The month of May last year almost signaled a turning point for the Chicago White Sox. After a very strong April, the team completely lost it in May, going just 11-17 in what turned out to be a disappointing season.
While Chicago made some desperate moves to try and stay afloat early, the team ultimately ended up as a below-.500 club causing them to be sellers in the offseason. In a couple of big trades, the team’s already done well restocking the farm with some high end talent. That talent figures to be the big storyline on the South Side instead of the wins and losses.
2016 Record: 78-84
2016 Moneyline Record: -6.30 Units
2016 Over/Under Total Record: 79-76-7
Current World Series Odds: +12000
Current Odds To Win AL: +5600
Current Odds To Win AL Central: +2500
Regular Season Win Total: 68.5
Gone are the team’s 2016 top pitcher and leader in OBP. In trading Chris Sale to the Red Sox and Adam Eaton to the Nationals, the White Sox added what are probably the team’s top four prospects as well as another top-10 guy.
Most of the added talent comes on the mound in Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning. Giolito and Lopez have both already seen a bit of big league time and each serve as depth to a still pretty good starting rotation given the makeup and direction of the team.
Look for Giolito and Lopez to get some starts, but more in the second half. To start the season, Jose Quintana is the ace though he could be trade bait at midseason. With Sale gone, a hurler that for a couple years was largely underrated now steps into the limelight. Quintana actually posted a lower ERA than Sale last year at 3.20. It was his third straight year south of 3.40.
Beyond Quintana, the Sox will go with young hurler Carlos Rodon and a number of veterans in Miguel Gonzalez, James Shields and Derek Holland. Each of those last three could also be trade chips if pitching well come July.
In the bullpen, David Robertson will look to have a better year—though he’s unlikely to end the season with Chicago as well. He was part of a number of rumors in the offseason and could still be moved even before opening day. He had a rough 2016 by his standards, but he’s still the most known commodity out there though Nate Jones and Dan Jennings had nice seasons, too.
On offense, the Sox return much of the same team—sans Eaton—that failed to be as good as the sum of its parts last year.
It’s truly amazing how a team with so many desirable pieces performed so badly after April. Todd Frazier has pop, though is average dipped considerably last year. Jose Abreu is a good player as is Melky Cabrera. Tim Anderson, meanwhile, had a rather solid rookie campaign and Brett Lawrie plays hard and has a lot of talent when he can stay on the field.
All in all, there’s enough guys here to put together a solid offense, yet, the team was ranked No. 11 in the American League last year in runs scored and that was no fluke either as they were dead last in runs the year prior.
On top of the consistent underperformance, the Sox lineup could very well be depleted come August 1 with guys like Cabrera, Abreu and Frazier all potentially on the move unless Chicago can get off to a red hot start like last year, only this time sustain it for a few more month.
April 3-6: vs. Tigers
April 7-9: vs. Twins
April 11-13: at Indians
April 14-16: at Twins
April 17-19: at Yankees
April 21-23: vs. Indians
April 24-26: vs. Royals
April 28-30: at Tigers
The Yankees will be the team’s lone departure from the AL Central in April as the team journey’s to the Big Apple to take on another rebuilding team. Overall, the April schedule doesn’t appear to be too difficult with the Indians and Tigers the only legitimate playoff contenders based on preseason prognosticators. That said, Chicago does have to face both Cleveland and Detroit twice in the month, once at home and once on the road.
To kick off the season, the Sox will be at home against the Tigers. The division rivals squaring off will provide for an interesting three games, but the talent level on these teams is a bit lopsided.
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The 2017 Major League Baseball season is tentatively set to begin on April 2, 2017, and feature three games, including the 2016 World Series champions Chicago Cubs facing off against the St. Louis Cardinals, which will be ESPN's first Sunday Night Baseball game of the year.
The 88th MLB All-Star Game will be hosted by the Miami Marlins and will be played at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017. It will be televised nationally on Fox.
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