The 2021 White Sox are looking to build on the success of their 2020 season when they went 35-25 and made the playoffs. This follows three straight losing seasons including a 100 loss season in 2018. The total rebuild begun after the 2016 season looks to be yielding big returns.
2021 White Sox Predictions: Early Edition
Yes, it is early January, and there are many free agents still on the market. The Hot Stove League is stuck on chill mode, and rosters are far from set. So, these predictions come with a caveat: They are based on the White Sox roster as it is comprised today.
That said, the White Sox may or may not be done with making major acquisitions. They have added starting pitching depth in veteran Lance Lynn, and have made an upgrade in right field with the signing of Adam Eaton. Yet, they still have not signed a proven closer. These 2021 White Sox predictions assume they will do so before Opening Day.
Starting Lineup: Outfield
This may be obvious, then again, maybe not. Many fans have different thoughts on left field and DH, and how that may look on Opening Day. Yet, the word here is that the 2021 White Sox outfield will be, from left to right, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, and Adam Eaton.
There is a slight possibility that Jimenez could be moved into the DH spot, and replaced by an as-yet-unnamed player. Many fans would like to see this happen, as they are convinced that Jimenez is lost in the outfield. While that may or may not happen, as of now, he is the left fielder.
Starting Lineup: Infield
The 2021 White Sox starting infield looks to be the same as it was during the 2020 playoffs. Barring injuries, the Sox figure to run out Yoan Moncada at third base, Tim Anderson at shortstop, Nick Madrigal at second base, and reigning MVP Jose Abreu at first base.
What may surprise some Sox fans is the inclusion of Madrigal in the Opening Day lineup. He underwent shoulder surgery after the 2020 season and was expected to be out five to six months. However, recent updates suggest that he could be ready by Opening Day. If Madrigal cannot go on Opening Day, Leury Garcia would likely be his replacement.
Starting Lineup: Catcher
All signs point to Yasmani Grandal being the main catcher for the 2021 White Sox. Barring injury, he will be behind the plate on Opening Day. Grandal is also expected to see action both at first base and as DH during the 2021 season.
Starting Lineup: DH
At this moment, the White Sox are without a veteran DH. (Although some fans believe that Grandal should be the full-time DH.) There are possibilities on the free-agent market that could fill the bill. Yet, at this point, look for Andrew Vaughn to get the call on Opening Day.
The prediction on the DH will likely be the most-debated call in the starting lineup. Vaughn has not yet appeared in an MLB game. So he will be a raw rookie on Opening Day. While that is not necessarily a recipe for success, Vaughn appears to have the inside track to be the 2021 White Sox Opening Day DH.
Starting Lineup: Pitcher
No need for a crystal ball here; this appears to be a no-brainer. Lucas Giolito will almost certainly get the ball on Opening Day, as he has become the ace of the staff over the last two seasons. While both Dallas Keuchel and Lynn have been top-of-the-rotation pitchers, Gio is the guy.
Starting Lineup: Batting Order
Here is where the fun begins. There have been several variations of a proposed batting order for the 2021 White Sox. Here is another one which is, again, based on the current roster.
Tim Anderson, SS
Yoan Moncada, 3B
Jose Abreu, 1B
Eloy Jimenez, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Luis Robert, CF
Andrew Vaughn, DH
Adam Eaton, RF
Nick Madrigal, 2B
There are several advantages to this particular lineup. First, Anderson is the spark plug of this team, and moving him makes no sense. Second, this lineup spreads out the three left-handed hitters (Moncada, Grandal, and Eaton) to make matchups more difficult for opposing pitchers.
Additionally, it takes the pressure off the two young hitters, Vaughn and Madrigal. Without lofty expectations, they will be able to focus on just hitting the baseball. In the future, they might each settle in different slots. However, for the 2021 White Sox, Vaughn and Madrigal should fit in well in these spots.
Another benefit of this batting order is the idea of having three potential or former leadoff batters hitting consecutively. Eaton, Madrigal, and Anderson should form an interesting combination as the lineup goes from bottom to top. Anderson, who has some pop, should see more RBI situations.
This proposed lineup, assuming each player plays up to reasonable expectations, will rival any in baseball. It provides power (five of the nine have had 20 or more home run seasons), speed in Anderson, Moncada, Robert, and Madrigal, and guys who hit for average. Once the young hitters settle in, it may well be the most balanced lineup in the game.
2021 White Sox Predictions: Closing Thoughts
The White Sox should be serious contenders in 2021. Assuming they acquire a proven closer, they should be the kind of team that competes every day. The 2021 White Sox will certainly be a fun team to watch, something White Sox fans have been waiting for.
The biggest question mark for the White Sox is the back end of the rotation. Barring further acquisitions, they will be relying on youngsters like Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech. However, if Cease and Kopech come close to matching their potential, the sky’s the limit for the 2021 White Sox.
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