There was no team in the American League that did more in the offseason to address their needs than the White Sox. After finishing third in the AL Central and winning 72 games, owner Jerry Reinsdorf finally decided to hand out some contracts and invest in their future. They handed out the largest contract in franchise history to C Yasmani Grandal (4 years/$73 million), signed SP Dallas Keuchel (3 years/$55 million), extended top prospect OF Luis Robert (6 years/$50 million), signed 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion (1 year/$12 million), signed veteran SP Gio Gonzalez (2 years/$5 million) and then traded for OF Nomar Mazara. The White Sox are by far and away from the biggest riser in the AL coming into the 2020 season. Their lineup is going to be stacked with the aforementioned hitters and will join the core of Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, and Eloy Jimenez. While their pitching staff is set to improve with the addition of Keuchel and Gonzalez joining forces with Lucas Giolito, Carlos Rodon (returning from Tommy John), Reynaldo Lopez, and Dylan Cease (with Michael Kopech as the wild card). 

Positional Players 

Eloy Jimenez (ADP 60): To be quite honest, Jimenez was my first selection to put in the bust category in this article. I simply do not believe that he should be taken in the top 60-70 selections of any draft this year and am quite astonished to see him going so early. He certainly had solid numbers last year with a .240 ISO and .343 wOBA. The main reason for his high ADP is attributed to a few factors: the new look of the Sox lineup, his age (23), and the prospect of his upside. These reasons have a solid rationale behind them for his high ADP. There is no doubt he will go for 25HR/90 RBI. My main reservations behind taking him that high is that 1) I don’t believe that he will outperform his production from last year and 2) there is better value in the top 60-70. I would much rather take my chances on a swath of other players drafted around the same time such as Bo Bichette (ADP 67), teammate Yoan Moncada (ADP 69), Gio Stanton (ADP 77), or Jeff McNeil (85). Jimenez does have a monstrous upside with 40 HR potential, but I think we are a few years away from that, and Jimenez should not be considered for your OF1 this year. 

ZiPS Projections: .281/.329/.532 with 33 HR/92 RBI and a .355 wOBA

Yoan Moncada (ADP 69): In terms of fantasy, Moncada is an absolute stud in my opinion and I believe he will only get better throughout his career. However, there are some concerns about his game. I could try to explain them in just a paragraph, but I would not be doing you justice. Therefore, all I will say is that he is worthy a 6th round pick given his upside and there is reason to be skeptical that he will replicate his numbers from last season and anyone who wants to learn more about baseball from people that are smarter than me, should read this link (Courtesy of Cover Those Bases). It delves into his BABIP and launch angle. It is one of the best pieces of analysis that I have read during this quarantine.  

ZiPS Projections: .274/.341/.483 with 26 HR/78 RBI/14 SB and a .345 wOBA

Jose Abreu (ADP 74): Abreu is an interesting pick this year because if you look at the 33-year old’s numbers, he has certainly been productive through his career, but he has jumped all over the map in terms of power and production. Rising one year then falling the next, albeit still productive. The one factor that I do love about Abreu this year is that he will be hitting in the middle of a stacked ChiSox lineup and his already good RBI/run production should only get better. Of course, 1B is a position where you should be getting power production from, but when drafting, it is important to not overreact on seeing Abreu 5×5 categories and believe just because he has solid value in the 7th-8th rounds you need to select him then. In modern-day baseball, it is easier to acquire power at other points in the draft. I personally will be looking at the top tier guys like Bellinger, Freeman, or Alonso if I get the opportunity to take them or waiting for Josh Bell (ADP 84), Christian Walker (ADP 202), Luke Voit (ADP 201), or Rhys Hoskins (111). 

ZiPS Projections: .269/.322/.476 with 28 HR/101 RBI and a .331 wOBA

Yasmani Grandal (ADP 97): In terms of fantasy catchers, there is a top tier of 6 catchers with J.T. Realmuto, Gary Sanchez, Grandal, Mitch Garver, Wilson Contreras, and Will Smith. At the moment, Grandal seems to be the 3rd highest catcher drafted after Realmuto and Sanchez. In terms of upside, I would rank Grandal 6th on this list. As for his floor, I would rank him 4th only ahead of Contreras and Smith. Grandal has been the epidemy of steadiness at the catcher position over the last 4 seasons as he has had 22-plus HR’s in each of the last 4 years, with a wOBA of .350+ and wRC+ of 120+ in 3 of the last 4 years, including a career-high wOBA of .361 last year. He was well deserved to get his contract this offseason. There will probably be a drop in his production as you should not expect a 31-year old catcher to have back to back career years. I would rather take a risk on Mitch Garver (ADP 124 and who had a ridiculous .404 wOBA last year) or Will Smith (ADP 160), who are being taken later in drafts and who offer more upside. 

ZiPS Projection: .234/.358/.451 with 25 HR/69 RBI and a .345 wOBA

Edwin Encarnacion (ADP 156): This will be 37-year old’s 16th season in the league and he refuses to let up. He just produced his 8th straight 30-plus HR season and is simply put a run-producing machine. EE demonstrates my main point about Jimenez being over-drafted. If you knew nothing about each player, from their age or past production, I would think more than half the people would prefer EE to Jimenez. Over course, you must look at all factors when drafting, and Jimenez being younger, offers more upside but there is a ten-round difference on when they are being drafted and there will not be a huge production difference between the two. I am in no way saying EE will outproduce Jimenez, but the difference will not be glaring.  EE should be hitting in the 5-hole of this potent ChiSox lineup and don’t be hesitant to believe in his production as his peripherals show only minor signs of slowing down. 

ZiPS Projections: .240/.336/.491 with 28 HR/81 RBI and a .345 wOBA (keep in mind their projections has him only getting 450 plus PA this year. I expect closer to 550.)

Starting Pitchers

Dallas Keuchel (ADP 207): We all know what to expect from Keuchel. He is a ground ball machine (60%) with his sinker (5.5 wSI in 2019), changeup (2.1 wCH value), and cut fastball (-0.1 wCT value) repertoire. He is not going to overpower hitters with his stuff, but he has an above-average command to hit the corners and above-average movement on his breaking balls where he will strike out hitters at a modest rate (7.27 k/9) while limiting his walks with his command/control (3.12 bb/9). I don’t think anyone is in love with Keuchel, but he offers stability in the back end of your rotation. I personally prefer to draft guys that offer higher risk and higher reward, but Keuchel should validate his value of a late mid-round pick with his slightly above average peripherals and generate 10-13 victories.

ZiPS Projection:  162 IP/10 wins/4.20 ERA/4.38 FIP with a 7.47 k/9 and a 2.93 bb/9

Dylan Cease (ADP 310): Cease is easily the most exciting starting pitcher with breakout potential on this roster. Giolito has nothing left to prove to me. He is a stud. Therefore, Cease is really the pitcher to watch for a breakout year. He had some dominant starts last year, but he also got blown up in others. Some of his peripherals were just plain ugly with his terrible HR/9 (1.85), somewhat unlucky, somewhat deserved LOB (68%), high walk rate (4.32 bb/9), and an utterly disastrous 4-seam fastball value (-13.5). However, the 23-year old only pitched 70+ innings in his rookie season and there is a lot to like about the young pitcher. He has two secondary pitches that showed promise in his change-up and slider, showed the ability to strike out batters at a high clip (9.99 k/9), and has had a lot of success in the minors. He is easily deserving of a late-round flier that could significantly outproduce his draft value. 

ZiPS Projections: 136 IP/8 wins/4.48 ERA/4.49 FIP with a 9.29 k/9 and a 4.48 bb/9

Outside of these two pitchers (and Giolito), Reynaldo Lopez and Gio Gonazlez should round out the starting rotation for the White Sox this year. Both Lopez and Gonzalez are viable options for deep mixed leagues but have limited upside. Michael Kopech (ADP 271) is also coming from TJ surgery and oozes with upside. Still considered by many to be one of the top prospects in baseball, at some point during the year he could slide into the rotation on a permanent basis. The one dark horse for a comeback this year is Carlos Rodon (ADP 610). He will begin baseball activity in June and offers tremendous upside with his strikeout potential and is worth the risk to keep on your team as and he gets back to full strength. 

Breakout

Luis Robert (ADP 99): It is always a pretty significant risk to take a rookie in the top 100 selections of a draft, but this kid is worth the risk. He can absolutely fly and has above average pop. There are a lot of factors that will go into his production and he could end up hitting in the 1, 2, or 6 holes for most of his PA this year. As a consensus top 5 prospect in baseball and after getting a huge contract extension, Robert will be a staple in the White Sox lineup this year. He can produce across the board (with only his walk rate the only noticeable trait that is not above average or plus on a grading scale). There should be some struggles this year for Robert, but he will be worth the gamble with his 20/20 upside especially in keeper leagues. 

ZiPS Projections: .265/.309/.455 with 20 HR/63 RBI/24 SB with a .320 wOBA

Bust

Tim Anderson (ADP 104): The shortstop position is absolutely stacked. There are 10 shortstops being taken in the top 50 picks and 17 shortstops being taken in the top 110 selections. I am a fan of Anderson’s as I think he is an athletic freak and can contribute in all standard fantasy categories especially with him atop this potent ChiSox lineup. However, given his ADP in the top 10 rounds, I am not sure he is going to come close repeating his .363 wOBA given his hideously low walk rate (2.3%) and lucky BABIP (.399). There are players that have abnormally high BABIP such as fellow White Sox 3B Yoan Moncada every year, but Anderson has been all over the map with his. I expect a huge drop in his BABIP coming closer to .320 and that will have significant impacts on his standard 5×5 production. I love his 20/20 upside, but his production will not live up to his draft value.

ZiPS Projections: .274/.301/.443 with 21 HR/64 RBI/19 SB and a .312 wOBA

MVP 

Lucas Giolito (ADP 52): Giolito is a steal at this draft spot. He has almost as much upside as Gerrit Cole, Jake deGrom, or Max Scherzer and you can land him in the fourth or fifth round when he puts out top 20 pick production. The former first-round pick and centerpiece of the Adam Eaton return will be given more respect next year after he repeats his 2019 production this season. He has one of the filthiest fastballs (20.5 wFA) in the league and had one of the most valuable changeups in all of baseball last year (14.4 wCH) to go along with his near plus slider. He is one of my core picks in every draft and don’t hesitate to “reach” for him in the third round if you don’t want to take the chance waiting for him to fall to you in the fourth round. 

ZiPS Projection: 176 IP/14 wins/3.22 ERA/3.27 FIP with a 12.02 k/9 and a 2.86 bb/9

Justin has been a DFS pro for 5 years now, focusing primarily on NHL and MLB. He has won numerous tournaments on Draft Kings and FanDuel and has made it to multiple live finals for hockey. Prior to becoming a DFS pro, he was an associate scout for the Toronto Blue Jays. 

Twitter: @HadudeDFS