2016 Record: 78-84
2016 Finish: 19th in MLB, 11th in AL
2016 in Review
To say that the Chicago White Sox left a lot to be desired in 2016 would be an understatement. What began as a circus of a Spring Training and a hot start to the season ended with the White Sox struggling to finish the season as close to .500 as possible. After the first month of play, the White Sox were up by six games in AL Central, by the end of May they were down two games and never recovered ground.
The offseason began with a bang as the ChiSox sent three prospects to the Dodgers and Reds in exchange for Cincinnati Reds 3B Todd Frazier. Frazier represented a big bat that would add power to the lineup, but also protection for José Abreu. The move has both paid off and not paid off, but we’ll get into that a bit later.
Off-field distractions took their toll on a White Sox team that had high expectations coming into this past season. The season started with the Drake LaRoche debacle that divided the Clubhouse and front office. The worst kind of arguments are the ones where everyone is wrong. Should team President have told Adam LaRoche to take his kid out of the locker room? Yea, he should have, but he should have never let the kid in the locker room to begin with. Should the White Sox players have gotten upset about that? Sure, they can. Should they call this 14-year old kid a leader? Absolutely not. Maybe that’s the problem. No leadership from anyone. Who’s running this team? Who is in charge of this circus?
The White Sox rotation has been made of up Chris Sale and four other guys for the past few years. However, this year the now ex-White Sox Ace had company at the top. Jose Quintana is here and you’ve been put on notice. This Columbian Lefty is the future of this ball club and with Chris Sale taking his attitude with him on his way out, Quintana is the pitcher to build around. As the number 2 in command for the South Side Sox, Quintana has been quietly having one great season after another great season.
But what gives Quintana the edge is that Chris Sale was trying to do everything by himself. The guy threw 6 complete games and struck out 233 batters on his way to a 17-10 record and a 3.34 ERA with a 1.037 Walks/Hits Per Inning. Do the White Sox need power pitching? The simple answer is no, but the more complex answer is: EVERYONE NEEDS IT. Quintana does the same amount of work but does it with finesse. Quintana threw 1.163 Walks/Hits per Inning, a 3.20 ERA and struck out 181 while winning 13 games and losing 12. Being on the losing side of games for the White Sox means very little, but winning 13 games is a triumph. In fact, the last person to win 13+ games in a season for the ChiSox was Chris Sale in 2015, a year in which he had identical numbers to Quintana in 2016. Quintana is about to explode and he’s the piece you rebuild around.
The unpopular opinion of this blog is going to be this: Todd Frazier had an off year. I know, I know, I know. How can a guy who hit 40 homers have had an off year? Easy. Simple. And stop yelling at me. Todd Frazier’s year was statistically worse than his previous in every offensive category except Home Runs (35 in 2015, 40 in 2016) and RBIs (89 in 2015, 98 in 2016). Frazier had 25 fewer hits, 22 fewer doubles, and struck out an additional 26 times in 2016. All in all, Frazier saw his batting average drop 30 points in his first year in black and white pinstripes.
Mets fans saw Jay Bruce’s offensive output decrease in his first time outside of Cincinnati, so whether this is a similar phenomenon has yet to be determined. However, with all of the hype surrounding Frazier’s first year in Chicago, 2016 is hopefully a fluke and not a habit. Perhaps putting all of the emphasis on Frazier as the power hitter in the lineup is too much pressure for the guy to handle. Regardless, I’m looking forward to Frazier bouncing back this upcoming season.
Since the end of the 2016 season, the Chicago White Sox have made some big moves with the future in mind. First, they shipped off Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox for essentially every prospect. In all seriousness, the White Sox got Yoan Moncada, the #1 prospect in baseball, as well as Michael Kopech, the #5 prospect in the Sox farm system, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz. The White Sox stole the Red Sox Farm System for Chris Sale. Their next move was even more dastardly, trading Adam Eaton for the best pitching prospect in the game, Lucas Giolito from the Nationals, along with Dane Dunning and Reynaldo Lopez. HIGHWAY ROBERRY. So the Sox are reinvesting in the future, something their crosstown rivals did five years ago. Hopefully, it pays off.