White Sox: Early Attainable Goals for 2018 Season
White Sox enter second rebuilding season with plenty of excitement surrounding young talented players. What are some attainable goals for next season?
The White Sox had many goals coming into this past season. Many revolved around the younger players, the front office and even the players that were not even on the team. While the team did not perform very well this season, they checked off many of the goals they had coming into the year.
The younger players – Tim Anderson, Matt Davidson, Carlos Rodon – showed signs of improvement even through the growing pains of learning the MLB game. The front office made many moves throughout the season and stockpiled even more prospects for the future. Last but not least, the players not on the team – in Double-A and Triple-A – made drastic leaps of progress and were even promoted to the next level in many cases.
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This upcoming year, the goals are similar but with a few minor changes.
Last year, it was players with some major league experience who the Sox wanted to develop. It’s the same for 2018 but with a much bigger emphasis on development and improvement. Players like Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, and Reynaldo Lopez will need to get all the reps and games that they can get.
Moncada did not start to get a hang of the MLB game until the last month of his 2017 season, which he entered coming off an injury that kept him out for a while. Giolito and Lopez were also improving as the year went on. If both pitchers have a good Spring Training and take that into the regular season, they can be very dangerous earlier on in the year.
And just because the White Sox have become “The Team of the Future” with players like Moncada, Giolito and Lopez, that does not mean Anderson, Avisail Garcia and Rodon are no longer in need of development. Their development is key to the rebuild, as they are some of the youngest players with the most MLB service time on the club.
The Call Ups/Promotion
Similar to the development goal, another main goal for the White Sox as an organization will be to promote as many as prospects as the team sees fit, across all four levels of the organization. Giving players the opportunity to move up in the organization is the ultimate sign of confidence and direction.
Last season, Alec Hansen began the year at Single-A Kannapolis and ended the year with Double-A Birmingham. He continued to progress and improve with both promotions and ended the year with the most strikeouts across the entire minor leagues. Same with other high-rated prospects like Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech, making a move to the next level is both exciting and encouraging for the player and the team. It tells the player that the team believes in them and thinks they are ready for something bigger.
The team promoted most of their highly-rated prospects last season (Moncada, Lopez, Giolito, Nicky Delmonico, Jimenez, Kopech, Dane Dunning, Hansen, Zack Collins, and Carson Fulmer) and that’s where the most important and drastic part of their development takes place. Promotions and call ups are a great tool for measuring where a player stands in his development. If these players can match up and/or exceed their expectations after a promotion, the development is on track.
Don’t Panic, Have Fun – Never know what might happen
This is definitely not a goal that people will talk about but it’s important to remember not to let the pressure get the best of this team. This team has a chance to be very special and win a lot of games in a few years. For many of these players like Moncada, Jimenez and Kopech, they’ve been scouted and talked about for years now.
As these players are between the ages of 21-23 years old, the pressure is reaching the breaking point because they all will be entering the major leagues very soon. The best way to get rid of that pressure is to go out and remember that they do have the talent to be great and to not let the expectation downplay their experiences as young players.
Next: What Impact Will Eloy Jimenez Have on White Sox?
It’s been a few years now that teams in a rebuilding stage arrive a year or two early and the Sox have the opportunity to be next in line. Both the Brewers and the Twins had great seasons in 2017, but were not scheduled to “arrive” for at least another year. While it probably won’t happen next year, you never know in baseball. Nevertheless, the White Sox can’t forget to have some fun this year and let the game come to them.