Chicago White Sox 2018 team awards.

With the 2018 season coming to a close, it is time for a discussion about the best and worst of the Chicago White Sox campaign. The club will finish far from playoff contention, however, there are still some positive moments to look at.

Team MVP: SS Tim Anderson

What makes Anderson the MVP of this team is the fact that he is such a versatile player. He can handle multiple slots in the batting order with ease (.243, 20 HR, 64 RBI’s, 26/34 SB’s), not to mention his play in the field drastically improved in the second half of the season. Anderson has committed nineteen errors so far, but that total is down nine from his 2017 tally of 28. Much of that is due to extensive work in the field, as he can now use his athleticism to make plays in the hole. Regardless of his improvement, Anderson has to worry about 2018 first-round pick Nick Madrigal now, who will likely take the shortstop role soon. Luckily, there is always center field to roam.

Team Cy Young Winner: Reynaldo Lopez

While Lucas Giolito might have been the top prospect in the Adam Eaton trade, Lopez has a massive upside and he is showing it now. Even though he has a 7-9 record and a 3.94 ERA with some peaks and valleys, Lopez took the title of staff ace for the longest time due to Carlos Rodon’s absence. If Lopez keeps progressing, he could eventually win fifteen games, combined with an innings total north of 200. Hopefully, Lopez can reach that plateau, because if he does, the White Sox will have themselves a very good starting pitcher.

Biggest Surprise: DH/OF Daniel Palka

For a player that didn’t even make the Chicago White Sox Opening Day roster, Palka may end up leading the ballclub in home runs (currently has 27). On top of that he was brought to Chicago via a waiver claim, and when you think about Palka’s long ball production, it makes this move seem extremely successful. One concern regarding Palka would be his strikeouts, as he has fanned 144 times in 401 at-bats. That is more than one out of four, and if he is to be an impact middle-of-the-order bat Palka might end up being the next Adam Dunn. If the Sox are lucky they will get the version of 2012 Dunn in Palka, not any other season Dunn played on the South Side.

Biggest Disappointment: RHP Lucas Giolito

Heading into the 2018 season Giolito was expected to develop into one of the clubs’ better starters, however the opposite occurred. He posted an ERA of 6.18 in the first half, and it hasn’t improved a whole lot in the second half (5.24). If the Sox offense was not able to support him, his 10-12 record could easily be closer to 5-17, if not worse. As the rebuild continues they will need Giolito to pitch better, mostly due to the fact that they acquired him to help anchor a staff, not be the joke of it.

Biggest Shocker: RHP Michael Kopech’s injury

Just a few weeks ago, we all received the terrible news that Michael Kopech would be heading to the operating table to undergo Tommy John Surgery. Kopech will now miss the entire 2019 season. That means the Sox will have to fill his innings from someone who is likely significantly less talented, along with the fact that Kopech loses a year of development along with service time while on the shelf. Best case scenario for everyone involved is to get Kopech back 100% at the start of 2020, as that is when they will be primed to win long-term.

Summary

All in all, the Chicago White Sox might not have played very well in 2018, but there were a few bright spots as mentioned above. Sadly, the shadows stood out more, which is to be expected from a team that is in the midst of a rebuild. As seasons move forward, expect to see a bright light at the end of this tunnel, and while it may seem to be decades away winning long-term is worth the wait. So be patient, Sox fans.

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