With the playoffs underway - and the White Sox not in them - we decided to look back on the 2019 season and take a glance into the future. The ‘team of the future’ just might have a lot to offer… and it might already be here.
We sat down with our Chuck Garfien, Vinnie Duber, Leila Rahimi, Ozzie Guillen and Scott Merkin, White Sox writer for MLB.com, to get their take on the South Siders.
"Gotta be starting pitching," says Duber. "Rick Hahn's got starting pitching on the shopping list for this winter, so we're likely going to see some additions there."
The White Sox need starting pitching. Period. The rotation they have now is getting by, but they need to go from getting by to succeeding in order to become the postseason contenders they strive to be.
While Lucas Giolito dominated on the mound - and was the clear story of the 2019 White Sox - the rest of the rotation didn't give as much of the 'wow' factor that the club will need moving forward.
Dylan Cease was called up to the majors in June and in his 14 starts he's posted a 5.79 ERA with a 4-7 record. He had his shining moments for sure, winning in his first major league appearance in July and striking out a season-high 11 Cleveland Indians hitters on Sept. 3. This surely gives White Sox fans (and the front office) hope for the future as he heads into his first full major league season, but it's impossible to say that he's the piece they needed that completes the rotation.
Michael Kopech is due to return to the mound in 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Kopech only started four games after being called-up and inevitably suffering a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the timing of which kept him out of the rotation until the start of 2020 season. He's ready to return and even calls his Tommy John surgery "the best thing to ever happen."
Ivan Nova really showed that he's ready to compete. He had a seven game stretch in July and August where he allowed only 5 runs in 48.0 innings pitched which comes down to a 0.94 ERA. He told NBC Sports Chicago that the White Sox will be playoff contenders soon.
How soon? "Soon," says Nova.
Reynaldo Lopez had an OK season. After a dismal first half, he improved post All-Star break and finished strong. Lopez has a promising future but it's hard to call him reliable.
With Carlos Rodon suffering a significant arm injury early in the season, Dylan Covey was about the only one left to fill the spot and he didn't do anything exemplary for the rotation.
"I don't know how you go out there and say you're OK with what you have right now," says Rahimi.
With injured guys returning and young guys getting their shot in The Show, the 2020 White Sox have major potential... if they beef up their starting rotation.