“That’s Amore!” Chicago White Sox Preview 2017

2016 was a forgettable season for the Southside of Chicago. They underachieved to say the least, but were able to acquire solid prospects this off-season. Most notably, they landed the number one prospect in Yoan Moncada. The AL Central was similar to the AL West in that neither division had a wild-card team. That being said, the White Sox have ground to gain on the Cleveland Indians, but have bright prospects blossoming in their minor league system.

The 2016 White Sox offense was stagnant. They saw themselves in the bottom-half of the league in terms of runs scored (20th), home runs (22nd), and on-base percentage (20th). They were hitting the ball, sitting at eleventh in average, but they couldn’t bring runners home . I know firsthand how frustrating it is getting zero run support as a pitcher. Playing in the American League, a team cannot last the grind of a 162-game season while being in the bottom-half of the league in scoring. While the White Sox try to build while sending out a competitive lineup, a Wild Card spot isn’t out of the question. They’ll need to rebound on their 78-84 season. Both Wild Card teams won 89 games apiece. Both the Orioles and Blue Jays play in a competitive AL East, and the White Sox have their work cut out for them in the upcoming seasons.

Returning to the 2017 rotation is left-handed starter Jose Quintana. Numerous rumors have swirled about whether or not the White Sox should ship him out, and hope for a solid return similar to that received by trading Chris Sale to Boston. While Quintana won’t bring nearly the prospects that Sale brought, there will be many teams needing a solid starting arm, and if the teams are desperate enough the White Sox could land a handful of talented prospects. I look for closer David Robertson to be moved at some point during the 2017 season. However, moving Robertson is a bit tricky. The righty is owed $11mil, $12mil, and $13 mil for the next three seasons. I’m sure most teams inquiring about Robertson want the White Sox to eat a chunk out of the remaining $36mil. Regardless, once Robertson is moved the White Sox have a solid option waiting in the wings in Nate Jones. He’s been a solid reliever in terms of IRS+Holds, and should reach the 30+ save plateau as soon as he takes of the closer job. Looking forward to 2017, I bring you “That’s Amore!” Chicago White Sox Preview 2017.

Notable Off-Season Moves:

December 6 – Traded LHP Chris Sale to Boston Red Sox for CF Luis Alexander Basabe, RHP Michael Kopech, RHP Victor Diaz, and 3B Yoan Moncada.

December 7 – Traded OF Adam Eaton to Washington Nationals for RHP Lucas Giolito, RHP Reynaldo Lopez, and RHP Dane Dunning.

December 14 – Signed free agent LHP Derek Holland.

Projected Batting Order:

SS – Tim Anderson .270/10/41/30 SB
LF – Melky Cabrera .290/14/81
1B – Jose Abreu .291/32/100
3B – Todd Frazier .242/38/95
RF – Avasail Garcia .248/14/52
DH – Cody Asche .225/7/31
C – Omar Narvaez .251/5/31
2B – Tyler Saladino .270/9/45
CF – Jacob May .261/12/41

Projected Pitching Rotation:

Jose Quintana (LHP) 13-10/3.33/180 K
James Shields (RHP) 10-12/4.28/176 K
Carlos Rodon (LHP) 10-9/3.76/180 K
Miguel Gonzalez (RHP) 9-11/4.11/131 K
Derek Holland (LHP) 9-13/4.52/100 K
Nate Jones (RHP) [Setup] 2.41/30 Holds/83 K
David Robertson (RHP) [Closer] 3.45/36 Saves/84 K

Minor League Maestro Spotlight:

Yoan Moncada, INF

ETA: 2017

Arguably one of the most talked about international free agents, Moncada didn’t disappoint, having a monster 2016 season. The Red Sox paid a hefty price to acquire the coveted prospect, and he’s lived up to his reputation. At 6’2″ 205lbs, the switch-hitting slugger is only going to get bigger and stronger. He’s only 21, so he has many years to add the muscle. Acquired in part of an off-season deal that landed the Red Sox Chris Sale, the White Sox are getting one of the top prospects in baseball. Moncada has been compared to Robinson Cano, but with more power. Power wasn’t all Moncada brought to the table. The slugger was able to swipe 45 bases. This is a once in a life-time player, and it’s only a matter of time before he begins the next era of great White Sox players. Expect to see Moncada in 2016. He has a chance to win the starting job out of Spring Training, and it’s full throttle from there. He had a taste of MLB in the final month of 2016, and he’s eager to get his historic Major League career started. If you own him in keeper/dynasty leagues, you will be handsomely rewarded. If you are targeting him in redraft leagues, only one question remains: Will you draft him before the other owners? If you do, will you have to overpay, and take him in the early rounds? Regardless, Moncada will produce and is playing in a hitter-friendly ballpark on the Southside of Chicago. After he arrives, what position will he play?

Lucas Giolito, RHP

ETA: 2017

Giolito has been the top pitching arm for the past few seasons. He saw a brief stint at the Major League level, but struggled mightily He has a phenomenal fastball sitting at high-90s, but he’s been erratic during the Spring. He has a great over-the-top curve, and his changeup is a pitch he’ll need to develop at the next level. He has great movement on his fastball, but the command isn’t where it needs to be. At 6’6″ 255lbs he has the stature to be a dominate top-of-the-rotation starter. The necessary tweaks need to be made, and he hasn’t to learn how to command his fastball at the Major League level. If he can figure it out, the White Sox landed another top prospect in Giolito.

Reynaoldo Lopez, RHP

ETA: 2017

Another dynamite arm out of the Dominican Republic, Lopez sits in the high-90s with his fastball, and at time can reach 100 MPH. Like Giolito, Lopez brings an over-the-top curveball that buckles hitters’ knees. Mechanics has been is kryptonite, and Lopez needs fluidity before he sees himself as a Major League regular. If he can develop his changeup, it’ll give him another pitch in his arsenal to go along with his lights out fastball. At 23, Lopez is still young enough to develop into a starter. The White Sox have struggled with starting pitching, and they need both Lopez and Lucas Giolito to develop to compliment Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon. If they hit on Lopez and Giolito watch out!

 

Fantasy Outlook:

2016 was neither the best nor brightest for the White Sox. However, they had plenty of players that helped fantasy owners. Jose Abreu was as solid as he’s ever been hitting .293 with 26 HR and 100 RBI. I look for him to get back to the 30 HR range in 2017, and easily reach the 100 RBI mark. After Abreu, Todd Frazier is another fantasy asset. While he may not be a top-5 fantasy third basemen, Frazier should yet again reach 35+ HR while driving in 90 runners. Beware of the strikeouts and low OBP. He’s an all or nothing player, but will provide you with solid power numbers. The only player worth rostering after Abreu and Frazier is shortstop Tim Anderson. He will be the everyday shortstop and leadoff hitter. There’s no questioning his speed, and when he gets on base, he could steal 25+ bases.

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, the White Sox struggle with pitching. Jose Quintana is a solid number three or four option for your fantasy team, but the win category will suffer if he doesn’t get run support. Realistically, I’m penciling in 13 wins for the lefty. He has the stuff to be a solid option on your roster, but after a modest low-3.00 ERA and 180 strikeouts, he won’t get the run support to reach 15+ wins. If the White Sox fall out early, he could be moved for another inbound set of prospects. The White Sox bullpen features two must-haves for fantasy teams. Setup man Nate Jones had a solid 2016 season in which he posted a 2.29 ERA to go with 80 strikeouts and 28 holds. I expect him to notch positive numbers in IRS+Holds and Holds categories. When Robertson is moved, be the first to jump on the dynamite reliever. After the first tier of closers come off the board, David Robertson is a solid option. While his ERA may not be as low as it was with the Yankees, the righty has been able to notch 30+ saves in his first two seasons with the White Sox. His name has been tossed around to the likes of the Nationals and Mets. There’s no question the Nationals may make a move early, and if they do Robertson becomes the most intriguing closer in fantasy baseball. If you’re looking for a fourth, fifth, or even sixth starter then take a flier on Carlos Rodon. There’s no questioning his stuff, but he’s looked more like a mid-level starting pitcher. He’s been knocked around and gave up 23 HR last season. He’s entering his third season in the Majors, and if he puts it together there’s no questioning the strikeout potential is there. He turned 24 in August, so there’s time for Rodon to blossom.

Season Projection: 80-82 (4th in AL Central)

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Major League Fantasy Football 2017 League Openings

(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday March 19th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #79 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will discuss player updates, players being overdrafted, and overall fantasy updates.

Our guest this week is Jon Merkel. Jon is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com in both baseball and football. His articles publish every Wednesday.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

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(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday March 26th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #80 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will discuss players in the draft going for nice bargains.

Our guest this week is Steve Hamilton. Steve is a writer, and editor with majorleaguefantasysports.com focusing on baseball. His articles publish every Saturday.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”



Categories: A.L. Central, Baseball Writers, Chicago White Sox, Fantasy Baseball, Major League Fantasy Sports, MLFS Authors

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