2016 MLB Opening Day Countdown: Chicago White Sox Team Preview

By: Joe Botana

As the 2016 MLB season draws closer, we will preview every single team in the reverse regular season standings order of the 2015 season. Today we will provide analysis on the Chicago White Sox.

2015 Record: 76-86 | 4th in AL Central

2015 Recap: The White Sox were expected to contend in 2015, but instead struggled to a sub-par and sub-500 record. Expected to be mass-sellers at the trade deadline, they pulled off a seven-game win streak in late July to give fans and management hope that they could still potentially compete for the Wild Card. Unfortunately, the team continued the pattern of losing key games each time they appeared to be in sight of the post-season. There was no pattern to it, either, as the Sox found multiple creative and different ways to lose. Some games, solid pitching performances were wasted because of a lack of offensive output. Other times, leads were squandered by a shaky bullpen. The epitome came on September 7th against the Indians, when the Sox squandered an early 2-0 lead, which could have easily been larger against a wild-at-the-beginning Trevor Bauer, as staff ace Chris Sale surrendered three solo home runs to Ryan Raburn and Mile Aviles, who managed a total of 13 between them all season. Yes, nearly 25% of their season total in one night, and against one of the AL’s best pitchers to boot. It was that kind of season. Many pundits and fans expected to see Robin Ventura, Kenny Williams, or both lose their jobs at season’s end.

2016 Outlook: The Sox could have gone either way in the off season, either electing to sell and go into rebuilding mode, or pick up some key pieces in free agency and try to compete again in 2016. When they allowed SP Jeff Samardzija and SS Alexi Ramirez depart in free agency, it looked as if it would be the former. However, the subsequent acquisitions of IF Brett Lawrie to play second base, and then the blockbuster trade for Todd Frazier to play 3B, totally upended that perception and made it clear the White Sox were going for broke in the 2016 season. The subsequent additions of CF Austin Jackson and SS Jimmy Rollins cemented the “win now” perception. The spring training dust-up between Kenny Williams and the players, involving the decision to limit Adam LaRoche’s son Drake’s access to the clubhouse, followed by Adam LaRoche’s sudden decision to retire, and the public soap opera that followed, threaten to create a clubhouse schism and bring unnecessary uncertainty into a team picked by USA TODAY Sports to win the AL Central Division.

Key Additions: Todd Frazier 3B, Brett Lawrie 2B, Austin Jackson CF, Jimmy Rollins SS

Key Losses: Alexei Ramirez, SS; Jeff Samardzija SP, Adam LaRoche DH/OF;

Projected Starting Lineup:

  1. RF Adam Eaton
  2. 2B Brett Lawrie
  3. 1B Jose Abreu
  4. 3B Todd Frazier
  5. LF Melky Cabrera
  6. DH Platoon (was expected to be Adam LaRoche)
  7. CF Austin Jackson
  8. C Alex Avila
  9. SS Jimmy Rollins

Projected Pitching Rotation:

  1. C. Sale
  2. J. Quintana
  3. C. Rodon
  4. M. Latos
  5. J. Danks

Closer: Dave Robertson

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