White Sox Clinch 2020 MLB Playoff Berth with Win vs. Twins

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIISeptember 17, 2020

Chicago White Sox's Adam Engel (15) celebrates with catcher Yasmani Grandal and relief pitcher Alex Colome the team's 3-1 win over the Minnesota Twins after a baseball game, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

The Chicago White Sox are heading back to the playoffs.

Thursday's 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins clinched the first postseason berth on the South Side since 2008, and it's just the second since the Sox won the World Series in 2005.

Led by first baseman Jose Abreu, shortstop Tim Anderson, pitcher Lucas Giolito and a cast of rookies playing like established veterans, Chicago's rebuild has accelerated to the point where the once dark-horse wild-card candidate has become a legitimate World Series threat.

The White Sox are just two seasons removed from a 100-loss campaign that followed a dramatic teardown and rebuild led by general manager Rick Hahn.

Ace Chris Sale was sent to the Boston Red Sox for a package featuring third baseman Yoan Moncada and pitcher Michael Kopech; outfielder Adam Eaton was dealt to the Washington Nationals for Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning; and Jose Quintana was moved just a few miles north to the Chicago Cubs for slugger Eloy Jimenez and starter Dylan Cease.

Each player acquired in those trades has become a major key to the success of the Sox in 2020 with Giolito's transformation—going from finishing as the worst qualified starting pitcher in 2018 to the no-hitter-throwing ace of the rotation two years later—serving as a microcosm of the rebuild itself.

Along the way, Abreu (.332/.374/.644, 17 home runs, 50 RBI) and Anderson (.365/.401/.582, 19 RBI, 41 R) have earned legitimate MVP considerations, while 23-year-old center fielder Luis Robert (.246/.307/.485, 11 home runs, 30 RBI) looks increasingly like a favorite for Rookie of the Year.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Yet the work of Hahn goes well beyond scouting and developing. The GM made two significant offseason acquisitions last winter in catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitcher Dallas Keuchel.

It was Keuchel, in fact, who called out his teammates early in the season for poor performance, arguing the club was too talented to make excuses.

The Sox responded immediately by taking control of the American League Central, cementing themselves as one of baseball's most entertaining teams.

All of it dovetailed into a charmed season for Chicago, which is seeing its championship window crack back open for the first time in years.

It may stay that way for quite some time.