It’s no secret what the White Sox hope to be doing one year from now: making “good trouble,” to borrow a phrase from general manager Rick Hahn, in the American League. What might the lineup look like as the Sox — aiming to end what almost surely will be an 11-year playoff drought — approach the midpoint of the 2020 season? The names on our card:
1. Luis Robert, CF (age on June 22, 2020: 21)
Too much swing-and-miss to lead off? Nah. Speed this rare demands as many opportunities as possible to raise hell on the basepaths.
2. Yoan Moncada, 3B (24)
The ascent continues … except for where it doesn’t. Watch Moncada’s strikeouts come down some more while his power surges and his on-base percentage ticks into the upper .300s.
3. Jose Abreu, 1B (32)
With Eloy Jimenez protecting him, there’s no reason Abreu can’t put up numbers that will more than justify the Sox’ decision to keep him around. Also: Is it wrong to nickname the top three in this order “the Cuban Sandwich”?
4. Eloy Jimenez, LF (23)
Get ’em on. Get ’em over. Come to think of it, just get ’em on. The next decade or so of this guy getting ’em in should be a blast.
5. Zack Collins, DH (24)
He can back up at catcher and at first base. He still has the thunder in his bat that made him a first-round draft pick. And — let’s face it — he can’t fare any worse than Yonder Alonso.
6. Tim Anderson, SS (25)
Well removed from the days when he was a weak link offensively, he’ll be endeavoring to further establish himself as a star. Note: He’ll turn 26 on June 23.
7. James McCann, C (29)
However unlikely it is that he’ll again be batting well above .300, he brings value behind the plate and in the clubhouse that ought not be taken for granted. Will the Sox have done the wise thing and re-signed him?
8. Micker Adolfo, RF (23)
A reach to think this tall, powerful, strong-armed — and yet oft-injured — prospect will be the guy? Could be. Adolfo’s time will come, but his name is written here in pencil; a to-be-determined free agent might better fit the bill.
9. Nick Madrigal, 2B (22)
A natural leadoff man who sprays the ball from foul line to foul line and swipes bags with impunity, the 2018 first-round draft pick can do his table-setting from the 9-hole — for now.