Roughly a month into the 2018 baseball season and it’s pretty evident what the White Sox are.
The Sox are sitting at 9-25, good enough for dead last in a woeful American League Central. Teams have teed off on the starting pitching, and even more so off the bullpen. Injuries to Avi Garcia and Yoan Moncada haven’t helped things either. All of it adding up to probably the worst imaginable start.
Being at The Rate to witness firsthand Nate Jones blow a 5-2 lead in the ninth was a sight to behold. I’ve personally never seen a Sox crowd turn on the team or a player quite like that. It felt like a lot of pent-up frustration finally spilled over after yet another blown lead in a first month that hasn’t gone according to plan for many.
It’s been rough, guys.
While Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez and many others have been shining in the minors, the current big league roster is showing that there is still a long way to go with this rebuild. Watching Charlotte, Birmingham and Winston-Salem is satisfying and a great reminder of what we’re waiting for. But it only helps so much. Fans hate losing, especially like that.
I guess we (the fans) are partly to blame. It wasn’t long ago (I literally wrote about it) that we were talking about the Sox having a breakout year in 2018, with possibly a surprising chase at the AL Wild Card if everything turned up roses.
It is crystal clear now that that line of thinking was incredibly naive.
This team is way further off than just plugging in Kopech and Jimenez and suddenly competing for the postseason. There are holes everywhere (don’t even get me started on the mess of a bullpen).
Unrealistic expectations are the downside of suddenly having a lot of hope. We went from saying “Ok. Patience. 2020 is the target date to compete” early last year, to “Sox are going to be sniffing a Wild Card spot” last offseason. In retrospect, that was a crazy, borderline asinine, jump to make. We tried to move two years up on the process! That’s crazy! There’s just no way you can realistically make that kind of leap, unless you have some sort of bias, which we all do. It was totally a human reaction.
This process isn’t going to be quick. The Sox can’t patchwork this thing. That old line of thinking has been the complete antithesis to the plan since its inception.
The Sox have the 4th overall pick in June’s upcoming MLB Draft. Right now they’re poised to be picking very high once again in next year’s draft, maybe even first overall. These are two picks that Nick Hostetler and the White Sox front office cannot afford to miss on.
Expectations for 2018 need to be tempered, and in hindsight they should have been this winter. But whatever, we can learn our lesson.
Big picture nothing has changed with the White Sox rebuild plan. Sometimes that’s hard to remember when things look so horrid on a micro level. But we have to keep thinking and looking big picture, no matter how much the team currently stinks.