The White Sox delivered a winning record last September; here’s how the team could continue winning in 2018.
Okay, for a moment let’s put on rose-colored glasses and suspend our disbelief: for the upcoming 2018 season, one of rebuild, what are the chances of the White Sox having a winning record or even make the playoffs? Forget the odds, if we believe it’s possible – and it is – how would they achieve this? What would need to happen?
As with most winning seasons, most if not all cylinders need to fire for the team. A bit of good fortune also helps, whether it’s getting the right bounces or not having many injuries. Over a 162 game season, all manner of things fortunate and not will tend to happen. Let’s break down the essential elements step by step, beginning with a foundation and building on that.
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When it comes to laying the foundation of a winning team, one begins with starting pitching. The Sox have a nucleus of young starting pitching with Carlos Rodon (age 25), Carson Fulmer and Reynaldo Lopez (each 24) and Lucas Gioloto (23). They represent the future, now. A pair of seasoned veterans in James Shields and Miguel Gonzalez round out the rotation. Frankly, no one knows how good this rotation could be. Each pitcher is capable of pitching quality starts or getting beat up. Assuming the positive, meaning effectiveness with few injuries, this staff certainly has the potential to keep the team in games with a chance to win.
Assuming the starting pitching delivers, will the team have enough consistent offensive production to win games? The answer here again might be a surprising yes. If Matt Davidson has a better and more healthy year in 2018, or if the team signs Mike Moustakas or some other reliable power hitter to step in at third base (which at this point they have not demonstrated an inclination to pursue), the infield along including catching could deliver 120 or more home runs.
Continued production by Avisail Garcia in right field, a full season of impact and good health from Nicky Delmonico in left field, and reasonable production out of whoever plays center field could increase that total to 160-180 home runs if not more. Assuming no significant injuries or disruptions, the answer to this question might well be in the affirmative.