White Sox have some good memories to take away from down season

SHARE White Sox have some good memories to take away from down season

Chris Sale delivers the ball against the Tampa Bay Rays at U.S. Cellular Field on Sept. 27. | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

We could go on at length over what wasn’t good about the White Sox in 2016. Off-the-field drama, an unpopular name change for their ballpark and a fourth consecutive losing season that sets the stage for a possible managerial change.

But all was not completely lost. Let’s raise a half-full glass to 10 good things that happened, many of which bode well for 2017.

1 Rookie shortstop Tim Anderson: The 2013 first-round draft choice was called up on June 10 and may have exceeded expectations, batting .284 with his 33rd multiple-hit game (including his ninth home run) in Friday’s 7-3 win against the Twins. Anderson’s low walk total (12), on-base percentage (.305) and strikeouts (113) are worries, but concerns about his defense have been allayed. He figures to get even better.

2 Chris Sale: Sixth, fifth, third and fourth in Cy Young Award voting in his four years as a starter, the five-time All-Star could finish higher this November. With one start left Sunday, Sale is 17-9 with a 3.21 ERA and a major-league high six complete games. His unparalleled body of work over the last five years is impressive.

3 Adam Eaton: Moved to right field for most of season, he played like a Gold Glover while posting a .285/.362/.430 slash line, 14 homers, nine triples, 29 doubles, 59 RBI and 13 stolen bases, all of which have made him the Sox’ best WAR (wins above replacement) performer at 6.2 (per Baseball Reference). He is ranked at or near the top in defensive runs saved and is first with 18 outfield assists.

4 Jose Quintana: Like Sale, the 27-year-old lefty has also been consistently good in five seasons but this year he made a deserved trip to the All-Star Game, where he logged a scoreless inning. Because of better run support, he enjoyed his first winning record (13-12) to go with a career-best 3.20 ERA.

5 The draft: In addition to first-round catcher Zack Collins and right-hander Zack Burdi, third-round outfielder Alex Call (.444) and fourth-round outfielder Jameson Fisher (.436) were high on-base performers for Great Falls (Rookie), and second-round righty Alec Hansen ranked second on Baseball America’s Pioneer League top-20 prospects list. Lefty Bernardo Flores, a seventh-rounder, was 20th. It’s early, but first year scouting director Nick Hostetler’s first class could be the best in years.

6 Todd Frazier: Is two RBI short of becoming the sixth Sox to record 40 homers and 100 RBI. Frazier’s career-low .227 average, struggle with runners in scoring position and career-high 157 strikeouts took the shine off, but his defense solidified third base, and he provided clubhouse presence, leadership and humor from the day he arrived at spring training. He has missed only four games.

7 Jose Abreu’s second half: After a lackluster first four months which factored big in the Sox’ ranking near the bottom of the American League in offense, Abreu took off on Aug. 2 and has hit .339 since then. Was hitting .294 with 25 homers and collected 99th RBI with his 32nd double Friday.

8 Carlos Rodon’s second half: The second-year lefty, 23, is 7-2 with a 3.11 ERA in August and September. He struck out the first seven Twins he faced Friday to tie the AL and franchise record to start a game held by Joe Cowley in 1986.

9 Nate Jones: The most trusted reliever in the bullpen (5-3, 2.33 ERA, 10.3 strikeout rate), the eighth-inning specialist has 28 holds, two shy of Barry Jones’ franchise record.

10 The Matt Albers game: Batting left-handed against the Mets on June 1, Albers broke a 1-1 tie in the 13th inning by launching a double to the wall, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly. It was Albers’ first at-bat since 2009. He then earned the save. For pure entertainment, it was the best moment 2016 had to offer.

Follow me on Twitter @CST_soxvan.

Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

The Latest
The 30-year-old Wheeling High School grad founded Turning Point USA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting conservative values on high school and college campuses.
The Sox are the owners of the worst won-lost record in the game. At their current pace, they’re on track to finish 45-117. If they pick up their pace of losing just a bit, they might break the 1962 Mets’ record for the most defeats in the history of modern baseball.
Former President Trump wasn’t going to repeat his Mike Pence mistake. He needed someone he could count on to follow orders.
With Bulls exec Arturas Karnisovas still looking to move LaVine, an NBA source said the team could be headed for locker-room headaches. DeMar DeRozan served as a buffer between LaVine and coach Billy Donovan, but he’s with the Kings now.