Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Youth Movement: Restructuring The 2024 White Sox Roster


If the season’s first four games are any indication, the 2024 White Sox might be one of the worst teams in baseball history. The roster sucks. There might not be one above-average MLB player on the team outside of Luis Robert Jr. 

As such, it will be a long and grueling process to get this roster back to the point where they can even be somewhat respectable, let alone compete for anything. But that process can begin now. The organization must evaluate the younger players on the roster to see if they have any future roles on the next good White Sox team. There are several positions where shifting to a youth movement mentality can begin immediately.


The White Sox brought in Martín Maldonado this offseason on a one-year, $4.25 million deal with a team option for 2025. The team presumably signed him as a veteran presence behind the plate for the pitching staff and as a mentor for the young catchers in the system. 

But the fact is that the 37-year-old is just not good anymore. Maldonado has never really been able to hit, but his defense, which was his calling card for so long, has also fallen off in recent years. He was in the first percentile in framing last season, and his pop time, blocks above average, and caught stealing above average have declined over time. The same argument applies to the other veteran catcher the White Sox brought in this offseason, 33-year-old Max Stassi. Both catchers are veterans whose best days are behind them.

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20-year-old Edgar Quero is likely the White Sox catcher of the future, but he is not ready yet. Thankfully, there is another placeholder option available for the time being in Korey Lee. The 25-year-old former first-round pick had an excellent spring and already has a home run this season. He should get most of the playing time behind the plate moving forward. He might have some potential upside and future in Chicago. Maldonado and Stassi certainly do not.


The same argument applies to the shortstop position. 30-year-old veteran Paul DeJong signed a one-year, $1.75 million deal this past offseason to be a placeholder at shortstop. But he is not good anymore. DeJong was on three teams alone last season because he wasn’t good enough to stay on an MLB roster. 22-year-old Colson Montgomery will likely be the White Sox’s long-term shortstop, but the team already has another superior option to DeJong on the roster.

Like Korey Lee, Braden Shewmake is a former first-round pick and is still young enough to potentially have a role on the team moving forward in some capacity. The 26-year-old already has a home run this season and has performed well in a limited sample. There is no reason to have him sit on the bench in favor of DeJong. Shewmake is younger, better, and has more future upside. It is time to see what he can do playing consistently.


The bullpen is another area where the White Sox should prioritize youth. The roster currently has several aging relievers who are simply placeholders because the team needs bodies. Tim Hill, Bryan Shaw, and Dominic Leone all fit this category. They are all in their mid to late thirties and offer no future upside to the organization. Yet there are also younger players in the bullpen with upside and potential. Jordan Leasure, Deivi García, and even Michael Kopech are all examples. Giving these younger pitchers high-leverage relief opportunities is a better use of time than trotting out veteran relievers with no future in Chicago in important situations.

Roster Shift Towards Youth Is Needed

Unfortunately, the White Sox are at the point where they are essentially starting from scratch again. A good chunk of the current roster is just veteran placeholders. They will have to play occasionally, but they should be on the bench most of the time and take a back seat to the younger players on the squad. Chris Getz has preached clubhouse culture over and over again in terms of his acquisitions this offseason. These veterans can provide value to the team without playing that much.

Shifting the focus to youth might be premature, given that the season is not even a week old. But this is going to be a lost year for the White Sox. It is in the organization’s best interests to emphasize the younger players on the team to identify potential building blocks for the future. Catcher, shortstop, and the bullpen are just three areas where the team can shift to a youth movement starting right now.

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