The White Sox are on television for the second time this spring — on the first calendar day of spring, no less — and viewers will be treated to a mix of regulars, prospects, and fringe roster candidates in today’s lineup against the Dodgers.
After yesterday’s uneventful and radio-bound 4-2 win over the Rockies, there must be hope for some distraction from the team’s continued lack of Michael Conforto — or another starting right fielder, or a competent mid-rotation starting pitcher — in a match with this relatively even balance of Dodger stars and scrubs.
Unfortunately, it now leans slightly more towards the latter after A.J. Pollock’s late scratch:
Updated lineup:— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 21, 2022
T. Turner SS
Jackson P https://t.co/HiONOSRf2R
On the home side, starting pitcher Tanner Banks is a 30-year-old lefthander who has been with the Sox since entering the organization as an 18th round pick in 2014. After spending the first six years of his career as a minor league starter, Banks worked as a long man/bulk reliever in Charlotte last season, posting a pedestrian 4.58 ERA but seeing his strikeouts per nine innings jump to 10.6 with only 2 BB/9, the first time in his career he’d come close to above-average strikeout stuff. Banks is absent from most team prospect writeups, so it will be worth watching to see if there’s any potential for another unexpected lefty bullpen weapon.
Starting for the Dodgers, Andre Jackson would probably be a Top 3 prospect in the White Sox system. A ready-made, middle- to back-end starter, the righthander is said to have a mid-90s fastball that peaks slightly higher, and a good changeup that he’ll throw to hitters of either side.
Of course, even the fringiest roster invites that the Dodgers send to the mound would probably be top-ish prospects in the Sox organization, and we’re sure to see a few of them this afternoon.
Looking to the lineup, we’ll all likely be watching the closest thing there can be to a narrative at this juncture, as center fielder Yoelqui Céspedes bats fifth trying to continue conquering the hearts and minds of excitable South Siders after two homers and three driven in so far this spring. Similarly, the out-of-options Micker Adolfo has four hits in eight spring at-bats, and still has an outside shot of making a run at a roster spot. Yoán Moncada, Josh Harrison, and Zack Collins will all search for their first hit of the year, and may Luis Basabe continue to party like it’s 2018 after homering in yesterday’s contest.
Of note for Los Angeles, Max Muncy is making his 2022 debut after missing time this spring with a wrist injury. Many will be watching for any new adjustments made by Cody Bellinger, who ran a .542 OPS last season, which for context was more than 25 points worse than Adam Dunn’s legendary 2011 effort. Bellinger has picked up two hits in five trips to the plate so far this month.