White Sox Entering Exciting Stage of Rebuilding Process
White Sox rebuild generating plenty of buzz with fans going into the 2018 season. Just how excited should fans be about this team?
As the White Sox rebuild creeps closer to the window of contention, which players will define the coming generation? Carlos Rodon, a core piece, is expected to return from injury, poised to make an impact early in 2018. The trajectory of former top prospect Yoan Moncada still, or perhaps again, seems like one of potential legend.
Year after year, Jose Abreu has put up solid numbers on the field, as well as providing a veteran presence for the youngsters. Hopefully, he won’t be traded this offseason or at the trade deadline this summer. As Matt Manetti writes, Tim Anderson is possibly more motivated and focused than ever entering the 2018 season. White Sox fans should be ecstatic. The Sox are ripe with major leaguers and prospects ready to make their mark in 2018 and beyond, but whose names will be remembered?
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As a kid, I remember Frank Thomas destroying baseballs, doing the splits at first base to help the throw barely beat the runner, and releasing “Big Hurt” branded shoes and video games. I recall Ozzie Guillen and Joey Cora flying around the middle infield, their sometimes flashy plays sparking my desire to play second base and shortstop. I even remember Julio Franco and Craig Grebeck playing some fine baseball during the strike-shortened 1994 season.
Franco already seemed a hundred years old. Little did I know, he would soon prove thirty-five was the new twenty-five. Grebeck was tiny, and I was even tinier because I was six-years-old. Either way, I identified him in ’94 as a kindred spirit during what was an effective partial season for him.
Why this White Sox fan is excited to see the next wave of talent and the next stage of the rebuilding process.
My son turns three this May. One of his favorite activities is throwing things. It’s quite menacing, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t notice how well he throws with his left hand. As a baseball fan and as part of a bowling family, this is fantastic news. Being left-handed is, in theory, a potential blessing in both baseball and bowling. The kid has only been to a bowling alley twice, so I can’t quite gauge his interest in the sport. However, there is a developing trend in my toddler’s life: a fascination with baseball and the White Sox.
When my son was only a few months old, the crowd noise of any sporting event on television in the background drew his attention. As he grew older, he showed more interest in the crack of the bat than the cracking of football helmets or squeaking of shoes on a basketball court. By the time he grew old enough to speak, I made sure baseball was one of his first fifty words.
Now, whether it be 2005 World Series videos, highlights on any number of sports shows, or scrolling through Twitter with me and watching clips like Eloy Jimenez take BP earlier in the week, he exclaims “Baseball!” with an unrivaled excitement. The Jimenez moment stuck with me, as I realized my little boy might be witnessing one of the stars of the not-so-distant future.
As the White Sox continue down the road of rebuilding, loading up on young talent, and preparing to add veterans to round out a contending lineup, their window should match up perfectly with my son’s first opportunity to watch, understand, and remember White Sox baseball.
Who will rise to stardom and White Sox lore?
When I look at the White Sox organizational roster, I wonder: which players from this current and near-future Sox club will my son remember? Who will he be when he pretends to pitch? The left-handed Rodon? Fireballer Michael Kopech? Their shaggy, wavy hair is pretty similar. Will he be Luis Robert patrolling the outfield? Maybe Jimenez crushing the ball on top of the Fan Deck at Guaranteed Rate Field?
Perhaps my son will pretend he is another one of the top prospects waiting in the wings, or even a veteran addition we have yet to see in the Pale Hose. Maybe my son will start throwing right-handed and making sensational defensive plays like Manny Machado? Machado potentially makes sense as a veteran addition via free agency, respectively, to take this roster to the next level during the open window of contention.
Next: How Will Jose Abreu Help Current Rebuild?
I don’t really know who my toddler will remember or who he will idolize, but I am unbelievably excited to watch the coming Sox, and I’m even more excited to witness my son experience his first White Sox team.