The year that many White Sox fans have targeted since the rebuild began was 2020. As the rebuild has played out, it looks like that was optimistic for a lot of reasons.
For one, injuries to pitchers like Michael Kopech and Dane Dunning have delayed their impact on the big league club. On top of that, the simple reality is 2020 was just the first year all of the team’s top prospects expected to be in the majors. That says nothing to whether or not that group would be able to contribute in a big way immediately.
The development of Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson early in 2019 has shown that. Both players went through struggles over multiple years in the bigs before showing drastic improvement in the early days of this season.
Still, 2020 expects to be a noteworthy year because all of Kopech, Dylan Cease, Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal, Zack Collins and others are expected to join Moncada, Anderson and Eloy Jimenez on the big league club by sometime in 2020. But that’s just the first shot in the team’s supposed contention window.
Years down the road some of those same players will still be in their primes. This applies to a write-up from prospect guru Will Leitch of MLB.com. Leitch made projections for the 2026 MLB All-Star Game starting lineups. Yes, 2026.
Leitch includes Jimenez and Madrigal on the American League lineup. Jimenez isn’t a huge shock considering he is one of the best hitting prospects to come up through the minors in the last few years. He already has a two-home run game to his name and has shown adjustments and improvement since struggling in the opening week of the season. The contract extension Jimenez signed during spring training has two option years that would extend the deal through 2026.
Madrigal is a more surprising pick. He was the fourth pick in last June’s draft, but there’s a long way to go before the second baseman looks like an MLB all-star. The White Sox have already been moving Madrigal quickly through the minors. He reached advanced Single-A Winston-Salem just over a month after he won the College World Series with Oregon State.
He returned to Winston-Salem to start this season and has been on fire since starting with a 1-for-12 slump. Since those three games, Madrigal is 13-for-29 and is hitting .341 overall.