The Chicago White Sox bullpen made great strides from 2014 to 2015, but could it be even better in 2016? With the same core returning, not to mention new players brought in for depth purposes, I think the bullpen could end up better this year.
Here is why, even if a couple of guys go down to injury they still have serviceable, options in the minor leagues. Acquiring Tommy Kahnle from the Colorado Rockies, who played a major role in their pen last year, not to mention the possibility of Carson Fulmer being brought up at some point is key in all of this. Kahnle would make many Opening Day rosters, however due to a numbers crunch either him (which is the most likely in my opinion) or Matt Albers will be headed to Charlotte.
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Scott Carroll is another name to keep an eye on. Carroll has been able to come up and start a game here and there in his time on the South Side, however has been up and down between the minors, and Chicago. Carroll would also be an excellent option as a long man if that is ever needed, assuming some of the starters are not going deep enough into games.
The bulk of why I believe this bullpen could have above average success this season is due to the fact that the White Sox have a very good closer, that being David Robertson. Robertson has closed both for the White Sox, and the Yankees, excelling in both New York and Chicago.
Keep in mind that this is the guy who had to replace Mariano Rivera, so he knows how to handle pressure. Zach Duke is a solid set up man, not to mention a healthy Nate Jones has a chance to be good in late inning situations. Jake Petricka, and Zach Putnam also help out in the 7th inning, not to mention lefty Dan Jennings’ 2015 season was much better than his numbers indicated (a terrible first game in Kansas City destroyed his season statistics).
The White Sox have the necessary tools to have a successful bullpen in 2016. Keep one thing in mind, there is not part of a baseball team more unpredictable than a bullpen. Outside of a handful of closers, and a few setup men, the production of virtually every other bullpen arm is a crap-shoot. I think this is what makes the Royals bullpen so astounding. To have a run of dominance in that area of the team is rare, just because of how much elite talent you need in order to accomplish it. On paper the Sox have the ability to have a good bullpen, but that is nothing more than ink. Injuries, regression, among other factors play a huge role in determining if a bullpen will fail (or if they don’t happen succeed). All White Sox talk now is hype, and come April 4 we will see if it is real. I hope you are enjoying Spring Training Sox fans!