The Chicago White Sox have not been a very good team for the last 10 years or so. They went on a long playoff drought before finally breaking it in 2020. Now, they are going to make the playoffs in two straight seasons for the first time in franchise history. They are elite now but it hasn’t been without its challenges. One aspect of the game, however, that hasn’t been a challenge is the development of first basemen.
We all remember Frank Thomas. He is the greatest player in the history of the franchise mostly because of what he did with his bat. He is arguably the greatest right-handed hitter ever. He is a two-time MVP, a batting champion, a four-time Silver Slugger, and a five-time All-Star. All of these things have led to him being a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Frank Thomas became a designated hitter later in his career. When he did, the second-best player in franchise history took over first base and that is Paul Konerko. He isn’t going to go to the Hall of Fame but he is one of those players that you can argue would “just miss”. He was the captain of the team that ended the World Series drought in 2005.
When Paul Konerko was on his way out, Jose Abreu was on his way in. He was the American League Rookie of the Year in his first season and now the White Sox knew they were set for another decade. Since then, Abreu has become the team’s best player and has an American League MVP to show for it.
The Chicago White Sox have kept on producing elite offensive first baseman.
Abreu is still there playing first base. He came into the league with a lot to work on defensively and he has done that. He is a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman now in addition to being an elite run producing power bat. Knowing this, his successor is sharing the same clubhouse with him every day and it is great to know.
Andrew Vaughn was a third overall pick in 2019 by the White Sox and he could end up being their best player if he keeps this up. He has had a year so far that will put him in the conversation for Rookie of the Year. He has been forced to play multiple different positions so far this season because Abreu is still at first but his time will come.
We don’t want Abreu to be gone any time soon and he won’t be. However, it is good to know that Andrew Vaughn is waiting in the wings for whenever that does happen. He has the potential to be right there with Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert as the best players in the middle of the lineup.
The White Sox are elite at producing high-end first basemen. It is a position that teams typically like to have big bats and the White Sox certainly have had that for the better part of three decades and the 2020s look like will be the fourth decade. Hopefully, it starts to become a part of some really big winning years.