The Chicago White Sox bullpen was “meh” last year except for one superstar that may or may not be around this year. Reliever Liam Hendriks has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and it’s possible he may not see any action in 2022.
As a huge fan of Hendriks, I wish him the best in his treatment and recovery and cannot wait until he gets back.
The Sox bullpen has some big shoes to fill heading into the 2023 season. Without their top closer, the bullpen may be in a little bit of trouble. But still, they have some talent there and some of the guys are more than capable of handling the closing duties.
If we take Hendriks out of the mix, that leaves a few guys to choose from to see who might end up being the best reliever on the White Sox this season.
The White Sox need their bullpen to shine in 2023 to be successful.
This is usually a hard thing to predict because some relievers may not be consistent from one year to the next. But, after some close consideration, there is one reliever that could step up above the others and end up being the best in 2023.
That player is Kendall Graveman.
The White Sox went out and got Graveman last year and he helped them win a few games. He’s poised to help them win even more in 2023.
Looking at his stats from last year, Graveman played in 65 games finishing four of them. His record, for a reliever, was three wins and four losses.
Graveman had six saves in 65 innings pitched. His ERA was 3.18 and his WHIP was 1.40. He allowed a total of 65 hits, 29 runs, and 23 earned runs. Graveman gave up just five home runs.
Graveman should be able to rise to the occasion in 2023 and, if Hendriks cannot play this year, take over the spot as the number-one reliever in the White Sox bullpen.
He’ll have a little friendly competition from the likes of Joe Kelly and possibly Aaron Bummer but I think that Graveman will end up being at the top.
The White Sox bullpen is a decent one. There are some other guys that could have promising years this year including Kelly, Jake Diekman, and the aforementioned Bummer.
I would look for Kelly, especially, to have a much better year than he did last year. As long as he and the rest of the crew can stay healthy, anything is possible.
Speaking of health, as it relates to Graveman, he did remain healthy in 2022 and has been a healthy guy during his career having only four noted injuries. If his penchant for good health continues, he should be the best of the bullpen group.
Speaking in general terms, with Hendriks out, the White Sox bullpen absolutely needs to stay healthy this season because they are down a man who is a key member of the bullpen. If they are hit with a rash of injuries, there will be a lot of issues.
Graveman promises to have a strong season this year and help to make up for the loss of Hendriks in some manner. Granted, no one can completely replace what Liam can do but Graveman is going to try and he’s going to do well.