Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Aidan Murray, Sports Reporter

It is no question that the Chicago White Sox have put together a team with great potential over the past few years. From some of the top young prospects to veterans with a plethora of experience, the White Sox now have it all. Here is a closer look at what I believe is their best possible lineup going into 2021.

Starting Lineup:

Tim Anderson, SS: The 2019 American League batting champion did not slow down in the shortened 2020 season as he batted .322 with a .886 OPS. During the last full season in 2019, Anderson proved himself by batting .335 with a .865 OPS. Not only has Anderson’s bat seen major advancements, but he also showed major improvement with his glove. In 2020 he only made 6 errors in 60 games, which is the equivalent to 16.2 in a full 162 game season, 10 less than his 2019 season. Along with his speed, Anderson’s ability to make contact with the ball has earned him the leadoff spot for this White Sox team. 

Luis Robert, CF: Contact hitting, power hitting, speed, fielding, throwing. White Sox’ center fielder Luis Robert has all five of these tools. In the first half of his rookie season last year, he showed through numerous big time plays, such as his walk-off home run against the Kansas City Royals and his diving catch–which only had a 15% catch probability–along with being very consistent on an everyday basis. Despite having a slower second half of the season, Robert had a solid rookie season, highlighted by 11 home runs and 31 stolen bases. I personally feel that if Robert is moved up in the lineup, he will have more protection around him, giving him much more confidence at the plate for the 2021 season. 


Jose Abreu, 1B: 2014 American League Rookie of the Year, three-time Silver Slugger award winner, three-time All-Star and now the reigning MVP of the American League are just some awards on a list of many for Jose Abreu. Abreu continued to prove himself year and year again with consistency in his bat. He has led the league in RBIs for the last two seasons, and also led the league in 2020 in games played (60), hits (76), slugging percentage (.617), and total bases (148). Abreu’s passion and leadership on the South Side have shown that he wants to bring a World Series back to Chicago. Through the productivity in his career, Abreu is the best overall hitter on the White Sox, and can definitely be just as lethal in 2021. 


Yasmani Grandal, C: Yasmani Grandal was ranked as the number two catcher in the league by MLB Network, behind only Philadelphia Phillies’ J.T. Realmuto. He has proven himself to be one of the best in the league through his solid bat and extraordinary defense. Not only did he make solid contact in the 2020 season, but he had an extremely patient approach at the plate: in 2019 and 2020 he had a combined 139 walks. With Grandal entering his 10th season in the MLB, and in the prime of his career at 32 years old, this is definitely the guy I want calling the pitches for White Sox pitchers in 2021. 


Eloy Jiménez, DH: 188 hits. 45 homers. .848 OPS. Through his first 177 games in the big leagues, Eloy Jiménez has put up some monster numbers in the offensive category. Along with a plethora of clutch moments, such as his home run against the Chicago Cubs on June 18 last season, Jiménez has made me want him as the guy batting in the four or five spot to protect hitters like Abreu and Robert. The only problem with Jiménez is his defense, as he made numerous errors in left field last season, some even affecting the outcome of the game. Even though Jiménez vowed to fix his defense, it is almost logical to put him as a designated hitter in this lineup especially with fielders such as Adam Engel, Adam Eaton and Robert who can cover the outfield. Despite that, Jiménez is a promising young bat in this lineup who I can see, assuming he is healthy, hitting 30+ home runs a season


Yoán Moncada, 3B: Yoan Moncada is one of the guys in this lineup that I am genuinely most excited to see in the 2021 season. If you don’t watch the White Sox closely, it may be news that Moncada had an impacted 2020 season due to him contracting COVID-19 right before the season started. However, in 2019, when he was fully healthy, he broke out by batting .315 with 25 home runs and 79 RBIs. Ever since he made the switch to third base, something clicked not only in his bat but with his glove as well. He only had a combined 20 errors combined at the hot corner in 2019 and 2020. Now that Moncada has said he is at his full strength, I am confident he will go back to his 2019 self and remain that way for a long time. 


Adam Eaton, RF: The White Sox made, in my opinion, a smart signing by grabbing Adam Eaton for one year out of free agency. Eaton was previously with the White Sox from 2014-2016 before being traded to the Nationals. Before the shortened 2020 season, Eaton was considered to be one of the most productive players in the league and is exactly someone who can fill that right field hole the White Sox have been unable to fill during the rebuild. Through nine seasons, Eaton has shown he can play anywhere in the outfield, and throughout his time in the MLB, he has maintained an overall .986 fielding percentage. With the playoff experience he gained in 2019, I believe Eaton can be very productive in big games for the White Sox this year. 


Leury García, LF: When writing this, I spent a lot of time deciding between Adam Engel and Leury García on who should fill the third outfield spot in this lineup. Suddenly, I realized it doesn’t matter because these guys are equally as productive. However, I am going to choose García because of how well he played in the 2019 season. He showed great consistency with his .279 batting average along with his .983 fielding percentage in left field. What makes García most special in my opinion is that he is able to act as a utility player, meaning he can play numerous positions. This became beneficial to the White Sox in times when guys like Anderson went out with injuries, and he was able to cover their spots for a while. If García can avoid injuries costing him the majority of his season, I believe he will play a very beneficial role in this lineup for the 2021 season. 


Nick Madrigal, 2B:  Contact. Contact. Contact. This is what I saw a lot of from Nick Madrigal in his first 60 games in the MLB. Madrigal batted .340 in 2020. It didn’t matter how he did it, whether it was a little bloop into right field, or a ground ball he had to beat out, Madrigal was able to get the job done and get on base for the top of the order. Madrigal is one of the smarter players in the league situationally, which is what makes it so fun to have him on this team. He will definitely be the White Sox starting second baseman on opening day, and hopefully for a long time.