The Chicago White Sox are looking like they are a great baseball team headed into 2021. They ended their 12-year playoff drought in 2020 but it was as a Wild Card. Now, it was a 60 game season so we don’t know how things would have shaken out over 162. In a normal format, they would have been one of the Wild Card teams that had to play in the one-game Wild Card. It would have been Lucas Giolito vs Shane Bieber in a one-game elimination.
That came after being one of the most exciting teams in the league and ending in somewhat of a slump. They played okay in the playoffs but lost their three-game series to the Oakland Athletics in three games. After some of the things they have done since being eliminated, it is clear that they are going to be very good in 2021. A lot of folks believe them to be one of the few true World Series contenders.
The Chicago White Sox won’t need the expanded playoffs in 2021.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network had a few reports come out this week that will change the way some teams across baseball handle their business. Of course, we know by now how the DH not being in the National League can positively affect the White Sox. It might also make some people uneasy if they don’t have the expanded playoffs that allow more Wild Card teams.
Those people have a valid reason to be worried about it because the White Sox haven’t made a normal playoff format in a normal year since 2008. In the normal format, only the three division winners make the playoffs and two at large Wild Card teams play in the one-game playoff. The White Sox, based on their roster, shouldn’t need the MLB to keep their expanded playoffs in order to make the postseason.
This roster is going to score a lot of runs. This is a starting lineup that has an all-star (or something close to it) at pretty much every position. Adam Eaton’s level of play in right field is to be seen and the designated hitter is still up in the air. Other than that, every player can hit and hit well. If their pitching is able to keep up, they can win the division.
They have a good starting rotation that has a “big three” and a bunch of great young pitchers looking to take that next step. Lucas Giolito is one of the best pitchers in the league and should be a great ace with Dallas Keuchel and Lance Lynn behind him. It is going to be fun to see what Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease can do as they grow their games.
With Liam Hendriks joining what was already a great bullpen, they should be able to close out games in which they have a lead. All of these things should help the White Sox win a lot of games which will make it unnecessary to care about the postseason expansion. If a roster like this makes it to the end of the season without being one of the top-five teams in the AL, something went seriously wrong.