Projected WARMarket Value
Projected WAR by grouping is from Fangraphs’ depth charts.
Historically each win is worth ~$9 million on the free agent market
- Yoan Moncada, 2B
- Avisail Garcia, RF
- Jose Abreu, 1B
- Matt Davidson, DH
- Nicky Delmonico, LF
- Welington Castillo, C
- Tim Anderson, SS
- Yolmer Sanchez, 3B
- Adam Engel, CF
- James Shields, RHP
- Miguel Gonzalez, RHP
- Lucas Giolito, RHP
- Reynaldo Lopez, RHP
- Carson Fulmer, RHP
- Rick Renteria
“The 2018 White Sox are not built to contend for anything but a top-three draft choice. When you sign more free-agent concession foods than you sign actual free agent players, that sort of gives away the strategy.
In fact, anything resembling contending — not an impossible notion, given the utter weakness of the AL Central, but actually a pretty darn good season slogan (White Sox ’18: Resembling Contending!) — may be met by cheers from fans, but consternation from the front office.
That’s not because, har har, owner Jerry Reinsdorf, exec VP Ken Williams, and GM Rick Hahn don’t like winning. They do. Each have them have told me this before, one-on-one, in intimate discussion: We like winning.
No, if the window of contention opens too early, it will create some awkward problems for the White Sox. If the fan base howled with venom back in 2012, when Adam Dunn and Alex Rios were hitting a collective .058 for the supposed All-In White Sox and Dayan “The Tank” Viciedo remained in Triple-A, overturning parked cars and making infants cry with his prodigious clouts, imagine what will happen if the White Sox are sniffing .500 in June, Carson Fulmer is averaging four innings per start, and Michael Kopech has gone all Noah Syndergaard down in Triple-A Charlotte?”
—South Side Sox
—South Side Sox
With all the turnover on the Chicago White Sox during these past couple of rebuilding seasons, it’s easy to overlook the one young player left who was borne of the former, “all-in,” White Sox era.
Shortstop Tim Anderson is just 24 years old, without even two full years in the bigs under his belt. He made his debut on June 10, 2016. Chris Sale started that game for the White Sox and earned the win. Adam Eaton led off. Todd Frazier batted cleanup. David Robertson got the save.
Just three White Sox in that game, one-and-a-half-seasons ago, remain White Sox today.
Anderson had a sterling MLB debut, clocking in with 2.8 WAR in his partial 2016 season. Last year, as TA fought everything a major league sophomore is faced with, including the dreaded “league catching up with him,” he faced personal tragedy: His best friend, Branden Moss, was murdered while helping the victim of a fight in a parking lot. The pair, who were classmates at Hillcrest High School in Alabama, were close enough for Anderson to consider Moss his “brother.”
This season, Anderson returns as a White Sox veteran, belying his age. His Pale Hose tenure is longer than almost anyone else on the club. And, in a nod to his unique status on the team, Anderson pledges to lead this young White Sox team through the rebuild and into contention. Already he has forged a close bond with his keystone partner for seasons to come, blue-chip second sacker Yoan Moncada.
At a time in White Sox history where fans are champing at the bit for the next young star to blossom — Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Dylan Cease all rightfully have Sox faithful atwitter — Anderson’s ability to bounce back with his production and step into his role as a team leader will be a key development in a transition year.
—Brett Ballantini, South Side Sox
—Brett Ballantini, South Side Sox
The White Sox are still rebuilding, so a successful 2018 looks a lot different for them than it does for Cleveland or Minnesota. Since they’re further along in the process, though, it also looks different than it does for the Royals: if the White Sox win 75 or 77 or 80 games, they’re taking steps forward after a 67-win season that followed trading nearly every key veteran besides Jose Abreu, and likely succeeding because the kids like Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito they got back in those deals are playing well. A strong enough season from James Shields that he can be dealt, and enough progress from the youth that Jose Abreu doesn’t need to be, would help move things along in Chicago and bring excitement for 2019 and 2020.
The White Sox have so much youth that it’s going to be tough to judge too harshly if it doesn’t all gel at once in 2018, but there are young players to be concerned about if they struggle. While Yoan Moncada will be just 23 and has exceptional tools that will eventually make him a fit somewhere in the lineup, Lucas Giolito is fighting to prove he’s a big-league starter and not a reliever. Failure from kids like him will make it that much more difficult for the White Sox to take advantage in the next couple of years when half of the division is rebuilding while teams like the Indians are maybe taking it easy.