At one point in the offseason, it seemed that the White Sox were set up to easily defend their first AL Central title since 2008. Instead, the White Sox will face stiff competition for the division title in 2022, with the Minnesota Twins having made a big splash in the offseason by signing top free agent Carlos Correa. The remainder of the division is a little more behind, but it is clear that the White Sox are unlikely to have it all their own way this season.
When they’re weighing up the odds available at sites with the best new bet account offers, White Sox fans and MLB betting experts will have to take into account the strong lineup that the White Sox can put together.
When their best players aren’t out due to injury, the lineup is young, dynamic and explosive. The White Sox lineup is also notable for their patient approach at the plate, which saw them record the fourth-most walks and the third-best on-base percentage in the league last season.
Josh Harrison will take over at second base, which should help them improve in that area. Since he played every position except catcher and first base in 2021, he might find himself in the lineup every day, or the White Sox could elect to transfer him to more of a utility role. The Sox will also be looking for breakout seasons from Adam Engel, Andrew Vaughn and Gavin Sheets.
Except for Carlos Rodón, who signed a two-year deal with the San Francisco Giants in free agency, the majority of Chicago’s rotation returns from last season. Despite losing Rodón, who was an All-Star and finished fifth in AL Cy Young voting last season, the White Sox still have a lot of pitching depth and the White Sox bullpen is well stocked, with Joe Kelly and Kendall Graveman joining the team this summer.
Can they stay fit?
Last season, the White Sox were plagued by injuries. Every week, it seemed like their formidable roster suffered yet another setback. Eloy Jiménez was only able to feature in 55 games last year, while Luis Robert played in 68. José Abreu and Tim Anderson were both placed on the disabled list for lengthy periods. Nick Madrigal tore his hamstring as well, ruining his season before being traded to the Cubs in the Craig Kimbrel deal.
This time around, it will be much more difficult for them to be real contenders if their top players are expected to miss time, as the Twins are closing in on them, and the Tigers, who signed Michael Pineda and Javier Báez this offseason, could also make a surprise run in the division.
How to utilize Kopech
Returning to big league action for the first time since 2018, the 25-year-old largely pitched out of the bullpen last season. After being hailed as a top prospect for years, Kopech joined the White Sox rotation in 2018, but after only four MLB starts, he tore his UCL and had Tommy John surgery. He was out for the whole 2019 season. Then, in 2020, Kopech decided to forego the shortened season. Because Kopech missed the entire 2019 and 2020 seasons and only threw 69 1/3 regular-season innings in 2021, the White Sox will most likely proceed with caution and a strict pitch count when he returns to the rotation.
But there is no doubt about his huge potential. Although he mostly relies on his four-seamer and slider, he has a nasty slider, and his walk rates could improve once he’s out of the bullpen. If he has a breakout year, that could give the White Sox another dimension.
Focus on October
On paper, this team appears to be destined for the postseason. Last year, though, this was also the case. In the ALDS, the White Sox faced a potent Houston Astros offense, but the 1-2-3 of Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn and Carlos Rodón should have kept the series close.
The Astros won the series 3-1, outscoring the White Sox 31-18. The White Sox are well past the stage of rebuilding, and their time has come. The question for the White Sox this season is not whether they have the depth to reach the conference final – it’s whether they can do it right now. The talent is there; now it’s simply a matter of them staying healthy, making the right calls and putting it all together.
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