Chicago White Sox: Three crucial role players for 2020

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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago White Sox James McCann
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /

1. James McCann

It’s pretty funny how a player that a team views as possibly expendable during the offseason can become quite important by the time the season starts.

James McCann is the perfect example of that in 2020, as he saw himself replaced by Yasmani Grandal as the team’s starting catcher this past offseason.

While that role won’t change for him, McCann could very well find himself starting more games than most would have expected from him this season.

The 29-year-old was expected to transition to a true backup catcher role this season, but the decision to add in scheduled doubleheaders could give him more playing time than originally anticipated.

Grandal won’t be able to get through a grueling 2020 season if he’s expected to catch both ends of a doubleheader on a regular basis.

That makes McCann’s ability to perform ever more crucial for the Chicago White Sox.

In the first half of the 2019 season, McCann found himself on the American League All-Star team, but a rough second half saw him finish with a still-solid 109 OPS+. However, there were some statistics that I highlighted that could pose an issue for him long-term.

In what is going to be his last season under contract with the Chicago White Sox, McCann needs to perform when Grandal isn’t able to be behind the dish.

Otherwise, the team might have to turn to either Zack Collins, Yermin Mercedes, or Seby Zavala.

Those aren’t necessarily awful solutions, but the team probably would prefer that McCann returns to last season’s first-half form in 2020.