The Chicago White Sox have high hopes for the 2020 season. However, they are banking on a lot of youth, especially in the rotation.
The Chicago White Sox certainly received a lot of attention for their offseason, all of which was warranted. After extending Jose Abreu, the White Sox opened the vaults, landing Dallas Keuchel, Yasmani Grandal, and Edwin Encarnacion, amongst other signings. Chicago made their intentions clear from the onset of free agency – they felt they were ready to contend, and they were going for the postseason.
The biggest question surrounding the White Sox involves their rotation. We all know what Keuchel is at this point – a solid middle of the rotation arm who has been through the playoff battles before. Gio Gonzalez, another free agent acquisition, is of the same mold, although he slots better as a fifth starter.
But what of the rest of the staff? Lucas Giolito had a breakout 2019 campaign, but had been a disaster before that. Did he finally live up to his top prospect billing, or was that a fluke season? Dylan Cease had been battered in his time in the majors. Reynaldo Lopez has been inconsistent at best. As it is, both Cease and Lopez could lose their rotation spots once Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodon are set to return from Tommy John surgery.
As Kopech, for all of his talent, is still a wild card, it is Rodon who could be the most important addition to the rotation. Rodon has battled his own issues with inconsistency, averaging out to a basically league average arm over his career. But he has displayed those flashes that lead one to believe there is a lot more there.
As with Giolito, Rodon had appeared to have turned the corner last season. Over his first five starts, he posted a 2.89 ERA and a 1.107 WHiP, striking out 35 batters with 12 walks in 28 innings. However, those last two outings, when he was injured, were a nightmare. Rodon allowed 11 runs and 19 baserunners in just 6.2 innings.
Right now, Rodon is progressing well in his rehab. He is on, if not ahead, of schedule, and could be ready to rejoin the White Sox come June. If he continues to be the pitcher he showed he could be over those first five starts, the White Sox could have another top of the rotation arm. Understandably, they will tread carefully to make certain his healthy, but their quest to return to the playoffs will be bolstered by his presence.
With the uncertainty surrounding the Chicago White Sox rotation, someone will need to step up and become another top of the rotation starter. Based on what he showed before his injury, Carlos Rodon may be just that.