Ironic rebuild could reshape the Crosstown Cup
With the Chicago Cubs clinging to a slim lead in the NL Central, and the Chicago White Sox bringing up the rear in the AL Central, one could say the crosstown rivals are heading in opposite directions. I, on the other hand, see them heading in the same direction.
I am not looking at this in the vacuum of the 2017 season, but more of a big picture. The Northsiders are loaded with young talent. They are coming off of their first World Series Championship in 108 years and barring any more injuries, they looked primed to make another deep October run. Many, including myself, saw this team as a team that will be playing for another World Series ring this season. After a subpar start, they are now playing the type of baseball to back up that notion.
As a prisoner of the moment, you could theoretically say the only thing these teams have in common is that they both play in Chicago. I, being a White Sox fan, choose to look a little deeper at these two teams. The Cubs lineup day to day is one of the strongest in MLB, but what the Sox are doing is following the same mold. Owning, arguably, the top farm system in the league right now the Sox look poised to make a similar run that the Cubs are currently on.
The Sox started the real rebuilding process by parting ways with sure-fire hall of famer Chris Sale in the offseason. What they received in return was a hand full of huge prospects, most notably Yoan Moncada (#1 MLB prospect), they also wrangled Michael Kopech (#11 RHP), twenty-one-year-old Luis Alexander Basabe (OF) and twenty-three-year-old right-hander Victor Diaz.
For a lot of teams that was a great start to the rebuilding of a franchise. The Sox, however, did not stop there. The Sox then traded another great left handed arm in Jose Quintana to the cross-town rival Cubs for more young talent. While they lost a great pitcher that has had terrible luck, they gained more top MLB prospects. The Sox in return, received Eloy Jimenez (#8 prospect), along with Right handed pitcher Dylan Cease (#62 prospect). Add them to an already young and talented White Sox roster (Tim Anderson #38 2015 prospect, Luis Robert #23 prospect, Luis Giolito #28, Blake Rutherford #29 and right handed pitcher Reynaldo Lopez) and there is a very bright future on 35th street.
Along with the many moves, the White Sox have made of late, we can’t forget that they still have all-star Jose Abreu (30) and a pair of 26-year-olds Avisail Garcia and Adam Engle on the roster. Unfortunately, life tells us that all of these prospects will not pan out to the max, but with the embarrassment of riches the Sox currently have, they have room for a few to not fully recognize their potential.
This is a time that the fans in Chicago should be extremely excited to see what happens in the next few years and how this natural rivalry could grow into something very special.