Going into the season I predicted roughly a .420 win percentage for the 2017 White Sox. So as we sit here at the start of July, the .443 win percentage is a slight surprise. But the excitement of this team goes way beyond the win percentage.
First, let’s take a look at how they might not be as bad as you think. At nine games under .500, the White Sox have the second worst record in the American League. Despite this their run differential is only at -11, which puts their pythagorean record at 38-41. With proven veterans like Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana, and David Robertson and breakout seasons from Avisail Garcia, Leury Garcia, Yolmer Sanchez, and Tommy Kahnle, it’s no wonder this team isn’t as bad as we all thought they would be. Obviously much of this talent won’t be on the roster come August 1st, but it’s here now and it’s yielding positive results.
Additionally, no Sox fan can discuss the 2017 team without mentioning their penchant for coming back. Hawk Harrelson coined the phrase “Ricky’s boys don’t quit!” On Thursday night, Ricky’s boys didn’t quit. Melky Cabrera capped off a 7-3 comeback and a three-run ninth inning with a walk-off two-run double. The second walk-off of the week for the White Sox. This team has been making these sort of comebacks all season. While they often times come up short, knowing your team is always in a game is a refreshing feeling. In previous seasons, down 7-3 in the eighth inning, I would have said the game was over. This is what separates this team from those teams. If the White Sox are within five runs, they have a chance to come back and if they are getting blown out, you know they won’t just lay down and give up. Rick Renteria has ushered in a new culture. He is imparting on his team that it is imperative to hustle on the bases and to never quit fighting. His message is resonating.
Finally, the White Sox are in the middle of the rebuild and they have made no secret of that. With a rebuild, comes young talent and the White Sox have no shortage of it. As mentioned, young players like Yolmer Sanchez and Avisail Garcia are finally tapping into their potential. Watching other guys like Adam Engel and Matt Davidson blossom in their rookie years is a pleasure. Although Tim Anderson has struggled, you know it is temporary and he will continue to grow into a solid everyday player. No matter how much young players struggle, they are fun to watch and bring a sense of excitement for the future. As the season goes on, I figure we will see more young talent at the Major League level in Yoan Moncada, Reynaldo Lopez, and maybe more guys. For the first time in a long time, there is hope for the long-term future. It is a beautiful thing.
While the wins aren’t abundant and many fans are even rooting for the team to lose, the White Sox continue to fight everyday and continue to give the fans an enjoyable product on the field. In years past, we were watching a team “mired in mediocrity.” This year, we are watching an exciting team mixed with talent and youthfulness. No, they are not going to win the World Series or even make the playoffs this year, but I’m no less excited to watch them play everyday and neither should you.