White Sox DH: The Need to Get It Right

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White Sox DH
CHICAGO - JULY 16: Andrew Vaughn of the Chicago White Sox bats during a summer workout intrasquad game as part of Major League Baseball Spring Training 2.0 on July 16, 2020 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)

The Chicago White Sox DH position has not been productive in recent years. In fact, in 2020, their primary DH, Edwin Encarnacion, hit .157 and delivered a career-low OPS of .627. Despite his poor season, the White Sox won 35 games and made the playoffs.

One can only imagine how many more games the White Sox could have won with a better performance from their DH. White Sox fans have been clamoring for an upgrade at DH for a long time now. With Encarnacion gone to free agency, they will get their wish.

White Sox DH: Looking Ahead

So, with Encarnacion gone, who will the Chicago White Sox bring in to be their DH? Will it be a new face to the organization? Could it be someone already on the 40 man roster? In any event, fans will be anxious about the new White Sox DH until he settles in and delivers up to their expectations.

Options for 2021

Sox fans have several ideas about who should be the Chicago White Sox DH in 2021. One popular option has been to move catcher Yasmani Grandal into the DH slot and make James McCann the full-time catcher. Or some sort of rotation between the two. That possibility was quickly eliminated when McCann signed with the Mets.

Another name that Sox fans are high on is Michael Brantley. His smooth left-handed bat would fit in nicely with their predominantly right-handed lineup. Brantley could share left field and DH duties with the young rising star, Eloy Jimenez.

Another thought was to have recently-signed Adam Eaton assume the role of DH on the South Side. Of course, that would mean they would still need a right fielder. That would lead them back to Brantley or Joc Pederson. Pederson, coming off his worst season, maybe looking for a one-year deal, and likely more cost-effective than Brantley.

Of course, many Sox fans would love to see Jimenez installed as full-time DH and somebody else in left field. That someone else could be Brantley, Pederson, or the Sox’ current fourth outfielder Adam Engel. However, Engel has not proven that he can hit MLB pitching consistently, so he is likely best suited in his current role.

With all of these possibilities, there is one not mentioned yet. It is one that, at this point, maybe the most probable scenario. Sox fans may or may not agree with this idea, but the 2021 Chicago White Sox DH may well be already in the organization.

White Sox DH: The Likely Choice

So, with all that said, from all appearances, it appears that the White Sox in 2021 will be………Andrew Vaughn. The likelihood of Vaughn as full-time DH in 2021 grows stronger by the day. Every day that goes by without the White Sox signing an outfielder gets Vaughn closer to his MLB debut.

So, who is Andrew Vaughn? He was the White Sox’ first-round pick, (third overall) in the 2019 MLB draft. At the time, he was regarded as the best collegiate bat available. He won the Golden Spikes award in 2018, symbolic of the top amateur player in the country. He brings a solid collegiate resume to the table.

Vaughn is mostly a first baseman but has played a couple of other spots in the minor leagues. This is partly due to the White Sox’s interest in his flexibility defensively. With reigning MVP Jose Abreu manning first base, Vaughn’s ability to play other positions would be mutually beneficial.

There are questions about Vaughn’s ability to jump in and contribute right away. Even though he moved through the minors quickly, he did not have a 2020 season. That is hardly a guarantee that he will be successful as the Chicago White Sox DH in 2021.

Another concern, one Vaughn can’t control, is the fact that he is a right-handed hitter. The Chicago White Sox have been heavy on right-hand bats, and Vaughn will not help that situation. They have been susceptible to good right-handers in the last few seasons. However, he cannot be any worse against righties than Nomar Mazara was in 2020.

No matter how Sox fans feel, Andrew Vaughn is likely heading for the job as White Sox DH in 2021. He will certainly get an opportunity to prove he is worthy. Jerry Reinsdorf is not known for his spending sprees, and Vaughn comes cheap. So don’t hold your breath waiting for Michael Brantley to come riding into town on his white horse. Barring something unforeseen, Andrew Vaughn will be the Chicago White Sox DH on Opening Day.

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