Home Articles How should the White Sox order their suddenly dangerous lineup?

How should the White Sox order their suddenly dangerous lineup?

by Nik Gaur

Now that the White Sox have reportedly agreed to terms with Edwin Encarnacion, they have what is arguably their deepest lineup since the years of Konerko, Thome, and Dye – if not earlier. Finally, discussion topics are beginning to change from whether the White Sox will acquire talent to how the White Sox will manage their talent. The 2020 batting order will naturally be a major conversation topic throughout the offseason, as the team’s newfound depth, which I wrote about a few days ago, is a pretty big deal:

How will Ricky Renteria choose to order these players? For the purposes of this exercise, let’s assume that Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal are on the MLB roster, as they figure to be for the majority of the 2020 season. Also, these lineups will suppose a right-handed starter is on the mound for the opponent, both because this will be the norm, and because I believe that the platoon complement to Nomar Mazara may not be on the roster yet.

The wild cards in these discussions are Robert and Madrigal. As rookies, we cannot know how quickly they will adjust to MLB pitching. While both have long-term top of the order potential, I believe that Robert is more likely to have an immediate impact, mostly because his theoretical struggles can be counteracted by his propensity to hit home runs. I believe Robert can play a Ronald Acuña sort of role as a leadoff hitter, both in 2020 and beyond. Thus, for the time being, it would make more sense to keep Madrigal lower in the order.

Another factor to consider is the organization’s commitment to Jose Abreu. While circumstances may change with a more dangerous lineup, it seems as though Ricky Renteria will keep Abreu in the #3 slot in perpetuity. I will now present the lineup I predict Renteria will often use, and later will share what I would prefer he employ. As for what I foresee him using:

  1. Luis Robert (R)
  2. Yoan Moncada (S)
  3. Jose Abreu (R)
  4. Yasmani Grandal (S)
  5. Eloy Jimenez (R)
  6. Edwin Encarnacion (R)
  7. Tim Anderson (R)
  8. Nomar Mazara (L)
  9. Nick Madrigal (R)

The above lineup presents a sufficient division with respect to handedness, features plenty of power in succession, and is refreshingly loaded with potential high on-base percentage threats. The beauty of this exercise is the realization that there are very few 2020 lineup configurations which would be considered inadequate. With this much talent, batting Tim Anderson in the #7 spot, for instance, is no longer a ridiculous choice.

While the above lineup, or something fairly similar to it, seems realistic to me, I would not mind seeing the White Sox adopt an even more analytical approach in 2020. I do not expect this, as it defies conventional norms, but the main move I seek is for Yasmani Grandal to be the leadoff hitter.

Grandal is quite slow and hits for a relatively low batting average, so at first glance, suggesting him to be a leadoff hitter may come off as absurd. But Grandal, who has always maintained healthy walk rates, took a staggering 109 of them last season. If he can come close to replicating his .380 on-base percentage from 2019, he would often find himself standing on first base with a star in Yoan Moncada at the plate. For similar reasoning, I would move Encarnacion, another slugger with a strong history of taking walks, to the #3 spot. I would then drop Abreu behind Jimenez so that he can continue to focus on driving in runs. Here is what I would prefer to see:

  1. Yasmani Grandal (S)
  2. Yoan Moncada (S)
  3. Edwin Encarnacion (R)
  4. Eloy Jimenez (R)
  5. Jose Abreu (R)
  6. Nomar Mazara (L)
  7. Tim Anderson (R)
  8. Luis Robert (R)
  9. Nick Madrigal (R)

The primary issue with this setup is that the handedness balance is somewhat ruined by having two switch hitters at the top of the lineup followed by three consecutive right-handed batters. I placed Mazara in the #6 spot in a perhaps feeble effort to mitigate this. Nevertheless, this lineup provides what, in my opinion, is a terrific equilibrium between on-base skills and power. The team’s run producers would have many plate appearances with runners on base, and there is elite speed stacked at the bottom of the order (Anderson/Robert/Madrigal) which would help increase runs driven in by Grandal and Moncada.

Given how deep the White Sox lineup is – and I will definitely need some time to get used to saying that – there exist several combinations that I would also support. Therefore, I am curious to know your thoughts. What do you expect Renteria to come up with, and what would you prefer he do? Let me know what you think in the article comments, in Facebook comments, or in Twitter replies!


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Jack Buckley
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Jack Buckley

Tremendous offseason, what a lineup, great job Sox

Steve Bogira
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Steve Bogira

Your first lineup is close to both what they should do and what they will do. Just flip Grandal and Moncada. Grandal often hit second for the Brewers, and Moncada seemed comfortable hitting cleanup for the Sox late in the year. Abreu may not walk as much as Encanarcion, but he hits for a higher average, so Renteria will be right to leave him third for now.

James Cahill
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James Cahill

VS RHP

1. TA SS
2. Grandal C
3. Abreu 1B
4. Moncada 3B
5. Encarnacion DH
6. Jimenez LF
7. Mazara RF
8. Robert CF
9. Madrigal 2B

VS LHP

1. TA SS
2. Grandal C
3. Abreu 1B
4. Encarnacion DH
5. Jimenez LF
6. Moncada 3B
7. Robert CF
8. Madrigal 2B
9. Garcia/Engel RF

Jack Buckley
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Jack Buckley

Are the Cubs even trying to win, I know they got Ryan Tepero but still.

Kerry Henigan
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Kerry Henigan

I believe in a strong lineup you do not want slow base runners in the top 3 positions in the order clogging up the base paths in front of fast runners preventing them from getting the extra base. I want to see the best athletes and hitters at the top of the order. Robert has hit leadoff in the minors and I believe in the Acuna comparison. The way Eloy finished the season I think he will be ready, if not at the start, then shortly thereafter to hit 4th. You want Abreu in a strong RBI position so put… Read more »

John
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John

1 Anderson SS
2 Madrigal 2b
3 Moncada 3b
4 Robert Cf
5 Jiminez Lf
6 Encarnacion Dh
7 Abreu 1b
8 Mazara/Puig/Castellanos Rf
9 Grandal C

Grandal is a career .245 hitter. Don’t lead him off, psuedo-leadoff in 9 hole with his high walk rate.

Flex
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Flex

I’d leave the first lineup you suggested against right handed hitters. For lefties i’d rearrange accordingly. As you said, the more I see our potential lineup the more I have to pinch myself even harder! These Sox are gonna be fuuun next summer.

Robert Oschman
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Robert Oschman

Anderson
Moncada
Jimenez
Abreu
Grandal
Encarnacion
Robert
Mazarra
Madrigal

Every third batter bats lefty against right hand pitching.
Rookies in less stressful position in batting order.
Fast players together 9,1, & 2.
Jimenez is best hitter on team when healthy.
Anderson – Ricky Henderson like at top of order.

Jerry Hobick
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Jerry Hobick

Whatever you do, don’t sigh Puig. He’s a cancer in the locker room Go after NC instead. Solid guy and well respected

Karl Kosman
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Karl Kosman

Where’s the defense?

Richard
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Richard

This is the lineup I would employ. I don’t want opposing pitchers to have any easy innings, If Sox are down 1-3 runs down? No problem!

(CF) Luis Robert (R)
(C) Yasmani Grandal (S)
(3B) Juan Moncada (S)
(LF) Eloy Jimenez (R)
(1B) Jose Abreu (R)
(SS) Tim Anderson (R)
)RF) Nomar Mazara (R)
(DH) Edwin Encarnacion (R)
(2B) Nick Madrigal (R

Mark S OConnor
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Mark S OConnor

You lost me when you suggested Grandal lead off.

Irv L
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Irv L

I expect Madrigal to be the eventual leadoff hitter. But I am wary of putting so much pressure on any hitter that young. I also prefer to let catchers hit far down the lineup so they concentrate more on their principal responsibility: handling the pitching. But I think Grandal could handle leading off until Madrigal or Robert is ready, hopefully before the All-Star break. Here’s a wacky thought: TA7– force him to learn to take pitches. Believe it or not, he was second on the team in on base percentage to Moncada, who may be the most sensible person to… Read more »

Perry Alberico
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Perry Alberico

What about signing Jason Kipinis for one year he is a free agent we could use another left handed bat to balance out our lineup.Local guy second baseman can play a little outfield. Then we can give Nick Madrigal another year at triple A

wilburwoodwastheman
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wilburwoodwastheman

1. Robert
2. Anderson
3. Moncada
4. Abreu
5. Encarnacion
6. Grandal
7. Jimenez
8. Mazara (Engel against LHP)
9. Madrigal

Maxilla Gorilla
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Maxilla Gorilla

What a difference!!! As per my lineup, I would wait to see who has the hot hand in spring training and who’s lagging. Some guys do better after more at bats. Extremely exciting to see all the options for a change!!

Patrick Tyler
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Patrick Tyler

My my lineup same as Renteria’s except leading off with Anderson.

Raul Wysinger
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Raul Wysinger

Luis Robert, Yoan Moncoda,Jose Abreu, Yasmani Grandal, Eloy Jimenez, Nomar Mazara, Edwin Encarnacion, Tim Anderson and Nick Madrigal

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