2018: Record: 62 – 100
2018 Finish: 4th in the AL Central, 13th in the American League
Surprises in 2018
Over the last few years, the Chicago White Sox have traded away their best assets, opting for younger prospects and rebuilding the entire organization from the top down. Dealing pieces like Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Todd Frazier, José Quintana, Marcus Semien, Addison Reed, Tyler Flowers, and #2 Prospect Fernando Tatis, Jr., helped them bulk up their farm system, but the rewards have yet to be reaped.
Notably, the White Sox snagged two top pitching prospects in Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito, when they sent Adam Eaton to Washington. Two pitchers seemed poised to take the AL Central by storm in a similar manner that Michael Fulmer did in Detroit. Instead, Giolito struggled with command and Reynaldo Lopez showed inconsistent flashes of brilliance in his full year as a starter.
Let’s talk about both…
In regards to pleasant surprises, Reynaldo Lopez looks to be nasty in the coming years. Acquired from Washington after only one small stint with the big league club, Lopez spent most of 2017 with the White Sox Triple-A organization, the Charlotte Knights.
Hoping his minor league numbers would transfer to the majors, White Sox fans should be thrilled with what they saw from Lopez in 2018. The 7-10 record, as always, doesn’t tell the full story, as Lopez was possibly the most stable White Sox starter all year.
His 3.91 ERA was the lowest for Chicago starters, and his 1.272 WHIP was almost a mirror image of his Triple-A numbers. Another team-leading stat for Lopez was his 7.2 K/9, which although it doesn’t feel terrifically notable, is top-notch in regards to his fellow starters.
If 2018 is any indication of his abilities, 2019 should be even better as Lopez continues to trend upwards.
Disappointments in 2018
Lucas Giolito was the other piece sent to Chicago for Adam Eaton. Once heralded as the top pitching prospect in the game, Giolito showed solid growth within the Nationals system. With a few hiccups in his 4 starts for Washington in 2016, most pundits sluffed off Giolito’s lackluster performances as “growing pains” or “tough lessons”.
After being traded to Chicago, Giolito was also sent to the Charlotte Knights. In that 2017 season, he continued to struggle to the tune of a 4.48 ERA and a 1.407 WHIP. However, after joining the big league club late in the season, it appeared as though he had been reborn. Like a phoenix from the ashes, Giolito posted a 2.78 ERA and a 0.979 WHIP, in 7 MLB starts. The kid arrived in a big way.
The bad kid, however, arrived in 2018. Giolito’s 6.14 ERA and 1.477 WHIP were disappointing
Another glaring number to add insult to injury, were his earned runs.
When you’re struggling to find the plate, you’re going to attempt to groove one over for a strike. Think about a 3-0 count, the pitcher is normally just going to try and find the strike zone at any cost. Giolito was doing that with almost every pitch. That’s how he ended up with an MLB worst 118 Earned Runs surrendered.
To say Lucas Giolito was a disappointment in 2018 is an understatement. The guy was horrific.
Looking Ahead to 2019
All that said, it’s never too late to turn things around. As I mentioned before when discussing the Kansas City Royals, the AL Central is WIDE OPEN. The White Sox have one of the most insane farm systems in the league. I mean, a
When that farm system bears fruit, the rest of the division should watch out. My goodness. A rotation that includes Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech and Dane Dunning, all at very affordable prices? Sweet Jesus.
Within the White Sox’s Top 30 prospects, 6 are on the MLB’s Top 100 list, four in the top 50. That’s stunning. That’s youth. Will we see any of those young studs in 2019? It’s hard to tell, but then again Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito were brought up early than originally expected. So we’ll see.
Then add possibly bringing Manny Machado in for the next eight years.
Yeah, things could get interesting in the South Side of Chicago. Especially with this Stadium Giveaway:
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