The bad news is that the Chicago White Sox won’t have their young pitching prospect Michael Kopech this season as he takes the season off for personal reasons, but the good news is, they have depth at the starting pitching position.
Going into the season, we knew the starting pitching rotation was going to be a little crowded and someone would probably be coming out of the bullpen, or the Sox may be tempted to go with a 6 man rotation. With Kopech now shut down, there will be less of a debate.
According to James Fegan, the rotation will look something like this:
White Sox rotation order will be Giolito, Keuchel, López, Cease, Rodón
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) July 23, 2020
A few things I’m surprised about:
Gonzalez will be pitching out of the pen? Remember the Sox signed him to a 1 year, $5 million deal this off-season. Maybe the Sox do a 6-man rotation due to this season being a sprint? Let’s keep an eye on how he will be used. He probably has a better case for one of the starting 5 over López, but maybe the club wants to see if he bounces back first. This could just be strategic though to provide long relief and have the starters pitch not as deep into games so they can manage the arms in this shortened season.
Carlos Rodón starting the season in the rotation. He’s continuously said he’s good to go, but I thought they would ease him back in after Tommy John surgery. He really must be good to go given his injury past. he had a pretty good showing in the final pre-season game. Maybe he comes back on an inning restriction? Hopefully he holds up. Since he’s injured a lot and the White Sox don’t have much control left with him and him being a Boras client, if he starts off the season and avoids injury, I think the Sox should seriously look at seeing what they can get for him in a trade. He’s going to want kind of big money and with his injury past, he might not be worth the risk. There is plenty of depth on this roster.
López in the 3rd spot. He had a very up and down year last year and got absolutely shelled in 4 of his final 6 games to end the season last year (6 ER, 6 ER, 5 ER, and 5 ER)… so it’s not like he went out on a high note. Not to mention his overall ERA of 5.38. However, Cease also got shelled last year in his first season in the bigs, and then Rodón, again, is coming back from surgery. I guess when you really break it down, it makes more sense that he’s in the 3 spot, but let’s see if he can get back to 2018 López.
In this shortened season, it’s really going to be interesting to see how the bullpen arms are used. There won’t be a lot of kind of conceding games, every one will count. The starting rotation is going to be locked in though. There won’t be breaks to re-adjust the rotation. However the pitching pans out, everyone is just happy baseball is back. Let’s get the season started.