White Sox: Predicting The 2018 South Siders Starting Rotation

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27: Starting pitcher Lucas Giolito
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27: Starting pitcher Lucas Giolito /
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CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 04: James Shields
CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 04: James Shields /
  1. James Shields? Alec Hansen!

The White Sox are stuck for the moment on who will be the fifth starter next season. The Sox still have James Shields for at least the next year but he’s been less than desirable to put it nicely. Holland had a chance to grab a spot on the rotation, but was recently released on Sept. 5. Shields however has the best chance to stay in the rotation only because he opted in and used his player option for the next two years. Might as well as use him if you want to save space for a bigger free agent. However, the White Sox should and probably will go with a different option. Especially if it’s the form of the deadly Alec Hansen.

Promoted twice this year, Hansen began his year with Class-A Kannapolis Intimidators, moved up to the Class-A Advanced Winston-Salem Dash, and ended his year with the Double-A Birmingham Barons. From July 6 to the end of the season, he only had one game with less than five strikeouts, including nine games with sseven strikeouts or more – even in Double-A where he had two starts with eight and nine strikeouts in five innings or work.

He was 11-8, with a 2.80 ERA, 1.117 WHIP and a 12.2 K/9 rate. If Hansen starts off the year with the Barons and continues to dominate as well as develop and improve, it’s possible he can be promoted to Triple-A in May or June. He could possibly move up to the big leagues in late August or September of next year.

The other option is having David Holmberg, Dylan Covey or another minor leaguer be the fifth starter. Also, what most people are expecting is signing another veteran free agent in the offseason. According to MLBTradeRumors.com, notable free agents include Jake Arrieta, Madison Bumgarner, Tyler Chatwood, and Gio Gonzalez. Regardless, if the Sox can comfortably and consistently put out Rodon, Giolito , Lopez, and Kopech next year, every game will be a must-watch.