Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chicago White Sox Preview/Prediction

Now that we got the division predictions done it is time to dig a little bit deeper.  Between now and the opener in Japan each team will get their own prediction/preview.  I am going to go in alphabetical order.

Our next post takes us across the city to the South side of Chicago where Ozzie Guillen is gone, Robin Ventura is in, and a boatload of prospects are set to become first year starters.  Should be an interesting year for the White Sox, as veterans like Konerko, Dunn, and Rios try to teach the youngsters.

Infield:  AJ Pierzynski at catcher, Paul Konerko at first base, Gordon Beckham at second base, Alexi Ramirez at shortstop and Brent Morel at third base.

Pierzynski is definitely on his last legs, and I think this is his last year as a full time starter.  Paul Konerko is a marvel, he is getting older and he is still hitting 30 home runs and driving in 100 runs.  That continues this year for what seems like the 27th straight year.  Gordon Beckham was once a hot prospect, but he has got to hit over .230 this year or he might be looking for work.  Alexi Ramirez will be an all-star this year, and he might be the best offensive shortstop in the American League besides Derek Jeter and Asdrubal Cabrera.  Those are my three shortstop all-stars this year (sorry Elvis Andrus, not going to happen).  Brent Morel has every chance to win the third base job and this will be his first full year as a starter.  I think he hits 20 home runs but won't hit for a high average.

Who will have the best season of these guys? Ramirez will have a great year, but I am going to say Konerko just because of his amazing consistency.  That man has been doing it every year since 2004 and he will continue this year.  He might not be an all-star this year because of how loaded first base is, but he will still have the best year for the infield.

Outfield:  Dayan Viciedo in left field, Alejandro De Aza in center field, and Alex Rios in right field.  
Viciedo has never played left field before, even in the minors, so he will be a train wreck out there.  He does have a powerful bat and will hit for power but won't hit more than .260.  De Aza was the Florida Marlins opening day center fielder in 2007 and hasn't been heard from since.  He is going to get a second crack this year for the White Sox after hitting .330 in 55 games last year.  Alex Rios was a great player for the Toronto Blue Jays, but has been abysmal ever since he got paid.  Kenny Williams will not deal with another sub-par season from him for the amount of money he is getting. I think that Rios will get benched but he won't be able to get traded because no team is going to want to take on that contract.

Who will have the best season of these guys?De Aza has been a starter, than benched, sent down to work on things and then have them come together and hit pretty well last year.  I don't think he hits .330 this year but I think .280 with 30 stolen bases this year, and that will be good enough to have the best season for this White Sox outfield.

Starting Pitching:  John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Jake Peavy, Phil Humber, and Chris Sale

John Danks is a left hander who was signed to a 5 year $65 million dollar deal this off season.  Paying $13 million dollars a year to a guy who has an ERA over 4.3 and only went 8-12 last year?  My how baseball has changed.  I think he will again have an ERA over 4 and a losing record.  Gavin Floyd actually had similar numbers to Danks last year, but he won 12 games and he only makes $5 million this year.  Jake Peavy should be the ace of this staff but he hasn't pitched a full season since 2007, and he will not make it through this year either.  He has the stuff but his body is just too brittle.  Humber might have had the best season of all the starting pitchers last year, going 9-9 and having an ERA under 4.  He is going to be a serviceable #4 starter.  Chris Sale is a player I am very intrigued about.  He is a big guy (6'6) and he throws hard, plus he is only 22.  If they don't limit his innings he has the stuff to be a break out guy this year.

Who will have the best season of these guys? Chris Sale.  Sale has the stuff and the make-up, just not the experience.  This year he gets that experience and doesn't disappoint.  Sale wins 15 games has an ERA under 3.5 and gets 175 strike outs, and the best will be yet to come.  This guy will be a future all-star and cy young contender in the very near future.

Bullpen: Matt Thornton, Jessie Crain, Will Ohman, and Addison Reed

Matt Thornton is a left handed closer who throws hard, but I do not think he has the mental make up to become a closer for an entire year.  Jessie Crain is a veteran and the big stage doesn't faze him at all.  He has pitched in the playoffs before and his succeeded in that roll.  Will Ohman is the set-up one out lefty coming out of the bullpen and he will be okay in that role if that is all they limit him too. The wild card here is Addison Reed.  He is a young kid who throws hard and is the closer of the future.  Whether or not he is the closer by the end of the year remains to be seen, but White Sox management is enamored with this kid and for good reason.

Who will have the best season of these guys? Addison Reed ends up as the closer, as Matt Thornton implodes mentally, and he saves 25 games and strikes at least one per inning.  Trading Sergio Santos paved the way for Addison Reed to come up, and he will in a big way for the White Sox this year.  

Record Prediction: 76-86 4th place in the American League Central

Next up:  Cincinnati Reds

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