10 Reasons To Be Excited About White Sox In 2020

After years of rebuilding, the White Sox are entering a phase of contention.

Chris Emma
June 30, 2020 - 3:27 pm
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(670 The Score) When the White Sox began their rebuild in December 2016, their goal was to begin contending by 2020.

While it wasn't clear for some time if that would be the case, the White Sox appear set to accomplish that goal. They're entering this 60-game regular season with the playoffs on their mind, boasting a roster of young talent that has been fortified by key veteran additions in free agency. 

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"We're excited about the idea that this team is going to have the opportunity to start on what we view as a multi-year path towards championships," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said last week.

The White Sox are ready to embrace playoff expectations as they set course on this unique season. Here are 10 reasons to be excited.

1.) It's time

Since the White Sox sparked their rebuild with the trade of ace Chris Sale in December 2016, the organization has taken its lumps. 

Rebuilding is a difficult process for any team, and the White Sox certainly faced their struggles in losing 95, 100 and 89 games over the past three years, respectively. It's why the 2020 season has been circled for the organization and its fans. This was when the young prospects would arrive on the big league scene or ascend to the next level to begin to display what potential is in store.

White Sox fans have been dreaming about outfielder Luis Robert joining third baseman Yoan Moncada, outfielder Eloy Jimenez and first baseman Jose Abreu, and that time is nearly upon them.

Even if it's just 60 games, Chicago's South Side will be eager to watch for a playoff push in 2020.

2.) Don't take it for granted

In baseball, opportunities to win a championship can close quickly. Teams that seem destined for sustained success can fail to win a World Series. It's why every opportunity to contend must be cherished.

Hahn will certainly covet every opportunity he has to run out a roster with the likes of Moncada, Robert, Jimenez, ace Lucas Giolito, right-hander Michael Kopech and more. 

While the White Sox hope this is the first of many opportunities to win a championship, they also understand they should appreciate the moment.

3.) Robert's ready

With a long-term deal signed, Robert has no service time considerations to worry about or questions about his big league arrival timeline. He's ready to open the season in Chicago.

For all the promising young players in the White Sox organization, Robert may have the most exciting potential. He's a five-tool player offering a rare combination of speed and power in center field.

If Robert can earn it in spring training 2.0, he could even be leading off for the White Sox on Opening Day.

4.) Who's next?

As the White Sox prepare to prioritize winning while continuing player development this season, they could call on their next wave of young prospects to help the cause.

Second baseman Nick Madrigal and first baseman Andrew Vaughn, the White Sox's first-round picks in 2018 and 2019, respectively, were included on the team's 60-man roster. Madrigal offers elite contact skills at the plate and appears further along in his development than Vaughn, who has the potential to be a powerful bat to the lineup.

Both will get the opportunity to prove themselves in summer camp.

5.) Gio's encore? 

How will Giolito follow his breakout 2019 season? He hopes it's even better this year.

"I am not even close to where I want to be as a complete product," Giolito said recently.

That's quite the exciting statement. The 25-year-old Giolito put together his impressive arsenal and learned how to best attack hitters in 2019. He struck out 11.62 hitters per nine innings while dropping his walk rate to 8.1%. 

If Giolito is stronger in 2020, the White Sox should be a force in the American League Central.

6.) Shining bright

Moncada emerged as one of baseball's best young stars last season.

He was a 5.7 WAR player on FanGraphs, which tied for 15th among all hitters. He posted a slash line of .315/.367/.548 and hit 25 home runs. The White Sox locked the 25-year-old Moncada into a five-year extension in March that -- with a club option -- could keep him in Chicago through 2025.

7.) Year 2 for Eloy

As a rookie in 2019, Jimenez often struggled at the plate and still cranked out 31 home runs. That showed what kind of raw power he has.

The potential of Jimenez became clear in the second half, when he was a more well-rounded hitter. Jimenez posted a slash line of .292/.328/.542 over 240 plate appearances after the All-Star break.

What does Jimenez have in store for his second season? His continued progression will be a key for the White Sox's lineup.

8.) Grand addition

When the White Sox whiffed in the Manny Machado sweepstakes before the 2019 season, Hahn and the organization vowed that money would be allocated elsewhere. As it turns out, $73 million went to a key addition in All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal, who had 28 homers, a .380 on-base percentage and an .848 OPS in 2019.

Grandal brings the White Sox a big bat and plus defender to the catcher position, where James McCann will also provide quality depth.

9.) A key gadget

The White Sox envision a role of some sort for left-hander Carlos Rodon after he underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2019. What sort of contribution could he make?

If he does find his top form, Rodon could be utilized by the White Sox as a key arm out of the bullpen in high-leverage situations, similar to how the Indians used to use reliever Andrew Miller. Rodon also has the ability to work multiple innings.

10.) Baseball is back

These last three months reminded us to never take for granted this game we love. Here's to good health and the return of baseball.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.