SoxFest Begins With Huge Expectations – NBC Chicago
It’s been more than a decade since the White Sox last played in the postseason (2008), but as a sold out SoxFest kicked off at McCormick Place, there’s realistic hope the 2020 team can end that drought. A day after manager Rick Renteria made headlines for saying he’d be disappointed if his team didn’t make the playoffs, some of his players agreed.
“I think we’ve always looked at ourselves as a team that’s ready to win, and now that we have more weapons, I think we’re all that much more excited,” said pitcher Michael Kopech. “It’s going to be a big year for us, whether that be figuring out a way to win or winning all the time.”
“We are really confident,” Eloy Jimenez added, the Sox outfielder. “We just need to wait for the season, and I think I’m going to be disappointed if we don’t make the playoffs. I think we can.”
Last year’s South Siders only won 72 games, but a number of the team’s young players took big leaps. Tim Anderson led all of baseball with a .335 average. Yoan Moncada hit .315 and added 25 homers. Jimenez hit 26 home runs. Lucas Gioloto asserted himself as a starter and went 14-9.
On top of that, the Sox added a number of significant pieces in the offseason, including former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal, and slugger Edwin Encarnacion.
“The record last year didn’t really portray it, but you can see the talent. There’s been a big overhaul in guys — free agent signings — which is really great to see,” Keuchel said. “Myself included. When you look at the division, the trajectory, it really bodes well for the South Side,.”
How good can the White Sox be? Time will tell. But when Spring Training begins in less than a month, Renteria’s club will arrive in Arizona feeling the type of confidence it hasn’t felt in years.
“We added some new pieces, some good pieces. So yeah the energy is different,” Anderson stated. “Everybody’s ready to win and everybody’s buying in. Everybody’s ready.”