Not unlike their neighbors nine miles to the north, the Chicago White Sox entered the 2016 season with high expectations. Perhaps not World Series or bust. But expectations nonetheless.
One full week into the season the White Sox feel like a team built to do big things beginning with the foundation of its pitching and marquee free agent signings.
What will remain the bedrock of the South Sider’s success as it progresses through the year? Can Robin Ventura survive stretches of losing baseball?
Here are five extremely bold predictions for the 2016 Chicago White Sox.
AL Central Champions
As I write this, the White Sox sit at 5-2 and have played well in just about every facet of the game. Unfortunately, the defending champion Kansas City Royals still play in the AL Central, making this a bold prediction. The Sox win 90 games this year and sneak out a Central crown in the final week of the season.
Chris Sale Wins AL Cy Young
Probably not too bold considering Sale has finished Top 5 in award voting every season since 2013. He’s done that on bad teams. Now that the Sox have a good team and Sale pitches like his normal self, he’ll beat out King Felix Hernandez for the 2016 AL Cy Young.
Chris Sale and Jose Quintana combine for 37 wins
It’s not going to be just Chris Sale pitching like a boss in 2016. Lefty assassin Jose Quintana has an All-Star-caliber year and posts 17 wins with a sub-3.25 ERA. The 1-2 punch of Sale and Quintana do a bulk of the White Sox heavy lifting.
Robin Ventura wins AL Manager of the Year
Robin Ventura was on the chopping block entering this season but was given the benefit of the doubt and a great offseason from General Manager Rick Hahn. He runs with the opportunity and turns it into the best managerial job in the American League.
Adam Eaton Finishes Top 5 In MVP Voting
Ah, you thought I was going to go Jose Abreu here. Or Todd Frazier. Or even Chris Sale. No, little Adam “Spanky” Eaton has an absolute breakout season wherein he starts in the All-Star Game, hits above .310, and flirts with 200 hits.