Tagged: Chicago White Sox

2010 Chicago White Sox Preview

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Sox logo.png.jpg2009 Record: 79-83, 3rd AL Central

2009 Prediction: 85-77, 3rd AL Central

2010 Prediction: 1st AL Central

 

Impact Player: Gordon Beckham

Impact Pitcher: Jake Peavy

Top Prospect Player:
OF Jared Mitchell

Top Prospect Pitcher:
RHP Dan Hudson

 

Manager: Ozzie Guillen, 7th Season
(512-461, .526)

 

Significant
Acquisitions
: 3B Mark Teahen, OF
Juan Pierre, OF Andruw Jones, INF Omar
Vizquel
, RHP J.J. Putz, RHP Freddy Dolsi

Significant Losses:
2B Chris Getz, OF Scott Podsednik, OF Dewayne Wise, 3B Josh Fields, RHP D.J.
Carrasco

 

 

Few teams were as disappointing on the field in 2009 as the
Chicago White Sox.  They finished with
their second losing season in three years in spite of a veteran-laden team with
loads of talent.  Mark Buehrle provided the bright spot of the season when he pitched
a perfect game with the aid of a ridiculous 9th inning catch by Dewayne Wise who jumped over the wall
to rob the Rays Gabe Kapler of a
homerun; making manager Ozzie Guillen look like a genius for putting him in the
game as a defensive replacement.  Gone
are salary-eating vets Jim Thome and
Jermaine Dye and in their place are
young, more athletic options.  The White
Sox may boast the best rotation in the AL besides Boston (it might even be
better), a lineup that will succeed in homer-happy U.S. Cellular Field (New
Comiskey for those of us with memories of a time when corporatism hadn’t yet taken
over the game) and a very resourceful coaching staff.  In a division where mediocrity rules, the
White Sox appear to be poised to take a leap back into the postseason.

 

Pitching

Jake_Peavy_Chicago_White_Sox.jpg
Kudos are in order for GM Kenny Williams who is one of the
more active GMs in the game.  He took a
risk on Jake Peavy when he traded
for him last July for four highly touted young hurlers.  Peavy was injured at the time and there was
(is) no guarantee that he’ll ever be fully healthy again, but Williams pulled
off the deal.  For Peavy’s part, he came
off the DL in September and posted a 3-0 record with a 1.35 ERA in three starts
to end the year.  If he pitches like his
Cy Young capable self then he could be the most important part of the Sox
success.  Some are concerned that he’ll
get injured again or that his ERA will skyrocket being in the AL in a
hitter-friendly park as opposed to being in the NL in cavernous PETCO Park in
San Diego.  Even if Peavy has trouble,
the White Sox should be able to field a contender with Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd and John Danks following him up. 
All three are solid pitchers who are in their prime and Danks may have
the most upside at only 25.  The lefty
posted 13 wins and a 3.77 ERA in ’09 making him a 25-20 pitcher with a 3.55 ERA
in the past two seasons.  Those four
could all be top 20 starters in the AL which makes this team very
dangerous.  The fifth spot will be handed
to Freddy Garcia who probably won’t
stay healthy long enough to keep it. 
There aren’t a whole lot of major-league ready options to replace him
should that happen.  Jhonny Nunez, Erick Threets,
and minor-league contract recipient Daniel
Cabrera
might be quick fixes, but the team may look for a more permanent
option as the season wears on.  Top prospect Dan Hudson could get a look in the second half.

 

The bullpen added depth and an insurance policy when they
signed J.J Putz to deal in the
winter.  Putz will start the year in
perhaps the best lefty/righty setup duo in the majors with Matt Thornton, but could end up closing (as could Thornton) if Bobby Jenks struggles.  Jenks has converted 87% of his save
opportunities since becoming the Sox closer but his save total has dropped
every year; he had only 29 last year and posted a shaky 3.71 ERA.  Veteran Scott
Linebrink
and his hefty contract will man middle relief with lefty Randy Williams and righty Tony Pena who was once thought to be
the closer of the future in Arizona.  Nunez,
Cabrera or Threets should end up being the long-man if they aren’t forced into
starting action or sent to the minors and Freddy
Dolsi
and Greg Aquino will also
get looks.  Dolsi was very impressive
posting a 1.69 ERA in 10.2 innings in a September call-up with the Tigers.

 

ROTATION

Age

B/T

Jake Peavy

28/9

R/R

Mark Buehrle

31

L/L

Gavin Floyd

27

R/R

John Danks

25

L/L

Freddy Garcia

34/5

R/R

 

 

 

BULLPEN

 

 

Bobby Jenks

29

R/R

Matt Thornton

33/4

L/L

J.J. Putz*

33

R/R

Scott Linebrink

33/4

R/R

Randy Williams

34/5

L/L

Tony Pena

28

R/R

Jhonny Nunez

24

L/R

 

 

 

POSSIBILITIES

 

 

Freddy Dolsi*

27

R/R

Erick Threets*

28

L/L

Greg Aquino*

32

R/R

Daniel Cabrera*

28/9

R/R

*=newly acquired

 

 

Lineup

gordon beckham.jpg

Even without Thome and Dye, the Pale Hose will hit their
share of homeruns in 2010.  In the
outfield, Carlos Quentin shifts over
from leftfield to rightfield and is coming off a hugely disappointing season.  After a breakout ’08 that saw him get MVP
talk, Quentin faltered to a .236 average and only 21 homeruns and 56 RBI (down
from .288/36/100); he’ll need to be back in form if the Sox hope to get to
October baseball.  Alex Rios will be the
everyday centerfielder after having his massive contract dumped on the Sox by
the Jays.  He’s a fine defensive player but
Rios appears to have come and gone as a solid hitter.  The White Sox were hoping a change of scenery
would help last year, but he was worse with the Pale Hose hitting just .199
after he was claimed.  He still hit 17
homeruns and had 71 RBI, but has never put together a full, above average
season in the bigs.  The Sox need more
from him considering he has $62-million remaining on his contract.  In leftfield is offseason signee Juan Pierre who comes over from the
Dodgers where playing time was no guarantee. 
Not even U.S. Cellular field will give Pierre power, but he’s a solid
on-base guy who can still steal a ton of bases. 
He replaces Scott Podsednik at
the top of the lineup and is a considerable upgrade in that department.

 

In the infield, Paul
Konerko has quietly become one of
the best all-around first basemen in the league.  He hit .277 with an .842 OPS to go along with
28 homers and 88 RBI.  Once considered a
liability at first, Konerko is now considered above average and is the longest
serving member of this organization.  Gordon Beckham had a terrific rookie
season at the plate but wasn’t great defensively at third.  He’ll move to second for his sophomore year
and could quickly become an elite two-bagger. 
He drove in 63 runs in limited playing time last season so could put up
monster numbers in 2010.  Expect .285/25/100.  Replacing Beckham at third is Mark Teahen who was acquired from the
Royals.  Teahen brings a steady bat and
can also play second, first and the corner outfield positions.  The shortstop will be Alexei Ramirez who saw his numbers decrease slightly last year, but
is still better than most shortstops with the bat.  Ramirez is a polarizing defensive player who
seems to either make an error or a spectacular play.  If he can be less reckless in the field, he
might be one of the best in the game. 
The catcher will be fiery A.J.
Pierzynski
who puts up great numbers year after year.  He can sometimes rub teammates the wrong way,
but there’s no denying his passion and ability. 
He’s also better defensively than people give him credit for although
his arm is nothing to write home about. 

 

3 players will be given significant at bats as the DH with
acquisitions Andruw Jones and Omar Vizquel being joined by holdover
vet Mark Kotsay.  Joining those three on the bench will be
backup catcher Ramon Castro who may
be pushed out with prospect Tyler
Flowers
well on his way and one of three utility-men: Jayson Nix, Brent
Lillibridge
, or Freddie Bynum.  Jones can play all three outfield positions,
and so can Kotsay who also plays first and Vizquel can play short, second and
third.

 

Pos.

 

Age

B/T

LF

Juan
Pierre*

32/3

L/L

CF

Alex
Rios

28

R/R

2B

Gordon
Beckham

33/4

R/R

1B

Paul
Konerko

34

R/R

RF

Carlos
Quentin
(LF)

27/8

R/R

C

A.J
Pierzynski

33

L/R

SS

Alexei
Ramirez
(2B, 3B, LF, CF, RF)

28

R/R

3B

Mark
Teahen*
(1B, RF, LF, 2B)

28

L/R

DH

Mark
Kotsay
(RF, CF, LF, 1B)

34

L/L

 

 

 

 

 

BENCH

 

 

OF

Andruw
Jones*
(RF, CF, LF)

32/3

R/R

INF

Omar
Vizquel*
(SS, 2B, 3B)

42/3

S/R

UTIL

Jayson
Nix
(2B,
SS, 3B, LF, RF)

27/8

R/R

C

Ramon
Castro

34

R/R

 

 

 

 

 

POSSIBILITIES

 

 

INF

Brent
Lillibridge
(2B, SS, 3B, CF)

26/7

R/R

OF

Alejandro
De Aza*
(CF, RF, LF)

26

L/L

C

Tyler
Flowers

24

R/R

UTIL

Freddie
Bynum*
(2B, CF, LF, SS, 3B, RF)

30

L/R

 *=newly acquired

 

With Peavy at the top of a deep rotation, a good bullpen and
some very good bats, the White Sox are definitely the most talented team in the
mediocre AL Central on paper; the problem is the Twins overachieve every
year.  They are likely the only team in
that division that could challenge them, but with a deeper pitching staff, the
Pale Hose have a great chance at seeing October baseball once again.

Final Prediction: 86-76, 1st AL Central

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’09 Preview — Chicago White Sox

MLB_WhiteSox.gif2008 Record: 88-74 (Plus 1 win over Minnesota to make playoffs) 1st AL Central
2009 Prediction: 3rd AL Central

Impact Player: Alexei Ramirez
Impact Pitcher: Gavin Floyd
Top Prospect: Gordon Beckham, SS

Significant Acquisitions: P Bartolo Colon, INF Wilson Betemit
Significant Losses: 3B Joe Crede, SS Orlando Cabrera, OF/1B Nick Swisher, INF Juan Uribe, OF Ken Griffey Jr., C Toby Hall, P Javier Vazquez


Now
that we’re done with the AL East previews, let’s dive right in to another
competitive division.  The AL Central is probably the hardest division to
predict in baseball.  Legitimately, all five teams could win
the Central…even the Royals made great strides last year.  The White
Sox are the defending champs.  They defeated the Minnesota Twins in a
one-game playoff to decide who would face (and lose to) the Tampa Bay Rays. 
The White Sox are content on building within and allowing their young players
to mature into legitimate big-league talents.  They Sox decided not to
resign Joe Crede, Orlando Cabrera, and Ken Griffey Jr. and traded away Javier
Vazquez and Nick Swisher for young talent.  Apparently the mantra for the
’09 White Sox is to let their young players step into more prominent
roles.  The team still has enough talent to challenge for the division but
with the Tigers expected to bounce back it could be tough to repeat.


Pitching
The White Sox
have no clear-cut ace, but they do have three pitchers that would probably be
considered aces on a lot of other teams. 
Gavin Floyd won 17 games last year and posted a solid 3.84 ERA.  Lefty John Danks had a breakout year going
12-9 with a 3.32 ERA and the always consistent Mark Buehrle won 15 games and
garnered an impressive 3.79 ERA.  None of
these pitchers are standouts but all of them are consistent and all of them are
good.  Outside of that are some question
marks.  Jose Contreras will likely miss
the first half with an injury and Bartolo Colon is back for a second run with
the South-Siders but hasn’t been fully healthy in a few years; regardless, he
should open the year as the #4 starter. 
The fifth spot will likely go to youngster Clayton Richard who struggled
in a short stint with the big club in ’08 but went 12-6 with a 2.46 ERA across
AA and AAA.  If Richard is ineffective
and Colon sees some time on the DL, the Sox could use two other highly-touted
prospects in 25-year-old Lance Broadway and 22-year-old phenom Aaron Poreda.

The bullpen was inconsistent in ’08 outside of closer Bobby Jenks (30 of 34 in save opportunities) and lefty Matt Thornton (2.67 ERA).  Octavio Dotel is back after proving he could stay healthy for an entire year, now he just needs to prove he can stay consistent for an entire year.  Veterans Scott Linebrink and D.J. Carrasco return along with a trio of young righties vying for spots in Ehren Wasserman, Adam Russell and Kelvin Jimenez who came over from St. Louis.  Minor-league contracts were also extended to Franklyn German, Brad Salmon, Canadian Ryan Z. Braun, and former All-Star Mike MacDougal; any one of which has a shot at making the team out of the spring.

Rotation (Handedness/Age on June 30, 2009)

  • Gavin Floyd (R/26)
  • Mark Buehrle (R/30)
  • John Danks (L/24)
  • Bartolo Colon (R/36)
  • Clayton Richard (L/25)
  • **Jose Contreras (R/37) Expected out until mid-season.

Bullpen

  • Bobby Jenks (R/28) — CLOSER
  • Octavio Dotel (R/35)
  • Matt Thornton (L/32)
  • Scott Linebrink (R/32)
  • D.J. Carrasco (R/32)
  • Ehren Wasserman (R/28)
  • Mike MacDougal (R/32)

Lineup
The White Sox hit more home runs than any other team in baseball last year and were fifth in runs scored.  They certainly were not known for getting singles, their average ranked #11 in the AL.  This year should be similar with power throughout the lineup.  In the outfield, Jermaine Dye continues to hear trade rumours but should start the year in Right and is good for 30/100 like numbers.  Carlos Quentin had a breakout All-Star year after swatting 36 HR and is back in Left and selfish Nick Swisher was traded to New York so Center will be battled for by three players: Brian Anderson, Jerry Owens, and journeyman Dewayne Wise.  Rumour has it that the Sox are pursuing free agent outfielder Bobby Abreu but that seems unlikely as that would mean Quentin would have to move to Center (where he isn’t comfortable) and Dye would have to move to Left (where he hasn’t played in years).  In the infield, gone are Crede and Cabrera and in are Josh Fields at Third and Alexei Ramirez at Short.  The Cuban-born Ramirez was great in ’08 as the team’s main option at second hitting .290 with 21 HR and 77 RBI and shouldn’t have a problem with the position switch.  At second will likely be one of three prospects in Chris Getz, Jayson Nix or Brent Lillibridge who was acquired from the Braves in the Vazquez trade; and at First is Paul Konerko who struggled last year but the Sox hope he can return to form in ’09.  Catching duties will belong once again to A.J. Pierzynski who’s solid all around.  At DH is future Hall-of-Famer Jim Thome who doesn’t seem to let age slow him down; he hit 34 HR in ’08, but his average dipped to .245, something that might concern the Sox.

The bench will likely be made up of Wilson Betemit (who was acquired in the Swisher deal), young catcher Cole Armstrong (although free agent Paul LoDuca is said to be on Chicago’s radar), and any of the losers for starting jobs at either Center Field or Second Base.

Lineup (Handedness/Age on June 30, 2009)
  SS  Alexei Ramirez (R/27)
  C    A.J. Pierzynski (L/32)
  RF  Jermaine Dye (R/35)
  LF  Carlos Quentin (R/26)
  DH  Jim Thome (L/38)
  1B  Paul Konerko (R/33)
  3B  Josh Fields (R/26)
  CF  Brian Anderson (R/27)
  2B  Chris Getz (L/25)

Bench
  INF Wilson Betemit (S/27)
  OF Dewayne Wise (L/31)
  OF Jerry Owens (L/28)
  INF Jayson Nix (R/26)
  C   Cole Armstrong (L/25)

Outlook
I don’t think the Sox will be much better or much worse than they were last year, but I do expect the Tigers to be much better so although I believe their record will be similar to last year’s, I don’t think the White Sox will be going back to the post-season in ’09.  Final Prediction: 85-77, 3rd AL Central.