The Chicago White Sox bullpen looks to be a big strength going into 2022.
The Chicago White Sox bullpen was supposed to be a strength of the team last season. Things did not go as planned which is why Rick Hahn acquired Ryan Tepera and traded Nick Madrigal for Craig Kimbrel. These moves seemed to correct the issue on paper. Unfortunately, they did not.
Hahn spent the offseason trying to revamp the bullpen. He went out and signed Kendall Graveman and Joe Kelly in free agency. With the additions of Kelly and Graveman, the White Sox bullpen once again looks like a strength of the team.
The group is headlined by Liam Hendriks. MLB Network has him pegged as the second-best reliever in baseball. Hendriks locked down 38 saves, posted a 2.54 ERA, and was selected to the All-Star team for his efforts last year.
Kendall Graveman had 10 saves last season and owned a microscopic 1.77 ERA. He figures to be the setup man for Hendriks in the eighth inning.
Kelly is a proven veteran who helped the Dodgers win the World Series in 2020. Last year, he had a 2.86 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. He will start the season on the IL but once he returns, look for him to be a dominant force in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Aaron Bummer might be the most underrated piece of the bullpen. He is coming off a down year but that shouldn’t distract people from how nasty his stuff is. Bummer’s sinker may be one of the best pitches in the entire White Sox bullpen.
Pitching coach Ethan Katz even went as far as to say it was the most impressive thing he has ever seen. His 3.51 ERA, which isn’t terrible by any means, was the highest he has ever had since the 2018 season. Look for him to bounce back in 2022.
Other notable arms include Reynaldo Lopez and Jose Ruiz. Lopez revitalized his career in 2021, posting a 3.43 ERA and holding opponents to a .205 batting average.
Ruiz is not well-liked amongst the White Sox fan base but he still owned respectable numbers the past two seasons. In 2020 he had a career-best 2.25 ERA and in 2021 he had a 3.05 mark. If Tony La Russa doesn’t use Ruiz in high leverage situations, he can be very effective.