Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 MLB Preview: Chicago White Sox

The White Sox seem to have an identity crisis. They made some odd moves that show they are rebuilding--they traded Carlos Quentin to the Padres for prospects, they traded their recently-extender closer in Sergio Santos for another prospect. There were also rumors about the team dealing John Danks, but instead they gave him a huge extension.  The White Sox play in a pretty lousy division(expect for Detroit) but they still are not in a position to contend.

The lineup will start with Alejandro De Aza, who is a bit of a journeyman at age 27, but did put up an OPS of .920 in 171 plate appearances in 2011. The team still has Paul Konerko, who is one of the most underrated sluggers in the game. The lineup has two sluggers that need to have huge comeback seasons. There is no possible way Adam Dunn can be as bad as last year, when he slugged a Rafael Belliard-like .277. Alex Rios was also terrible last year. Here is what the lineup should look like.

CF: Alejandro De Aza
SS: Alexei Ramirez
1B: Paul Konerko
DH: Adam Dunn
CF: Alex Rios
RF: Dayan Viciedo
C:  A.J. Pierzynski
3B: Brent Morel
2B: Gordon Beckham

The rotation is pretty decent on the south side of Chicago, especially with Jake Peavy can stay healthy. John Danks' new contract pays him like an ace(at $13 million) but I feel he is a #3 starter, at best. Gavin Floyd has shown flashes of brilliance, but again, he is another mid-rotation type. Philip Humber was a revelation last year, and the Sox will need him to replicate his 2011 season. Chris Sale makes the transition from the bullpen to the rotation, and is intriguing at the back-end of the rotation.

The bullpen should feature Matt Thorton as the closer, but if he falters, Addison Reed or Jesse Crain should get a look. Here is the Sox projected rotation:

SP: John Danks
SP: Jake Peavy
SP: Gavin Floyd
SP: Philip Humber
SP: Chris Sale

The Sox have a rookie manager in Robin Ventura, and he has his work cut out for him. The Sox do not have much of a shot contending in this division, and I would be shocked to see them break .500.

Prediction: 71-91, 5th in AL Central.

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