While the Cubs are striving for a playoff run on the North Side of Chicago, the Chicago White Sox’ struggles continue in the American League, but their young core is starting to show signs of development.
The White Sox enter the All-Star break at a record of 31-61, putting them fourth in the American League Central.
The Sox face problems across the board, but a majority of their issues come from their pitching staff’s 4.97 ERA, good for the second worst in the American League.
The best pitcher in the starting rotation is 36-year-old James Shields who, since joining the White Sox in 2016, has a record of 12-29 with an average ERA of 5.49.
The rest of the rotation is still very young with starting pitchers like Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito and Dylan Covey all having pitched a mere 37 games in the majors combined prior to this season.
With young developing talent being put in a major league play so early, the White Sox risk potentially squandering the potential these players have for the future. Putting pitchers who are underdeveloped against major league batters is an easy way to damage both their statline and their confidence.
Pitchers in the rotation like Carson Fulmer and Carlos Rondon were previous top prospects before coming to the MLB roster, but both were brought to the MLB roster too soon and now are petering out early in their careers.
It is not all doom and gloom for the good guys in black; the Sox picked up a great closer in the off-season with former All-Star closer Joakim Soria picking up 13 saves with a 2.83 ERA.
On top of that, their patience in developing batters has led to a solid core of infielders, but with faults.
First baseman Jose Abreu is starting to rediscover some magic in his bat, leading the team with 51 RBIs. The slugger was recently voted into his first All-Star game since his rookie season.
Second baseman Yoan Moncada has evolved into an everyday starter for the White Sox, but his 129 strikeouts tie him for the most in the American League. Still, the 23-year-old still has offered some punch, with 11 homeruns and 40 RBIs.
Shortstop Tim Anderson is a speed demon with 22 stolen bases, the second most in the American League behind Seattle’s Dee Gordon.
Designated hitter Matt Davidson is en route to the best year in his career with an OPS of .776 and a team-leading 14 homeruns.
The American League Central has been the least competitive division in baseball this season. Seven and a half games seperate the first place Cleveland Indians and the second place Minnesota Twins.
The Sox need to remain patient. With many top prospects in their farm system, the Sox could see themselves challenging top teams in the American League in the coming years.
The team will need to work to properly develop their pitching and potentially have to part ways with assets to improve the team and break their soon-to-be 10 year playoff drought.