The Chicago White Sox don't play in the league's best division. The Cleveland Guardians pulled away at the end of the 2022 season to win the AL Central but they let the White Sox hand around way longer than they needed to.
Now, every team is looking to improve. It is Cleveland's division to lose now but the White Sox are hoping for a bounce-back year.
The team that could give them both a run for their money is the Minnesota Twins but they need to stay healthy and get contributions from everyone.
As for the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals, they are just hoping to earn a bit of respect this season but it is going to be very hard for them.
If the White Sox are going to come back this year and make the playoffs, they must play well against their division rivals. There are plenty of individual players that are going to make this hard on them.
These are the five players that can derail their playoff chances in 2023:
5. Bobby Witt Jr:
Bobby Witt Jr. made a good impression with the Kansas City Royals in his rookie 2022 season. Now, he is looking to take a big step toward helping the Royals grow as a franchise. As a result, the White Sox are going to have to deal with him.
If Bobby Witt Jr. continues his trajectory and develops his ability to play well against the Sox, he will be a player that can hurt their playoff chances.
4. Javier Baez
Javier Baez is not the player with the Detroit Tigers that he once was with the Chicago Cubs and few teams are even really that scared of him. However, when he does make solid contact, he hits it a long way. He also plays some pretty good defense.
With that in mind, he loves coming back to Chicago to play the other team in town. The White Sox didn't do that good of a job containing him in 2022. If that continues in 2023, that could absolutely derail their playoff odds.
3. Carlos Correa
Carlos Correa ended up coming back to the Minnesota Twins after failing physicals with both the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets. Now, he comes back to the AL Central on a long-term deal worth slightly less money than he thought he was going to get.
Until the physical issues come up again, he will be a problem for the White Sox. He is one of the best players in the game and everyone should be scared of what he can do. The White Sox's playoff spot will be in jeopardy if Correa plays to his capabilities.
2. Byron Buxton
Byron Buxton has become one of the most underrated players in the league. It is all because he has been mostly injured in his career. However, he is one of the very best when he is playing healthy. The White Sox need to be very worried about him.
Early in 2022, we saw exactly how good he was against the White Sox. As mentioned before with Correa, the White Sox better contain the Twins' stars otherwise they won't be going to the postseason.
1. Jose Ramirez
You can argue that Jose Ramirez is the biggest threat to the White Sox in franchise history. He truly takes his already elite game to the next level (on both offense and defense) every time he goes up against the boys from the south side.
He is one of the best players in the league so it is easy to see why he is so good against his rivals but it is something to worry about heading into 2023. All of the Cleveland Guardians players seem to take their games to the next level when they play the White Sox and all of the division rivals.
Again, if the White Sox want to take this team back to the postseason, they are going to have to keep these guys in check. It goes beyond these players too.