On Wednesday, White Sox manager Rick Renteria all but confirmed the team’s five-man starting rotation for when the team’s season begins in one week.
There were no major surprises as the staff will follow as ordered: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez, and Carson Fulmer. The rotation will feature three starters who have never pitched a full season in the majors with two veteran starters the team is hoping can provide valuable trade assets for later in the season.
#whitesox starting rotation of (in order) Shields, Giolito, Lopez, Gonzalez, Fulmer "sounds right," manager Rick Renteria said.
— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) March 21, 2018
The one surprise for the staff to start the season was Fulmer being named the team’s fifth starter especially with his struggles in his Cactus League starts this spring. In five starts this spring, Fulmer gave up four runs and three walks in three starts. In his last outing, he allowed no hits and no runs over four innings while walking just three.
The rotation will most likely change throughout the seasons as former first-round pick, pitcher Carlos Rodon, is expected to return from shoulder surgery in June. Rodon has been viewed by many to be the potential “Ace” of the White Sox staff as he posted four consecutive quality starts last year in which he averaged seven strikeouts per start during that span.
Minor league pitching prospects Michael Kopech and Alec Hansen could also force changes to the rotation during the season as both have the potential to be mid-season call-ups this year. Kopech is regarded as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball as many baseball experts believe he can make his Major League debut as early as May but could go straight to the bullpen when brought up.
Hansen is as highly touted as Kopech according to a few scouts but is still seen as being a year away from being brought up to majors.
General Manager Rick Hahn and team management are hopeful that their three young starters can gain both experience and consistent success this season. As for the two veteran starter, they can be role models to their younger teammates by the way they handle themselves with each start. With the quantity of young pitching talent, it is vital for the White Sox pitching staff to find success early this season.