While there is no Manny Machado in White Sox camp, some of the future core players who are there are showing strong signs of improvement.
The “time heals all wounds” saying is going to be put to the test with White Sox fans in the coming days, weeks and years. The wound of not just not getting Manny Machado or Bryce Harper, but the way the front office totally bungled their free agent pursuits and then tried to justify it will probably never heal.
However, there are still White Sox players in spring camp that are crucial to this rebuild who are showing the promise we expected from them. Guys like current shortstop Tim Anderson and third baseman Yoan Moncada. Future stars (hopefully) such as outfielders Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, and Micker Adolfo.
Yes, it’s just spring training and it has no indication of how the regular season will play out, but, positive news is still positive news. And right now, Sox fans need all they can get.
Anderson has been on fire at the plate, hitting at a .500 clip over the first week of games. Moncada hasn’t let a new defensive position affect his offense as he’s hitting at a .469 clip. Too early to get excited? Absolutely. But, perhaps, just perhaps, the outright anger of fans at not adding Machado to the team has put a chip on the shoulders of the current players.
It certainly has on Anderson. His “you’re either with us or you’re not” attitude shows he seems ready to become a vocal leader on the team. While we have tired of the whole “he’s a good leader” narrative the Sox front office feeds us about the past their prime, low tier and yes, “cheap” free agents they acquire, it is nice to see this attitude from a possible future core piece. If his play doesn’t improve as incrementally as it did last season, both offensively and defensively, it will fall on deaf years.
But, at least at this early stage, Anderson seems to be a man on a mission. He won’t make fans forget about Machado, but, he could help lessen the pain a little.
Moncada, needs a big bounce back year. Although his stats from last year weren’t horrible, except for his strikeouts, that is, they weren’t what fans were expecting from the former top prospect in all of baseball. I, personally, think he’ll be closer to the offensive player we all hope he’ll be this year. Perhaps the move to third base will allow that as it is more of a reactionary position while second base commands more of your attention.
In the outfield, while Jimenez has not caught fire yet, he has still shown he’s more than ready for the big stage, whenever that time comes, most likely, around mid-April to early May. ‘Eloy’ day will be the next big day at Guaranteed Rate.
Meanwhile, Robert has raked at the plate, showing off both the speed and power that made him the top International prospect two years ago. His triple down the LEFT field line last week was a thing of beauty. A full injury free year in the minors and he could be ready for the big club this time next year.
And speaking of injury recovery, Adolfo, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery hit his first two homers of the spring this week. While they were only in an intrasquad game, they still showed the pure power he has. Relegated to only designated hitter duties last year before the surgery, Adolfo will again start the season as a DH. The hope is that he will be able to start throwing soon and start outfield play later in the season.
While the anger, frustration and hurt of the inadequacies of the front office will stay with Sox fans for a long, long, long time, there are some good things happening this spring. It may be too early to turn the page on the organization itself, but the players that are here are doing their best to help us move on.