommy John surgery in early September after making four impressive starts in the big leagues. And the team’s aggressive rebuilding push was stalled when other top prospects Zack Burdi, Dane Dunning, Alec Hansen, Micker Adolfo and Luis Robert lost significant development time to injuries. The Sox needed more than a talent infusion — they needed an exorcism.


Add that backdrop to a team that set the major league record for strikeouts and lost 27 of its first 36 games, and the Sox have to be better this season, especially with the additions of Ivan Nova to the starting rotation, Alex Colome to the bullpen, catcher James McCann and first baseman Yonder Alonso.


But the primary improvement must come from the team’s young veterans as well as the touted arrivals from the farm system. 

 

Opposing Scouts Size Up the White Sox

Chicago White Sox logo“Their farm system is definitely better than most, and it’s safe to say they’ll at least be competitive before the Tigers and the Royals, and maybe the Twins, too. But they’re still several key pieces away from relevance. I did like their offseason trades for Yonder Alonso and Ivan Nova, both solid professionals who bring this team closer to respectability. Even so, Jose Abreu might be the only everyday guy who could start for most teams. The Michael Kopech elbow injury really hurts, especially because Lucas Giolito has regressed from ace-in-waiting to a guy whose stuff just doesn’t fool big league hitters. Carlos Rodon had his moments, but he’s got to step up now and do it for 30 starts, and while Carson Fulmer is intriguing, he’s really struggled with command. Maybe Nova, the ultimate strike-thrower, can be a positive example for him. They’ve got toolsy guys up the middle in Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson, but they swing and miss way too often. Daniel Palka strikes out a lot too, but at least he hit for more power.”


Beyond the Box Score

End of an Era, Part I From 2002-18, the White Sox led the American League in fewest player days missed eight times. They finished second four times and third once. Sox management has always credited Herm Schneider, who joined the team’s training staff in 1979. Schneider’s 40-season run is over. At 66, Schneider accepted owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s invitation to become the team’s trainer emeritus. GM Rick Hahn said it was “impossible to overstate” Schneider’s value to the team.


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End of an Era, Part II Hawk Harrelson made his farewell tour with the Sox last season, calling primarily Sunday home games on the team’s TV network. This summer, for the first time since 1990, Harrelson will not call any Sox games. He signed off last September, although he remains available as a goodwill ambassador. Harrelson’s replacement is Jason Benetti, a rising star in the broadcasting world. 


Hall of Fame Hot Take Harold Baines did not expect to be rewarded with a Hall of Fame plaque. White Sox fans did not expect Baines to join Frank Thomas and other team legends in Cooperstown, N.Y. But in a fiercely debated decision, Baines earned 12 of 16 votes from the Hall’s Modern Day Committee, a group that included Reinsdorf and former Sox manager Tony LaRussa. Baines, who delivered 2,866 hits, will be inducted July 21.

 
Palkamania For a fan base that is starving for a star, Daniel Palka has blue-collar qualities that resonate. He was 26 when he arrived in the big leagues last season and drilled 27 home runs in 417 at bats. Palka, who was discarded by the Diamondbacks and Twins, showed an appreciation for Sox fans who sit in the right field corner in Section 108 at Guaranteed Rate Field, tossing them baseballs, posing for pictures and responding to their 
@fromthe108 tweets.


Happy Anniversary Until Mark Buehrle, Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko delivered in 2005, the Go-Go White Sox of 1959 served as the team’s last World Series club. The Sox will celebrate the 60-year anniversary of that club, which lost a six-game World Series to the Dodgers, this summer. Shortstop Luis Aparicio, catcher Johnny Romano and pitchers Barry Latman and Gary Peters are some of the still-living players from that team.


Six-Day Turnaround The White Sox have not shared their plans for left-handed pitcher Ian Clarkin, but don’t be surprised if Clarkin makes his way to the Sox bullpen. Acquired from the Yankees in the David Robertson/Todd Frazier trade in 2017, Clarkin won four games at Class AA Birmingham. In early November, Clarkin was claimed on waivers by the Cubs, but six days later, the White Sox brought him back, claiming Clarkin on waivers from the Cubs. A former first-round pick, Clarkin was added to the 40-man roster and will try to make the staff in spring training.


Projected Lineup

 

LINEUP

2B  Yoan Moncada (S)
1B  Jose Abreu (R)
3B  Yolmer Sanchez (S)
DH Yonder Alonso (L)
LF  Eloy Jimenez (R)
RF  Daniel Palka (L)
SS  Tim Anderson (R)
C   Welington Castillo (R) 
CF  Adam Engel (R)

 

BENCH

C    James McCann (R)
INF Jose Rondon (R)
OF  Nicky Delmonico (L)
OF  Leury Garcia (S)

 

ROTATION

LHP  Carlos Rodon
RHP  Reynaldo Lopez
RHP  Ivan Nova
RHP  Lucas Giolito
RHP  Dylan Covey

 

BULLPEN

RHP Kelvin Herrera (C)

RHP  Alex Colome 
RHP  Nate Jones
RHP  Juan Minaya
RHP  Ian Hamilton
RHP  Jordan Stephens
LHP  Jace Fry

 

2019 PREDICTION

3rd AL Central 

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