Thirty four, that is the amount of days that distances us from the smell of the fresh cut grass, the sound of the crack of the bat, the buying of the overpriced hot dogs, and the start of the 2018 MLB season. After a dissapointing 67-95 finish in 2017 the Chicago White Sox look to bounce back in 2018. The White Sox currently have the 4th best farm system in all of baseball(according to baseball america), but some would go as far as putting them at number 1.
As a White Sox fan, you already have an idea of what you’re going to see come March 29th in Kansas City. Jose Abreu at First base, Yoan Moncada at Second base, Tim Anderson at Shortstop, Avisail Garcia in Right, James Shields on the bump (No really.. Big Game James might be the White Sox opening day starter) you get the point. But, as a Sox fan what you might not know is who to expect to see in Centerfield come Opening Day, so today we’re going to look at 3 players who provide the best shot at being the Opening Day Centerfielder.
Charlie Tilson(age 25)– the reason we’re going to look at Charlie Tilson first, is because he has the smallest sample size of major league experience between the 3. Tilson who was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals on July 31st, 2016 for relief pitcher Zach Duke, injured his hamstring in his first and only career start for the White Sox. Tilson went 1-2 with a single, notching his first career big league hit. Unfortantely the injury cut his day and eventually his season short. Heading into 2017 Tilson was projected by most to be the Centerfield replacement for Adam Eaton, after shipping him to Washington for a slew of pitching prospects in the winter prior. But luck was not on his side as he recieved a stress reaction during the rehab process on the same foot, sidelining him for the the entire 2017 season. Given his track record with injury I see the Sox taking it slow and easing Tilson back into everyday activity, Might even see him in Charlotte and not Chicago come opening day.
Prediction: starts season on AAA affiliate Charlotte Knights
Adam Engel(age 26)– Adam Engel had an up and down year last year, he showed the flashes defensively but the bat never quite showed up. His 2017 slash line consisted of a .166 avg (yikes) .235 OBP (again.. yikes) and .517 OPS (to give you an idea league average OPS hovers around .710). So yes the bat wasnt quite there but Engel did start 91 games in center for the South Siders posting a .992 Fielding Percentage. There has also been video surfacing in the White Sox twittersphere of Engel implementing a Josh Donaldson like leg kick, so maybe he can tap into some of that power and boost those offensive stats.
Prediction: starts season on White Sox but utilized off of bench as 4th outfielder
Leury Garcia(age 26)– LITTLE LEURY, not only does Garcia have the best accumilative stats in almost every category between the 3, 1.2 WAR, .270 Avg, .316 OBP, and .739 OPS. But he also provides seniority to this group having been a member of the White Sox since 2013 Garcia was the “player to be named” in the trade that sent Alex Rios to the Texas Rangers 2013. Garcia can play just about anywhere which is why this position battle is so wide open in my opinion, having played every position at the major league level but first base and catcher (he pitched in a game before hitting his first career home run look it up) he is an all around utility player. However he started 47 games in Center last year for the Sox so he has the prior experience.
Prediction: Luery Garcia will be your opening day Centerfielder come March 29th
Happy spring everybody! The Sox begin their spring training exhibitions tomorrow friday February 23rd, Tyler Danish gets the nod