Chicago White Sox
The White Sox were among the heavy spenders during the offseason and were eyeing a first AL Central title since 2008. Chicago spent nearly $370 million on free agents and contract extensions, second only to the Yankees. Now, even in a shortened season, the team’s chances to reach the postseason seem better than ever.
First, general manager Rick Hahn added two great arms to the rotation in Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez. Both of them are a few years removed from their Cy Young-contending prime, with Keuchel winning the award in 2015 amidst a 2.48-ERA campaign. Yet, they need their best during 2020 to re-establish their place in the MLB pitching landscape. Both Keuchel and Gonzalez played 19 games (Keuchel starting 17) and recorded an ERA south of 4.00, accompanied by 7.0-plus strikeouts per nine innings. After the long suspension of play, the White Sox will also get Carlos Rodon and rookie Michael Kopech fully healthy. The latter could potentially turn into a Rookie of the Year contender.
At the plate, the team signed a dominant force in Edwin Encarnacion, who had hit over 30 homers in eight straight seasons. Encarnacion had limited success last year, playing just 109 games and recording 0.8 WAR – his worst since 2009. Despite that, he managed to improve his OBP and posted his highest OPS in two years. Another valuable addition was Yasmani Grandal, who will take over the catching duties. Like Edwin, Grandal is also an avid power-hitter with 28 homers but also an impressive .380 OBP.
With a top-to-bottom talent, the White Sox became a championship contender in just a couple of months. The race for the division title with the Twins and the Indians could be very close. Nonetheless, great rotation and a versatile lineup make for a very balanced White Sox team.
National League: San Diego Padres
American League: Texas Rangers