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Hamster’s Best of 2018

New York Yankees v Chicago White Sox
Mojo Workin’: When Reynaldo gets a head of steam going, you best clear out of the way.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

White Sox Best of 2018

Best pitcher: Reynaldo López

Best position player: Tim Anderson

Best reliever: Joakim Soria (he’s still close to our best, and he’s been gone for two months!)

Best defender: I’m going to reward in-season development — no easy task, that — and give it to Anderson over Adam Engel.

Favorite player: You wouldn’t think this would be hard, on a 90-something loss team, but Yolmer Sánchez, Daniel Palka, López and Anderson all merit consideration. My gut says López, but I’m going to go Yolmer, for his sheer love of being a Chicago White Sox player.

Overall MVP (hitter or pitcher): Very tough for me between TA and López. Although I would never give a pitcher the “real” MVP (that’s what the Cy Young is for), I’m giving my MVP to López.

Rookie of the Year: My brain knows this is Jace Fry, unquestionably. But in a 90-something loss season, we don’t have to play by anyone’s rules (see above). So for sheer thrills and swag, and perhaps for future growth potential, I’ll say Palka.

Breakout star: Palka may have made the biggest jump, from scrap heap to 27 homers, but the only breakout “star” on this team is López.

Best single play: Two jump to mind, Palka going opposite field to beat Cleveland for a Sox Park walk-off, and Trayce Thompson’s improbable GWRBI vs. Chris Sale at Fenway. Palka’s homer is a memory I’ll keep with me longer, but if I’m honest, giving the timing of TT’s hit in June, that win (and overall Sox performance in Boston) led to more hope for me, that this could be something more than a lost season. Thompson wins.

Best single game: Speaking of having more hope, what about that ridiculous Opening Day win in Kansas City? Remember when we saw the White Sox hitting the ball so hard in that first week of the season that we thought the offense might come to something?

Prospect you’re most excited for: Of course, it’s Eloy. But I have to say, the guys who took huge jumps this year, and Dylan Cease, Laz Rivera, Luis González immediately come to mind, are tantalizing, too. We may be debating the merits of the Chris Sale trade for decades, but boy, early returns on the Jose Quintana trade look brighter than even the Adam Eaton deal.

Best nickname, Players’ Weekend or otherwise: None were very good. I’ll vote for Pito because it’s cute, sweet, consistent. Add my voice to those wondering how a goof like Yolmer still doesn’t have one, or multiple, nicknames. Hawk loves to coronate and LOVES Yolmer, it seems, but doesn’t even try to nickname him, in his swan song season?

Best rivalry: Sorry, I know it’s somewhat tired these days, but it’s the Cubs.

Eloy ETA: Ew, gross category. Whatever the day after he spins into a new service year or whatever that garbage is. Can’t wait to hear about his overnight defensive development.

Favorite moment of Hawk’s broadcasting career: Late-era Hawk grew some tarnish, sadly. It makes it hard to remember the good. The great passion and catch phrases aren’t really “moments,” so I’ll say that broadcast with A.J. a month or so ago. He was relaxed, the two had fun, it was a little hokey and hacky, but then, that’s Hawky.

Best promotion/innovation/development: OK, I don’t even eat meat, but it’s always bugged me that the White Sox don’t relax prices to get fannies in the seats. Slash parking costs, seating, just get people there to buy stuff and fill the park. In an era where scalping is like totally legal, the notion that the guy sitting next to you is going to be ticked off about how much less you paid for your ticket is dead and gone. So for that reason, innovations like the dollar dog day should be encouraged. Plus, dollar dog day always seems to get a mention on our pages, so it’s popular.

I wish it extended to the veggie dogs, though.