The Chicago White Sox were in a decent amount of rumors this offseason. They did settle some team needs like someone to play right field, another starter, and a closer. They didn’t, however, land one of the big-name free agent designated hitters. Nelson Cruz went back to the Minnesota Twins and Marcell Ozuna went back to the Atlanta Braves. Each of them went back to their very good teams so it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. Now, the White Sox are going to have to go a different route for that position.
The Chicago White Sox might find out that the answer is already in the organization.
Both Ozuna and Cruz are MLB veterans so it would have been cool to see them add even more depth to the lineup for a season or two but missing out on them might be a blessing in disguise. We all know about how this White Sox team has rebuilt their organization from top to bottom. As a result, there are some great young players both at the MLB level and at the Minor League level.
One of those at the Minor League level is their number one prospect, Andrew Vaughn. He was the third overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. He is now widely considered the best power-hitting prospect in the game right now. The White Sox could seriously consider him for their Opening Day designated hitter. A lot will depend on how he plays during Spring Training but he has the tools to do it right away.
We have seen guys like Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez get contract extensions before ever playing an MLB game in the past. It is a huge risk every time you do that because even the best prospects have a chance to fail at the big league level. Well, Robert and Jimenez have both worked out and made Rick Hahn look smart for doing that. However, Robert and Jimenez had something that Vaughn didn’t and that is a full Minor League season in the year before making his MLB debut.
If COVID-19 didn’t cancel the entire MiLB season, things might be different in terms of his contract situation because he probably would have dominated his way through the system in 2020. Hopefully, Vaughn was able to stay sharp during the season and is ready to go for 2021. This is a guy who can hit a lot of home runs, drive in runs, and help his team win.
It is now projected that he will be the team’s designated hitter this season. That doesn’t mean he will be a DH for his whole career. He is also a first baseman who might be in line to take over there when Jose Abreu is gone. We don’t know when that will be because as the reigning MVP of the American League, Abreu isn’t (and shouldn’t be) going anywhere any time soon. Regardless, Vaughn might be able to make them happy they went with him in 2021.