Perhaps the greatest travesty of this Winter was that the ChiSox weren’t able to pin down either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper to pair with their high-potential youngsters. Machado in particular was a tantalizing fit for the ball club, and at just 26 years old, he would’ve line up perfectly with a team poised to be a contender for the next decade if everyone sticks around.
Nonetheless, the Chicago White Sox still open up the 2019 campaign in a fairly good situation. They’re fortunate enough to play in what is almost undoubtedly baseball’s weakest division. At the moment they sit nestled between the Indians & Twins atop the division, and the Tigers & Royals as resident cellar dwellers. If their baby-faced roster comes out of the gates strong and cohesive they very well could usurp the former tandem for divisional supremacy (or at least give the rest of the AL a run for their money in the Wild Card race). If they hit an early wall and end the season closer to the latter pairing, they can rest easy knowing that soon enough their time will come.
Truth be told it’s hard to look at a roster of all-potential guys and definitively pin down one of them to breakthrough into star-status. Former top prospect in baseball, Yoan Moncada, has to be an early favorite. The White Sox have made it a point to bring him along at an absurdly slow rate, transitioning him to big league ball with a caution typically reserved for young-pitchers, not infielders. If they let him loose at the dawn of the season I suspect we’ll see a great deal of him on SportsCenter in the ensuing months. Another couple of personal favorites of mine are slick fielding shortstop Tim Anderson, and outfielder Adam Engel. Both have already proven their worth on the defensive end, but with an uptick at the plate they project as all-star talents. Some consideration also has to be given to the starting rotation combination of Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito and Dylan Covey. All of whom have shown substantial promise of big returns in the near future.
My pick though is a man who has yet to actually play even an inning of big league ball. Super-Slugger Eloy Jimenez has taken the baseball world by storm. If not for him being in the same freshman class as legacy-standouts Vlad Guerrero Jr. & Fernando Tatis Jr., Jimenez would undoubtedly be hailed as the best prospect of the last 5 years. His power-stroke is undeniable and major-league ready; for reference, a prediction of a 25 home run year is considered an undersell of his abilities and would probably lead to a boycott by big-league scouts everywhere.
Perhaps the most appropriate break out selection yet, Jimenez is in the same boat as the franchise he’s signed to. Jimenez is benefited by the fact that there’s almost no sure thing in the Chicago outfield right now. Engel is a presumed lock for Center (which Eloy can’t really play anyways), and aside from that the Sox’s next best option is journeyman outfielder Jon Jay. So it’s pretty fair to say that a prospect likely to open the season hitting cleanup for this ball club, should find himself a nice little everyday spot in one of the corner outfield positions.