Sports

3 Positions White Sox Must Upgrade In 2022

Manager Tony La Russa #22 of the Chicago White Sox relieves starting pitcher Carlos Rodon #55 during the 3rd inning of Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros at Guaranteed Rate Field on October 12, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

 

The Chicago White Sox fell to the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series, and could only win one game out of four.

A season that looked promising ended in a span of a week.

The White Sox are very good, with talented hitters such as Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal, Andrew Vaughn, and Gavin Sheets; plus several brilliant starters and a solid bullpen.

But they are flawed, and have specific needs for 2022.

 

3. Designated Hitter

Thankfully, this is one of the easiest positions to fill for the White Sox.

However, it should be noted that it was a weakness nonetheless, and nearly all season long.

The White Sox’s designated hitters were ninth in the AL out of 15 teams in wRC+ from that spot, with 106.

The wRC+ stat means weighted Runs Created Plus and calculates offensive production in relation to the league average, which is 100.

At first, the position was well-covered with the impressive start of Yermin Mercedes.

But he started to fade and the White Sox didn’t get consistent production from the spot from that point on.

Exciting rookie hitter Andrew Vaughn wasn’t a disaster, but didn’t quite put it all together either with a .235/.309/.396 line and 15 home runs.

Perhaps the best option for the White Sox in the second half and the playoffs was Sheets.

He was one of the few White Sox that played well in the ALDS against Houston, and hit .250/.324/.506 with 11 homers in just 179 plate appearances.

If Chicago doesn’t bring a veteran bat capable of performing at an above-average level, maybe they could be better off letting Vaughn and Sheets battle for at-bats from the DH spot.

They both have the talent to be successful there.

 

2. Second Base

Nick Madrigal, the speedy rookie who impressed with his contact ability ever since he was in college, hit .305/.349/.425 in 54 games with Chicago before going to the Cubs in a trade.

The club wanted an elite reliever, and got one in Craig Kimbrel (well, at least that was the idea).

But to land him, they had to surrender Madrigal.

Now, the club has no second baseman of the future.

Leury Garcia and Cesar Hernandez, who came from the Cleveland Indians before the trade deadline, shared the position, but without much success.

Garcia slashed .267/.335/.376 with only five homers in 474 plate appearances.

Hernandez, on the other hand, was worse, with a .232/.309/.299 in Chicago.

The team needs to address second base for the 2022 season.

 

1. Starting Pitching

Truth be told, the White Sox’s starting pitching was very good.

Lance Lynn and Carlos Rodon were the co-aces, with a 2.69 and 2.37 ERA, respectively.

Dylan Cease was also very good, and much improved, with a 3.91 ERA and a 31.9 strikeout rate.

Changeup artist Lucas Giolito was his usual good self, and finished with a 3.53 ERA.

There are two problems, though.

One, is that veteran starter Dallas Keuchel was really bad, with a 5.28 ERA in 162 frames.

And two, Rodon is slated to hit free agency after the season, and given the year he just had, he will command a lot of money.

Starting pitching depth is a sensible need in Chicago if they want to make it further than the first round of the postseason, and re-signing Rodon is a must.



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