The 2021 White Sox are looking to make a move up the charts in the American Leaguer, after making the playoffs in 2020. So far this offseason, they have added starting pitcher Lance Lynn, right fielder Adam Eaton, and closer Liam Hendriks. They look well-primed to improve on the 35-25 record of 2020.
While the 2021 White Sox are looking good, they still have their eyes on being perennial contenders for years to come. The window may be open now, but they are still developing young players who they hope will contribute to their success in the not-too-distant future. Here is a look at five of those prospects.
2021 White Sox: Looking Ahead
Many fans expect that these four players will be on the MLB roster sometime in 2021: Andrew Vaughn, Michael Kopech, Nick Madrigal, and Garret Crochet. So, the focus will be on five other players who will be expected to make big impacts at the MLB level sometime soon.
Jonathan Stiever – Right-handed Pitcher
Stiever, 23, actually made his MLB debut in 2020, called up from Class A Winston-Salem. He was called up due in part to the unusual circumstances surrounding the 2020 season. A fifth-round draft choice in the 2018 draft, Stiever pitched in two games for the Sox. The results were not good, as he struggled to find the strike zone. But the White Sox still think highly of him, and he should start the 2021 season at either Double-A Birmingham or Triple-A Charlotte. He is surely one pitcher that has a shot at playing on the South Side sooner than later.
Norge Carlos Vera – Right-handed Pitcher
Vera, 20, is one of several international prospects the Sox signed last week. He hails from Cuba and is the son of standout Cuban pitcher, Norge Luis Vera. While he is young, he has demonstrated a fastball that touched 96 mph, as well as possessing a high baseball IQ. While he has work to do to make it to MLB, he has been labeled by many as the top pitching prospect in the international class this year. He is another pitcher who is expected to be pitching on the South Side within the next two or three years.
Yoelqui Cespedes – Outfielder
Cespedes, 23, is one prospect with an outside chance of playing with the 2021 White Sox. Along with Vera, he continues the deep Cuban connection the White Sox have that goes all the way back to Minnie Minoso. Regarded as the #1 international prospect by some, the half-brother of Yoenis Cespedes is a potential five-tool player. He is older than most prospects and has competed well all through his international career. Since coming to the States, he has been working on developing his power tool. While he will need some seasoning, he is close to MLB ready, and will likely be at least a September call-up.
Miker Adolfo – Outfielder
Adolfo is what many would call an enigma at this point. He was signed back in 2014 at the age of 18 out of the Dominican Republic. He is listed at 6’4″ and 240 lbs and has been thought to be a potentially outstanding MLB hitter. His Sox career has been hampered, however, by a string of injuries that have stunted his development. Still, he has a high ceiling if he can stay healthy. It is even possible that, with a good showing in spring training, Adolfo could find his way onto the 2021 White Sox at some point. That is a long shot at this point, but he is definitely one to watch.
This name may seem a bit of a stretch, as Kelly has no realistic chance to appear on the 2021 White Sox. He was drafted out of high school in the second round of the 2020 draft, so he is not close to being MLB ready, however, he is projected as a potential top-of-the-rotation pitcher with proper development. He did not pitch in the minors in 2020, so his only experience to this point was at the Sox’ alternative site. Yet, the White Sox think highly of him, as his high draft selection shows. He will be one for fans to track as he makes his way through the minors.
2021 White Sox: One For The Road
As a footnote, one more player to keep an eye on is catcher Seby Zavala. We mention him only because today, the backup catching position for the 2021 White Sox is unresolved. Zavala is 27 and has been around a while. He does not project as an especially good MLB hitter at this point. But he is regarded as the best defensive catcher in the Sox system, so he should at least get a look in spring training.
As fans follow the 2021 White Sox, these are some names to keep in mind. While none of them will be on the Opening Day roster, one or more of them may well appear on the South Side this summer. Even if they don’t, they are very likely to be heard from in the very near future, as the White Sox look to build a team that will contend for championships for years to come.
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