White Sox: Breakdown of Opening Day Lineup and Roster
Southside Showdown reviews White Sox Opening Day starting lineup and roster. Who will surprise this season? Which players will struggle?
A few hours before Monday’s postponed game, the Chicago White Sox Opening Day lineup was released. There are no doubts that this starting lineup will change many times over the season, hopefully featuring a few of the acquired prospects, but breaking down the team that Sox manager Rick Renteria will start the season with, there are a few no brainers and few surprises.
Leading off was Tyler Saladino who earned the vacant second base spot in Spring Training over teammates Yolmer Sanchez and Leury Garcia. After the release of Brett Lawrie, Saladino was the best option at second base after both Sanchez and Garcia continued to struggle at the plate.
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In the second spot was shortstop Tim Anderson, no surprise there. He had a great rookie season and just signed a huge 6-year deal last week. The Sox are hoping Anderson can build on his very successful 2016 season.
Third, in left field was Melky Cabrera, one of the few starters from last season. Cabrera had a very productive year and looks to continue his success that goes largely unnoticed. He hit .296 with 175 hits, 14 home runs, 42 doubles, 86 RBI and only 69 strikeouts.
At first base, Jose Abreu was slotted in the cleanup spot and rightfully so. He’s the best hitter the White Sox have had since he arrived in 2014 hitting at least 25 home runs, driving in at least 100 RBI and hitting at least .290 in the past three seasons.
In the five-hole was slugger Todd Frazier at third base. Again, no surprise there but on the bench was the former highly-rated prospect third baseman Matt Davidson. The White Sox signed Frazier on a one-year deal so his future, especially at the trade deadline, is very much in question with a backup in Davidson. In the heart of the order, Frazier hit 40 home runs last season.
Surprisingly, batting sixth and the designated hitter was outfielder Cody Asche. Asche had a decent Spring, hitting .289, logging 13 hits, four home runs and nine RBI. However he does not have that DH spot secured. He could even lose his spot in the lineup to the aforementioned Davidson.
Seventh and in right field was Avisail Garcia, who won the spot by default. He has shown a few flashes of greatness but too few to count in his time in Chicago. Garcia needs to have a better season than his previous two to keep his spot in the lineup.
Eighth was another surprise. Catcher Omar Narvaez was slotted at the bottom of the lineup after a solid showing at the end of last season. He had a decent Spring but won his spot mainly because of lack of depth. The only competition Narvaez has on the Major League roster is veteran catcher Geovany Soto, who has had his fair share of MLB playing time with limited success.
In center and finishing off the lineup was the story of the Spring, outfielder Jacob May. After the trade of Adam Eaton and the injury to Charlie Tilson, the opportunity for May to make it to the Majors had finally presented itself. He was one of the best players this Spring and Renteria and the staff rewarded the 25-year-old.
In addition to the Opening Day lineup and rotation, the full 25-man roster was announced. Among the notables were Dylan Covey and Anthony Swarzak, who are both in consideration to take Carlos Rodon’s missing spot in the rotation. The rest of the rotation will remain the same, with Jose Quintana first, then James Shields, Derek Holland and Miguel Gonzalez. Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam were also noteworthy additions to the roster. The pair of relief pitchers are both are returning from season-ending injuries.
Next: Jose Quintana Struggles In Season Opener
Overall, after the initial evaluation and assessment, the coaching staff has filled in the missing gaps in the everyday roster. It might take some time to fine-tune and readjust some pieces but it’s expected with the growing pains of the rebuilding process.