White Sox 2017 season featured debuts of top prospects, veterans accomplishing historic feats and a player finally realizing his potential.
With 2017 coming to an end, it is time to reflect on the year. For the Chicago White Sox, the year was another stepping stone in the rebuilding process. The year saw them finish with a record of 67-95, good enough for fourth in the American League Central.
Though it’s not the ideal season outcome, when it comes to the White Sox, there were many positives. Positives such as young players giving us a hint of their potential, adding new pieces to our already great farm system, brief flashes of victory in style, and so on. Despite being out of the playoff hunt, our Southsiders gave us a lot to cheer for in the calendar year 2017.
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Of course, everyone had their personal favorite moments during the season. Whether it be a player interaction or just a moment during a game that stuck out, every fan could personally pick something out. In this instance, however, I decided to compile a list of the events that I believe we could all agree were highlights to us fans.
My list does not consist of a particular order, time-wise or event-wise. However, I figured there is no better place to start than with one of our generation’s greatest Sox being honored.
2017 White Sox Highlights
Mark Buehrle Day – June 24th, 2017
One of the greatest Sox of our generation, Mark Buehrle, had his number retired this year in a ceremony at Guaranteed Rate Field. It was a day of celebration of 35th & Shields, as the stands were packed with 38,618 eager fans awaiting the celebration of the man who played a huge part in bringing the World Series back to the South Side in 2005. The Sox went above and beyond to surprise both Buehrle and fans during the celebration. The ball from Buehrle’s famous between the legs play in 2010 was returned to the man who made it famous, Buehrle himself.
Yoan Moncada Debut – July 20th, 2017
The highly anticipated arrival of Moncada occurred in summer 2017. The White Sox finally decided to call up the number one prospect for their game against the Dodgers in Chicago on July 18. There was nothing special in particular about the game as the White Sox fell 9-1. Moncada went 0-for-2 with a walk. Though the game itself was not one that you would tell your grandkids about, it was one to remember. It was the beginning of the future. The first brick was placed in building the juggernaut that is the future White Sox.
Luis Robert Signing – May 20th, 2017
Speaking of the bricks in the rebuilding process, there was another huge addition prior to Moncada’s debut. Rick Hahn made a splash in the international market by signing the highly touted 19-year old Cuban outfielder Robert. Robert is yet another highly touted Cuban prospect to join the Sox, joining the likes of Alexei Ramirez and Jose Abreu. He was introduced in person to White Sox fans on May 27 at Guaranteed Rate Field, where he threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Eloy Jimenez Trade – July 13th, 2017
If anything about this celebratory list is bittersweet, it is the trade that brought Jimenez to the South Side. This is because we had to say goodbye to our ace and a fan favorite, Jose Quintana. However, in return, we received one of the most highly touted prospects in baseball in Jimenez. At the time, Jimenez was the eighth overall prospect in all of baseball. Today, he has the number five spot in the rankings. Along with Jimenez, the Sox also acquired 2014 draftee Dylan Cease. Today, Cease sits at number 58 overall in the prospect rankings.
Jose Abreu Cycle – September 9th, 2017
Abreu added to his already impressive list of feats with the White Sox, hitting for the cycle on Sept. 9 against the Giants. It was the seventh major league cycle of the season and sixth overall in franchise history. To make it a little bit better, the opposing starter in the game was former Sox pitcher Jeff Samardzija. The Sox routed the Giants in the game, winning 13-1. Abreu finished his cycle with a triple into the right-center gap in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Avisail Garcia‘s Seven RBI’s at Detroit – June 9th, 2017
Garcia alone made 2017 a great year. He had by far the best year of his career, and it was long awaited. He finished with one of the top averages in the league, hitting .330 with 18 home runs and 80 RBI’s. Seven of those 80 RBI’s came in one day, against his former team in Detroit.
Adam Engel Home Run Rob – August 9th, 2017
Engel used 2017 to make his name known to not only White Sox fans, but to the baseball world in general. His defense was beyond stellar, and it felt as if he were making a top-10 play every night. His most notable catch came in early August against the eventual world champion Houston Astros. Brian McCann sent a shot to the right-center wall that certainly would have cleared the fence if not for Engel. He climbed the fence and extended far above to snatch the missile hit by McCann, which earned him a cap tip from thankful pitcher Derek Holland. The play will be seen far beyond 2017 as it was a beauty and has already found its way onto every top play of 2017 presentation.
Nicky Delmonico Home Run to End Angel’s Playoff Hopes – September 28th, 2017
Delmonico also had himself quite a calendar year. One of the highlights of it was his game-winning blast against the Angels late in the season that not only ended the game, but the Angels playoff hopes as well. It was truly the final of many great in-game memories during the 2017 season.
White Sox Farm System Emergence
In saving arguably the most exciting for last, it couldn’t be a White Sox success list without noting the massive improvement of the once weak farm system. The rebuild began far before 2017, and some of the key pieces were acquired in 2016. However, Rick Hahn continued to work his magic throughout the season acquiring many big name prospects. At the conclusion of 2017, the White Sox currently have six players on the top-100 prospect list. The list consists of Jimenez, Michael Kopech, Robert, Blake Rutherford, Cease, and Alec Hansen. The White Sox sit comfortably in the top two or three in just about every farm system ranking.
Though 2017 didn’t bring the Sox any World Series rings, it was a very successful year in the eyes of those who sat and watched all season. The success came from progress, success to younger players, and continuing to build the juggernaut of a farm system. The year will serve as a huge stepping stone in the right direction for the Chicago White Sox. From here on out, they will look to build success off of a momentum-changing 2017.