As we enter the sort of “middle” of the rebuild, things can only get better. Though some players performances in 2018 lead those to doubt the rebuild, the recent stats should ease some minds.
Dear those who say the White Sox rebuild will bust,
There are many moving parts involved in a full-scale rebuild. A general manager must take current stars and determine whether or not they will be able to stick around and win with the next generation. They must pull strings and complete deals to ensure a potential prospect or two is accurately worth what you are selling to the buyer.
In doing so, they must keep in mind the team’s morale and approval of the fans. Trading away a team captain or a fan-favorite can leave any organization in shambles…unless the return is worth it.
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General Manager Rick Hahn has been praised by fans of the White Sox for keeping the organization on the track for success in the next couple of years. Keeping in mind the moving parts listed above, and many more, Hahn has done a great job. Yes, while Adam Eaton and Chris Sale were viewed as fan favorites, getting three potential aces and the number one prospect in all of baseball at the time was enough to not get the fans too (too) upset.
So here we are, two years after the “official” beginning of the rebuild. Three prospects involved in those two trades are in the Majors and another knocking on the door. So what’s the problem?
A factor one can’t really actually predict is how a prospect will react to a slump, or a hot streak or even the Majors in general. Here in 2018, as we get over the metaphorical hump of the rebuild, many are starting to rethink the White Sox as potential contenders in the next couple of years.
In 109 innings pitched this year, Lucas Giolito, one of the predicted potential aces, holds a 6.09 ERA with 64 walks, and a 5.3 BB/9. Yoan Moncada, the number one prospect in baseball a year ago, is batting .232 with 137 strikeouts in 410 plate appearances. These numbers are easy backup for any rebuild-doubter. But what is failed to realize is what goes beyond the current numbers and what’s seen on paper.
In his last three starts, Giolito has pitched 19.2 innings giving up only five earned runs with 14 strikeouts. Before the three starts, his ERA was 6.93. In just three games, he’s brought it down to 6.09.
His runs given up per nine innings is 4.66 while the league average is at 5.10, meaning he’s doing better than average. Hitters are hitting .243 against Giolito this year and he’s striking out 13.9 percent of the batters he’s faced. Granted he’s walking 13 percent of the batters, but if he continues on his current hot streak of three straight quality starts, he will reduce the walk numbers.
Perhaps Giolito was bitten by the sophomore slump bug. Anyway, continuing his progress by working with pitching coach legend Don Cooper can only help the 24-year-old.
Another key part of the rebuild, Moncada, has seen his shares of struggles this season. He’s the reason many believe the rebuild is a bust, but there’s more to Moncada than what’s on paper.
Yes his .232/.308/.418 batting slash is pretty ugly, but it’s not all bad.
Just looking at the numbers, disregarding the fact that he’s viewed as the future, a second-year player with a .308 on-base percentage and .421 slugging percentage is not that bad. Throw in the fact that he’s hit 13 home runs and driven in 42 runs with 10 stolen bases and an OPS of .733, one would say he’s on pace for a pretty solid second year in the league. Keeping in mind the 137 strikeouts and .232 batting average at the end of July is a bit concerning, but he’s 23 years old and can only get better.
But being viewed as an average player is not a luxury Moncada has.
Yes, it is concerning he’s not hitting at least .270 and striking out a lot less, but the Sox aren’t viewed to be contenders for another two years at least. He has time to build off of his solid slugging percentage and 10 stolen bases.
Keep in mind, in the month of July, Moncada is batting a .268/.369/.493 slash with an OPS of .862. He’s hit three doubles, two triples, and three home runs.
The many moving parts make it extremely difficult for any general manager to take a team from worst to first. But in the case of Hahn and where the White Sox stand as of July 26, 2018, the odds of his team contending in the next couple years have not changed since the news broke about the Eaton and Sale trades. Hahn’s only built more trust with the fans by completing many other trades to ensure the White Sox are not only a contending team but a reigning team in the not-too-distant future.