Of the three big outfielders, only Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes remain on the board for the Chicago White Sox. The question is which makes more sense? For the purpose of this article, I am going to compare them by talent and need for the White Sox. Here we go:
Justin Upton is a player that never really reached his potential at the MLB level. He is a legit five-tool player, and has some similarities to Bo Jackson. Upton strikes out too much (over 120 times per season), however has a career OBP % of .352. Keep in mind that even with his elite speed, he is not a great base stealer. Even in a season where he is turned loose on the bathpaths, he will only steal 20 bags or so. With his speed, he should be stealing in the upwards of 40 plus.
Upton in the field has the ability to be a good right fielder. With a plus arm, not to mention speed to cover the alleys he could upgrade right field defensively over Garcia. However, he has spent the majority of the last three years in left field. That is a cause of concern for some teams, however I don’t think it is that big of a deal. Upton is more that capable of playing right field at a quality level.
Meanwhile, Yoenis Cespedes has some differences to Upton. Cespedes has the ability to be an impact player, and while Upton is really good, Cespedes changes the look of your lineup. If you don’t believe me, ask the 2014 Oakland Athletics.
I understand if you were to go and look at their statistics there would be very little difference (outside of 2015 where Cespedes went off), however there is a catch. Cespedes seems to be the kind of player that shows up when it matters most, when the game is on the line. I am not saying that he will hit a game-winning grand slam every game, just that you don’t want to walk a Jose Abreu type to face him.
Defensively there could be a bit of an issue. Cespedes is more of a left fielder, and while I think he as the ability to play right field (mostly based on his arm) he has little experience at that position. And while I believe he could pick it up quickly, it could be a bit of an issue.
Overall, I would rather have Cespedes due to the fact that he is such an impact bat in the middle of the order. The White Sox need as much protection as they can get for Jose Abreu, and Todd Frazier by himself is good but might not be enough.
Upton would be an excellent consolation prize, and would help out the White Sox tremendously. However, the White Sox don’t need a solid hitter. They need an impact hitter. Cespedes would bring them that, and maybe more. Will he come to the South Side? Only time will tell, but it would be a welcome sight to the middle of the order that needs power.