The Chicago White Sox are entering the second year of their rebuilding process, and they’ve added some pieces to help move things along in 2018.
How He Got Here
The White Sox surprised some observers when they picked up a pair of relievers in a three-team swap with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals over the offseason, and one of the relievers they grabbed was veteran hurler Joakim Soria.
What He Did in 2017
Soria had a so-so year with the Royals, picking up a save and appearing in 59 games for Kansas City. He posted a 3.70 ERA in 56 innings of work, striking out 64 batters and walking 20 as he worked in mainly a set-up role for the team.
Chicago White Sox Report to Spring Training
What Do They Bring to the Table?
Soria put up some eye-popping save totals when he first came into the big leagues, but over the last three seasons he has primarily been used in a set-up role. He has a four-pitch arsenal, with a four-seam fastball that he can still pump up to 92 or 93 MPH. He also throws a change-up and a looping curve ball, which averages 71 MPH according to PitchFX.
The curve ball is primarily a strikeout pitch, as his change-up and fastball are aimed at generating ground balls instead. His lower velocity on the fastball definitely makes it less of a swing—and-miss pitch, but he has great command of it.
Our Predictions for 2018
After mainly serving as a set-up man in Kansas City, Soria should get the chance to close for the White Sox as spring training opens. The hurler will have Nate Jones and several other pitchers to contend with as the Sox bullpen takes shape, but his veteran status and strikeout ability would seemingly give him an edge in that competition.
We’re guessing he’ll open the season as the closer, and then get flipped for assets as the trade deadline approaches.