White Sox Best of 2018
Best Pitcher: While he’s struggled over his last five starts, Carlos Rodon is the easy pick. From July through August, Rodon was virtually unhittable. In that stretch he showed that he could be the ace that Chicago envisioned when they selected him third overall out of N.C. State. Provided he stays healthy, I fully expect Rodon to emerge as an All-Star in 2019.
Best Position Player: Another close pick here, but I’d have to go with Tim Anderson. Yes, his defense was sloppy early in the season, but he really cleaned things up after June. Offensively, he became the first White Sox shortstop to reach the 20/20 club, setting a career high with 20 HRs and 26 SBs. Let’s not forget he also doubled his walk total from last season. While he may never have a great OBP, he’s only getting better. Watch out American League.
Best Reliever: Jace Fry emerged this season as a legit lefty specialist. His combination of his two-seam fastball and breaking ball will be deadly to lefties for years to come.
Best Defender: Pretty easy choice here. Adam Engel is one of the best defenders in all of baseball. Among his best plays were his back-to-back home run robberies against the Yankees. Imagine if he learned how to hit ...
Favorite Player: Close one between Anderson and Yolmer Sanchez, but I give Yolmer the edge. How can you not love his walk-off Gatorade celebrations? While he may never be a superstar, he’s a great guy and a good ballplayer who you just can’t help but root for.
Overall MVP: While he suffered a variety of injuries over the last several weeks, Jose Abreu is still this team’s MVP. Consistent production along with veteran leadership (and mentoring Moncada). What more can you ask for?
Rookie of the Year: No debate here. Palka power has taken over Chicago. Not to mention his clutch, late-inning, walk-off hits. Easy choice here for the #108er.
Breakout Star: Toss up between Anderson and Palka, but I give the edge to Palka. No one knew who this guy was when Chicago claimed him off of waivers in December, but now he is a fan favorite on the South Side. His 27 homers and 66 RBIs in limited ABs are nothing short of remarkable.
Best Single Play: While I could go with one of the Engel home run robberies, I’ll choose Matt Davidson’s strikeout of Giancarlo Stanton. Hell of a pitch.
Best Single Game: Opening day vs. the Royals. Things were looking bleak when James Shields gave up four runs in the first inning. However, Matt Davidson took over and clobbered three home runs. Tim Anderson also added two dingers of his own en route to the 14-7 win. Hell, even Engel had two hits.
Prospect You’re Most Excited For: While I could go the easy route and pick Eloy Jimenez, I’m gonna actually go ahead and pick Dylan Cease. Dylan absolutely dominated High-A ball this year and was even better in AA. He actually put up better numbers than Michael Kopech did at Birmingham (albeit it was in fewer innings). Don’t be surprised when Cease surpasses Kopech as the No. 2 starter.
Favorite Hawk Harrelson moment: Gotta be Mark Buerhle’s perfect game. “Alexei...Yes!!!”
Best Promotion: The only Sox game I went to this year was their Hawaiian floppy hat night. Pretty solid hat that I got for free. Hope they bring it back again next year.
Most Underrated Pitcher or Player: Despite his production, Sanchez only gets talked about because of his walk-off celebrations. Everyone else ignores how consistent Yolmer was at the plate this season, not to mention his stout defense all over the diamond. One of the best utility players you could ask for.
Most Underrated Prospect: I wanted to add this category to give some props to Laz Rivera. The Dash provided plenty of excitement for fans all season long. Leading the charge in the second half was shortstop Laz Rivera. While he isn’t one of the hottest prospect names, he burst onto the scene in Low-A and High-A, compiling a .314 average with 13 HRs and 61 RBIs. Side note: I also saw him hit a no-doubter home run in their playoff series against Buies Creek.