Chicago White Sox 2020: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

How will things shape up in the AL Central?

A 10-game improvement and string of individual statistical champions gave the White Sox feel-good talking points to launch 2020. But after seven straight losing seasons, all that matters on the South Side is the ability to finally move to the right side of .500.

 

The Sox made five moves to improve a lineup that features AL batting champion Tim Anderson and RBI leader Jose Abreu. Yasmani Grandal will lift the sagging on-base percentage. Nomar Mazara will be an upgrade in right field, and Edwin Encarnacion will ensure that the Sox no longer have the AL’s least productive DH.

 

General manager Rick Hahn needed to add two starting pitchers — and he delivered. The Sox whiffed in their pursuit of Zack Wheeler. But Hahn recruited 2015 Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, whose ground ball approach should play at Guaranteed Rate Field. Hahn also signed another lefty, Gio Gonzalez.

 

If Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodon exceed expectations as they return from Tommy John surgery and Luis Robert — who was signed to a long-term deal in early January — delivers on his potential as a top-five prospect in center field, the Sox figure to exceed .500.

 

Opposing Scouts Size Up the White Sox

Chicago White Sox logo“They can score a bunch of runs, but their rotation is still a question mark after Lucas Giolito — and we will see what they get from [Dallas] Keuchel. You can kind of see it coming together if they can get Carlos Rodon and Michael Kopech back healthy, and if Reynaldo Lopez gets some consistency, and Dylan Cease channels that great stuff. I do like their back three in the bullpen with Alex Colome, Jace Fry and Aaron Bummer. If they’re going to make some noise, they’ll have to win a lot of 7-6 kind of games, and they have the offense to make that possible. Yasmani Grandal was the steal of the winter; he’s a top-3 catcher in the game. Yoan Moncada is a one-man wrecking crew, with a lot of inner confidence and swagger, and Tim Anderson hits any fastball anywhere in the zone. Jose Abreu is as consistent a run producer as there is in the game, and with Eloy Jimenez on the rise, they have the chance to score a whole lot of runs, especially in a division without a lot of ace-type arms.”

 

Beyond the Box Score

 

Cooperstown Calling Once again, the White Sox will celebrate a Hall of Fame induction. A year after Harold Baines was voted into the Hall by the Veterans Committee, retired TV announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson won the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence. Harrelson, 78, continues to serve as a team ambassador.

 

2020 Athlon Sports Baseball PreviewWant more? Our new baseball magazine delivers full MLB team previews, fantasy insight, schedules, and predictions. Click to order your copy today or visit your local newsstand!
If You Build It The White Sox and Yankees will make an Iowa cornfield come alive Aug. 13 when they play a big league game at a temporary 8,000-seat stadium at the Dyersville Field of Dreams site. It will be the first big league game played in the state of Iowa. Fans will walk through a cornfield as they arrive at the stadium. The game will be nationally televised by Fox.

 

Being Flip Shortstop Tim Anderson stirred backlash last season because of his embrace of vigorous bat flips and insistence that he intended to have fun playing the game. The Sox will take their support of Anderson’s spirited approach up a notch on May 30 when they distribute 20,000 Tim Anderson Bat Flip bobbleheads for a game against the Twins. Don’t tell Royals starter Brad Keller, a vocal Anderson critic.

 

Frankly Speaking Ongoing struggles with on-base percentage and young hitters unwilling to walk inspired the Sox to shake up their coaching staff. Hitting coach Todd Steverson and assistant Greg Sparks were dismissed last October. They were replaced by former Marlins hitting coach Frank Menechino, who worked with the team’s top prospects in Charlotte last season. Although Menechino was a White Sox draft pick in 1993, he played for Oakland and Toronto in the big leagues.

 

Coop is Forever One of the great Chicago sports trivia questions is: Who was the White Sox pitching coach before Don Cooper? Even owner Jerry Reinsdorf has to look it up. Cooper will return for his 19th season, the longest tenure of any big-league pitching coach. He replaced Nardi Contreras in July 2002 — three Sox managers ago.

 

Tommy John Misery If anything has slowed the White Sox rebuild, it has been injuries, especially to pitchers. Former top pick Carlos Rodón was shut down for Tommy John surgery after seven appearances last spring. Top prospects Michael Kopech, Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert also missed either all or most of last season with Tommy John issues. Reliever Zack Burdi, a former first-round pick, returned from Tommy John surgery but was sidelined again after knee surgery.

 

Projected Lineup

 

LINEUP

2B    Leury Garcia (S)

SS    Tim Anderson (R)

3B    Yoan Moncada (S)

1B    Jose Abreu (R)

C      Yasmani Grandal (S)

LF    Eloy Jimenez (R)

DH    Edwin Encarnacion (R)

RF    Nomar Mazara (L)

CF    Luis Robert (R)

 

BENCH

C        James McCann (R)

C/1B   Zack Collins (L)

INF     Danny Mendick (R)

OF      Adam Engel (R)

 

ROTATION

RHP    Lucas Giolito

LHP    Dallas Keuchel

RHP    Reynaldo Lopez

RHP    Dylan Cease

LHP    Gio Gonzalez

 

BULLPEN

RHP     Alex Colome (C)

RHP     Steve Cishek

LHP     Aaron Bummer

RHP     Kelvin Herrera

LHP     Jace Fry

RHP     Evan Marshall
RHP    Jimmy Cordero

RHP     Carson Fulmer

 

2020 Prediction: 2nd in AL Central

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