We are less than one month away from Opening Day and spring training has been an eye opener so far. Some players have impressed (Nicky Delmonico and Dan Hayes) and some have been underwhelming (looking at you Yoan Moncada and Brett Lawrie). As with all predictions, they are constantly subject to change. Here are my updated final roster predictions for the Chicago White Sox. To see my original predictions, click here.
Catcher: Giovany Soto
First Base: Jose Abreu
Second Base: Tyler Saladino
Third Base: Todd Frazier
Shortstop: Tim Anderson
Left Field: Melky Cabrera
Center Field: Adam Engel
Right Field: Avisail Garcia
DH: Matt Davidson
SP1: Jose Quintana
SP2: Carlos Rodon
SP3: James Shields
SP4: Greg Holland
SP5: Miguel Gonzalez
Closer: David Roberston
Right Handed Relief Pitchers: Nate Jones, Zach Putnam, Michael Ynoa, and Jake Petricka.
Left Handed Relief Pitchers: Dan Jennings and Matt Purke
Backup Catcher: Omar Narvaez
Utility Infielders: Leury Garcia, Carlos Sanchez.
Backup Outfielder: Peter Bourjos
There are several changes from my original predictions based on what has happened in spring training so far, which I have bolded above. The first is the most obvious because the White Sox waived Brett Lawrie lat week and Tyler Saladino is the clear next man up. Saladino ended last season with a very strong September and his spring training has been impressive so far. He can play third base if asked to, much like Lawrie, and this gives the Sox another opportunity to see if Saladino can be the super-utility man of the future once they start contending again. Plus, he has a sweet mustache. With Saladino no longer on the bench that creates an open spot next to Carlos Sanchez and I predict that will be filled by Leury Garcia. Garcia has been up and down from the minors since the Sox acquired him in 2013 from the Texas Rangers. So far in spring training, he has hit the cover off the ball, including a walk off hit. Garcia brings the added bonus of being able to play the outfield if need be so he can fill many roles for manager Rick Renteria.
The next change I made was Charlie Tilson has been dropped from starting center fielder to not making the roster. I know that seems like a rough cut and it is even harder considering I believe Tilson will be the lead off hitter of the future for the Sox. However, Tilson has not played one game yet this spring training as he comes back from a leg injury. At this point, as every day goes by without Tilson practicing, it looks like Tilson will not get enough reps in to start the season in the majors. This brings me to my boldest prediction yet- Adam Engel will start in center field for the White Sox. Engel, like Tilson, is a rookie with speed who should be a base stealing threat whenever he gets on base. He advanced to Tripe AAA in 2016 and in 2015 he was the Fall League MVP with a .523 on-base percentage that lead the entire Fall League. He may just be a space holder until Tilson is healthy but he has been playing center field as part of a lineup that features mostly starters, which is a good sign that the Sox are high on him.
I chose Matt Davidson for the DH slot because he is out of minor league options. meaning the White Sox could lose him if he does not start the year on the 25 man roster. So even though his spring has not been impressive, the Sox want to hold onto him. The last spot that I changed is the backup outfielder going to Peter Bourjos now that I kicked him out of the DH spot. Let me know in the comments below what you think of my predictions.