Who Will Be The White Sox 25th Man?

20140124_mm_soxfest0117Spring Training 2016 has been eventful to say the least for the Chicago White Sox.

As the team was packing its bags for its annual trip to Arizona, I wrote this piece to project who would win some of teams position battles.

If you haven’t read it by, now, don’t bother. Here are some of the newsflashes out of White Sox camp that took place in the 40 days since the article was posted.

  • White Sox signed free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins
  • White Sox signed free agent center fielder Austin Jackson
  • Adam LaRoche abruptly leaves camp and wishes to retire from baseball

With less than a week until the first pitch of 2016, the White Sox Opening Day roster seems just about finalized with the exception of the 25th man. Here are the 24 players who are either certain or very likely to break camp with the team:

Starting Pitchers – Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon, Mat Latos, John Danks

Bullpen – David Robertson, Nate Jones, Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam, Matt Albers, Zach Duke, Dan Jennings

Infielders – Alex Avila, Dioner Navarro, Jose Abreu, Brett Lawrie, Todd Frazier, Jimmy Rollins, Melky Cabrera, Adam Eaton, Avisail Garcia, Austin Jackson, J.B. Shuck, Tyler Saladino

The 25th man will likely come down to one of four players – Matt Davidson, Travis Ishiwaka, Tommy Kahnle, and Carlos Sanchez.

General Manager Rick Hahn offered the following statement yesterday about the team’s 25th man.

“We’re likely going to have to continue to have conversations with other clubs through the weekend, however we feel strongly enough about the group we currently have in camp that the more likely scenario is that the initial 25-man roster comes from our current pool.”

Clearly, not much insight was offered in that statement. But there is probably one thing that we can all assume – since the team originally had LaRoche is the plans, you have to figure that they will be looking for someone with a similar profile to replace him.

That would immediately throw Tommy Kahnle and Carlos Sanchez out the door, leaving the final roster spot to either Ishikawa or Davidson.

Ishikawa, 32, has made his tour around the big leagues (and minor leagues) throughout his career. Sadly, he really doesn’t have much to show for it other than that pinch-hit, walk-off home run in the 2014 NLCS to send the Giants to the World Series. Baseball is as unpredictable as any sport. No one can argue that. But with Ishikawa, you know what you’re going to get if he makes the team. He will spell Jose Abreu once or twice a week, hit somewhere around .250, and pose a very slight power threat that will probably only equate to 5-8 home runs on the season due to limited at bats. Working in Ishikawa’s favor, though, is the fact that he is a lefty and a true first baseman. The Sox lost a lefty first baseman when LaRoche exited camp, so the White Sox might see Ishikawa as the next closest thing.

Matt Davidson presents much more potential than Ishikawa. Davidson just turned 25 years old and was once a top prospect. After two horrific seasons in the minor leagues, it has taken a phenomenal Spring Training to even get him in the conversation of making the team this year. Unlike Ishikawa, Davidson has the ability to be a 25+ home run player if he stays locked in throughout the year. His ability to drive the ball to all fields this spring has caught a lot of attention. That being said, his sample size of being a successful hitter in the White Sox organization is still very small, so the team might want to see him continue his hot hitting in the minors before they are convinced he is ready to join the big league club.

My choice is Davidson, but I see the White Sox going with Ishikawa. We will know in just a few short days.

Follow me on Twitter: @JeremyChiSox