As the offseason continues for a White Sox team following a 76-86 offseason, CSNChicago.com will examine the past, present and future of each position group at 35th and Shields. Next up is shortstop.
Depth chart (notable names)
Tyler Saladino: Pre-arbitration eligible
Carlos Sanchez: Pre-arbitration eligible
Leury Garcia: Pre-arbitration eligible
Tim Anderson: Minor leagues
What went right
Alexei Ramirez bounced back in the second half after adismal first three months. His bat rebounded (though not to its 2014 Silver Slugger levels) and glove did, too. But in all likelihood, Ramirez is gone via free agency after eight seasons on the South Side.
A “natural shortstop,” Saladino arrived in July and showed how valuable of a glove he possesses even though he was stationed at third base, a spot where he’d only played five pro games before his promotion. The belief is Saladino could make an easy transition to short as a defender, if that’s the route the White Sox opt to go.
What went wrong
Offense was an issue all season and could be one next season as Saladino struggled to perform during his rookie season (.602 OPS) after a decent start. Early projections (STEAMER) have Saladino slightly improving next season, but the White Sox would still be far from the .273/.305/.408 line Ramirez produced in 2014 with 15 homers and 74 RBIs. Ramirez’s defense also cost the White Sox several games early in the season until his play turned around in July.
Anderson is clearly the team’s future, as Saladino would likely bridge the gap until the 2013 first-round pick is ready. Anderson isn’t far as evidenced by another great season. He hit .312 at Double-A Birmingham with 41 extra-base hits and 49 stolen bases. Anderson also continues to progress as a defender, reducing his errors to 25 in 2015, his third consecutive season with a significant reduction. The White Sox see Anderson as the likeliest candidate to break through and end their drought of homegrown star position players. But they also realize he’s still baseball young and don’t want to rush him. They’re hopeful he can benefit from more seasoning in minors by continuing his progress the field and further refining his plate approach. Still, Anderson could force the team’s hand with another strong performance on the field and expedite his arrival.
More season in review: