Well, the COVID season is over for the White Sox, and it may not have ended the way Sox fans wanted it to, but by all accounts, the White Sox overachieved this season. Way back when, pre-COVID, the original PECOTA rankings had the Sox finishing 3rd in the division. Now obviously COVID had a huge effect on the season, but the Sox finished in 2nd place in the AL Central and only a game behind the division winning Twins. Speaking of the Twins, how about their post-season losing streaking hitting 18? Yikes.
Anyway, if it wasn’t for an epic collapse at the end of the season, the Sox could have won that division and had one of the top records in baseball. Winning the division or not, the Sox were still able to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and gave the fanbase something to cheer about when not many expected them to be in that position that quick.
Records, where you finish in the division, and making the playoffs in this COVID shortened season are all great, but when you dig a little deeper into this team, it’s easy to see the future is really bright for this White Sox team.
Let’s get this right out of the way… Luis Robert is gonna be an absolute stud. He slumped at the end of his rookie season here, but he left us with a hell of a parting note when he smashed the ball 487 ft. in game 3 against the Oakland A’s
— MLB (@MLB) October 1, 2020
As Hawk would say… Mercy! Robert had highlights like this all season and there’s no reason to think that his high level of play won’t continue for years to come.
Jose Abreu is a legitimate leader on this team and he might very well win the MVP in the AL. It’s always been the narrative that he was a mentor to the young guys and this season proved it. Luckily the Sox were able to lock him up with a 3-year deal this past off-season, so he’ll be around for at least 2 more seasons while the young core adjusts to the majors.
Speaking of MVP candidates, Tim Anderson having a winning a batting title wasn’t a fluke. He was right in the thick of the batting title race again this year and he brings an unreal energy to the team. This team goes as Timmy goes.
Lucas Giolito is a certified Ace on this squad. Remember when he pitched a no-hitter this season? Remember when he almost had another one in Game 1 of the playoffs? Enough said. He came into the season with people assuming he was the Ace of the team, but there’s no more assuming.
We also found out this year that Dane Dunning can pitch. He’s been dealing with injuries for years and if not for injuries last year, he probably would have been called up. Well, he finally got his shot this year and didn’t disappoint. He finished with 7 regular season starts in which he went 2-0 with a 3.97 ERA and the Sox only lost one of those games he started. Dunning will most likely round out the starting rotation next year.
Another guy that finally got his shot was Nick Madrigal and it appears his low strikeout rate has transferred to the majors. He finished the season with only 7 strikeouts. The next closest guys on the team were Adam Engel (19) and Danny Mendick (25). Everyone else was up in the 40+/50+ range. Very impressive for a first season.
I don’t want to end this without mentioning Eloy. He kind of gets lost with all the new guys coming up, Anderson making headlines, and Abreu getting MVP consideration, but he’s an awesome hitter in this lineup and like most everyone else on this team, he’s locked up for years to come. (same goes for Moncada, even though he had a down season)
The bottom line is that these young guys and some of the vets like Abreu and Grandal are locked up/under control for years to come:
- Luis Robert (2027)
- Yoan Moncada (2025)
- Eloy Jimenez (2026)
- Tim Anderson (2024)
- Nick Madrigal (2024)
- Yasmani Grandal (2023)
- Jose Abreu (2022)
- Lucas Giolito (2023)
- Dane Dunning (2024)
- Dylan Cease (2024)
You get the idea.
Some things will need to improve of course like starting pitching, finding an every day RF (maybe), and potentially new management, but let’s just focus on the good for a bit here after the playoff loss…We need positive vibes, ok? It sucks that the Sox didn’t make it further in the playoffs, but one thing’s for sure, the future is awful bright for these young White Sox.