Podcast: 2021 Chicago White Sox Preview – Infield

Show Rundown: 
2:25: Spring Training Update
4:55: Who makes the 26-man roster final call?
10:34: Will Andrew Vaughn get an extension offer?
12:33: Who will be the Opening Day DH?
20:18: Who will be the primary backup catcher?
26:01: Yasmani Grandal preview
32:20: Jose Abreu preview
42:25: Nick Madrigal preview
50:40: Tim Anderson preview
58:48: Yoan Moncada preview
67:52: Who will be the 26th man?
71:22: P.O. Sox 

Chef Eric

Is Nick Madrigal a longtime solution for 2B for the White Sox in the same way as Moncada, Robert, and Jiménez are?

Derek King

What order do you predict these Sox infielders will finish in total WAR or fWAR: Moncada; Anderson; and Madrigal *and* Vaughn? Then, same question, but in wRC+?

Asinwreck

How set is the roster? Do you think the Sox have a good sense of who will start the season on the 26-man and who will be on the taxi squad? Is there much, if any, evaluation going on in Glendale, or is the team just making sure the players get their reps in and avoiding injury?

Patreon Bonus P.O. Sox Question

Alex Schmidt

Did Abreu’s defense take a big leap forward in 2020, and if so, how likely is he to maintain that level in 2021?

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Josh Nelson
Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson is the host and producer of the Sox Machine Podcast. For show suggestions, guest appearances, and sponsorship opportunities, you can reach him via email at josh@soxmachine.com.

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jorgefabregas

Regarding opening day DH: my interpretation is that they’ve heralded Vaughn’s readiness to beat writers. I don’t think they’ve laid any PR groundwork for sending him down. Plus, as mentioned on the pod they didn’t sign a AAAA bat that would serve as a pretext for holding him down. La Russa referred to Sheets and Burger as other DH candidates, and I can’t take either one seriously as opening day possibilities. So I think Vaughn will be the guy from the start, extension or no.

jorgefabregas

I guess to some extent, Collins, Lucroy, and Vaughn are competing for two roster spots. It *seems* like they plan to go with Lucroy and Vaughn. Collins has an option remaining.

Collins has also had a very nice spring training, but that seems unlikely to have a big impact on the their rankings.

jhomeslice

I have to believe that Collins and Mercedes have outside shots at breaking camp as the DH, even if Vaughn might be the favorite. If either really rakes the next couple weeks and Vaughn does not it could make the decision tough. I hate the idea of rushing Vaughn, personally. I get the sense that Mercedes might be a better major league level hitter for 2021 with Vaughn never having played above A ball in the minors, even if Vaughn has a very bright future. Would be an awkward and difficult decision as to what to do with Vaughn if he struggles at the start of the season as well. I hope they decide based on who looks like the better hitter overall this spring, not because they want Vaughn to be the guy no matter what.

HallofFrank

Hey guys, thanks for answering my question (Derek here). Unfortunately, I didn’t frame it quite right so it got misunderstood. I was wondering how you would rank (a) Moncada; (b) Anderson; and (c) Madrigal and Vaughn *combined*?

Your conversation was still great and I think I know what you’d say, but would that change things for you Jim, Josh, or PNoles?

raylewis67

I liked the discussion about which type of player TA should choose to be. Tim Anderson (contact guy) has been very valuable to the team but it’s certainly possible that Tim Bnderson (power guy) would be even more valuable.

My take is that this is not an either/or proposition. Anderson has shown that in-game–nay, in-at bat adjustments–is a strength of his, and I think Anderson should embrace situations where Bnderson is more needed. Say our bottom of the order guys are disappointing, but Eloy is leading the league in homers and 2021 Moncada is 2019 Moncada. Then, Anderson can adopt an OBP mindset since it is more needed. But say Madrigal, Vaughn and Eaton are combining for a .360 OBP at the bottom of the order and Moncada is slow out of the gates coupled with Abreu regression, then Bnderson can show up. I think he can exercise both approaches over the course of a season.