White Sox fans have high hopes, but there's still the matter of reality. Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago White Sox fans are positively giddy about the teams’ rebuild. The annual fan convention was sold out, which is a rarity for the South Side franchise. The talk around town has been so positive that I’m thinking they might be getting fitted for rings any day now. Maybe they should curb the enthusiasm just a bit.

After seeing the Cubs successful rebuild culminating in the World Series in 2016, it seems Sox fans think you just push the reset button and out comes the trophy. It’s not just the fans, however. Local media has fallen into the same trap. A sports columnist and radio host mentioned on a Sunday night TV wrap-up show the Sox would be winning the World Series in the future. It sounded like he guaranteed it.

The Sox have added several pieces since last winter with the Chris Sale and Adam Eaton deals, along with the José Quintana trade with the Chicago Cubs last summer. But like preparing a meal, you have to pair the correct ingredients for the dish to turn out right.

The Cubs focused mainly on adding impact bats in the draft including Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora and Ian Happ. They added Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell via trades, along with holdovers from the previous regime in Javy Báez and Willson Contreras.

You add in a bit of luck acquiring Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks in seemingly minor deals, and you have the core in place to win.

The axiom in baseball is you have to be strong up the middle. With Báez and Russell at second and short, Almora in center, and Contreras behind the plate, you don’t get much better than that.

The Sox currently feature Tim Anderson at short and Yoan Moncada at second as the likely future double-play combo. Neither one is a magician with the glove. It fits the pattern with most of the players the Sox have drafted or traded for. Defense is one of the main reasons the Cubs won in 2016 with one of the best statistical seasons on record.

The Sox seem to be picking up pieces with little regard to the finished product. It’s still early in the process, but for all the bodies acquired, how many appear to be legitimate cornerstones of a championship team like Bryant and Rizzo for the Cubs?

Moncada was the jewel received for Sale along with pitcher Michael Kopech, but so far he has yet to wow anyone. His numbers are very pedestrian, and he looks to me more like an athlete than a star baseball player.

If you look at the history of Cuban position players in recent years, only the more mature ones seem to flourish at the big league level like Yoenis Cespedes of the Mets and the Sox's José Abreu. Outside of sporadic output from Yasiel Puig along with periodic outbursts, the history is not very good with the younger players. Even the Cubs struck out with Jorge Soler; the only failure in a string of successes. So despite the hyperbole, don’t buy Cuban prospect Luis Robert’s jersey yet.

Of all the players they have acquired, I think the only true core piece might be Eloy Jiménez, currently ranked one of the top prospects in baseball by whichever forum you prefer to believe. He came in the José Quintana trade with the Cubs along with pitcher Dylan Cease.

Outside of Jiménez, I don’t see many stars on the field for the Sox in the organization at the moment. There are names like Jake Burger at third and Zack Collins behind the dish. But they have disappointed so far and might not be able to man their respective positions defensively even if they hit. Outfielder Blake Rutherford was a pickup from the Yankees last year, but his star doesn’t appear as shiny as hoped so far. He has yet to show any power in the minors. And while still young, a Punch-and-Judy outfielder is a bench player.

Abreu probably won’t be there when the Sox are ready to rise. Avisail Garcia had a breakout year, but is more likely a one-year wonder than a cornerstone. The Sox would be better off trading him before he tanks.

Right now, I don’t see a World Series lineup currently in the organization. I see a lot of hope and prayer that these guys turn out. But again, I question the ingredients the Sox think constitutes a meal.

There are more questions with the pitching staff. Currently, there is not one starter you can pencil in as a sure thing. Kopech has the hype, but a lot of projections have him ending up in the bullpen. Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López came over in the Eaton deal and are projected starters, of course. But are they stars or middle of the rotation pitchers at best?

Giolito has had some ups-and-downs since he was the top-rated minor league pitcher with Washington. Therefore, his ceiling may not be as high as originally thought. López doesn’t have numbers that will jump out at you. Plus he had some injury issues late in the year in 2017. Do they continue?

Pitching is never a sure thing. Just ask the New York Mets. They looked like a perennial contender after dismantling the Cubs 4-0 in the 2015 NLCS, but their vaunted staff can’t stay on the field. Carlos Rodon is a perfect example why local fans should be concerned. He’s been shut down a few times and is not likely to debut until later in the season.

Carson Fulmer, a former first-round pick, projects more to the bullpen than as a starter. Dane Dunning, also acquired in the Eaton trade had a good year in the low minors. But when the trade was made, he was thought of as a throw-in, even though he was a first-round pick. The best prospect might be Alec Hansen. The Sox got him in the second round in 2016 because he had control issues his junior year.

It’s good to have volume, especially with pitching. But if there aren’t many keepers, how good are you going to be? To be a successful team, you need at least three good starters, and I’m not sure they are in the organization yet despite such high hopes. Think Arrieta, Jon Lester and Hendricks with the Cubs.

So what’s left for the Sox? GM Rick Hahn bravely came out at Sox Fest saying they were willing to spend for the right player. I will believe the Sox will spend the money when they do. Until then, it’s all just talk. The Jerry Reinsdorf-owned Sox always like to say they’re in on certain players. But just like the Reinsdorf-owned Chicago Bulls when it comes to the top free agents, they always come up short.

Are the Sox going to put up the money next year for a Bryce Harper or Manny Machado to give the organization some credibility? Not likely, especially when the most they have ever spent on a free-agent was the $68 million they gave Abreu.

That’s how you add what’s missing from your recipe. The Cubs did it with Lester. Once he came on board, people knew they were legitimate.

The Sox would love to emulate the Cubs. Hell, they want to be the Cubs. But the ingredients just aren’t there. The Cubs are a three-star Michelin restaurant while the Sox are the greasy spoon down the street.

Things may look yummy on the surface, but the final product may not be what you were hoping for. There is still a lot of seasoning needed to be Top Chef worthy.

QUIZ: Name every player on the active roster of the 2005 World Series-winning Chicago White Sox

Can you name every player on the active roster of the 2005 World Series-winning Chicago White Sox?

Score:
0/24
Time:
7:00
2B
Geoff Blum
SP
Mark Buehrle
SP
Jose Contreras
RP
Neal Cotts
3B
Joe Crede
RF
Jermaine Dye
DH
Carl Everett
SP
Freddy Garcia
SP
Jon Garland
2B
Willie Harris
RP
Dustin Hermanson
RP
Orlando Hernandez
2B
Tadahito Iguchi
RP
Bobby Jenks
1B
Paul Konerko
RP
Damaso Marte
PH
Timo Perez
C
A.J. Pierzynski
LF
Scott Podsednik
RP
Cliff Politte
CF
Aaron Rowand
SS
Juan Uribe
RP
Luis Vizcaino
C
Chris Widger
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

This article first appeared on The Sports Post and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Verlander speaks out against MLB rule change

Polian: Lamar Jackson 'short' and 'slight,' needs to be a WR

Anthony Rizzo opens up about vigil speech: 'Hardest thing I ever had to do'

Silver: 2019 All-Star draft likely to be televised

Jeremy Lin defends JJ Redick over perceived racial slur

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Shiffrin’s boyfriend sent home from Olympics after post-race remarks

Joey Votto is sick of losing

Giannis vows to stay with Bucks

Peter King believes Kirk Cousins will end up with Broncos

Teddy Bridgewater calls 2017 ‘my favorite season by far’

Gus Kenworthy happy NBC televised him kissing boyfriend

The 'James gang walks away with a win' quiz

25 Negro Leaguers every baseball fan should know

Top 30 NFL free agents

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA united against racial divide

MLB's top 10 starting pitchers for 2018

Dario Saric thriving in shadows of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons

MLB's top 10 catchers for 2018

Ten bold predictions for 2018 MLB season

Wil Myers has a tough adjustment ahead of him

10 NFL offseason moves that need to happen

Flyers reverse course behind a balanced attack

Champions League Round of 16 preview, predictions

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'James gang walks away with a win' quiz

25 Negro Leaguers every baseball fan should know

Top 30 NFL free agents

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA united against racial divide

The 'Emerald City on ice' quiz

NHL Weekender: Blackhawks, Rangers continue to free fall

The 'Hope springs eternal' quiz

Dario Saric thriving in shadows of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons

MLB's top 10 starting pitchers for 2018

MLB's top 10 catchers for 2018

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker