Coming up with one White Sox all-century team is not terribly difficult.
Drafting four of them is a little bit more involved. And a lot more fun, it turns out.
Four of us — Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey, Adam Hoge and myself — took to the White Sox Talk Podcast with one goal in mind: draft the best team from a pool of every player who has played for the White Sox since the year 2000.
That meant some of the all-time greats, such as Frank Thomas, were limited to their 21st-century production, forgetting about what they did during the 1990s. It meant only applying what they did in a White Sox uniform, so Manny Ramirez was not a hot commodity. It meant that players on the current roster who have yet to play a regular-season game, like Yasmani Grandal and Luis Robert, were not eligible for selection.
When it came to certain positions, things got a little tricky. A.J. Pierzynski went off the board in the first round because of his standing compared to the other catchers available. Drafting a first baseman after Paul Konerko and Jose Abreu were picked was a chore. Some of us had to get creative with our defensive alignments.
But like all fantasy drafts with friends, this was a fun one. And you can listen to it as it happened on the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.
Now you have a job to do: Figure out which of us drafted the best team. We’ve laid out our lineups and pitching staffs below, with player-by-player arguments for why each of our squads are the best. For the especially curious, the complete draft order is at the very bottom.
Keep the parameters above in mind while evaluating the rosters, and head to your social-media platform of choice to tell us what you think.
While waiting for a new era of White Sox baseball to begin, relive the best players the South Side has seen so far this century.
Note: Teams are listed in the order of the first four picks in the draft.
South Side Flip Men
Vinnie Duber, Manager
Tim Anderson, SS
In four big league seasons, Anderson’s won a batting title, had a 20-homer season, got snubbed from the All-Star Game and has shown off impressive range at short, all while stepping into the spotlight as a face of the franchise.
Orlando Cabrera, 2B
With a mixture of speed, defense and offensive consistency, Cabrera’s lone season on the South Side was a good one. With shortstop already occupied, though, I’ll put him at second base.
Paul Konerko, 1B
The no-doubt No. 1 overall pick in this draft, Konerko’s legacy is well known in every corner of White Sox fandom. All but one of his 16 seasons on the South Side came this century, during which he piled up more than 400 homers, more than 1,300 RBIs and 2,100 hits. No one you’d rather have in the middle of the order.
Jim Thome, DH
Thome went to the Hall of Fame, mostly, for his legendary tenure in Cleveland. But he established himself as a franchise great in his four White Sox seasons, hitting 134 homers in 529 games. One of the best power bats to pick from here.
Eloy Jimenez, RF
His rookie season wasn’t the kind of “blow the doors off the league” campaign the sky-high expectations had him pegged for, but 31 homers while figuring out the big leagues and navigating through a couple stays on the injured list? Impressive. His thunderous power was certainly on display, too, as he blasted balls to the fan deck.
Aaron Rowand, CF
No one who played center field for the White Sox in the last two decades can compare their tenure to Rowand’s. In 2004 and 2005, two of his five South Side seasons, he combined to hit 37 homers, steal 33 bases and post an .813 OPS, all while playing some top-notch defense, too.
Omar Narvaez, C
The Narv Dog’s breakout season came after he was traded (22 homers for the Mariners in 2019), but he was still an above-average offensive catcher in a White Sox uniform. In three seasons, he had a .366 on-base percentage.
Juan Pierre, LF
Pierre’s notoriously poor throwing arm means Jimenez has to shift to right, but after stocking my lineup with power and defense elsewhere, I wanted some blazing speed. Pierre’s 68 steals in the first of his two seasons with the White Sox are the third most in a single season this century.
Yolmer Sanchez, 3B
Unable to choose from Joe Crede or Yoan Moncada, you could do a lot worse than a Gold Glove infielder. Sanchez’s greatest offensive accomplishment in his White Sox career was leading the AL in triples in 2018. But let’s keep the focus on his defensive prowess.
Jose Quintana, SP
Chris Sale and Mark Buehrle were the top prizes on the pitching market, but Quintana was one of the better options after them. With a well documented lack of run support throughout his White Sox career, he still managed a 3.51 ERA, an All-Star appearance and was a near lock for 200 innings a season.
Jake Peavy, SP
#TakeJake. Peavy did his best work before coming to the South Side and won a pair of World Series rings after leaving. But he did some good things in a White Sox uniform, too, including a stellar 2012 season in which he went to the All-Star Game, won a Gold Glove and put up a 3.37 ERA and 194 strikeouts.
Esteban Loaiza, SP
More famous for … other things these days, Loaiza was briefly one of the best pitchers in baseball while wearing a White Sox uniform. In 58 games on the South Side, he had a 3.65 ERA and 291 strikeouts. He made a pair of All-Star teams, getting the start when the White Sox played host to the Midsummer Classic in 2003.
James Baldwin, SP
Much of Baldwin’s White Sox career came before the turn of the century. For these purposes, that’s a good thing, because his numbers were much better after it. He made the AL All-Star team in 2000, his best season on the South Side.
Edwin Jackson, SP
Over parts of two seasons, the perpetually on-the-move Jackson made a season’s worth of starts for the White Sox. In those 30 outings, he had a perfectly admirable 3.66 ERA and 174 strikeouts in just shy of 200 innings. In other words, probably better than you remember.
Keith Foulke, CL
He won a ring with the Red Sox and went to the All-Star Game with the A’s. But his best work came with the White Sox, where he pitched for six seasons, including three in the 21st century. From 2000 to 2002, Foulke had a 2.74 ERA and racked up 87 saves.
The Swingin’ Uribes
Chuck Garfien, Manager
Alex Rios, CF
Everyone remembers Rios for his rough season in 2011, but don’t forget about what he did in 2010: a .284/.334/.457 slash line with 21 home runs and 88 RBIs. And in 2012, he hit .304/.334/.516 with 25 home runs and 91 RBIs. I got Rios in the 11th round. That’s a steal. He’s not a prototypical leadoff hitter, but the Swingin’ Uribes aren’t here for the walks. We are here to mash.
Melky Cabrera, LF
Give me Cabrera, a switch-hitter who rarely strikes out and puts the ball in play, in the No. 2 spot. If he hits like he did in 2016 for the White Sox (.296/.345/.455), we’re off to a good start. Don’t fool around with Melky, because look at the power that’s coming up next.
Jose Abreu, 1B
My first-round pick, No. 2 overall. How does Abreu match up with first-overall pick Paul Konerko? Let’s compare both first basemen from ages 27 to 32, the time Abreu has spent in the major leagues and basically the primes of their careers.
Abreu: .293/.349/.513, 218 doubles, 179 home runs, 611 RBIs
Konerko: .270/.355/.497, 148 doubles, 187 home runs, 547 RBIs
Surprising, isn’t it? Abreu for the win. For his entire White Sox career, Konerko was better for longer, and if I had the first overall pick, I would have taken Konerko, too. But I’m feeling really good having Abreu batting third, especially with the protection he’s got behind him.
Frank Thomas, DH
Only the best hitter in White Sox history batting cleanup. Check out Big Hurt’s numbers from the 2000 season: 44 doubles, 43 home runs, 115 runs scored, 143 RBIs, 112 walks. He slashed .328/.436/.625. Hello. He added another 42-homer season in 2003. But wait there’s more!
Jermaine Dye, RF
Remember how great Dye was in 2006? It doesn’t get talked about nearly enough. Forty four home runs and 120 RBIs. He hit .315/.385/.622. Finished fifth in MVP voting. He averaged 32 home runs in his five seasons with the White Sox. Dude just raked.
Todd Frazier, 3B
This offense is all about crushing baseballs. Leave singles and stolen bases to the other teams. Frazier hit 40 homers with 98 RBIs in 2016. Sure, he batted .225, but we don’t care. We hit bombs on this team.
Juan Uribe, SS
After dealing with Abreu, Thomas, Dye and Frazier, here comes the heart and soul of the Swingin’ Uribes, Juan Uribe himself. Will he be swinging for the fences? All day, every day.
Tyler Flowers, C
The catching position is not exactly deep in this White Sox league. It’s so thin that Adam Hoge picked A.J. Pierzynski in the first round! I grabbed Flowers with my final pick, in the 15th round. He hit 15 dingers in 2014. I’ll take it. Would you have preferred Raul Casanova?
Gordon Beckham, 2B
I’m rounding out my lineup with Gordon Beckham, circa 2009. Remember that guy? He had 14 homers and 28 doubles in 103 games and finished fifth in voting for AL Rookie of the Year. I don’t recall what he did after that. Doesn’t matter. This is fantasy baseball and in my fantasy, Gordon Beckham is a golden god and he will hit like one.
Jon Garland, SP
Who had more wins in his White Sox career, Chris Sale or Jon Garland? The answer is Garland — and by a wide margin: 92-74. Was Garland a better pitcher with the White Sox than Sale? No. Would I rather have Sale on my team than Garland? Yes. But you can’t have everyone, and I’ve got a pitcher leading my staff who won 18 games in both 2005 and 2006. Did Sale ever win 18 games for the White Sox? Nope. Garland it is!
Freddy Garcia, SP
Here’s what I know about my No. 2 pitcher Freddy Garcia: He will take the ball every fifth day, he will sweat through his uniform an hour before the game even starts, he will win every big game (they didn’t call him “Big Game” Freddy for nothing), and he will lose all the others, slowly and painfully. He’s all or nothing, just like Uribe.
Lucas Giolito, SP
My No. 3 starter made the All-Star team last year, finished sixth in Cy Young voting and was a finalist for a Gold Glove. Top that.
Gavin Floyd, SP
When he was on, Floyd had some of the best stuff in the game. From 2008 to 2010, Floyd’s ERA ranged from 3.84 to 4.08. That’s a great No. 4 starter. I’m happy with that.
Bartolo Colon, SP
If having Juan Uribe on this team isn’t enough, here comes the svelte Colon bringing up the rear in my rotation. What he might lack in fitness, he definitely makes up for with personality. Big Sexy went 15-13 in 2013 with nine complete games, which led the American League.
David Robertson, CL
The White Sox signed Robertson to get them saves, and that’s what he did. He had 84 of them in two and a half seasons. Bobby Jenks would have been a better fit with this cast of characters, but he was long gone. Good value pick in the 10th round.
The Kids Can Play
Ryan McGuffey, Manager
Adam Eaton, CF
Love him or hate him, Eaton had a very productive career with the White Sox. He twice led the league in triples, was a Gold Glove finalist and stabilized an outfield spot the White Sox desperately needed. His favorable contract extension was valuable when the White Sox started a rebuild, helping to land Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning.
Tadahito Iguchi, 2B
On the short list of the most undervalued White Sox players of all-time, Kenny Williams signed Iguchi prior to the magical 2005 season as a virtual unknown from Japan. All Iguchi did was produce a .273/.346/.419 slash line in parts of three seasons on the South Side. In typical Iguchi fashion, he was a steal in this draft, selected in the ninth round.
Magglio Ordonez, RF
When the White Sox let Maggs walk after the 2004 season, I worried it would come back to haunt them. It worked out for both sides. Ordonez helped lead the Tigers to the 2006 World Series and was AL MVP runner-up in 2007. Maggs was ridiculous with the White Sox, winning two Silver Sluggers and earning four All-Star nods. He hit .307 with a .889 OPS in eight seasons on the South Side.
Carlos Lee, LF
El Caballo caps off what I believe is easily the best outfield of any team in the draft. Like Ordonez, Lee put up monster numbers, clubbing 152 home runs in six seasons with the White Sox. Lee was dealt to Milwaukee after the 2004 season for some guy named Scott Podsednik, but Lee remains an important player in White Sox history.
Jose Valentin, SS
I truly believe Valentin might be the most underrated player, and definitely shortstop, in White Sox history. This guy was an absolute monster at the plate, averaging more than 27 home runs a season in five years with the White Sox. Find me that pop at that position. You can’t. Plus, he was acquired in one of the best trades in White Sox history: Jamie Navarro for Valentin and Cal Eldred.
Joe Crede, 3B
Not since Robin Ventura did the White Sox have someone to stabilize the hot corner like Crede did. Crede was as important a player as anyone in the 11-1 postseason run in 2005. There are a lot of ugly names after Crede and Moncada on this list, so I snagged Crede in the third round and never looked back.
Andruw Jones, DH
I waited. And waited. And waited some more. And finally, I couldn’t wait any longer. With my last pick and trying to be creative, I selected Jones as my DH with the 59th overall pick. Jones hit 20 home runs in one season with the White Sox. I went for name recognition over WAR. I seriously considered Alejandro De Aza here.
James McCann, C
After A.J. Pierzynski, the falloff for a productive catcher was steep. But one All-Star season from McCann became a good value pick at No. 46 overall. McCann was the second catcher selected in this draft, and judging by where he was selected, it tells you just how valuable Pierzynski’s time was on the South Side.
Adam Dunn, 1B
I tried. I tried hard. I tried to avoid selecting Dunn. But then it just made too much sense for where I was in the draft. Minus a first baseman deep into the draft, I went with the power of Dunn over anything else. It’s far from a sexy pick, but with Konerko and Abreu off the board early, I took Dunn, who hit 35 percent of his 106 homers with the White Sox as a first baseman.
Mark Buehrle, SP
The easiest decision of any pick I made. I held the No. 3 overall pick and selected one of the greatest players and people to ever wear a White Sox uniform. He’s my default captain.
Javier Vazquez, SP
Vazquez was always that pitcher you expected more from. He was a reliable power pitcher that made every start. Was he up and down? Yes. But he did do some good things with the White Sox. He eclipsed 200 innings in all three of his seasons on the South Side, averaging almost 200 strikeouts per season in 97 starts. I needed a horse to plug into my rotation. I’ll take the reliability.
Michael Kopech, SP
Did I jump the gun? Absolutely. This was probably a reach at No. 38 overall, but it was also a matter of selecting a player I wanted, versus a player I didn’t. It’s clear this is a potential pick, even though the draft isn’t based on potential. My rotation takes a hit due to the value I put on the bats in my lineup. It’s a risk I’m willing to take.
Mike Sirotka, SP
Sirotka anchored a staff that led “The Kids Can Play” White Sox to the AL’s best record in 2000. Sirotka had a 3.79 ERA, tied for third in the AL, and won 15 games for the unlikely division champions. His 197 innings also led the staff. Unfortunately for Sirotka, a shoulder injury prevented him from ever pitching again after a forgettable trade to Toronto that netted David Wells.
Dylan Cease, SP
See Kopech. Potential over total value. With my second to last pick, and desperate to round out my rotation, I took Cease’s upside over the downside of pitchers that flamed out in forgettable seasons in Chicago. With Buehrle at the top, I found comfort in upside at the bottom.
Bobby Jenks, CL
I didn’t waste time. Some called it a reach. But, I have no regrets in taking the best closer to wear a White Sox uniform in the 2000s at No. 22 overall. Without Jenks, the White Sox don’t win the World Series in 2005 and don’t win 90 games in 2006. Big, bad Bobby Jenks closes the door for my bullpen and for my team.
Adam Hoge, Manager
Scott Podsednik, CF
Easy call here. He’s the best White Sox leadoff hitter of this century. Playing him in center weakens this pick a little bit, but there’s no one else I’d rather have at the top of the order.
Yoan Moncada, 3B
Still only 24 years old, I’m buying what Moncada did in 2019. He was my third pick in the draft at No. 12 overall. The second spot in the order is where he does the most damage.
Carl Everett, DH
Kenny Williams traded for Everett twice, and even though he didn’t stick around long, he was impactful in both stints.
Carlos Quentin, LF
He was on his way to winning the MVP in 2008 before breaking his wrist on his bat. Health was an issue, but Quentin was a two-time All Star in four seasons with the White Sox.
Ray Durham, 2B
Durham only played for the White Sox until 2002, when he was traded to Oakland mid-season, but he was a 10.8 WAR player in the 2000s on the South Side. Usually a leadoff hitter, I’m batting him fifth in my lineup with Pods on the team. The fifth spot was his second most common spot in the batting order, and he posted a career .867 OPS as the fifth hitter.
A.J. Pierzynski, C
There was pretty much one catcher in this draft, so I took him with my first-round pick.
Matt Davidson, 1B
After not landing Konerko or Thomas, I decided to wait until my last pick to address first base. And I wasn’t going to take Nick Swisher, so Davidson became our “Mr. Irrelevant.”
Avisail Garcia, RF
After failing to live up to expectations, Garcia broke out with a .330 average and an All-Star appearance in 2017 before battling injuries in 2018 and moving on. He’s still a solid player and was my second-to-last pick, so the value isn’t horrible.
Alexei Ramirez, SS
One of the more underrated players in White Sox history, Ramirez was outstanding in the field and had a knack for clutch home runs.
Chris Sale, SP
Buehrle was already off the board, but I might have taken Sale first anyway. A true ace at the top of my rotation.
Jose Contreras, SP
Quite a 1-2 punch with the guy who emerged as the ace in 2005 and went to an All-Star Game in 2006.
Orlando Hernandez, SP
His one season with the White Sox wasn’t his best, but he mostly gave the team a chance to win and of course will always be known for the three outs in Boston in the ALDS.
John Danks, SP
Danks pitched a ton of games and a ton of innings for the White Sox and was mostly dependable. I like him as my fourth starter.
Carlos Rodon, SP
Still waiting for Rodon to get healthy and be dependable, there’s no question he has the stuff.
Alex Colome, CL
I waited too long to take a closer, but at No. 53 overall, I got a guy who saved 30 games last year. Not bad.
Complete draft order
- Paul Konerko, Vinnie
- Jose Abreu, Chuck
- Mark Buehrle, Ryan
- A.J. Pierzynski, Adam
- Chris Sale, Adam
- Magglio Ordonez, Ryan
- Jermaine Dye, Chuck
- Jim Thome, Vinnie
- Aaron Rowand, Vinnie
- Frank Thomas, Chuck
- Joe Crede, Ryan
- Yoan Moncada, Adam
- Jose Contreras, Adam
- Carlos Lee, Ryan
- Jon Garland, Chuck
- Jose Quintana, Vinnie
- Eloy Jimenez, Vinnie
- Lucas Giolito, Chuck
- Adam Eaton, Ryan
- Scott Podsednik, Adam
- Carlos Quentin, Adam
- Bobby Jenks, Ryan
- Todd Frazier, Chuck
- Jake Peavy, Vinnie
- Tim Anderson, Vinnie
- Freddy Garcia, Chuck
- Jose Valentin, Ryan
- Alexei Ramirez, Adam
- Carl Everett, Adam
- Javier Vazquez, Ryan
- Melky Cabrera, Chuck
- Esteban Loaiza, Vinnie
- Juan Pierre, Vinnie
- Juan Uribe, Chuck
- Tadahito Iguchi, Ryan
- Ray Durham, Adam
- Orlando Hernandez, Adam
- Michael Kopech, Ryan
- David Robertson, Chuck
- Keith Foulke, Vinnie
- Orlando Cabrera, Vinnie
- Alex Rios, Chuck
- Adam Dunn, Ryan
- John Danks, Adam
- Carlos Rodon, Adam
- James McCann, Ryan
- Gavin Floyd, Chuck
- James Baldwin, Vinnie
- Omar Narvaez, Vinnie
- Bartolo Colon, Chuck
- Mike Sirotka, Ryan
- Alex Colome, Adam
- Avisail Garcia, Adam
- Dylan Cease, Ryan
- Gordon Beckham, Chuck
- Yolmer Sanchez, Vinnie
- Edwin Jackson, Vinnie
- Tyler Flowers, Chuck
- Andruw Jones, Ryan
- Matt Davidson, Adam
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