The Chicago White Sox are enjoying an outstanding 2021 season.
The team is currently 43-25, which is good for a 4.5-game lead in the American League Central over the second-place Cleveland Indians.
While White Sox fans don’t have a whole lot to complain about this season, the team has sustained a couple of injuries which could eventually prove costly.
Chicago has done a very nice job overcoming the setbacks so far, but they aren’t out of the woods yet.
Could these players’ injuries ultimately doom the White Sox in 2021?
2. Nick Madrigal
The White Sox were dealt a huge blow when Nick Madrigal was lost for the season with a hamstring injury.
Madrigal has been extremely impressive over the first two seasons of his career, although both stints have been abbreviated.
In 2020, Madrigal appeared in 29 games and slashed .340/.376/.369.
White Sox fans were rightfully extremely excited about the young stud’s future.
In 2021, he exceeded expectations again, slashing .305/.349/.425.
In both seasons, Madrigal managed an above-average OPS+.
He has already accumulated 1.8 WAR over 83 career games, which is an extremely solid number for a 24-year-old rookie (keep in mind, he did not exceed rookie limits in 2020).
The loss of Madrigal is an impossible pill to swallow.
He was a key piece of Chicago’s lineup and a fan favorite.
.@NickMadrigal_3 taking care of the fans. 👏
— Wasserman Baseball (@WassBaseball) June 10, 2021
1. Eloy Jimenez
The White Sox are optimistic that Eloy Jimenez could return this season.
Eloy Jiménez has been medically cleared to resume baseball activities at the White Sox complex in AZ. This phase of the rehabilitation process is estimated to take a minimum of 4 weeks, after which Eloy could be cleared for a rehabilitation assignment with a Sox affiliate.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 14, 2021
He hit the injured list in March with a pectoral injury.
The fact that he may return this summer is big news.
They’ve already been without the 24-year-old for the entire 2021 season, and it would be an understatement to say that he has been missed.
Jimenez finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year race in 2019 after batting .267 with a great .828 OPS.
He added 31 home runs in that campaign in just 122 games, a ridiculous pace for a rookie.
He followed that year up with a Silver Slugger season in 2020, batting .296 with an excellent .891 OPS and 140 OPS+.
Due to the COVID-shortened season, it was just a 55-game campaign for him, but he still managed to leave the yard 14 times.
The White Sox are doing a great job staying afloat without Jimenez, but if the team squanders their division lead, fans will be left wondering what could have been had he been healthy all season long.
To reiterate, the White Sox have had no trouble getting by without Madrigal and Jimenez so far.
But when the playoff race heats up, you better believe the team is going to be longing for both of its injured young stars.
Hopefully, Jimenez will return on schedule, but the last thing the White Sox would want to do is rush him back.
If he does return soon, he could become a major factor in Chicago’s 2021 title hopes.
We got to very briefly watch Jimenez play postseason baseball in 2020.
He appeared in one game and impressed, going 1-for-2 with a double.
That’s a tiny sample size, but if his regular-season track record is any indication, then there could be plenty more postseason success for Jimenez on the way.