None of this is exactly ideal, but here we are. In less than a week, baseball will start on the Southside and it could not be better set up for the Sox young core to thrive.
For this season to be considered a triumph, the Sox young core simply needs to take the field together. That’s it. We don’t need them to win the World Series or even make the playoffs for 2020 to be a rousing success. Sixty games are a dress rehearsal for something much bigger. The showcase of the future, the kids can get their feet wet with no pressure on them. Here are some of the things I’m looking forward to highlights in 2020:
Nick Madrigal should be playing second and hitting in the 9-hole on Friday. Full stop. The Ricks need to make the right call and throw caution to the wind. Every AB for Madrigal he’s doing something “right”. Hit and run, going back up the middle, not striking out (okay, Colome got him once with a sick cutter). He needs to begin his major-league baseball career ASAP.
Michael Kopech will be missed, but it’s completely understandable that he opted out in 2020. In the past, this would be a killer for the rotation, but just taking a glance at the depth chart behind Kopech and it’s hard not to be excited to see some of these arms getting a chance this season in his stead.
Fellow brothers-in-surgically-repaired elbows, Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert, have gotten some innings in Camp. Dunning’s pitches have some great movement and Lambert had been hitting 95 according to some reports already. These two alone soften the blow of Kopech opting out.
Professor Yasmani Grandal’s class is in session. Yaz did his homework before he even signed and he already seems to worth more than the market value. A young rotation throwing to Grandal for the next four (and hopefully more) years is going to be fun to watch. He’s going to get the best out of everyone. He eats tape like Peyton Manning and will be able to help guide these young arms moving forward.
The rotation’s younger arms certainly get most of the headlines, but some of the younger bullpen options are going to get a chance to prove themselves. Ian Hamilton and his terrible, horrible, no good, bad luck with injuries — looks to finally be healthy and hopefully ready to pitch.
Codi Heuer and Tyler Johnson had already impressed in Arizona before and they seem to be picking right back up where they left off, pumping fastball’s in the upper 90s. As Hawk told us many many, many, many, many, many, many, many, (you get the idea) times, it’s now a battle of the bullpens and having these young arms throwing smoke can only help in the war.
This is the most important and underrated thing I’m looking forward to. We’ve seen how much fun these players are having so far during Summer Camp. There’s a looseness we haven’t ever seen on the White Sox in my lifetime. As much as I love the mid-to-late 00s team leaders like Konerko, Dye, and Thome, to say these guys were a little dry in the personality department would be an insult to the Sahara.
The 2020 team leaders are all smiles. Watch Eloy Jiminez between AB’s and try not to be infected with pure joy. Lucas Giolito is just an awkward dork who can, you know, also throw 95. But the undeniable team leader, not only on the field but, in the swag department is Tim Anderson. There is no one more vocal in the dugout and having fun playing the game of baseball. With no crowds in the stadiums, Jason Benetti and Steve Stone will essentially have a third man calling the game with them.
Against all odds, baseball looks like it will be happening in 2020, and on the South Side, these guys are itching to get started.
Feature Photo: Chicago White Sox via Twitter