The Chicago White Sox’s 2021 season ended in a disappointing first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Houston Astros.
However, they are not going anywhere, and have all the pieces to make another play at the World Series.
Expectations are higher every year, but there are plenty of reasons for White Sox fans to remain optimistic.
Here are three of them.
3. Another Super Bullpen
The White Sox may or may not trade Craig Kimbrel before the start of the 2022 season.
He had a rough stint in the south side after being traded from the Chicago Cubs (5.09 ERA in 23 innings), but he was stellar before switching sides.
He had a 0.49 ERA in 36.2 frames with the Cubs, and a 2.18 mark for his career: there are reasons to think he can have a bounce-back season with the White Sox and be part of another super bullpen.
Liam Hendriks (2.54 ERA in 71 frames) will be leading the charge once again, and Chicago brought in veteran stopper Kendall Graveman, who had excellent stints with the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros last season.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) November 30, 2021
The unit is deep and good.
2. A Loaded, Healthy Offense
Last season, the White Sox were the seventh-best offense in MLB in terms of total runs scored, with 796.
Both are expected to be healthy, locked, and loaded for the 2022 campaign.
At the moment, second base is perhaps the only hole in an otherwise stellar lineup.
Yasmani Grandal, fresh off hitting 23 home runs and posting a .940 OPS, is perhaps the best-hitting catcher in the game.
Chicago has, top to bottom, one of the most feared lineups in baseball, and if everybody is healthy come October, look out.
Fans have every reason to be optimistic while looking at that batting order.
1. There Is Still Some Ground Between White Sox And The Rest Of The AL Central
Last season, the White Sox finished first in the American League Central with a 13-game advantage over the Cleveland Guardians.
While almost every team in the division has taken a step forward during the offseason or could have internal young talent taking over in 2022, none of them are still in the White Sox’s league.
They need much more than that to really challenge Chicago, though.
Cleveland hasn’t made too many moves (besides recovering Shane Bieber’s shoulder), and the Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals, while interesting, appear to be best bets for 2023 rather than 2022.
Chicago plays in a really favorable division to aim for the playoffs again.
#whitesox will be central division champs again in 2022. Time to get to work making changes to build this team up for a deeper playoff run.
— Rick Getty (@rgetty) October 12, 2021
The real challenger, however, will be making a deep run once there.