The 2016 Fantasy Chicago White Sox are very top heavy. But unlike a year ago, there’s some value in the later rounds as some progressing young players coupled with a wave of offseason acquisitions has brought new life to a barren roster. The stars like Chris Sale and Jose Abreu are no-brainers, but a few others have burst onto the scene and should provide decent value this season. So without further ado, here is your 2016 Chicago White Sox Fantasy Guide:
Note: All of the draft rounds below are based on a standard 5×5, 12-team rotisserie league with one catcher.
Players Worth Selecting
1B Jose Abreu
2016 PECOTA Projections: .287, 31 HR, 98 RBI, 83 R, 1 SB
If you’re looking to add a power-hitting first baseman to your lineup early and aren’t picking high enough to get Paul Goldschmidt (a likely Top-4 selection in most standard fantasy drafts), Abreu joins Edwin Encarnacion, Miguel Cabrera, Anthony Rizzo, Chris Davis and Joey Votto as solid option who could go anywhere from the late first round through the third round. Those six guys are mostly interchangeable from a fantasy perspective going into the season, as all are likely to be top home run and RBI options, while also hitting for a high batting average. Entering his third year after coming over from Cuba, one can presumably pencil in Abreu to hit between .285 and .310 with enough power to anchor your lineup. But if you want Abreu — or any of the aforementioned first basemen — you should act early, as all will likely be gone by the end of the third round.
Expected Draft Round — 2
SP Chris Sale
2016 PECOTA Projections: 14 W, 2.92 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 235 K, 0 SV
After Clayton Kershaw — who will likely go in the Top 5 of your fantasy draft — you could make a very strong argument that Sale is the next best starting pitcher available. His 3.41 ERA in 2015 was a bit disappointing from a fantasy perspective, but expect that number to come down with better luck in 2016. And besides, even with that ERA, he remained a destroyer-of-worlds for most of the season, leading the American League in strikeouts with 274 while throwing the second-highest amount of innings of his career. Being among the top strikeout artists in the game means Sale isn’t likely to last beyond the second round in your fantasy draft, and if you take him, you’ll likely be rewarded with much of what he gave you in 2015, and likely an even better win total and ERA.
Expected Draft Round — 2
3B Todd Frazier
2016 PECOTA Projections: .249 BA, 23 HR, 77 RBI, 73 R, 12 SB
Frazier is either at the end of the top tier of third basemen for 2016, or the beginning of the second tier, depending on your perspective. He doesn’t bring the all-around ability that makes Josh Donaldson, Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado top fantasy picks, but the amount of power he brings, coupled with the ability to swipe a bag here and there makes him a worthwhile fit if your preference is to spend your early round picks on other positions.
Expected Draft Round — 3
OF Adam Eaton
2016 PECOTA Projections: .280 BA, 8 HR, 51 RBI, 74 R, 17 SB
There isn’t one particular fantasy category that Eaton excels at, but he’s a perfectly reasonable outfield option once you get past some of the studs who will fill the early rounds. As someone who hits for a decent average, has some pop (it will be interesting to see if his 14 homers in 2015, after hitting just one in 2014, is an aberration or a sign of things to come), can steal some bases, and will bat leadoff in an improved lineup, there’s plenty of reason for optimism. Eaton isn’t going to lead you to a fantasy title, but he’s a fine addition to any roster.
Expected Draft Round — 8
2016 PECOTA Projections: 3 W, 2.85ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 78 K, 37 SV
Robertson is the type of closer you should be more than happy to end up with after your opponents blow their early picks on the flashier names. He’ll blow a save here and there, but there’s no question who is getting the ball in a save situation for the White Sox, and you should be able to pencil him in for 30 saves at a minimum, an ERA that won’t kill your rotation, and enough strikeouts to make a difference.
Expected Draft Round — 10
SP Jose Quintana
2016 PECOTA Projections: 13 W, 3.53 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 159 K, 0 SV
Jose Quintana has been notoriously underrated from a pure baseball perspective for a few years now, but has never really received a ton of attention in fantasy circles. One of the main reasons for this is because he’s been one of the biggest tough-luck pitchers in baseball during the last two seasons. In fact, Quintana has registered 46 quality starts combined in 2014-15, but recorded just 18 victories against 21 losses and 25 no decisions. Since bursting onto the scene in 2012, Quintana has posted a very respectable 3.46 ERA with 600 strikeouts in 743 innings, but has yet to register more than nine victories in a season. The White Sox, of course, have been mostly dreadful during the course of his career, but with a little better fortune in 2016, coupled with expected improvement from the 26-year-old, he could turn into a fantasy darling.
Expected Draft Round — 13
SP Carlos Rodon
2016 PECOTA Projections: 9 W, 4.07 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 144 K, 0 SV
Rodon burst onto the scene in 2015 after being the White Sox first-round pick in the 2014 draft, and while he struggled with his command often during his rookie season, he showed enough promise that if you could snag him in one of the later rounds, he could end up being a steal. His ERA and WHIP might end up being shaky, but the one thing you can be sure of is he will strike dudes out. The fact that he averaged nine K/9 during his rookie season was impressive enough, and the trend is likely to continue. He’s also just 23 and provides amazing value in keeper leagues.
Expected Draft Round — 22
2B/3B Brett Lawrie
2016 PECOTA Projections: .264 BA, 16 HR, 65 RBI, 59 R, 6 SB
It’s tough to pinpoint a specific fantasy “bust” on this roster because, for the most part, fantasy circles have valued this team correctly, with players like Sale and Abreu being ranked accordingly and players like Melky Cabrera understandably seeing their value diminished to the point where they’re not necessarily being over-drafted where they’re at. So while I wouldn’t necessarily label Lawrie as a “bust,” I do think he’s overvalued at where he’s projected to go in most fantasy drafts. His average draft position has hovered around the 13th round for most of the fantasy draft season, and while that’s not necessarily high, players such as Justin Turner or Matt Duffy strike me as more appealing fantasy prospects, and both are being drafted after Lawrie. The fact that Lawrie will be a multi-position player in 2016 once he gains second base eligibility (if he doesn’t already in your league), but in general, he seems to be going higher than he should.
Expected Draft Round — 13
2016 PECOTA Projections: 2 W, 4.66 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 28 K, 0SV
Like the “bust” category, it’s difficult to find anyone who provides a whole lot of value in deeper or keeper leagues. But I’ll go with Fulmer, the White Sox 2015 first-round pick who could join the rotation as early as May or June. With shaky options such as John Danks and Mat Latos currently comprising the back-end of the rotation, and with Fulmer following a similar trajectory to the majors as Rodon, it’s not unfeasible that he will provide some fantasy value before the end of the season. Likewise, if you nab him in a keeper league, he should be a solid option for years to come.
Expected Draft Round — N/A
Other White Sox Starters — John Danks, Mat Latos
There’s not much to get excited about here, as neither Danks nor Latos should provide anything close to value unless you’re in an AL-only league. Danks, at his best, is an innings eater whose ERA will remain in the mid-4s. Latos could be a decent flier on very deep leagues if you believe he can gain back even a portion of the value he once held, but considering he’ll be there on the waiver wire, it’s best to wait until he proves he can be both healthy and effective.
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