White Sox: How Do The Starters Lineup Minus Chris Sale?

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Aug 4, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana (62) pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 4, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana (62) pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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White Sox starting rotation will be different this season without Chris Sale. How will rotation look on Opening Day?

When the Chicago White Sox shipped Chris Sale to Boston, it left a void in terms of the team’s number one starter. Even though the club no longer has Sale, 2016 All-Star Jose Quintana will head to Camelback Ranch as the team’s ace. Here is the potential 1-5 in the Sox rotation come Opening Day 2017.

1. Jose Quintana (LHP)

With Sale no longer in the picture, Quintana is clearly the best starter the Sox have. He has a career ERA of 3.41, while never exceeding 3.76 in any season. Durability has never been an issue, as he has made no less than 32 starts in every year since his rookie campaign of 2012. Even though he seems to run into a lot of tough luck, Quintana finally cracked the double-digit win barrier in 2016 by posting a 13-12 record.

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2. Carlos Rodon (LHP)

Rodon entered pro ball with much fanfare as he was the number three overall pick in the MLB Draft back in 2014. A lot of that has to do with overwhelming stuff, considering with the fact he has a plus fastball combined with a plus plus slider. If Rodon is able to command his fastball a bit better in 2017, not to mention improves his changeup, a breakout season could be in store for the young left-hander.

3. Miguel Gonzalez (RHP)

A pickup off of the scrap heap last April, Gonzalez revived his career on the South Side. Potentially on his way out of baseball, Gonzalez put together a solid 2016, by posting a 5-8 record but a 3.73 ERA. His win/loss record doesn’t tell the whole story, considering not only did he post a quality ERA but also a solid WHIP, which was 1.24 in 135 IP. Assuming he can repeat this performance, Gonzalez will be a solid asset to the Sox.

4. Derek Holland (LHP)

This is a bit more of a reclamation project than the others, as Holland has spent a significant amount of time on the disabled list over the past few years. The most starts he made in a season since 2014 is 20 (2016), not to mention his ERA has scraped five in 2015 and last sesaon. Considering Holland is only on a one-year deal, he could be flipped at the deadline for prospects, along with making room for a top prospect to enter the rotation.

5. James Shields (RHP)

Shields is hoping to reinvent himself over the next couple of seasons with the Sox. While he used to have an overpowering fastball, that is no longer the case as he only fanned 135 batters in 2016, which is by far a career-low in a full season. Assuming he cannot perfect his location with his heater, Shields will continue to post ERA’s north of six in the American League (6.77 with the Sox in 2016). Keep in mind Shields’ changeup is crucial, however command of his pitches will be more important than ever as his velocity continues to decrease.

Overall, these five will need to perform well in order to give the Sox any shot in 2017. With a below average offense, it will be tougher for them to win ballgames, putting more pressure on the pitching and significantly weakened outfield defense. Considering those factors, the margin for victory becomes razor thin, meaning too many subpar outings from starting pitching could lead to another 2013.

Next: Should White Sox Take Chance on Signing Matt Wieters?

Pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch on Tuesday, Sox fans? Does it seem as though winter is coming to an end?

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