I get why they have to spread out where games are played across the country and can’t just start every single game in a dome stadium, the west or south but WHY do they not start every game in a dome stadium, the west or south? We’ve been waiting 5 long, grueling, painful months for tomorrow and it looks like there’s at least a decent chance the entire opening series gets banged. Not cool.
Nevertheless, let’s look at the opening day roster:
1. The bullpen fucks. It’ll get even better once Hamilton is back, too. Frare and Fry will be devastating against LH hitting, Burr, Hererra and Jones a very nice RH set up trio, Colome an established closer, and Covey *could* be a good long relief guy. He was excellent last year the first time through the order. Such a heavy, heavy fastball. Ground balls for days.
I said it earlier this winter – the bullpen will be very good. I’ll even go as far as saying it should be one of the top pens in the AL based on talent alone. Will it? That’s up to them. Put up or shut up.
2. The rotation looks…. eh. It’s the worst and least deep unity on the team. I said last week that I love Giolito’s mechanical adjustments he made over winter and he looks to at least have developed more coordination and repeatability and I expect to see a marked improvement over his 2019 season. Will he? We’ll see. At this point I believe it’s between his ears. If, deep down, he knows he has the shit to be a TOR starter and trusts his shit to get him through lineups to the tune of 200IP this year, then better statistics will follow.
Lopez will be Lopez. Good for an ERA in the 3s while battling non-stop. Not worried in the least about him.
The rest? We have old man Ervin Santana, old man Ivan Nova and…. Young but old man Carlos Rodon.
This is Rodon’s put up or shut up year. Opening day starter for the first time in his career since being the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 draft, healthy, and the staff ace. We interviewed him for this week’s episode of Red Line Radio and have talked about him ad nauseum. If he gets off to a hot start and has a really good 100IP before the deadline, do they look to move him for more prospects? Do they attempt to extend the Boras client? Regardless now is his time to dominate. His shit should allow him to, now it’s finding the consistency that all aces have. I expect him to have a dominant season. I’m not predicting he will, but I expect him to. Again, that is up to him.
I actually like the lineup. It’s kind of a lot of mismatched pieces and an atypical roster construction, but it should be solid nonetheless. At the very least we’ll see a ton of HRs. The key for the lineup is this.
GET ON FUCKING BASE!
Anderson, Palka, Leury Garcia, Engel, and Sanchez are all guys who are EXTREMELY low OBP guys, or have been to this point at least.
Anderson has at least shown *some* improvement in realm thus far. He had an awesome at bat I saw live in spring where he took a sharp slider on a full count that slid a few inches off the plate for a ball.
EXTREMELY difficult pitch to lay off for any hitter. Looks like a fastball until the very last second. If he swung at this it’d either be a K or week contact. *IF* and it’s a big *if* Anderson does this more consistently this year, he’ll have a great season. He improved a ton with his plate patience last year, but he can’t stop. Need him on base around .320 this year to yield a good year. We want him to be around a 3.0 fWAR player. That’s not a superstar, but with his defense it’s more than doable. 25/25 is my expectation from him this year.
The rest? Palka has to stop striking out so much and draw a lot more walks. Easy right? Nope, not easy. But that was his main area of focus throughout the offseason instead of just trying to “bash baseballs”. He’ll hit a lot of home runs, especially if put in the proper position to succeed, but he also needs to walk around a 9-10% clip to see any true value.
Abreu/Alonso will do their things. Professional hitters. They’ll be good for 25 home runs a piece, with Abreu hitting near .300/.350 and Alonso a bit lower in each category than that.
Then we have Eloy. The Bridgeport Bomber himself. He’ll fuck up big league pitching starting tomorrow. 30 home runs is absolutely within reason for him. He drives the ball to all fields and is as polished a hitter as the White Sox have, though he’s only 22. Look at his MiLB spray chart:
Spooge worthy graphic for any baseball fan. He’s going to be really, really fun to watch. My expectation for him?
ROY. That’s what I expect out of him. He’s got the largest contract in MLB history for it’s kind, and I expect the largest statistical output out of every rookie in baseball. I expect dominance from the start.
And Moncada. My guy. I LOVED his spring. I know spring training stats are for losers, but spring training approach and process is not. He was clearly swinging earlier in the count, at fastballs, and looking to hit gaps. It worked. I’m not saying his spring training stats will carry over to the regular season (if they did he’d be MVP, he hit like .350/.450/1.100 this spring, obviously not happening) but the process of how he attacked pitching absolutely should. It’ll just be against better pitching. That’s fine. Bring it the fuck on.
Everyone looks at his “on paper” stats from last year. He was rung up on pitches outside the zone more than any hitter in baseball by far last year. 22 times more than Aaron Judge, the next highest number, to be exact. That’s a LOT of strike outs looking. He was penalized for performing his job well and not swinging at balls.
Well, I don’t expect him to be in that position as much this year. I expect him to sit on cock shots and drive gaps. I expect Yoan Moncada to become an all star this year. Again, I’m not guaranteeing he will be one, he could have another low statistical output, but I expect him to be one. My 1 year mulligan is over for him. Need to start seeing his all-world tools turn into all-world production, or at least close to it. Something like .275/.365/25/100 with 25 stolen bases.
The rest of the lineup is…. whatever. Jay will be a solid enough OBP guy as a leadoff hitter once he’s back. Won’t hit dick for power but that’s fine, get on base and let the thumpers behind you drive you in.
Ride with us or get run over. This is going to be a fun year. Cease will be up come July or so hopefully, and we’ll start to see the rest of the prospects advance through the system little by little. Collins, Savala, and a few more relief arms will see Chicago this year, with 2020 being Cease, Kopech, Collins, Basabe, and maybe Rodon and Madrigal all seeing time in Chicago.
GET READY FOR SOME FUCKING FUN. If the Sox are anywhere near a .500 team at the end of the season, which is no longer outside the realm of possibility, the future outlook will be extremely bright. I’m saying 75ish wins, which is fine. The Vegas O/U ins 74.5 right now which I think is a perfect number for how the team is currently constructed.
I talked a lot about individual expectations of different players in this blog. Next year I expect them to contend for the division. Nothing less. I expect Hahn and Co. to put their money where their mouth is, both literally and figuratively, and construct a roster that is ready to dominate the AL Central for the next 6-8 years.
Let’s fucking go