Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Constructing The Ideal 2024 White Sox Lineup

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Lineup construction has always been an integral part of White Sox Twitter. All the armchair managers (including myself) constantly think of ways to improve the team, acting like we know more than the front office and coaching staff. The 2024 White Sox will likely be horrific offensively, as there isn’t much talent to work with. That said, there are ways to construct a lineup that will set this team up to succeed offensively as much as possible.

Below are two lineups. One against right-handers and the other against left-handers, with my rationale behind my decisions.

Lineup Vs. Right-Handed Pitchers

1 – Andrew Benintendi LF (L)

Benintendi hitting leadoff is an easy pick for me. He had the highest on-base percentage of any White Sox player in 2023 and hit .301 with a .759 OPS in 44 games in the leadoff spot last season, compared to just .239 with a .643 OPS from the second spot. He is the best guy to set the tone and get on base consistently in front of the power hitters.

2 – Dominic Fletcher RF (L)

This choice might cause arguments among some, as I have seen Yoán Moncada penciled in the two spot in mock lineups on Twitter. In a small MLB sample size last season, Fletcher had a .350 OBP, which would have been the best on the White Sox by a significant amount. He also crushed right-handers, hitting .369 with a .946 OPS in 26 games. These numbers likely will not be sustainable because of his .377 BABIP, but Fletcher showed some ability with the bat regardless. Pedro Grifol will probably put Moncada in this spot to start the season, but I want to see what Fletcher can do at the top of the lineup and in front of the run producers.

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3 – Luis Robert Jr. CF (R)

Robert Jr. hitting third is the most obvious pick of the entire lineup. He was a monster last season while hitting in this spot. There is no reason to change something that worked.

4 – Eloy Jiménez DH (R)

Another reasonably obvious selection, Jiménez arguably has the most power of anyone in the lineup and is one of the premier run producers on the team, too. I believe he is the best option to protect Robert Jr. in this lineup.

5 – Andrew Vaughn 1B (R)

Also one of the best run producers on the team, Vaughn gets the fifth spot in my lineup. He had 17 home runs and a .774 OPS against right-handed pitchers in 2023. Hitting behind Robert Jr. and Jimenez should give him plenty of opportunities to drive in runs.

6 – Yoán Moncada 3B (S)

The sixth spot in the lineup might be low for Moncada. If one were to flip him and Fletcher in this proposed lineup, I would not argue. But this will likely be Yoán’s last season in a White Sox uniform, so I care about Fletcher more than him these days. Moncada can start here to open the season and possibly move up in the lineup if he performs.

7 – Max Stassi C (R)

Neither Stassi nor Martín Maldonado hit all that much, but Stassi has been better against right-handers throughout his career than Maldonado. Therefore, he gets the seventh spot.

8 – Paul DeJong SS (R)

DeJong was signed more for his defense than his offense, but there is no such thing as a designated fielder so I have to put him somewhere. The eighth spot works.

9 – Nicky Lopez 2B (L)

Lopez hasn’t hit much in his career either, but he has decent speed and will serve as the “second leadoff hitter” and bat ninth in my lineup.

Lineup vs. Right-Handed Pitchers:
Andrew Benintendi LF (L)
Dominic Fletcher RF (L)
Luis Robert Jr. CF (R)
Eloy Jiménez DH (R)
Andrew Vaughn 1B (R)
Yoán Moncada 3B (S)
Max Stassi C (R)
Paul DeJong SS (R)
Nicky Lopez 2B (L)

Lineup Vs. Left-Handed Pitchers

1 – Andrew Benintendi LF (L)

Benintendi isn’t as good against left-handers as he is against right-handers, but he is still the best option to lead off.

2 – Yoán Moncada 3B (S)

Historically, Moncada has been better against right-handers than left-handers. That was not the case in 2023. As such, he moves up to the two spot against lefties.

3 – Luis Robert Jr. CF (R)

Robert Jr. stays in the same spot as the previous lineup, as he is the best player on the team regardless of who is pitching.

4 – Eloy Jiménez DH (R)

Jiménez stays in the same spot as the previous lineup, as he is the best cleanup option.

5 – Andrew Vaughn 1B (R)

Vaughn is also in the same spot, given his run-producing ability.

6 – Martín Maldonado C (R)

The thought of Martín Maldonado hitting sixth in an MLB lineup in 2024 is disgusting, but he was pretty productive against left-handers last season, as he had a .816 OPS against them in 48 games.

7 – Paul DeJong SS (R)

DeJong moves up one spot in this lineup compared to the previous one, given that he was slightly better against lefties than righties last season.

8 – Kevin Pillar RF (R)

Pillar is not anything special at this point in his career, but he will likely make the team as a reserve outfielder and platoon partner for Dominic Fletcher. As such, Pillar figures to see most of the at-bats against left-handed pitchers.

9 – Danny Mendick 2B (R)

Old friend Danny Mendick is back. It is not a guarantee that he will make the team, but he most likely will. Other options for this spot include Zach Remillard and Lenyn Sosa. Regardless, a right-handed hitting second baseman will probably have this spot in the lineup when a left-handed is pitching.

Lineup vs. Left-Handed Pitchers:
Andrew Benintendi LF (L)
Yoán Moncada 3B (S)
Luis Robert Jr. CF (R)
Eloy Jiménez DH (R)
Andrew Vaughn 1B (R)
Martín Maldonado C (R)
Paul DeJong SS (R)
Kevin Pillar RF (R)
Danny Mendick 2B (R)

Final Word

The 2024 White Sox will likely struggle to score runs regardless of what lineup Pedro Grifol puts out there. But the two lineups outlined above give the team the best chance to score runs consistently.

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