The Chicago White Sox entered the 2021 season with some of the highest expectations in baseball. Many fans and analysts predicted the White Sox to represent the American League in the World Series. Now two weeks into the season here is a look at how some of the White Sox players have been playing.
Lucas Giolito is the best player on the White Sox. Moreover, there is no player on the team that is more valuable than their ace. Giolito went from the worst pitcher in baseball in 2018 to an all-star in 2019. He got even better in 2020, recording a higher WHIP and FIP along with striking out more batters. In 2021, Giolito is having another great start. Furthermore, he is currently 1-0 with a 0.844 WHIP and a 1.83 FIP. Look for Lucas Giolito to continue to improve as he has the work ethic to win the Cy Young.
Jose Abreu has had a bit of a slow start to begin the 2021 season. He has not quite picked up where he left off in 2020 when he won the AL MVP. However, there are still some positives Abreu can look at for this season. He is at a 12.8 percent walk rate which is much higher than he has ever had in his career. His main issue is hitting the sweet spot. With a sweet spot percentage of 15.4, he is very shy of his career percentage of 33.5. The White Sox should not worry though, as Abreu got off to a slow start last season and still won MVP. If Abreu can win an MVP after a slow start in a 60 game season, the White Sox should have nothing to worry about in a 162 game season.
The White Sox acquired Lance Lynn from the Texas Rangers this offseason in exchange for Dane Dunning. Lynn has been nothing short of spectacular in his first two starts with the White Sox. Moreover, he has yet to allow an earned run and has struck out 17 while walking just two. In his second start, Lynn pitched a complete game shutout while allowing zero walks. If Lynn can keep this up he will be a tremendous piece for the White Sox late in the season.
One of the most talked-about aspects of this past offseason was the resurgence of Yoan Moncada. Moncada did not have a great 2020 season. Likewise, he had just a .225 average with a .705 OPS. His 93 OPS plus would put him as a below-average hitter in 2020. However, Moncada claimed that he was not himself in 2020 because he was feeling the after-effects of COVID-19 all season.
Has Moncada resurged in 2021? Not yet. Unfortunately, he has had yet another slow start to the season. He is only hitting .200 with an 82 OPS plus. However, he has been walking a lot so look to see him getting on base a good amount. The main reason for Moncada’s low batting average is his inability to get behind in counts. Moncada tends to be very patient at the beginning of his at-bats and pitchers have started to attack the zone early on him. As a result, he has struck out almost 30 percent of his at-bats. Moncada needs to start jumping on pitches early if he wants to become an elite hitter in the major leagues.
Michael Kopech has probably been the biggest surprise for the White Sox in 2021. Kopech has always been a highly rated prospect in the White Sox organization, however, many people started to lose a little bit of faith in him as a result of injuries and just not enough playing time. He missed the entire 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery, and he opted out of the 2020 season.
Kopech has been just tremendous in his first few appearances for the White Sox. In six innings pitched, Kopech has a 0.474 WHIP along with 15.6 strikeouts per nine innings. His fastball has a lot more movement at 96 mph than it did at 100. Hitters have been completely unable to hit the movement on his slider and fastball, and his numbers show for it.