Key young pieces falling into place for Chicago White Sox
There are some holes that need to be filled, some gaping holes.
Before the Chicago White Sox are able to get over the hump and finally get back to winning, they're going to need at least one proven starting pitcher, a right fielder, a left-handed power bat or two and a few more quality bullpen arms.
"There's a lot to be excited about," Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "In terms of putting ourselves in a position to contend, let's get to the off-season and then set some priorities and see how good we are being able to convert on hitting those priorities before we assess it."
After two big swings and misses on free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper last winter, White Sox fans are not exactly brimming with confidence in the front office heading into the winter.
The excitement should come from players already on the roster, which in turn can only help the Sox attract free-agent talent.
In Tuesday night's 7-3 win over the Royals, Eloy Jimenez hit a grand slam in the first inning and Yoan Moncada added a 2-run shot in the seventh that traveled 452 feet to center field. It was the first time the young duo homered in the same game this season.
"It's nice that they're going to be in the lineup, hopefully, for the next 10 years," White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing said.
The 22-year-old Jimenez is the AL rookie leader with 26 homers after clearing the fence in the first inning again Wednesday night against Kansas City, this one a 3-run shot. Moncada, 24, is making a strong bid to hit .300 and finish the season with 30 doubles and 30 homers.
"It's pretty exciting when you see those two guys start to click," manager Rick Renteria said. "Once this thing comes full circle, and I hope it's soon, we'll be having a lot of fun here on the South Side. We anticipate that those kids are going to be a big part of it."
So is starting pitcher Lucas Giolito, who along with Moncada is sure to get Comeback Player of the Year votes. Moncada led the major leagues with 217 strikeouts in 2018, while Giolito had the game's highest ERA at 6.13.
This year, the Sox's 25-year-old starter is 14-8 with a 3.27 ERA.
And don't forget shortstop Tim Anderson, who leads the American League in hitting and is trying to become the franchise's first player to win the batting title since Hall of Famer Frank Thomas in 1997.
"T.A., when I look at myself last year, I knew the way I'm pitching now is the way I should be playing," Giolito said. "He's the same exact way. It took him a couple years to kind of figure some things out, but he knew that he was a high average hitter. The hand-eye coordination is extraordinary. This is kind of just all of us learning, growing, starting to put things together.
"It's great to see. Can't wait for the future."