Which players should be named White Sox team MVP, Best Pitcher, and Rookie of the Year? 2017 was an exciting season for fans despite record.
The White Sox 2017 season is finally over but it will definitely be one to remember. It was the first year of hopefully a very successful rebuild. There were so many players that left and joined the team within a period of a few weeks and even though the Sox saw so much of their talent vanish, they still had players worthy of recognition. The Sox definitely didn’t have many candidates for American League Cy Young, MVP, and even Rookie of the Year, so Southside Showdown will give out those awards especially for this White Sox team.
Here they are:
Most Improved Player – Avisail Garcia
There was no competition for this award, probably even in the majors. This was a make or break season for Garcia. He was even in danger of losing his spot on a major league roster. But he ended up having his best season in the majors and balled out in a huge way. From his hitting to his hustle and his potential, Garcia was great for the Sox in 2017. He even earned his first of hopefully many All-Star appearances. Take a look at his numbers from 2016 compared to this season.
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2016: .245 AVG // .692 OPS // 101 hits // 51 RBI // 20 XBH // 12 HR // 413 AB
2017: .330 AVG // .885 OPS // 171 hits // 80 RBI // 32 XBH // 18 HR // 518 AB
Garcia had career highs in hits, total bases, doubles, triples, home runs, runs batted in, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He was one of the best hitters in baseball this year after having one of his worst years in majors in 2016. If that’s not improvement, I’m not sure what is.
Cy Young – Lucas Giolito
This was a little harder to decide because most of the best starting and relief pitchers were dealt in trades throughout the year. The White Sox Cy Young award goes to Giolito for his tremendous performances in his short time up in the big leagues. His 2017 numbers were a 3-3 record, with a 2.38 ERA, which was actually the best on Sox roster with 45 IP and best among all MLB rookie starters. He also had a 1.90 BAA, and a 0.95 WHIP.
In seven starts, Giolito pitched into the seventh inning in all but one start (sixth inning) and only allowed more than three runs once. He also recorded a quality start in all but one outing. The Sox are hoping that the big right-hander will be competing for an American League Cy Young Award in the near future.
His best starts were:
Aug. 28 vs. DET – 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER 4 SO, W
Sept. 3 vs. TBR – 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 10 SO, W
Sept. 24 vs. KCR – 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5 SO, W
Most Valuable Player – Jose Abreu
Abreu was fantastic yet again for the White Sox. He had his fourth straight season of at least .290 AVG, 175 H, 100 RBI, 25 HR, and .820 OPS. This season he finished in the top 10 in AL RBI, OPS, and batting average. He also finished in the top five in slugging percentage, hits, total bases (first), triples, run created and extra base hits (second).
He finished second on the Sox in batting average, and first in runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage. Abreu runs away with the White Sox MVP but with Garcia not very far behind him.
It’d be unfair to crown one of these two players the Sox Rookie of the Year and leave the other out in the cold. Smith had a very solid year for the Sox in 2017. He finished the year hitting .283 and had an OPS of .697. Smith had many timely hits and seemed to get a great grasp on his role as a catcher, especially with the younger pitchers. With Omar Narvaez having a solid year and Zack Collins not ready for the majors, Smith at 29 years-old, could lock down the catcher position for the Sox for at least next season.
Delmonico really emerged onto the scene as soon as he came up. He even broke the Sox record for the most games reaching base safely to start off a career (13 games). He ended the season with an OBP of .373 (second best among AL rookies) and an OPS of .856, very impressive for a first-year player. Delmonico also had very timely hits and home runs, most memorably his walk off shot versus the Angels that knocked the Halos out of playoff contention. Delmonico forced himself into the White Sox future after having a very solid 2017 in only 43 games.
For highlighting purposes, Yoan Moncada had a lackluster start in the majors but was came around in September. In September, he had a slash of .274/.343 /.463 , and had an eight game hitting streak. He did not record a hit in only seven of 23 games in September (26 for 95).
Let us know who you think was the MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year for the ChiSox!