Welcome to the final month before opening day! I hope you have been enjoying spring training as much as I have. Baseball is close! I am overjoyed! March begins the official Ball Boy Blog previews of all 30 teams. The previews feature all the Free Agent signings, trades, NRI, bold predictions, and some cool fun facts at the end! We are starting at the top of the 2020 ranks and working our way down from best to worst! Enjoy!
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AL Team: Chicago White Sox
Last Year Record:35-25 3rd place in AL Central and got a WC.
Vegas Projected: 91.5, Vegas is spot on with their projection here. I got the White Sox winning 95 and taking the AL Central by three games over the Twins.
OF Nomar Mazara(-0.1WAR, Non-tendered), SP Carlos Rodon(-0.4WAR, non-tendered) RHP Dane Dunning(traded)
Free Agent Signings:
LHP Carlos Rodon- Rodon made it back to the mound in 2020 after TJ surgery in 2019. He made two starts, went down to shoulder soreness, then made it back for two relief appearances at the end of the season.
RHRP Liam Hendricks- The 31yo Hendricks was terrific in 2019-20, posting a 1.66ERA, 33.1% strikeout-walk, 39/47sv, and AL Reliever of the Year in 2020.
OF Adam Eaton- Coming off a terrible 2020 posting a -0.7WAr, .226/.2865/.384 slash in 159AB. He carries a career .282/.360/.416 slash in 3185AB.
RHP Lance Lynn- Lynn has been terrific in his two seasons in Texas, posted a 3.57ERA/3.43FIP, 10.31K/9 over 292.2IP. The 33yo SP will slot in as the club's number 3 man behind Giolitto and Dallas Keuchel.
P Emilio Vargas - Claimed from the D-Backs. He didn't pitch at the MLB level in 2020. But in 2019, in AA, he had a 3.78ERA/4.20FIP with a 7.4K/9, 42.6% ground ball rate. These numbers are over 85 2/3IP with 17 starts.
KEY NRI signings:
Of Miki Mahtook- The 31yo has seen MLB action in parts of each season between 2015-19 with a .235/.292/.406 slash in 965PA
C Jonathan Lucroy- The 34yo didn't appear with the Phillies or Red Sox in 2020. Since 2017 his career has been on a downward slide, and he will hope to keep the dream alive.
OF Nick Williams- The debut season in 2017 was excellent with a .288/.338/.473 slash. Then struggled in 2018-19, posting a .234/.298/.388 in 560 MLB PA. He didn't appear in the Majors in 2020 with the Phillies or Reds.
Some guys with MLB experience- INF Matt Reynolds, RHP Mike Wright, and RHP Conner Sadzeck
RHP Ryan Burr, RHP Danny Dopico, RHP Tayron Guerrero, RHP Jacob Lindgren, RHP Kade McClure, RHP Alec McRae, LHP Kodi Medeiros, RHP Felix Paulino, LHP Bennett Sousa, RHP Matt Tomshaw, RHP Emilio Vargas, C Carlos Perez, INF Zach Remillard,
LHP Jace Fry, OF Adam Engel, SP Lucas Giolitto, SP Reynaldo Lopez, RHP Evan Marshall
3B Jake Burger(slashed .263/.336/.412 in Class-A in 2017. He has had a series of left foot/leg injuries), RHP Tyler Johnson(He had a 2.59ERA with 43K over 31.1IP in MiLB in 2019), and INF Gavin Sheets(1B, he posted a .267/.345/.414 in AA over 2019)
OUT OF OPTIONS:
Evan Marshall, P
Jose Ruiz, P
INF Andrew Vaughn- The highest-rated prospect in camp is Vaughn. I can see Vaughn having to get his shot as a utility player unless they decide to use him as a backup/every day at 1B while Abreu plays DH.
Fantasy Impact Players
Pitchers- Lucas Giolitto, Lancy Lynn, Liam Hendriks,
Position Players- Yasmani Grandal, Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert
Upcoming 2022 Free Agents:
-Lance Lynn is a 1yr rental for the Chi Sox, with a decent showing the team could quickly look to re-sign him
-Adam Eaton carries the only option into the next off-season with an 8.5mil club option.
-A few other names who I think could be floated as trade bait- Leury Garcia, Carlos Rodon, Tim Beckham.
Storylines to follow
-Can Tony La Russa take this team from 3rd place and a Wild Card deep into the Playoffs? The AL Central is a tough division and a 3-team race. Can La Russa win it?
-How far will this team go? I think the Chi Sox are the 2nd best team in the AL after the Oakland A's. The team's biggest weakness is the rotation. The pen is solid, the lineup is loaded, and the defense is loaded with quality pieces. It's hard for me not to see the White Sox making a run at it.
-I love the talent on the roster, but the farthest I can go is ALCS, and Abreu finishes back in the top 3 for MVP voting.
The White Sox were the first team to put players' last names on jerseys in 1960.
Nancy Faust was the White Sox organist in 1970, the first organist to play pop music in a ballpark.
Thanks for reading today, I am so grateful for your time reading, and I hope you enjoyed reviewing the winners as much as I have. I also want to thank my partners over at Repp Sports for RAZE Energy. Thanks to this clean and sufficient energy, I can have the intense focus to deliver content to you guys consistently. Click here to save 15% right now with the code "BALL BOY" at check out.