Friday, February 23, 2024

A Look At The White Sox Starting Second Basemen Competition

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The White Sox have had a lot of movement in the middle infield this off season. After releasing Tim Anderson, there was much speculation on who would be the starting shortstop in 2024. That speculation can end, as it is likely that Paul DeJong gets the first crack at it.



Beyond that, the Sox have added a few interesting names to the middle of the infield. They acquired Nicky Lopez and Braden Shewmake in the Aaron Bummer trade, which could both be options at the major league level this year.

These two players are in addition to Lenyn Sosa, who got some run at the end of last year at second base, and Jose Rodriguez, who is one of the White Sox top prospects. Assuming Shewmake is sticking at shortstop and potentially competing with DeJong, it is a three man race for the most reps at second this season. Those three names would be: Nicky Lopez, Lenyn Sosa, and Jose Rodriguez.

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Nicky Lopez

The first guy, and the likely leader at this point is Nicky Lopez. He has the most major league experience, and he was one of the first guys acquired by new general manger Chris Getz.

At this point, Lopez is more of a defensive player than an offensive player. Last year Lopez hit .231 with just one home run. His best year came in 2021 where he hit .300 in 500 at-bats. That same year he added 22 stolen bases. Since then, he has not been able to get back to that offensive level. The one trait that has been a positive for Lopez over the last few years are his strikeout numbers. He does not strikeout much, which can give a solid balance to the Sox lineup.

However, his defense is keeping him around. Baseball Savant grades him out as one of the best infield defenders in the league, which is something the Sox have been desperately lacking. That alone may give him the starting nod, but if he can’t produce with the bat, he may be relegated to a utility role.

If he can play his level of defense and is somewhere between last year and 2021 in terms of offense, he could hold down the position for a majority of the year.

Lenyn Sosa

The incumbent from the end of last year, Sosa has flashed potential, but he has not been able to put it all together at the major league level quite yet. The one thing he has flashed is some power, as he has put up some very good power numbers in the minor leagues the last few years. He has shown flashes in the MLB, but he only hit six homers last year.

He is average with the glove, so nothing to write home about. The one thing that Sosa has going for him is his age and the fact he just has 200 AB’s in the major leagues. While it hasn’t been a great 200 at-bats, that is hardly a sample size to write him off.

If he has a good Spring Training, he could potentially beat out Lopez for the job, but it would likely be on a short leash. Even with Lopez’s average hitting, Sosa has been worse to this point in his career. I am rooting for him because he has some decent upside, as if you can hit 20 homers as a second basemen, that is very valuable.

Jose Rodriguez

A sleeper pick, Rodriguez has performed very well in the minor leagues. Across AA and AAA last year, he hit .262 with 21 home runs and 62 RBIs. He added an impressive 31 stolen bases to go with those solid power numbers.

Rodriguez is very toolsy, as he has the potential to hit 20+ homers at the major league level and steal 20+ bags as well. If your second basemen is producing like that, you are in a good spot. He has had problems with strikeouts in the minors, but if he gets to work with some of the major league coaches this year, he can hopefully improve that.

Of all three, Rodriguez has the highest ceiling. He has yet to have an at-bat in the majors, but the Sox should give him a legit chance in Spring Training to get some playing time. If they want to see what he can do, this season is definitely the time to figure that out.

Overall, it will likely be Lopez getting most of the work, but they should definitely work in the younger guys to see what they can do. This season should be dedicated to seeing what some of their prospects can do, as they likely won’t be competing for much.

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