AL Central: KC
The White Sox did a bit of salary dumping this offseason. There are still fantasy assets on the team on both sides of the ball. Who will you draft?
The 2016 Chicago White Sox were an interesting team. They had some stars and great players on the team but struggled to put it all together. The team finished 78-84, fourth in the American League Central. This forced the team to trade away some valuable players and bring in a new manager.
It’s clear the White Sox are preparing for the future. However, there are still some players I want on my team in 2017. I say some because I have only seven White Sox players ranked inside my top 300.
The American League Chicago team has a top-10 first baseman, top-10 third baseman, top-25 shortstop, top-25 starting pitcher, and a top-15 closer.There are a couple of others that I would be okay drafting with one of my final picks as a flier.
There are a couple of others that I would be okay drafting with one of my final picks as a flier.
Guaranteed Rate Field, formerly U.S. Cellular Field, ranked 10th in home runs, 21st in runs and 20th in hits. The park fairs well for multi-base hits, but the batters will struggle to score runs. Just look at the numbers Todd Frazier and Jose Abreu put up last season.
Just look at the numbers Todd Frazier and Jose Abreu put up last season.
The White Sox signed two new members for the offense and a starting pitcher to round out the rotation. There are also plenty of recently acquired prospects that could make their debut at some point this season. Those players will be worth keeping an eye on if you play in a dynasty league.
The starting rotation could change again if the White Sox decide to trade their current No. 1 pitcher like the rumors state. Until then, he’s on the team and a borderline top-20 pitcher.
We all knew the White Sox were shopping their two best starting pitchers this offseason. They were able to trade one of them as Chris Sale is now a member of the Boston Red Sox.
Jose Quintana is now the team’s No. 1 pitcher. He had a very good season, posting career highs in ERA and WHIP. Quintana finished with a 3.20 ERA, 1.163 WHIP and 13-12 record in 32 starts.
He isn’t much of a strikeout pitcher, 7.7 and 7.8 K/9 over the last two seasons. However, Quintana is a healthy pitcher and you can guarantee at least 30 starts. I wrote about his consistency here. I recommend using him in quality starts leagues instead of wins.
Miguel Gonzalez, Carlos Rodon, and James Shields are the next three pitchers. Gonzalez had good ratio stats but made only 23 starts. I am avoiding him in standard leagues.
Rodon is my No. 52 starting pitcher, 190 overall. That makes him a 20th round pick in 10-team leagues. His 4.04 ERA and 1.394 WHIP don’t look good, but he’s 23 with upside. I like him as an SP5, for now.
Shields is a shell of himself. He is a waiver-wire add, only if he has a good April.
The final member is recently signed Derek Holland. I wrote about the move here.
The White Sox bullpen is a two-man show. It’s David Robertson as the closer and Nate Jones behind him.
Robertson underwent knee surgery in November but should be ready for Opening Day. With that, he is a top-15 closer. He had 37 saves with a 3.47 ERA and 1.364 WHIP in 62 appearances. He also posted a 10.8 K/9. The walk rate was a bit high, 4.6 BB/9, but that should come down some this season.
Jones was a better pitcher, posting a 2.29 ERA and 0.892 WHIP in 71 games. He also strikes out a lot, 10.2 K/9. Unless something happens to Robertson, like a setback or another injury, he’ll be valuable in deeper or holds leagues.
The White Sox infield features two powerhouses and two more good options at their respective positions. But first, we have to start at catcher.
The team signed veteran Geovany Soto. He played in just 26 games last season. No need to talk about him anymore.
Jose Abreu had another good season, but a drop off from his first two seasons. He hit 25 home runs, 100 RBI and .293 average in 159 games. I have him as my No. 6 first baseman. If we can get another season like his rookie or sophomore season, 30 HR/100 RBI/.295, then that could go up. But 25 HR/100 RBI/.290 isn’t that bad.
Brett Lawrie was alright. He had 12 homers and 36 RBI with a .248 average. There are plenty other second basemen worth drafting ahead of him.
Third baseman Todd Frazier had a powerful first season in Chicago. He hit a career-high 40 home runs and 98 RBI. However, that was paired with a low .225 average. If this is who Frazier becomes, then his value will drop a bit. Owners are hoping for a .250 average. Yet, he will still be a top-10 third baseman with that power.
My colleague Brad Kelly wrote about a possible breakout season for shortstop Tim Anderson. I agree with him. He is a sleeper pick for me.
Using ‘worthless’ may be a bit harsh, but it’s accurate.
The best outfielder on the team, fantasy-wise, is Melky Cabrera. He is my No. 45 outfielder. He hit .296 with 14 home runs and 86 RBI. In a standard league, he is a solid fifth outfielder. It does look like his speed is gone, only two stolen bases last season.
The other two are Charlie Tilson and Avisail Garcia. They are two young players with upside. Garcia hit 12 homers, 51 RBI and .245. Tilson didn’t play much at the big-league level last season. He did hit .282 in 100 games in Triple-A last season.
The White Sox designated hitter is a question mark. Roster Resource lists Cody Asche, while the team’s official page has Matt Davidson in the spot. Both are bad options. Asche hit .218 with Philadelphia while Davidson at just two plate appearances last season.
The White Sox are a team looking towards the future. With players like Lucas Giolito and Yoan Moncada in Triple-A, there’s a good chance they can get the call. Until then, the current group of hitters is enough. They can hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 batters.
The pitching staff is good, too. Quintana is the top guy. He has shown no signs of decline or injury, but this could be the season. Now, that I jinxed him, maybe look elsewhere.
Even though they won’t win a lot of games, the players will still perform.