Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News arrow-downArrow Down icon Arrow Up icon

Breaking down White Sox Opening Day roster

@scottmerkin
March 26, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- A new White Sox era amid Year 3 of the ongoing rebuild will begin Thursday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium. Eloy Jiménez, the No. 3 prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, will make his Major League debut stationed in left field, hitting somewhere between fifth and seventh in

KANSAS CITY -- A new White Sox era amid Year 3 of the ongoing rebuild will begin Thursday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.

Eloy Jiménez, the No. 3 prospect in baseball per MLB Pipeline, will make his Major League debut stationed in left field, hitting somewhere between fifth and seventh in the lineup against the Royals. Here’s a look at how the rest of the team’s 25-man Opening Day roster breaks down around one of the game’s top young players.

Catcher (2): Welington Castillo, James McCann

What changed? It could be McCann on Opening Day, having worked with Carlos Rodon frequently during Spring Training. Keep an eye on Zack Collins, the No. 12 White Sox prospect per MLB Pipeline, and Seby Zavala, the No. 22 prospect, who both will start at Triple-A Charlotte but could see big league time at some point this season.

First base/designated hitter (2): Jose Abreu, Yonder Alonso

What changed? White Sox manager Rick Renteria still will have to decide the season split between first and designated hitter for the two, but they are a good fit in the middle of the order and work well together. Abreu seems as excited to see what Yoan Moncada and Jimenez can do in 2019 as his own expected high level of production.

Second base (1): Yolmer Sanchez

What changed? Sanchez played 117 games at second in 2015 and 78 at second in ’17, so this change won’t require much of an adjustment. Nick Madrigal, the team’s top pick from the '19 Draft, could make a move to the Major Leagues at second as fast as later this season.

Third base (1): Moncada

What changed? The White Sox have moved Moncada to a more instinctive spot defensively, a move they also believe will help his offensive focus. He has been very aggressive at the plate during Spring Training, attacking earlier in the count.

Shortstop (1): Tim Anderson

What changed? Anderson has worked to make this position his own almost since the day he was drafted in 2013 and has accomplished that goal. He focused on his timing offensively in the offseason and should be primed for another step up with the bat from a strong ’18 effort.

Outfield (3): Jimenez, Leury Garcia, Daniel Palka

What changed? Jimenez agreed to a six-year, $43 million deal, with two options years possibly taking it to $75 million over eight years, putting him on the Opening Day roster. After inking a record deal for players without any Major League experience, Jimenez’s quest for the American League Rookie of the Year award and beyond begins in Kansas City.

Utility (3): Adam Engel, Jose Rondon, Ryan Cordell

What changed? With the White Sox not needing a fifth starter until April 10, they can carry a fourth utility player (including the second catcher). Rondon is out of options but showed his versatility during Spring Training to go with his strong bat by playing some left field. Jon Jay’s right hip/back issue landed him on the injured list, with Cordell being recalled. Engel provides Gold Glove caliber defense among the outfielders.

Starting pitcher (4): Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, Ivan Nova

What changed? Ervin Santana will be the team’s fifth starter when one is needed, but he will begin the season building up his innings and pitch count in Arizona. Rodon gets his first career Opening Day nod in Kansas City, while Lopez will start the home opener on April 4.

Relief pitcher (8): Alex Colome (CL), Kelvin Herrera, Nate Jones, Jace Fry, Caleb Frare, Manny Banuelos, Ryan Burr, Dylan Covey

What changed? Burr’s goal entering Spring Training was to make a tough bullpen decision even tougher for the White Sox, and he did just that by earning a spot in relief. Banuelos worked as a starting pitcher throughout Spring Training, but the White Sox moved the southpaw who is out of options to the bullpen. Covey gives the White Sox a second long relief option.

Ian Hamilton, considered by some as a closer of the future, sustained a shoulder setback after a car accident with his fiancée during Spring Training and was placed on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation. The moves with Jay and Hamilton were made retroactive to March 25.

Here’s a look at the projected 25-man roster for the 2019 White Sox, as of March 26:

CATCHERS

Welington Castillo

James McCann

INFIELDERS

Jose Abreu

Yonder Alonso

Yolmer Sanchez

Tim Anderson

Yoan Moncada

OUTFIELDERS

Eloy Jimenez

Leury Garcia

Daniel Palka

UTILITY PLAYERS

Adam Engel

Jose Rondon

Ryan Cordell

STARTING PITCHERS

Carlos Rodon

Reynaldo Lopez

Lucas Giolito

Ivan Nova

RELIEF PITCHERS

Alex Colome

Kelvin Herrera

Nate Jones

Jace Fry

Manny Banuelos

Caleb Frare

Ryan Burr

Dylan Covey

INJURED LIST

Michael Kopech

Jon Jay

Ian Hamilton

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.