Wednesday, June 12, 2024

White Sox Bullpen Weirdly Offers Hope For The Future

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Last night’s White Sox game was a microcosm of their 2024 season. The team got off to a 3-1 lead in the early stages. Starter Drew Thorpe did quite well in his MLB debut. All looked good when he exited the game, as the team led 3-2 at that point. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. They could not add on, and the bullpen blew another game in the late innings. The same scenario also happened in the game before that. White Sox relievers allowed eight runs in the final two innings of the series opener against the Mariners and ended up losing that game as well. While the 2024 White Sox bullpen is historically bad, they weirdly offer hope for the team’s future.

Significant Bullpen Turnover In The Last Year

Gone are the days of veterans like Reynaldo López, Aaron Bummer, and Kendall Graveman performing in setup roles and Liam Hendriks closing it out. The White Sox bullpen has endured almost a complete overhaul over the past year and looks entirely different than it once did. It is now a blend of washed-up veteran relievers clinging onto their MLB careers and younger pitchers still trying to find their footing at the MLB level. Nobody expected the White Sox bullpen to be good, and yet it still has not lived up to expectations.

Historically Bad White Sox Bullpen

White Sox relievers enter the day with a combined 4.90 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in 253.1 innings. Their 4.90 ERA is the third worst in baseball, and their 1.54 WHIP is the second worst. They have issued the most walks of any MLB bullpen and allowed the third most home runs. The White Sox have blown 25 leads already and we are only 68 games into the season. It is that bad. Any time a White Sox starting pitcher comes out of the game with a lead, chances are they will not get the win.

While the relief corps has been atrocious, blaming the 2024 White Sox failures solely on the bullpen is unfair. After all, the team cannot hit either. The lack of offensive firepower has created a razor-thin margin for error for the pitching staff. That said, the bullpen’s numbers speak for themselves. They cannot hold the lead, and White Sox fans have started to catch onto that. Some have even started betting on the opposing team to win whenever a White Sox reliever enters the game.

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Clock Is Ticking

One might ask how the 2024 White Sox bullpen could create optimism. The answer is that most of the current relievers will not be on the team next season. Michael Kopech, John Brebbia, and Tanner Banks will all be trade candidates at the deadline. Tim Hill just got designated for assignment. Michael Soroka, Justin Anderson, and Dominic Leone will likely not be here next season either. 

Bullpen Reinforcements Are Coming

Jordan Leasure, Jared Shuster, and Steven Wilson are the only three relievers who have a chance of sticking around in 2025, and they have been three of the better relievers on the team this season. The White Sox also have some intriguing reliever prospects in the pipeline, including Josimar Cousin, Adisyn Coffey, Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa, and Eric Adler. There is also the upcoming free agent class, which has several appealing options. The reliever group will look completely different next year, and there is nowhere to go but up from a performance standpoint. Addition by subtraction is critical.

Hope For The Future

A good bullpen is essential to success in modern baseball, and Chris Getz will almost certainly emphasize improving that aspect of the team this winter. The 2025 White Sox bullpen will feature many new faces. An improved relief corps and new additions to the lineup will make the team much better and more watchable next season.

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