The White Sox are stacked with talent this season. With veteran leaders such as José Abreu and Tim Anderson and a few younger players like Luis Robert and Yoán Moncada, we know the division is in good hands. However, there are several underrated stars on the White Sox that deserve some recognition for their overtime heroics.
Underrated White Sox: Leury Garcia
Leury García was signed by the Texas Rangers in 2007 as an international free agent. After spending time in the minor league, García made his Major League Baseball debut on April 6, 2013. On August 11, 2013, García was sent to the White Sox as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Álex Ríos to the Texas Rangers. The White Sox promoted García from the Charlotte Knights on August 22. García appeared in 16 games in 2020 before injuring his left thumb as he attempted to beat a throw to first base with a headfirst slide in a game against the Detroit Tigers that required season-ending surgery.
He is the second longest-tenured White Sox player, with Tim Anderson beating him by just two months.
While primarily used as an infielder and center fielder, García has experience at every position except catcher and first base. The White Sox have the luxury of placing him almost anywhere as the club rests their starters leading up to the playoffs. García has five home runs and 50 RBIs this season. He is slashing .261/.333/.373. Nicknamed “Leury Legend”, García has lived up to that moniker lately, especially after his recent walk-off home run against Boston, allowing both teams to skip extra innings.
Underrated White Sox: Adam Engel
Adam Engel signed with the White Sox and made his professional debut in 2013 with the Great Falls Voyagers. In 2016, Engel was added to the 40-man roster and finally made his MLB debut on May 27, 2017. In 2018, Engel robbed three home runs in one week from August 6-12. He robbed Greg Bird on August 6 and Kyle Higashioka the next day. Then he robbed Yonder Alonso on August 12.
Overall with the 2020 White Sox, Engel batted .295 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 36 games. He is also well-known for saving Lucas Giolito’s no-hitter.
While missing a lot of 2021, Engel is still phenomenal in the outfield and has plenty of hitting power. In his short time this season, Engel has seven home runs, 18 RBIs and is slashing at .248/.339/.505. His return from the injured list is imminent as wraps up his rehab assignment — just in time for the playoffs.
Underrated White Sox: Dylan Cease
Dylan Cease was drafted in the sixth round by the Cubs in 2014. While many believed he would be a first-round pick, Cease was diagnosed as a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the elbow in his pitching arm, causing a fall in the draft. Cease underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014. He resumed play in May of 2015 with a stint in the minors.
On July 13, 2017, the Cubs traded Cease, Eloy Jiménez, Matt Rose, and Bryant Flete to the Chicago White Sox for José Quintana. On July 3, the White Sox promoted him to the major leagues. In his debut, he pitched five innings, allowed three runs, struck out six batters, and earned the win He finished the season with a 4–7 record and a 5.79 earned run average in 73 innings. In 2020 he was 5-4 with a 4.01 ERA. He led the AL in walks, with 34.
I admit to having doubts about Cease as the 2021 season began. However, Ethan Katz made me eat crow as he worked with Cease. His ERA is still a little high, but Cease has had a great season and has made his case to be on the postseason roster. In 151 innings pitched, Cease has recorded 202 strikeouts and has a WHIP of 1.262. His record for 2021 is 11-7. While there is always room for improvement, Cease is heading in the right direction.
Underrated White Sox: Yasmani Grandal
This might be controversial but hear me out. Everyone complained at the beginning of this season that Yasmani Grandal only walks and his batting average is so low. But if you play your cards right, walks lead to loading the bases, and loading the bases leads to runs batted in. Grandal started heating up prior to his injury, and suddenly fans missed his at-bats and had to settle for a sluggish offense. Upon returning, Grandal has been on fire and has reached base in 29 consecutive games (at the time of me writing this). His current slash line is .237/.418/.526. Why do we love Yasmani Grandal? Cue the Moneyball gif — because he gets on base.
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