What if the White Sox didn’t go on this rebuild path two years ago. Where would they be right now?
The White Sox are in the midst of a rebuild. Okay, that’s not breaking news. And most fans seemed to be highly onboard with this path. Rick Hahn was a genius, most people said. Hooray, they’ve finally seen the error in their ways and gotten smart. Those were the refrains we heard just less than two years ago.
Now? I’m hearing a few people starting to back track on those comments. Saying things like the rebuild is broken. Or it was a mistake. With Yoan Moncada‘s struggles and many injuries to key prospects, some fans are getting restless. Some thinking we should have never traded away Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and even Adam Eaton.
Yes, there are some out there that point to the current struggles and say the Sox should have built around their core guys instead of trading them away. Only time will tell if the rebuild was a success or not. But, just for fun, let’s take a look at where the Sox would be right now had they stayed the course.
First off, Sox fans would not be fretting over the current struggles of Moncada. Then, you wouldn’t see twitter filled with fans screaming for Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech to get called up. Nobody would be worrying about Reynaldo Lopez or Lucas Giolito‘s next start. Why?
The reality is that five of the top seven Sox prospects were acquired through trade. Same for the major league clubs starting second baseman and some of the starting rotation. Without those trades, the Sox top prospect would be Luis Robert, who has played less than 30 games stateside and is a couple years at best away from 35th and Shields. Who else?
Well, Nick Madrigal is the current no. 4 prospect and a rising star to get excited about. But would he really be here if the rebuild hadn’t been started? It’s doubtful the Sox, with Sale, Quintana, Eaton and Todd Frazier in the lineup, would have been the fourth worst team in the league last year.
So, take Madrigal out of the picture as well. Had the Sox gotten to about the 10th overall pick, they would have a Travis Swaggerty or perhaps a Matthew Liberatore in the fold. Possible top guys in the future, but not the buzz that Madrigal has.
So, where would the Sox be? Obviously, it’s impossible to know for sure, but let’s look at the records in 2014, 2015 and 2016. That’s 73-89, 76-86 and 78-84, respectively. Good for fourth place in the division every year. That’s WITH Sale, the perennial Cy Young candidate. Plus the rock steady Quintana and Carlos Rodon at the top of the rotation.
Does everybody that’s complaining about this rebuild and the lack of success at the major league level remember just a few years ago? Baseball Purgatory. Year after year of around .500 baseball. No real hope of top young prospects coming up to help. No chance of spending big on free agents.
Hahn said it best in 2016 that the Sox were mired in mediocrity. No matter the current struggles. No matter the lack of success at the major league level. No matter the seemingly slow development of some prospects. It’s still better than where we were.
Yes, the Sox had one of the best pitchers of this generation. Where did it get them? Purgatory, that’s where. No chance of winning and no hope for the future. But, at least now, there is hope. Hope that even half of the young prospects turn out like we think they will. Patience. It will be rewarded……..at least we hope.