If you’re like me, you’ve enjoyed the early start to the season. The White Sox have managed to win each of their series so far. While sweeps would have been great, I’ll take the series win. Especially considering how much of the roster is not here. And that’s what I’d like to take a look at today. At the end of the month, who will be here and who will not. A few things of note about the May 1st date:
- The roster will drop from 28 to 26
- The limit of pitchers on that roster will return to 13
- For pitchers (and Shohei Ohtani), the 10 day IL will become the 15 day IL
So let’s look at who is coming back and who will need to be sent down.
I think most are hoping to see these gentleman soon, but my guess is they’ll join the team when they return to Chicago. While that will give you Jimmy Lambert and Vince Velasquez starts in Minnesota this weekend, it will also afford Cueto time for a start in Charlotte and LaRussa a chance to reset the rotation. Assume Giolito returns for the KC series, you can go Dylan Cease, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech. This would give Cease an extra day of rest and Kopech two extra days. Hopefully by Cueto’s spot in the rotation that weekend, he’d be ready to go.
That said, 2 pitchers will need to leave to make way. My guess is those will be Lambert and Anderson Severino. Lambert should return to Charlotte and start every day to be ready when he’s next needed. Severino is the 4th lefty in the bullpen which is not really needed. In addition, he hasn’t been great. These moves are pretty easy.
Pollock could return any day, though we’ve heard he might have a rehab stint in Charlotte, which is kind of weird. But let’s assume he’s back soon. This could be where they decide to even the pitching back out with the hitting, but I doubt they’ll give up the extra arm until they absolutely have to. Assuming the Sox believe with the outfield covered, a combo of Leury Garcia, Jake Burger, and Josh Harrison can handle 2nd and 3rd on a daily basis, I could see them sending Mendick down at this point. It is bound to happen. Though it’s possible, the rehab stint alluded to earlier is to line up his return with Yoan Moncada‘s which would solidify the infield defense. But we’ll get to him in a bit.
In case you forgot, the White Sox brought in Joe Kelly this year and he’s due back from the injured list soon. This will be at the expense of another bullpen arm, unless the Sox decide to fake IL Velasquez after the last start they need him for. It would be a good move since it would be days before you pitch him anyway and he’d only need to be there for 10 days. But the Sox will probably choose to send someone like Matt Foster down to AAA, since he has options and is also right handed.
As I mentioned, he should be the one to push Mendick off the roster, but it seems with the little we’ve heard on his return, that may have already happened. So now, you’re faced with one of the more difficult decisions. Jake Burger or Gavin Sheets? I guess this depends on how confident the White Sox are in Vaughn against right handed pitching and Burger at first base as well as hitting against righties. What’s crazy is that Burger’s flexibility in the field could be what keeps him here. Though ultimately, I think TLR will opt for a lefty bat over Burger. This isn’t a bad thing. Having Jake Burger available as soon as something goes wrong, whether it be injury or performance, is a nice insurance policy to have. One that most teams don’t have.
28 to 26 Man Roster
The hitters are down to 13 at this point, with the pitchers still at 15. So two pitchers will need to go to even the roster. At this point, my guess is that Kyle Crick and Bennett Sousa are the two. Though there are 2 weeks to see how they perform, there are only so many guys with minor league options. I’d be surprised to see the Sox get rid of someone if unnecessary. Tanner Banks is the other person to keep an eye on.
The team described above ends up being quite different than what we’ve seen the past nine games. Let’s take a look at a possible lineup:
SS – Tim Anderson
CF – Luis Robert
1B – Jose Abreu
C – Yasmani Grandal
LF – Eloy Jimenez
3B – Yoan Moncada
RF – AJ Pollock
DH – Andrew Vaughn
2B – Josh Harrison
Leury Garcia, Reese McGuire, Gavin Sheets, Adam Engel on the bench
Starting Rotation – Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech, Dallas Keuchel, Johnny Cueto
Relievers – Liam Hendriks, Aaron Bummer, Kendall Graveman, Joe Kelly, Reynaldo Lopez, Jose Ruiz, Tanner Banks, Vince Velasquez