Late Sunday afternoon, Tim Anderson grounded out to third base to end the 2017 Chicago White Sox season. A season in which the team’s future was decided before pitchers and catchers reported back in February.
The 2017 season was the beginning of a rebuild for the White Sox and all those involved were dreading having to go through the death march that is a rebuilding, non-competitive season.
In the end, it didn’t feel that bad especially with the arrow pointing up for the White Sox heading into 2018.
With two major trades that sent quality talent elsewhere before the start of the season on April 3rd, Opening Day could not have gotten off to a rockier start for the White Sox and their fan base.
The original Opening Day was confusing as a good portion of the fans showed up and were only treated to player introductions before the game postponed due to rain. The season would start the following day and saw Jose Quintana get roughed up in his first opening day start giving up five runs. Quintana’s early season struggles worried fans as they feared his inconsistencies would hurt his trade value.
They were wrong as Quintana would garner the biggest regular season acquisition for the White Sox as he was traded to the crosstown Chicago Cubs on July 13th as the Cubs sent back highly touted prospects in outfielder Eloy Jiminez and pitcher Dylan Cease.
During the first half of the White Sox season, fans were more interested the possibilities of trades for such White Sox players as Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, David Robertson, Tommy Kahle, and Miguel Gonzalez, all of who were traded during the season.
General manager Rick Hahn did his best to get the highest value for each player with the league knowing that the White Sox were looking to trade off assets already.
His most impressive trades actually received the lowest amount of attention as he traded relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers on July 25th in return for the Brewers 13th ranked prospect outfielder Ryan Cordell.
Two days later, Hahn traded another relief pitcher in Dan Jennings to the Tampa Bay Rays in return for first baseman Casey Gillaspie who was named the Rays’ 2016 Minor League Player of the Year.
The second half of the season was exciting for a different reason as a good portion of the minor league talent the White Sox had acquired in the off-season trades were called up to the majors to play the rest of the season.
The most exciting call-up was for second baseman Yoan Moncada who was the main piece for the White Sox in the Chris Sale trade.
In 53 games Moncada drew 28 walks and finished with a slash line of .230/.335/.743. Other prospects called up were pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Carson Fulmer who all pitched well in the month of September recording quality starts in most of their outings.
It is also important to note the achievements of two of the remaining veterans for the White Sox in first baseman Jose Abreu and outfielder Avasil Garcia.
Abreu made history as he posted his fourth consecutive season with 25+ home runs and over 100 RBIs driven to start a career joining only Albert Pujols and Joe DiMaggio as the only players in Major League history to do so.
Garcia had a season no one saw coming as he finished third in the majors for batting average as he hit .330 on the season and made the All-Star team for the first time. He improved his batting average by .85 points and his on base percentage by .73.
The White Sox added to the rebuild during the season as they signed the most-sought after international talent in outfielder Luis Robert on May 27th.
Robert is ranked third on the White Sox Top 30 Prospects list and ranks 22nd on MLB’s Top 100 Prospects List. He is one of six White Sox players on the Top 100 list, four of which rank in the top 50 of that list. In 2016, The White Sox had only two players rank on that list with none being in the top 50 of the list.
Unlike the 2016-17 offseason, The White Sox will not have a lot of major league talent to trade for minor league prospects as the only veteran talent they will feature will be Garcia and Abreu.
Hahn will look to sign mid-level free agents again with the hopes to flip them for prospects at the trade deadline just like did this season.
The team has the possibility to compete in 2018 or at least show signs of improvement from this season as their young talent will have another year of major league experience underneath their belt. Also, prospects such as Jiminez, Michael Kopech, Alec Hansen, and Zach Collins have the possibility of making their major league debut in 2018.
In a season that saw the White Sox lose 95 games and obtain the fourth overall pick in next years amateur draft, the season as a whole was more exciting than what it was initially expected to be.
The players on this season’s roster deserve a lot of recognition as they played hard and had fun as a team even with knowing what was expected all season long. Fans and the organization handled the first year of a rebuild as there were more positive vibes than negative vibes during the entirety of the season. When the White Sox are competitive once again, the 2017 season will serve as a fond memory for all as it will be looked at as where it all began for the White Sox future success.