White Sox: Probable 2019 Starting Lineup for South Siders
With a bevy of young prospects, what will White Sox lineup look like in 2019? Could 2019 be a successful season on the South Side?
The White Sox are finally beginning to take the shape of a team in rebuild mode. After a nice start to the season, the Sox had another abysmal May for the second straight year. Where the wins were becoming a nice and welcomed surprise, the losses are starting to pile up. The Sox had an 11-18 record in May and are currently 6-8 in June. They’re 30-36 this season – second-worst record in the American League – and are sitting in last place of the Central Division.
It’s been a rough few weeks for the Sox but this was supposed to happened. The sole focus of this team has been the future with a loss now – win later mentality. The lose now – win later mentality is starting to look like a great idea with how the prospects down on the farm have been performing this season. Even more encouraging for the Sox is the draft has provided even more talent for the future.
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The 2017 Draft saw the White Sox pick third baseman Jake Burger with the 11th overall pick and first baseman Gavin Sheets with their second round pick. Two of the team’s main concerns going forward is the future of third and first base and who is going to fill those positions in the years to come. With Todd Frazier potentially on his way out this season and Matt Davidson still with much to prove, the Sox selected one of the NCAA’s best hitters in Burger to take over the hot corner in the future. At first base, Jose Abreu signed a one-year deal and just turned 30-years old this season. The Sox are also hoping Sheets could be a potential fill-in for Abreu if Davidson – who also plays first base – doesn’t pan out.
With these two players, the future of the Sox is a little clearer but more importantly looks even more dangerous when the time to compete arrives. Many of the prospects down at Triple-A and Double-A have been playing very well and seem to be on their way to the big leagues sooner rather than later. As exciting as that is, this is what Sox fans can expect the 2019 lineup to look like:
Batting first is shortstop Anderson. Anderson is set to be the shortstop for the White Sox for a long time. He had a very productive rookie season and the team is hopeful he can build on last season and continue to develop into a great player. The only main concern moving forward is his glove as he currently leads the Majors with 15 errors.
Batting second will either be Willy Garcia or Basabe in the left fielder spot. Garcia is a big, athletic player with great power. In his 24 MLB games this season, he’s hitting .230 with an OBP of .290 and a slugging percentage of .377. With some fine-tuning and much more experience, the 24-year-old big outfielder can be a dangerous force to deal with in the two-spot.
The highlight of this lineup is the Sox No. 1 prospect Moncada. In the three spot, Moncada can hit for both contact and power and can also run the bases very well as he has done this season at Triple-A Charlotte. In 2019 with a year – maybe a year and a half – of MLB experience, the White Sox can start to expect Moncada to make a major impact and be the player they traded Chris Sale for.
The latest signature signing for the White Sox is set to be the next premier young slugger. Robert was signed to a $26 million deal because of his amazing batting skills and hitting instinct. In his first game with the Sox organization, he smacked his first home run in his second at-bat. He’s a premier athlete with five-tool abilities at 6’3” with tremendous power who can definitely rake in the cleanup spot.
Avisail Garcia was an afterthought when the rebuilding process was just beginning. Now, not only is he one of the best players on the team but he appears to be one of the most important players in the rebuilding process. He’s on his way to earning a well-deserved spot on the All-Star team. If he can continue to play at an All-Star level until 2019, he can definitely be one of the most productive players the Sox have when they are ready to compete. With his incredible performance in the batters’ box this season, hitting for singles, doubles, home runs and ultimately scoring runs, spots 2-5 are perfect for Avisail Garcia.
The first base spot is still up in the air. Abreu signed a one-year-deal and could be traded for a good haul of prospects. He has been one of, if not, the best hitter the Sox have had since he joined the team in 2014. In 2019, he’ll be 32 and maybe not as productive, but it’s almost certain that the Sox would love to keep him. The White Sox have just recently drafted the previously mentioned Sheets who is listed as a first baseman. For now, the first base spot remains open.
Batting seventh and hitting DH is current White Sox slugger Davidson. Davidson has been the personification of boom-or-bust this season, leading the team in both strikeouts and home runs in almost 10 less games and 60 less plate appearances than his everyday teammates. If Davidson can develop a better plate discipline and hone in on his approach at the plate, he will torment opposing pitching with his absurd power. Davidson can also play first and/or third base.
Batting eighth and playing third base is this year’s first round pick. A White Sox fan with the last name Burger screams fan favorite. As with first base, third base remains wide open which is probably why the Sox selected a third baseman with their first draft pick. Burger was second in home runs in the NCAA this past season with a .648 slugging percentage. He’s heavily rumored to be a major power bat so the eighth spot is not set in stone but Burger’s spot in the lineup might be.
Catcher has been a very tough position for the White Sox to fill. Looking back at these past few seasons, the search for an everyday catcher goes all the way back to almost a decade. Catchers like Tyler Flowers, Hector Sanchez, Josh Phegley, and Adrian Nieto were less than desirable but the Sox have placed their hopes on 22-year-old catcher Collins. Collins is the only catcher on the White Sox Top 30 prospec list.
Collins is said to have a very good eye at the plate and was one of the best hitters of last year’s draft. He led the NCAA in walks in 2016 and is currently the leading Carolina League in walks. His 10 home runs are also fifth-best in the league. His defense still needs a lot of work but has room to improve over the next two seasons in the minor leagues. Continuing tradition, the Sox have struggled to fill the catcher this season, playing the underwhelming trio of Geovany Soto, Omar Narvaez, and Kevan Smith. So as far as the Sox are concerned, the 2019 catcher’s spot is Collins to lose.
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The order of this lineup is extremely tentative and can move around easily but the players and positions listed are a very likely possibility which is very promising for the Sox. A lineup consisting of these young players – with of the exception of Abreu – all currently listed 25 years or younger shows just exactly how prosperous the future of the Sox is going to be.