AL Central Notes: White Sox, Mahle, Skubal

MLB Trade Rumors

The White Sox are set to get some much needed reinforcements early this week, as manager Pedro Grifol tells reporters (including MLB.com’s Scott Merkin) that both shortstop Tim Anderson and infielder Hanser Alberto are expected to return from the injured list on Tuesday.

That’s great news for the club, as the White Sox have begun their 2023 campaign with a worrisome 7-21 record that places them tied for last in the AL Central, nine games back of the division-leading Twins. A two time All Star who won the batting title in 2019, Anderson is one of the club’s marquee players. From 2019 to 2021 Anderson posted 11.6 fWAR in 295 games, a pace of nearly 6.4 fWAR per 162 games, thanks to solid defense at shortstop paired with a .322/.349/.495 slash line that was good for a 126 wRC+. That being said, Anderson missed three months of action in 2022 due to multiple injuries and didn’t reach those same standards when on the field, posting just a 110 wRC+ in 79 games along with a .093 ISO that was far below the .173 he managed during his peak years.

Even after a relative down season last year, however, Anderson figures to be one of the club’s best players this season, and any hope of a turnaround for the White Sox after this brutal start to the 2023 campaign likely rests in large part on his shoulders. In coming off the IL, he’ll be joined by Alberto, who figures to join Chicago’s bench mix alongside Romy Gonzalez, Lenyn Sosa, Gavin Sheets, and Adam Haseley. Despite a career wRC+ of just 77, Alberto is in his eighth year in the majors thanks to his versatility, which has allowed him to play all over the diamond except for behind the plate and in center field, and his penchant for avoiding strikeouts, as the 30-year-old veteran has punched out in just 12.2% of his 1,406 plate appearances in his career to this point.

More from around the AL Central…

  • Twins right-hander Tyler Mahle underwent an MRI on his arm after he was diagnosed with an elbow impingement earlier this week. Manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters, including MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park, that the team will have more details soon but that Mahle is expected to miss his next start at the very least. It’s not currently known if an injured list stint will be necessary for Mahle, who has a 3.16 ERA in five starts so far in 2023. The Twins have a variety of options for a spot start on the 40-man roster if necessary, including Simeon Woods-Richardson, Cole Sands, Louie Varland and Brent Headrick.
  • Tigers left-hander Tarik Skubal, who underwent flexor surgery last August, threw off a mound for the first time since his surgery yesterday, as noted by MLive’s Evan Woodberry. Everything went well during the bullpen, during which Skubal threw 15 fastballs. Skubal doesn’t figure to return from injury any time soon, but the positive update is nonetheless great news for the Tigers, who also lost fellow youngsters Casey Mize and Matt Manning before the season began. 2022 was something of a breakout season for Skubal, as the young lefty posted a 3.52 ERA and 2.96 FIP in 117 2/3 innings of work.

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