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30 in 30

The Turf’s 30 in 30: The Chicago White Sox

The White Sox are green, but that’s not a bad thing.

SouthPaw by Brian Crawford is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Turf’s 30 in 30: The Chicago White Sox

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

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 to say the least. After his impressive call-up the season prior, Giolito struggled with command, issuing an AL-worst 90 walks in his 32 starts.

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, after dealing pieces like Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, and José Quintana, you’d hope so.

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:

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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