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White Sox series preview: A tale of two rebuilds

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Two teams eyeing the future.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Chicago White Sox Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

There is no one right way to do a rebuild, but the trendy thing to do has been to trade everything under the sun, field a lineup full of guys off the street, and build up assets in the minor leagues. The Astros and Cubs have followed this path to great success, but other clubs like the Phillies and Reds have stalled a bit in their rebuilds.

The Chicago White Sox have taken this route and seems on track to follow the path forged by their Windy City brothers to the north. In recent years, General Manager Rick Hahn has traded away third baseman Todd Frazier, outfielders Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera, and pitchers Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Tommy Kahnle, and David Robertson. In return he has received a stable full of prospects that has elevated the White Sox to the fourth-ranked minor league organization, according to Baseball America. But it has also left the White Sox with a roster full of has-beens and never-weres, with little chance of a winning season in the near future.

The Royals, on the other hand, have taken a different tack, placing a value on winning in the interim as they also keep an eye on the future. The club has sought to build up assets, but also found room in the budget to sign stop gaps like Mike Moustakas, Lucas Duda, and Jon Jay on the free agent market. The next few years could give a better idea of which approach is more successful.

The White Sox have a fairly young team - only two projected starters are over 30 years old, All-Star Jose Abreu and catcher Welington Castillo, signed over the winter as a free agent after spending a year in Baltimore. They have some pop in Abreu and 26 home runs last year out of Matt Davidson, with Nicky Delmonico provided surprising power at the end of last year. Still, they hit fewer home runs than the Royals, and were third-worst in the league with 186. The White Sox were in the bottom four in the league in nearly every offensive category, and that was with two league-average bats in Frazier and Cabrera that are gone this year.

All numbers are 2017 stats.

Chicago White Sox Projected Starting Lineup

Starting Lineup PA BA OBA SLG HR fWAR
Starting Lineup PA BA OBA SLG HR fWAR
2B Yoan Moncada (S) 231 .231 .338 .412 8 0.9
RF Avisail Garcia (R) 561 .330 .380 .506 18 4.2
1B Jose Abreu (R) 675 .304 .354 .552 33 4.1
DH Matt Davidson (R) 443 .220 .260 .452 26 -0.9
LF Nicky Delmonico (L) 166 .262 .373 .482 9 1.0
C Welington Castillo (R) 365 .282 .323 .490 20 2.7
SS Tim Anderson (R) 606 .257 .276 .402 17 0.2
3B Yolmer Sanchez (S) 534 .267 .319 .413 12 2.1
CF Adam Engel (R) 336 .166 .235 .282 6 -0.7
Bench PA BA OBA SLG HR fWAR
C Omar Narvaez (L) 295 .277 .373 .340 2 1.5
IF Leury Garcia (S) 326 .270 .316 .423 9 1.1
IF Tyler Saladino (R) 281 .178 .254 .229 0 -1.2

The pitching was pretty lousy last year as well, but there seems to be more immediate help on the horizon. Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez - both acquired from Washington for Eaton - showed some promise at the end of last year. Former first-round pick Carson Fulmer looks ready for the big leagues, and Carlos Rodon should be recovered from his shoulder injury by mid-season. Michael Kopech, one of the headliners from the Chris Sale trade, looked fantastic this spring, and could join the rotation by the end of the year, along with prospects Alec Hansen and even Dylan Cease.

In the meantime, it will be old friend James Shields starting on Opening Day. Yikes. Ned Yost is playing coy about who will start on Sunday for the Royals. I imagine it will be Jason Hammel, but perhaps Jason had problems carrying his luggage as well.

Projected pitching matchups

Thursday, 3:15 CT ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 fWAR
Thursday, 3:15 CT ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 fWAR
RHP James Shields 5.23 5.83 117.0 7.9 4.1 -0.2
LHP Danny Duffy 3.81 3.46 146.1 8.0 2.5 3.4
Saturday, 6:15 CT ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 fWAR
RHP Lucas Giolito 2.38 4.94 45.1 6.8 2.4 0.3
RHP Ian Kennedy 5.38 5.61 154.0 7.7 3.6 -0.2
Sunday, 1:15 CT ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 fWAR
RHP Reynaldo Lopez 4.72 4.75 47.2 5.7 2.6 0.6
RHP Jason Hammel 5.29 4.37 180.1 7.2 2.4 2.1

Old friend Joakim Soria, dealt to the White Sox over the off-season in a three-team trade that netted the Royals pitcher Trevor Oaks and infielder Erick Mejia, will share closing duties with Nate Jones. Gregory Infante is the only reliever who pitched at least 50 innings for the White Sox last year that returns in 2018. The rest of the staff is full of journeymen like Hector Santiago, Luis Avilan, and Danny Farquhar, as well as farmhands like Juan Minaya and Aaron Bummer.

The White Sox are building for the future, but that has left them with a Major League roster with a ton of holes. If the Royals want to put a premium on winning, they have a chance to get the season off to a good start.

Poll

How will the Royals fare against the White Sox?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Royals sweep
    (45 votes)
  • 45%
    Royals take 2 of 3
    (181 votes)
  • 28%
    White Sox take 2 of 3
    (113 votes)
  • 13%
    White Sox sweep
    (55 votes)
394 votes total Vote Now