The most important thing to judge during a rebuilding season is whether or not the players expected to be around the next time the team has eyes on contention are progressing the way you’d like. For this year’s White Sox, this has been a mixed bag of sorts thus far.
The focus coming into the season was understandably on the players currently littering the White Sox minor league rosters. The newly acquired Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech, and Dane Dunning, as well as recent draft picks Zack Collins and Carson Fulmer, have had a mixture of success and failure in the first half of their respective seasons.
If you’re judging that septuplet on their respective performances to date, however, you may come away feeling somewhat underwhelmed. As James Fegan noted on this week’s episode of The Catbird Speaks, none of the White Sox prospects have really lit the world on fire consistently throughout the first half, but all of them have progressed to varying degrees.
Hand wring all you want over the fact that Giolito and Lopez don’t yet look major league ready, or because Moncada is still striking out a hefty amount, but this area gets a passing grade for unexpected reasons.
While the jury is still out on the aforementioned prospects we’ve yet to see in White Sox uniforms, the team appears to have taken a step forward in their positional development at the major league level. Avisail Garcia, Leury Garcia, Matt Davidson and Yolmer Sanchez have all given reasons to believe they could be major league contributors going forward.
My confidence in each continuing to perform at their current levels vary (I went more in depth on Avisail and Leury and Nick Schaefer did the same with Davidson last week), but for a system that has failed to produce any major league positional talent in a decade — watching hyped prospects like Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo come, fail, and stick around way too long — any of the four continuing to produce long-term would be a huge win for the White Sox.
And that’s not even to mention Tim Anderson, the most heralded of the group, who got off to a horrid start but has hit more or less as expected since the start of May (.290/.308/.426 since May 1 compared to .204/.237/.301 through the first month of the season).
None of these players project to be stars. None will likely be stars, with Anderson being the player most likely to reach that level. But developing viable major league pieces across the diamond is integral for a team to build a foundation with which to compete. The White Sox inability to surround their recent cores with even average major league talent is what led to them digging through the scrap heap for the likes of Justin Morneau, Jerry Sands, and J.B. Shuck in recent years.
If the White Sox can start finding those complementary pieces elsewhere, and there’s actually, ya know, good, it will be a huge step in the direction of competition.
Lead Photo Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports