Sep 17, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Chicago White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers (21) connects for a single in the third inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
The question for today is … what position players currently on the roster should be back for the 2015 season? There are some obvious ones, and some less obvious ones. Let’s take a closer look.
Tyler Flowers: Yes. Flowers has proven to be at least a valuable backup catcher. He may not be a star catcher, but he could be a solid backup catcher. The only way he could start on a competitive team is if he were at the bottom of an otherwise good order.
Adrian Nieto: Yes, but to the minors. Nieto has the potential to catch in the major leagues, but may need more time to develop. Triple-A in 2015 may be good for him, considering the White Sox had to keep him on their roster for all of 2014 so they wouldn’t lose him.
Josh Phegley: Yes, but also to the minors. He still needs more work, both at the plate and behind it if he wants to be a big league catcher.
Jose Abreu: Definitely Yes. Abreu is a Rookie of the Year candidate, and will probably win the award. He also would have been in the conversation for MVP had the White Sox been in the playoff race. He’s hit over 30 home runs and tallied over 100 RBIs in his first year.
Sep 16, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) is congratulated by team mates in the dugout after scoring in the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Carlos Sanchez: Yes. Sanchez can be a plus defender in time at second base, while also being a solid contact hitter.
Marcus Semien: Yes. Semien at worst is a utility player, and potentially could be a starter in the major leagues.
Conor Gillaspie: Yes. Even though he is not the power source that you would want out of a third baseman, he is still a good contact hitter. He could use some work defensively.
Alexei Ramirez: Yes. He could be moved in a trade, however he still is a Top 10 shortstop in MLB. Plus they still have him under control for a couple more years. It isn’t wise to trade a shortstop that is elite defensively, plus one that can hit. Unless the perfect package comes along.
Paul Konerko: No, he is retiring.
Andy Wilkins: No, because he seems to be overmatched against MLB pitching. Plus, he is not versatile defensively.
Leury Garcia: Maybe, if he can learn how to make more contact. He has elite speed, and could use that assuming he was able to reach base more often.
Avisail Garcia: Definitely yes. Garcia is a 5-tool talent, and needs time to develop. If he ever reaches his potential, he could be a perennial All-Star.
Sep 16, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Chicago White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia (26) breaks his bat in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Eaton: Definitely yes. Eaton is the White Sox leadoff man for the next 5-6 years (at least). The one concern with him is injuries, and if he can stay healthy they will have a spark plug at the top of the order.
Dayan Viciedo: Maybe, just due to the fact that it is so hard to find right-handed power. He is a butcher in the field, and could be a DH. He does struggle with plate discipline, however, which is why he can be a detriment both at plate and in the field.
Jordan Danks: No, even though he is a solid defender that can run, Danks has proven to be a Triple-A hitter. If he could ever hit like a fourth outfielder that would be one thing, however he probably won’t.
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Moises Sierra: Maybe, but that depends on what the team wants to do with their backups in the outfield. Sierra has a legit right-fielders arm, but isn’t the best defender otherwise. Sierra could be a solid backup outfielder.
Michael Taylor: No, he is just a September call up.
Most of these players are young, which is a good thing for a rebuilding team. What positions Rick Hahn chooses to improve for 2015 will depend a lot on the market, but there is not question that this team is headed in the right direction.