White Sox 2018 Projected Opening Day Lineup against Royals

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 03: A general view of Guaranteed Rate Field as rain threatens the opening day game between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field on April 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 03: A general view of Guaranteed Rate Field as rain threatens the opening day game between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field on April 3, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

What will the White Sox lineup look like on Opening Day? Our Southside contributor provides a prediction on the South Siders lineup for Mar. 29.

With Opening Day ten days away, I took a look at the White Sox options in terms of the batting lineup. With a plethora of options with a number of multi-position-playing players, it was definitely a tough decision to accurately pinpoint a lineup that will display all the skills this team has. But after some research, I believe I helped make manager Rick Renteria’s job a bit easier.

Yoan Moncada – 2B

Beginning his sophomore season, the player with phenom potential Yoan Moncada has expressed his interest in leading off. According to Jose Romero, Moncada said he wants to see more pitches and likes the chance to show off his skills. And I agree. 

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Manager Rick Renteria has faith in the 22-year-old Cuban and believes Moncada knows where he fits in the lineup. He praised Moncada’s aggressiveness and ability to show that from both sides of the plate. With the manager on board, I think we can expect Moncada to lead off against the Royals March 29.  

Yolmer Sanchez – 3B

With his versatility, Yolmer Sanchez can play anywhere on the diamond, but third base is a good fit for him…for Opening Day. With the many ways the team can go, switching out different Designated Hitters to position players, Sanchez can see his fair share of at-bats at DH, but fitting him at third could be where he gets a majority of his time.

Looking to improve off of his .267 batting average last year, Sanchez is hitting .318 with a .348 on-base percentage this spring. Putting Sanchez in the two-hole and exposing him to more pitches and at-bats gives him a higher chance of improving on that .267 average. Plus his speed bodes well near the top of the order.

Avisail Garcia – RF

As the best offensive player on the team last year, Avisail Garcia has a lot to live up to this upcoming season. Many question his reliability and say last year was just a good year for him, but we saw a guy break out and perform at the potential we were promised, and I don’t see that going away.

With a slash of .330/.380/.506, he set the bar high for his future seasons. But even if he hits at or around .310, it should be considered a successful year. If he can get to about 25 home runs, I don’t think it’ll matter if he hits slightly under .300.

Currently hitting .390 in 41 at-bats this spring, I like to think we’re going to get a similar Avi to last year.

Jose Abreu – 1B

This is kind of the given. The strongest hitter on the team is going to hit either third or fourth. Considering Avi is more likely to have a higher batting average, though it is possible, I like giving him more at-bats and letting the Cuban Missile Jose Abreu bat clean-up.

He has had a bit of struggle this spring. Abreu has only seven hits in 38 at-bats, but two of those were home runs and one was a double. I’m not entirely concerned about Abreu’s offense because the power doesn’t look like it’s diminishing. Plus he’s rocking a beard this season.

Look for Abreu to hit about the same number of home runs, 33, and drive in the same amount of runs, 102, as he did last year.

Matt Davidson – DH

So close to his breakout, I like Matt Davidson hitting behind Abreu. With 26 home runs, his power pairs nicely with Abreu’s in terms of protection. My only concern would be his .220 average last season, but that is quickly erased after getting a look at 2018 Matty D.

This spring, he has a slash of .327/.411/.612. With three home runs and 16 runs batted in, Davidson more than proved himself worthy to hit behind Abreu. The strikeout number is still a bit high, 12 in 49 at-bats, but his seven walks counteract it well. Look for great things to come off the bat of number 24.,

Welington Castillo – C

Acquired this past offseason, placing catcher Welington Castillo behind Davidson I think will keep the line moving. Castillo has proven power with his career high 20 dingers and slugging at .490 percent last season. With one home run, this spring and a .524 slugging percentage in 21 at-bats, sixth in the lineup fits Castillo well.

He’s actually the one I’m most excited to see perform well. Signing Castillo bought catching prospect and potential starter Zack Collins a little bit of extra time in the minors to really fine tune his skill set. Rushing Collins would be a mistake that will be regretted. But Castillo, a solid catcher with average to above average defensive, fits nicely in the young and developing lineup.

Tim Anderson – SS

Definitely, and I think most can agree, seeing Tim Anderson underperform last season was the most disappointing part of 2017. On paper, Anderson had a bad year with a slash of .257/.276/.402. On the upside, he hit 17 home runs, but we as fans were promised a contact hitter who can steal bases when he gets on. But we see an impatient player with an incredibly low amount of walks.

But not all is lost in the speedy shortstop. Defensively, Anderson had a solid 2017. Though striking out quite a few amounts of times last season, 162, he’s only been K’d up 10 times in 46 at-bats this spring. Let’s also not overlook the fact that he closed out his 2017 season hitting  .327 with an on-base percentage of .345.

Leading off with Anderson is a poor choice considering his impatience. Putting him at the two hole is a risk because, again, of his low on-base percentage. He doesn’t fit at spots three through six and he does not hit ninth, so seven seems to be all Anderon’s…for now.

Nicky Delmonico – LF

Coming seemingly out of nowhere, Nicky Delmonico took the south side of Chicago by storm last year, quickly becoming a fan favorite. In 141 at-bats, Delmonico hit .262 with an on-base percentage of .373. He hit nine home runs and drove in 23. He also walked 23 times and struck out only 31 times.

With names like Eloy Jimenez, Blake Rutherford, and Luis Robert, it’s unclear how long Delmonico will last with the squad, but if he keeps doing what he’s doing and provides great numbers after a projected full season on the team, Renteria may have to rethink some aspects of the future of the team.

Adam Engel – CF

After doing a solid job filling in for the injured Charlie Tilson in 2017 and a solid spring, Adam Engel is the most likely to start in center this season. Most say Engel can lead off, and he can, but giving more at-bats to Moncada and Sanchez in the top two spots, I think will play more effectively as the season goes on.

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Nicknamed Superman for his outfield defense, Engel has proven himself defensively, with a few amazing robbing catches. But offensively, well, he hit .166 in 301 at-bats last season. With an on-base of .235, leading off with Engel isn’t the best bet. I hope this season he improves on all aspects offensively and proves me wrong.