If you’re just checking into White Sox baseball, I don’t blame you. The lockout was long, contentious and frustrating. The Bulls have been a fun watch (at least up until recently). March Madness deserved plenty of attention, too. So you may have just noticed that there are a bunch of new names in the White Sox lineup, let alone their 28-man roster. But don’t worry, we’re here to catch you up to speed on all the new faces on the South Side.
KENDALL GRAVEMAN - RELIEF PITCHER
After converting from a starter to a reliever in the 2020 season, Graveman became one of the best relievers in the game last year. In 56.0 innings with the Mariners and Astros, combined, Graveman put up a 1.77 ERA and a 0.982 WHIP. He was even better in Spring Training this year, giving up no runs and allowing only three baserunners in 4.2 innings. The White Sox hope Graveman and Hendriks become a shutdown duo in the backend of the bullpen.
A.J. POLLOCK - RIGHT FIELDER
The White Sox received Pollock from the Dodgers in exchange for Craig Kimbrel. He’s entering his 11th season, and has largely played center and left field over his career. That said, Pollock was confident about his ability to make the switch to right field. He’s won one Gold Glove and been named to one All-Star game, both in 2015. Pollock also won a World Series with the Dodgers in 2020. He’s a career .281 hitter, who’s added between 14 and 21 homers in each of the last five seasons.
JOSH HARRISON - SECOND BASEMAN
Harrison signed a one-year deal to come to Chicago shortly after the lockout ended. He turns 35 this July, so he’s not expected to be a long term answer for the Sox at second, but the club hopes he provides a boost over Cesar Hernandez, who slashed a paltry .232/.309/.299 in 53 games for the team last season. Just because Harrison is getting long in the tooth, doesn’t mean he can’t handle a full workload either. Last season, he played in 138 games, which was the second-most of his career.
VINCE VELASQUEZ - PITCHER
The White Sox initially added Velasquez in an effort to add more pitching depth. Now, with Lance Lynn starting the season on the IL, it’s unclear how Tony La Russa will deploy him. Velasquez could be stretched out for spot starts, or could be used in the bullpen in long relief situations. Across his seven-year career, Velasquez has a 4.95 ERA.
REESE MCGUIRE - CATCHER
The White Sox swapped backup catchers with the Blue Jays earlier this month, sending Zack Collins to Toronto in exchange for McGuire. While Collins was drafted for his offense, McGuire is coming to Chicago for his defense. The scouting report on McGuire says he’s a plus pitch framer. He also threw out 11 would-be base stealers last season, according to Baseball Prospectus.
BENNETT SOUSA - RELIEF PITCHER
Sousa has the opportunity to make his major league debut after the White Sox drafted him in 2018. Sousa earned a spot on the team out of camp after pitching around jams and striking out batters at a high rate. In 5.1 innings, Sousa allowed eight baserunners, which is definitely not great. But those eight baserunners only translated into one earned run. Further, he impressed with a 10:1 K:BB ratio.
TANNER BANKS - RELIEF PITCHER
Another reliever set to make his major league debut, Banks was drafted by the White Sox in 2014. While his 4.53 ERA and 1.374 WHIP weren’t particularly impressive in Triple-A last season, his 70:13 K:BB ratio was nothing to sneeze at.