How terrible will the White Sox offense be this upcoming season? The South Siders offense has been mediocre the past two seasons.
Over the winter, many Chicago White Sox fans wanted the front office to trade away as many key players as possible. While that is a good strategy in a rebuild, the question is will they even need to in order to be awful in 2017? Here is a look at the potential struggles of the Sox offense this upcoming season.
Since the club lost key bats such as Adam Eaton, Justin Morneau, Austin Jackson, and both key contributors behind the plate, one would have to think quite a drop off is forthcoming. Considering those five players produced a combined 5.8 OWAR in ‘16, it makes sense that replacing them with Avisail Garcia, Omar Narvaez, and others will leave many holes in the Sox lineup.
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Given that Narvaez hit a respectable .267 in his short time with the Sox last season, he may not duplicate those numbers as scouts had several months to study his weaknesses. Regardless of whoever else ends up behind the plate, it is unlikely they will produce in a big way, as none are anything more than triple-A fillers at this stage of their career.
One of the main keys to their lineup depth is Garcia, which is disconcerting all in itself. If he fails to break out in 2017, Garcia will be another in a line of position player prospects the Sox have failed to develop. Regardless of his potential, he struggles to make contact, which can be seen by his 369 strikeouts in 1,429 career at bats.
Here is the biggest concern of all, that being depth. Just by looking at the top four in the lineup, it seems to be solid as Tim Anderson, Melky Cabrera, Jose Abreu, and Todd Frazier are all capable big league bats. However, once you get past them it is a major dropoff, which can be seen by the very streaky Brett Lawrie among others.
Another major issue with the depth is injuries and regression. For example, if the league figures out Anderson in 2017, or Cabrera doesn’t have the same year, all of a sudden the lineup looks to be a National League offense. Frazier may have streaky power (40 HR’s in ’16), but he is horribly flawed. He strikes out at a high rate (125 or more in the past four seasons), not to mention has a career average of .250. Only one man in the whole lineup is a complete hitter, and that would be Abreu (.299 career average, 25 or more HR’s ever year at the MLB level).
Overall, 2017 is destined to be a miserable season on the South Side. Thankfully, the organization has chosen a direction, and even though it is a bad one in the immediate future it will turn around in the long turn. The advantage to being awful on the field is that you receive a higher draft pick, which could turn into a star in short order.
Get ready for a long season, Sox fans.