Two seasons ago, the White Sox clinched the AL Central and seemed poised to reign for years to come now. Now, Chicago has a clear face of the franchise but must look forward to an uncertain future after a rough 2023 and a major selloff in the summer. Here’s our recap of the 2023 season for the Chicago White Sox.
The Offensive Numbers
Given that the White Sox lost 101 games in the regular season, it’s fair to surmise that there weren’t many positives for Chicago’s AL team in 2023. But, there were a few.
Arguably the biggest one was Luis Robert Jr., the uber-talented outfielder who had trouble staying on the field in both 2021 and 2022. This season, Robert Jr. played 145 out of 162 games and the Sox reaped the benefits of that.
Robert Jr. hit .264/.315/.542 with 38 home runs and 75 extra-base hits in 2023 and finished in the top ten in both categories this season. The 25-year-old also tallied 20 stolen bases and was just one of six players this year to amass at least 30 HR and 20 SB.
On the pitching side of things, both Mike Clevinger and Lucas Giolito — the latter of whom was traded to the Angels in July — had bounce-back campaigns after the two struggled in 2022. And in the bullpen, Kendall Graveman, Keynan Middleton, and Gregory Santos all emerged as reliable options.
The Sox dealt both Graveman and Middleton in the summer but Santos — acquired for virtually nothing in December 2022 after he was DFA’d by the Giants — emerged as a building block for the future.
Santos struck out 66 over 66.1 IP and pitched to the tune of a 3.39 ERA thanks to a hard sinker/slider combo.
The White Sox entered the 2023 campaign with plenty of talent in the starting rotation. However, things didn’t go right for several of the team’s starters.
Lynn was one of the game’s best pitchers in the second half last season and he missed plenty of bats while with the Sox. However, he yielded 28 home runs — an MLB-high — prior to the July 28 trade that sent both him and Joe Kelly to the Dodgers.
Cease also had no trouble missing bats, as his 214 strikeouts ranked in the top ten in the Majors. However, he walked 79 over 177.0 IP — a tick higher than in 2021 and 2022 — and missed more in the zone than one would like to see.
Then, there’s Michael Kopech. The former top prospect also posted a K/9 north of 9.0 but really struggled with the command.
Kopech proved he could miss bats as a starter in each of the last two seasons but the reality is that the righty just might be better suited as a reliever long-term. His stuff plays, but whether he can effectively use it for five to six innings a night is still a major question.
Anderson hit .245 with one home run and 21 extra-base hits over 123 games and recorded the worst OPS (.582) in the league. It was a brutal campaign, to say the least, but the Sox do have one more year of control thanks to a club option at $14M to see if he can get back on track in 2024.
Andrew Benintendi, however, is a different story. Chicago signed the 2022 AL-Star to a five-year, $75M deal last offseason to add some balance to a right-handed heavy lineup. But in his first season with the Sox, Benintendi hit .262/.326/356 (.682 OPS) with five home runs and 41 extra-base hits over 151 games.
This was the second straight year of little power output from Benintendi, who’s traditionally been a 15-20 home run hitter in the Majors.
What to Look For in 2024
As noted in the intro of our 2023 recap of the White Sox, this team is in a much different spot as compared to two years ago.
Rather than being in a position to contend every season, the White Sox — with a new head of baseball operations in Chris Getz — now must face the reality of another rebuild and whether to deal additional assets.
The White Sox did receive a haul in July and August, highlighted by the additions of Nick Nastrini, Edgar Quero, Ky Bush, and Jake Eder. Conceivably, the White Sox could add more to their prospect cache if Chicago does decide to deal Anderson or Cease, the latter of whom has two years of control before free agency.