GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Ask 60 baseball writers from around the country for a preseason American League Rookie of the Year Award pick, and about one-third will say the White Sox Yoan Moncada. Maybe even half make that choice.Survey that same group for their AL Cy Young Award pick, and Jose
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Ask 60 baseball writers from around the country for a preseason American League Rookie of the Year Award pick, and about one-third will say the White Sox Yoan Moncada. Maybe even half make that choice.
Survey that same group for their AL Cy Young Award pick, and Jose Quintana certainly should get some support. But as listed below, a few roadblocks exist when considering any award candidates for the 2017 White Sox.
Players from losing teams have been known to win individual honors. Check out Andre Dawson capturing National League MVP for a 1987 Cubs team finishing last in the NL East. Jose Abreu also won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2014 for a White Sox team that lost 89 games.
But the White Sox are not designed as contenders this season and good personal seasons on non-contending teams oftentimes get topped by players contributing to winners.
Length of stay
There's little question Quintana will put together another Quintana-like year: ERA between 3.00 to 3.50, 200 innings pitched, 30 starts and countless quality starts. He'll be in the Cy Young Award picture with former teammate Chris Sale and AL Central foes Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber, to name a few, but how many of those impressive numbers will be put together with the White Sox?
Quintana is under team control for the next four years at approximately $36 million, and as general manager Rick Hahn has said numerous times, the lefty greatly improves any team, including the White Sox. Quintana also stands as the best trade chip to truly enhance the rebuild process, which stalled a bit after the Winter Meetings trades of Sale and Adam Eaton.
Nothing will be forced in regard to moving Quintana or any of the White Sox veterans, so there's a chance Quintana remains a part of Chicago for the entire season. But if he's pitching at a Cy Young Award level, it seems likely that some contender will eventually meet Hahn's lofty asking price and pry loose Quintana in-season.
Those watching Moncada during Cactus League action witnessed the special talent he possesses. He is built like a linebacker, and he has great speed and power from both sides of the plate. They also could see this special talent was not quite ready for everyday Major League action.
Does that mean Moncada stays with Triple-A Charlotte until May? June? Or even the outside shot of the entire season?
Let's say the second baseman arrives in Chicago in mid-June. Would that be enough plate appearances to put him in the Rookie of the Year Award race, if he's successful, and compete with another prime contender such as Andrew Benintendi, his former Boston teammate? Apply that Moncada theory to any of the other top-rated White Sox prospects starting the year in the Minors.
Plenty of talent still exists on this roster, a roster not resembling a classic rebuild designed to lose big. Abreu, Tim Anderson and Todd Frazier could challenge for Silver Sluggers or All-Star selections. But in the great unknown that is the current state of the White Sox, very few players have location security into June let alone the whole season.
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.