CHICAGO -- A quick study of the possibilities for a pre-Spring Training White Sox 25-man roster reveals versatility among the players they have and not many glaring questions to be answered.Here's a look at that roster breakdown with on-field action beginning on Wednesday when pitchers and catchers report to Camelback
CHICAGO -- A quick study of the possibilities for a pre-Spring Training White Sox 25-man roster reveals versatility among the players they have and not many glaring questions to be answered.
Here's a look at that roster breakdown with on-field action beginning on Wednesday when pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.
Catcher (2): Welington Castillo, Omar Narvaez
Castillo represents the White Sox aggressiveness within the rebuild, as the free-agent acquisition became the team's starting catcher for 2018 and '19, with an option for '20. Narvaez and Kevan Smith made solid contributions behind the plate in '17, but Narvaez hitting from the left side gives him a slight early edge.
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First base (1): Jose Abreu
Abreu is the leader, the voice of the team, and he's trying to continue a streak of four straight seasons with at least 25 home runs, 32 doubles, 100 RBIs, a .290 average and a .468 slugging percentage. He also worked diligently in '17 to improve defensively at the position.
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Second base (1): Yoan Moncada
Look at Moncada's statistics from 2017 as not much more than a valuable learning experience for the 22-year-old switch-hitter and former top prospect in baseball as ranked by MLB Pipeline. His first true test comes in '18 as the team's everyday second baseman with more than 600 plate appearances on the horizon barring injury.
Third base (1): Yolmer Sanchez
With a career high in games played and plate appearances overall, Sanchez produced personal bests in average (.267), triples (8), home runs (12), RBIs (59) and runs scored (63). Sanchez played at least one game in five different positions last year, but he figures to settle in at third. Matt Davidson also will get action at third, as will Tyler Saladino, if he breaks camp with the team.
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Shortstop (1): Tim Anderson
Anderson focused on family for the bulk of this offseason in order to help get himself ready baseball-wise for the 2018 season. The shortstop admirably dealt with personal struggles in '17 and still finished with a season-high 17 home runs and 56 RBIs.
Utility/DH (3): Matt Davidson (DH), Leury Garcia, Tyler Saladino
Saladino has the ability to play across the infield, although is no roster lock after back issues hampered him during a tough '17 campaign. Davidson and Delmonico could see time at designated hitter with an outfield featuring Garcia in left when Delmonico is the DH. Infielder Casey Gillaspie and outfielders Ryan Cordell, Charlie Tilson, Willy Garcia and Daniel Palka remain firmly in the mix.
Outfield (3): Nicky Delmonico, Adam Engel, Avisail Garcia
Center field appears to be the biggest question mark, involving Engel, Leury Garcia and Tilson, who lost the '17 season to injury. Engel provides Gold Glove-caliber defense and has worked diligently during the past offseason on improving from a rough offensive debut.
Starting pitchers (5): James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez, Carson Fulmer
The addition of Gonzalez via free agency leaves the rotation all set. The group will change with the return of Carlos Rodon, who began a throwing program after SoxFest as part of his rehab for season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery leaving him out 6-to-8 months from this past September.
Bullpen (8): Nate Jones, Joakim Soria, Luis Avilan, Danny Farquhar, Juan Minaya, Jeanmar Gomez, Xavier Cedeno, Gregory Infante
We're leaning toward eight relievers to start, with three young starters in the rotation and a stretch of 22 games played by the White Sox in 23 days during April. Jones and Soria are the clubhouse leaders for the closer's job, but general manager Rick Hahn has added numerous late-inning options for manager Rick Renteria. Pitchers such as non-roster invite Bruce Rondon, southpaws Aaron Bummer and Jace Fry and righty Thyago Vieira will push for the final spot or two, and there always seems to be a surprise candidate -- such as Anthony Swarzak at last year's camp.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.