2021 Chicago White Sox CliffsNotes

If you’ve tuned out on the White Sox for a while or if you just want a refresher, the Drunk Uncles of White Sox Nation have your back. When we were in high school, long ago, CliffsNotes were a damn savior. Fifteen year old me was not about to read the entire Tale of Two Cities novel so I understand why you might need the short short version of who’s on this team.

Starting Pitchers

Lucas Giolito

How’d he get to the White Sox?

12/7/2016 – Traded by the Nationals with Dane Dunning and Reynaldo Lopez to the White Sox for Adam Eaton

2021 Season

It might be best to describe Giolito’s season as “uneven”. As mentioned in a previous blog, his game scores had the most variance of the four main Sox starters that will be considered to start playoff games. That said, in the end, he had a very nice season. Pitching to a 3.53 ERA, 1.103 WHIP, 201 Ks, and a 4.3 bWAR.

Expect Giolito to be an option to pitch 2 games in the ALDS if needed.

Fun Fact

Comes from a family of actors:
Grandfather – Warren Frost: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0296583/
Mother – Lindsay Frost: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0296534/
Father – Rick “Papa G” Giolito: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1042792/
His brother Casey is also an actor.

BeefLoaf, Chorizy-E, and MySoxSummer with Rick and Casey Giolito

Lance Lynn

How’d he get to the White Sox?

12/8/2020 – Traded by the Rangers to the White Sox for Avery Weems and Dane Dunning

2021 Season

Lance Lynn dominated in the first half of the season and even with a few clunkers towards the end of the year, he ended up with a very impressive stat line. He did not, however, have a good outing against the Astros the one time he faced them this year. He gave up 6 runs on 8 hits in 4 innings. The White Sox will look for him to improve on that.

Fun Fact

Lance, much like FromThe108, loves Goose Island IPA

Carlos Rodon

How’d he get to the White Sox?

6/5/2014 – Drafted by the White Sox in the 1st round (3rd pick) of the 2014 draft
12/2/2020 – Granted free agency by the White Sox
2/1/2021 – Signed as a free agent with the White Sox

2021 Season

Drafted by the Sox, Carlos has had glimmers of what looks to be electric stuff. However, he’s suffered a number of injuries that have kept him off the field. After being non-tendered by the Sox, Carlos tested free agency, but eventually returned to the Sox. Most thought he’d be a back of the rotation starter at best, but Los has pitched very well all year and delivered a no-hitter against Cleveland. Finishing the season with a 2.37 ERA along with 185 Ks.

Late season, he has had some injury issues and his last start of the regular season had him throwing in the low 90s. His post-season is one to pay attention to as he’ll likely be the Game 3 starter in the ALDS.

Fun Fact

You can typically find Rodon’s wife on Twitter the nights he pitches. Definitely a great follow.

Dylan Cease

How’d he get to the White Sox?

7/13/2017 – Traded by the Cubs with Bryant Flete, Matt Rose and Eloy Jimenez to the White Sox for Jose Quintana

2021 Season

Going into the season there was a lot of uncertainty about what Dylan Cease would be. He has stepped up and made all 32 of his scheduled starts and threw 226 strikeouts to lead the team. He’s solidly the #4 starter on this team and I would expect to see him get a start in the ALDS.

Fun Fact

Cease had 3 hits in his first 3 major league at bats, off 3 different pitchers.

Dallas Keuchel

How’d he get to the White Sox?

12/30/2019 – Signed as a free agent with the White Sox

2021 Season

This was a disappointing year for last year’s big free agent pitching acquisition. Keuchel’s ERA was over 5, but more telling was his WHIP (1.506), HR/9 (1.3), and K/9 (5.2). These are all way worse than the majority of his career and more in line with his rookie year when he was just figuring things out. He pitched out of relief in the last series of the regular season and continued to look out of sorts.

Fun Fact

In a 2018 interview with ESPN for their Body Issue, Keuchel said he combs his beard for 10, 20 minutes per day.

Relief Pitchers

Liam Hendriks

How’d he get to the White Sox?

1/15/2021 – Signed as a free agent with the White Sox

2021 Season

Hendriks was a big off-season acquisition and he’s made his presence felt. He racked up 38 saves with a WHIP below one. He’s been the most consistent pitcher out of the pen. One point of concern is the 11 HR he’s given up this year.

Fun Fact

His wife said he watches the same episode of Bones every night before bed.

Craig Kimbrel

How’d he get to the White Sox?

7/30/2021 – Traded by the Cubs to the White Sox for Codi Heuer and Nick Madrigal

2021 Season

Kimbrel had a tremendous first half with the Cubs and was the highlight of the White Sox deadline deals. He has unfortunately struggled for the Sox. Since joining the Sox he’s given up 5 HR in 23 innings of work and pitched to a 5.09 ERA.

Fun Fact

Prominently featured in the Fastball documentary:

Michael Kopech

How’d he get to the White Sox?

12/6/2016 – Traded by the Red Sox with Victor Diaz, Luis Alexander Basabe and Yoan Moncada to the White Sox for Chris Sale

2021 Season

Kopech will likely join the White Sox rotation in the future, but right now, he’s a reliever. And in that role he has shown some very bright spots while also giving cause for concern on occasion. Regardless, you definitely want a guy who can give you 103 strikeouts in 69.1 innings. How Tony La Russa will use him in the playoffs is something to watch.

Fun Fact

Unofficially clocked throwing a ball 110 MPH.

Garrett Crochet

How’d he get to the White Sox?

6/10/2020 – Drafted by the White Sox in the 1st round (11th pick) of the 2020 draft

2021 Season

Is he a future starter? Is he a high leverage reliever? Is he a lefty specialist? Is he obligated to allow runners left by the previous pitcher to score? There are a lot of unknowns about Garrett Crochet, but he’s got the tools. Time will tell for Crochet, but some of that time we’re learning is going to be in the 2021 playoffs.

Fun Fact

Crochet is only the 22nd player to go straight from the draft to the MLB without playing a game in the minors.

Aaron Bummer

How’d he get to the White Sox?

6/7/2014 – Drafted by the White Sox in the 19th round of the 2014 draft

2021 Season

Bummer had some control issues earlier in the year, but only gave up a single walk in Sept/Oct. He is a much better pitcher against lefties and can throw a high percentage of ground balls. He gave up no extra base hits to lefties and only 2 of his 29 walks, leaving LHB that faced Bummer with a slash line of .151/.173/.151. Look for the White Sox to use him in high leverage situations against left handers.

Fun Fact

Bummer actually ended the season with a -10.6 degree launch angle allowed.

Ryan Tepera

How’d he get to the White Sox?

7/29/2021 – Traded by the Cubs to the White Sox for Bailey Horn

2021 Season

Tepera is another reliever brought in from the Cubs at the deadline. He has been pretty solid in his short time with the White Sox. He was recently injured, but the cut on his finger seems to have healed and he’s expected to be on the playoff roster.

Fun Fact

Was in the same bullpen as Liam Hendriks for the Blue Jays in the 2015 ALCS.

Reynaldo Lopez

How’d he get to the White Sox?

12/7/2016 – Traded by the Nationals with Dane Dunning and Lucas Giolito to the White Sox for Adam Eaton

2021 Season

Lopez had lasik eye surgery at the beginning of the year and proceeded to struggle in the minors. However, after being called up, he’s performed well. Unlike most pitchers that give you a 7.62 ERA in AAA, ReyLo has brought some much needed help to the bullpen this year.

Fun Fact

Made his major league debut with Nationals in 2016 under now Astros Manager Dusty Baker.

Jose Ruiz

How’d he get to the White Sox?

12/22/2017 – Selected off waivers by the White Sox from the Padres

2021 Season

At first glance, the hard throwing Ruiz has some nice numbers for a middle reliever. However, is work in high leverage situations is not good. In medium leverage, hitters have a 1.053 OPS and in high leverage they have a 1.057 OPS.

Fun Fact

Ruiz was a catcher for the beginning of his minor league career. He was converted to a pitcher in 2016.

Ryan Burr

How’d he get to the White Sox?

8/11/2017 – Traded by the Diamondbacks to the White Sox for international bonus slot money
12/2/2019 – Granted free agency
12/16/2019 – Signed as a free agent with the White Sox

2021 Season

Burr has pitched to a 2.45 ERA despite giving up 21 walks in 36.2 innings. If he can harness his control, he can be effective. If he cannot, his woes in high leverage situations will continue.

Fun Fact

Along with Ian Hamilton, recreated the Aaron Burr/Alexander Hamilton duel.

Position Players

Tim Anderson

How’d he get to the White Sox?

6/6/2013 – Drafted by the White Sox in the 1st round (17th pick) of the 2013 draft

2021 Season

Tim’s batting average was a bit below the previous two years, so his OBP dipped because of it. He was still quite effective as the leadoff hitter of the team. His fielding seems to improve year over year putting up positive UZR (ultimate zone rating) and DRS (defensive runs saved) numbers in 2021. His effect on the overall performance of the team should not be understated however, and it would be crazy of me to forget his walk off home run in the Field of Dreams game.

Fun Fact

Timmy did not begin playing baseball until his junior year of high school due to injuries suffered on the basketball court.

Yoan Moncada

How’d he get to the White Sox?

12/6/2016 – Traded by the Red Sox with Victor Diaz, Luis Alexander Basabe and Michael Kopech to the White Sox for Chris Sale

2021 Season

As noted above, Moncada came over in the Chris Sale deal. While his production has been above average this year, his power numbers have not been there. This has caused some to question the value of the return the White Sox got for Sale. Moncada is a plus fielder and has a great eye at the plate. If he can get back to his 2019 power, he’ll be a problem for opposing pitching in the playoffs.

Fun Fact

Jose Abreu

How’d he get to the White Sox?

10/29/2013 – Signed by the White Sox as an amateur free agent
10/31/2019 – Granted free agency
11/14/2019 – Signed as a free agent with the White Sox

2021 Season

Jose Abreu hit 30 HR drove in 117 RBI and was hit by 22 pitches. He continues to play nearly every day despite being one of the oldest and obviously the most abused by opposing pitching. Expect Abreu to sit 3rd or 4th in the lineup and to be a threat when there are runners on base.

Fun Fact

When he was defecting from Cuba, we ate the page of his fake Haitian passport that had his picture and fake name. He washed it down with a Heineken.

Yasmani Grandal

How’d he get to the White Sox?

11/21/2019 – Signed as a free agent with the White Sox

2021 Season

Grandal has had a strange year. At one point he had more RBI than hits. He ended with 67 hits and 62 RBI. In only 93 games, he walked 87 times. His 23 HR and excellent OBP have lead him to have one of the best offensive seasons in the league for a catcher.

Fun Fact

Grandal’s first two MLB hits were home runs, in the same game, and they were from opposite sides of the plate.

Eloy Jimenez

How’d he get to the White Sox?

7/13/2017 – Traded by the Cubs with Bryant Flete, Matt Rose and Dylan Cease to the White Sox for Jose Quintana

2021 Season

Eloy was injured in spring training trying to make a catch in left field. This kept him out of the lineup until late July. In the 55 games he did play, he was able to reach double digit home runs. He also played a surprisingly good left field, which has been one of the biggest knocks on him. He’s not quite where most would hope hitting-wise with a .249/.303/.437 slash line, but he’s still not anyone would look forward to facing in the playoffs.

Fun Fact

In Eloy’s first baseball game, as a 9 year old, he was hit in the head by a pitch.

Luis Robert

How’d he get to the White Sox?

5/27/2017 – Signed by the White Sox as an amateur free agent

2021 Season

Robert missed about 3 months due to injury this year. When healthy, however, he’s incredible to watch. A plus fielder in CF and .338/.378/.567 slash line. His play in the outfield helps to cover for what is typically mediocre outfield play around him.

Fun Fact

Absolutely loves Domino’s Pizza.

Gavin Sheets

How’d he get to the White Sox?

6/12/2017 – Drafted by the White Sox in the 2nd round of the 2017 draft

2021 Season

Gavin Sheets has shown some serious power. He can definitely mash RHP (.900 OPS), but you will rarely see him face a lefty. If you do, it’s probably not gonna look great (.269 OPS). He’s been asked to fill in out in left and right field despite being primarily a first basemen. Expect to see him mostly DH in the playoffs.

Fun Fact

Son of former major leaguer and mustache aficionado, Larry Sheets.

Andrew Vaughn

How’d he get to the White Sox?

6/3/2019 – Drafted by the White Sox in the 1st round (3rd pick) of the 2019 draft

2021 Season

When Eloy Jimenez went down with injury, Andrew Vaughn was called on to handle every day duties in left field, despite having not played there. Mainly a 1B/DH prospect, this was a surprise to most fans. Vaughn did well enough in left and very well against lefties at the plate (.938 OPS). He’s been less effective against righties. Expect a possible DH platoon between Sheets and Vaughn in the playoffs.

Fun Fact

While at Cal, Vaughn dyed his hair pink to support a teammate whose mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Cesar Hernandez

How’d he get to the White Sox?

7/29/2021 – Traded by Cleveland to the White Sox for Konnor Pilkington

2021 Season

Hernandez was having a heck of a year for Cleveland when he was traded to the White Sox, including 18 HR. Since then, he has not done much at all at the plate. His .232/.309/.299 slash since joining the Sox is not what they hoped for. He does have good speed and is a good second basemen. He will probably be towards the bottom of the lineup for the playoffs.

Fun Fact

Since 2016, leads the MLB in bunt hits with 45 over that time span.

Leury Garcia

How’d he get to the White Sox?

8/11/2013 – The Rangers sent Leury Garcia to the White Sox to complete an earlier deal in which the Rangers traded a player to be named later to the White Sox for Alex Rios

2021 Season

Leury is a super utility player, meaning he plays pretty much anywhere on the field effectively. His .711 OPS may not seem like much, but he’s been a key player for the White Sox this year, especially with the amount of position player injuries they’ve endured. Look for Leury to play anywhere he’s needed in the playoffs. If Engel is not healthy, RF may be where he lands.

Fun Fact

Longest tenured White Sox on the roster.

Billy Hamilton

How’d he get to the White Sox?

3/16/2021 – Signed as a free agent with the White Sox

2021 Season

Billy is very fast and he wants to steal bases. His problem throughout his career however has been his ability to get on base. That hasn’t improved, but his ability to run and his plus fielding at all outfield positions makes him a weapon in the playoffs. We of course cannot forget this catch:

Fun Fact

After striking out against Jeff Samardzija said “I might have had the worst swing in baseball”

Adam Engel

How’d he get to the White Sox?

6/8/2013 – Drafted by the White Sox in the 19th round of the 2013 draft

2021 Season

Engel has been injured for a good portion of the season, only playing 39 games. When he is healthy, he’s effective. But leg injuries for someone whose game revolves around his speed, makes his ability to contribute in the playoffs questionable.

Fun Fact

His swing was allegedly fixed by a late night encounter with White Sox Dave in a bar.

Brian Goodwin

How’d he get to the White Sox?

5/5/2021 – Signed as a free agent with the White Sox

2021 Season

Goodwin was released by the Pirates in early May and the Sox picked him up a few days later to help them from the left side of the plate. And that’s exactly what he did, giving them a .250/.356/.455 slash line against right handers. Left handed, not so much, but that shouldn’t really be an expectation with Goodwin who also filled in at all outfield positions throughout the year. He unfortunately ends the regular season on the IL.

Fun Fact

Became beloved in White Sox Twitter after this exchange:

Zack Collins

How’d he get to the White Sox?

6/9/2016 – Drafted by the White Sox in the 1st round (10th pick) of the 2016 draft

2021 Season

With really no competition for the backup catcher role going into the season, Collins has failed to produce at the plate. Much like Goodwin, he was supposed to bring some much needed left handedness to the lineup. His .221/.351/.364 slash line against righties is problematic, especially the lack of power. Collins ends the year with only 4 home runs.

Fun Fact

Named after Zack Morris.

Seby Zavala

How’d he get to the White Sox?

6/10/2015 – Drafted by the White Sox in the 12th round of the 2015 draft

2021 Season

Seby has been considered the AAAA catcher for a while. However, he came up and had some home runs which helped him stay in the big leagues for a while. His defense, which is better than Zack’s, is why he’s been around and why he could make the playoff roster as the backup catcher.

Fun Fact

First player in MLB history to hit his first three career HR in the same game.

Yermin Mercedes

How’d he get to the White Sox?

12/14/2017 – Drafted by the White Sox from the Orioles in the 2017 Rule 5 draft

2021 Season

Yermin has not been in the majors for a while now. He came out of the gates red hot and was instrumental in the team’s early success. The league caught up to him, he slumped badly, and was sent to the minors. It’s been a wild ride since then of him quitting baseball, returning, and possibly quitting again.

Fun Fact

Had a burger named after him at Freddie’s in Bridgeport, called the Yerminator.

Manager

Tony La Russa

How’d he get to the White Sox?

Hired by White Sox before 2021 season without much of a managerial search.

2021 Season

The season definitely started rough for TLR with off-field issues such as a DUI coming to light. Some very noticeable poor tactical decisions then contributed to detractors wondering why this hire was made. Throughout the year, those seemed to improve on the tactical. If you did not like the hire, you probably still don’t. If you loved the hire, you probably still do. We’ll see if TLR can bring some of his past playoff success to the White Sox. If he cannot, I expect the fan base to continue its stalemate on the quality of the hire.

Fun Fact

Hall of Fame White Sox announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson was once the GM of the team. And in 1986 he fired, then White Sox Manager, Tony La Russa.

-Chorizy-E

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