When the Chicago White Sox take the field on April 3rd, they will look a great deal different than the 2016 Sox. It is known that they will clearly be in a rebuilding phase for the next couple of years after trading stars Chris Sale and Adam Eaton. However, some unanswered questions still remain.
1. Who will be the ace of the 2017 Sox?
Following the Chris Sale trade to Boston, the White Sox will have to turn to someone else to be the ace of the pitching staff. As of now, the obvious choice would be Jose Quintana. However, it seems likely that he will be dealt to further continue the rebuild. With that said, I would think that the Opening Day nod would be given to Carlos Rodon, who would be asked to step up for, not just this season, but the next number of years. Pitching prospects such as Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech, and Carson Fulmer will all use 2017 as a developmental season.
2. Will Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier be with the Sox in 2017?
In just this offseason, the White Sox have bolstered their farm system with the returns for Sale and Eaton. If traded, Quintana would also bring back a plethora of prospects. Both Todd Frazier and Jose Abreu have drawn interest from opposing teams, but their asking prices remain unclear. I would imagine that the Sox would like to move Frazier more because he only has one year remaining on his deal. Regarding Abreu, the White Sox could decide to hold on to him at least for now, so he can mentor some of the younger hitters on the club, including Yoan Moncada.
3. What should be expected of the prospects in 2017?
2017 will be a very interesting year, as we will get to see how the White Sox handle the now highly touted farm system. Prospects expected to make their White Sox debuts this season are Yoan Moncada, Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, and Zack Burdi. Prospects such as Michael Kopech and Zack Collins are predicted to debut in 2018. Youngsters such as Carson Fulmer, Tim Anderson, and Charlie Tilson will also fill out the White Sox roster. While they probably will not make the Opening Day roster, Giolito, Moncada, and Lopez will likely make their Sox debuts shortly after the beginning of the season. The White Sox are going to stay away from rushing prospects to make sure that all of their young stars will be ready for the big leagues when they make their debuts.
Photo: Ian Browne, MLB.com