Thursday, March 21, 2013

30 Teams in 30 Days:Chicago White Sox

2012 Record: 85-77 (2nd in AL Central)

If Keppinger can stay healthy,
 a .300 average, once again, is
not out of the question.
Key Additions
Jeff Keppinger (3 years, $12 million)
Matt Lindstrom (1 year, $2.8 million)
Blake Tekotte (Trade w/ SD)
Bryan Anderson (Minor League Contract)
Josh Bell (Minor League Contract)
Jeff Gray (Minor League Contract)
Steven Tolleson (Minor League Contract)

Key Subtractions
Philip Humber (Off Waivers to Houston)
A.J. Pierzynski (Signed w/ Texas)
Brett Myers (Signed w/ Cleveland)
Francisco Liriano (Signed with Pittsburgh)
Kevin Youkilis (Signe w/ NYY)
Dan Johnson (Signed w/ NYY)
Jose Lopez (Signed in Japan)

Which new guy will help the most?
Jeff Keppinger, who signed a three year deal in the offseason, will be Chicago’s everyday third baseman. Matt Lindstrom will be a middle reliever, and the others won’t play a major role. Safe to say the plan is to have Keppinger play the biggest role. Although he’s been more of a super-utility player through his career, he had a good 2012 with a .325 average and 9 HRs in 418 PA's with the Rays, and the Sox invested in him hoping that he can sustain those numbers as their starting third base. Even though Keppinger won’t put up the HRs expected from a regular third-baseman, if he can sustain an average over .300 his suspect power won’t be as talked about. He isn’t the most ideal third-baseman in the American League, but for his $4 million per year price tag, he’ll do.

Spring Training Battle
Who will replace John Danks in the starting rotation?
Santiago had superior numbers to Axelrod in 2012, but both pitched predominantly out of the bullpen. While Santiago pitched 38 games out of the pen and started 4, Axelrod pitched in 21 games, 7 of which were starts, but spent most of his season in triple-a Charlotte. Despite his lack of MLB experience, it looks as if Axelrod has the inside edge at the starting job while Danks is sidelined. The inevitable choice may not be entirely based on success, but who’s better suited for the starter’s role, compared to the pen. Santiago had great success in the pen last year striking out 25.8% of batters faced, and may be better suited to stay put. Conversely, Axelrod didn’t find much success in Chicago last year, and maybe the solidarity of the in-term starting job would create a better environment for success.    

Questions Heading into the Season
Will John Danks return to form once he returns to the rotation in 2013?
With his season ending after 9 appearances in 2012 due to the need for shoulder surgery, Danks had hoped to get off to a good start; well his supposed bounce back year is off to a horrid start, as he’ll start the year on the disabled list. After such a long absence from game play, it’s hard to imagine Danks hitting his stride once he returns. Danks has lost velocity, and because of that he’s been crushed in the spring. He’ll look to get into some minor league games in the hope to recover velocity. It’s hard to believe that someone who’s just now entering his prime at the age of 27 could fall to such an injury, but you know what they say about pitchers… TINSTAAPP, it applies to all pitchers, everything can go wrong so quickly, ask Dustin McGowen.

How will Tyler Flowers adapt to being the full time catcher?
Flowers looks to shine in
his first season as a starter.
It was finally time to let A.J. Pierzynski walk away from Chi-town, leaving Flowers as the #1 guy. Flowers has showed potential power, as he belted 7 HRs in just over 150 ABs last year, and it’s possible he could hit 20 in just one year. As well as hitting for some power as the backup catcher, he also wasn’t a liability when it came to getting on base, stroking to a .311 wOBA, which isn’t necessarily good, or bad. With no one noteworthy battling him for the job, Flowers has been handed the job, but if he fails, Kenny Williams could very quickly be looking for a new starting catcher. For now, the Sox are giving Flowers the job, in the hope he’ll become their everyday catcher of the future.

Prospect Who Should Have the Most Impact in 2013
The odds of any rookie making a mild impact for the 2013 White Sox is slim-to-none. So I’ll look to the sophomore Chris Sale Addison Reed. Reed had a decent year in 2012, posting a 3.64 FIP, with 28 shutdown performances in 55 innings of work as Chicago’s closer, doing so using a 4 pitch mix that featured two hard fastballs(sitting in the 95-96 range), a slider, and a change. Reed was part of a very young core of relief pitchers in Chicago last year, all mentored by Matt Thornton, but still managed to find moderate success at the major league level as a youngster. Chicago-nians were up in arms after the trade of Sergio Santos post-2011 because of the fear of no replacement, bit it turns out that management knew what they were doing after-all(They still lost the trade, but, whatever).They saw potential in Reed, and gave him the ball. It may take some more time, but Reed has all the potential to be a superb closer. Fans always expect more and more out of youngsters every year, as they should with Reed.He does need to cut out the meltdown performances, of which he threw 9 in 2012. Overall, Reed has the potential to be a superb late inning arm, but needs to put it all together, and if 2013 is that year, the Sox will be the major beneficiaries.   

Projected Roster (via
(*indicates left-handed batter **indicates switch-hitter) 
Projected 'Go-To' Starting Lineup (Click HERE to see last 7 lineups)
1 CF Alejandro De Aza*
2 3B Jeff Keppinger
RF Alex Rios
4 1B Paul Konerko
5 DH Adam Dunn*
LF Dayan Viciedo
SS Alexei Ramirez 
C Tyler Flowers
2B Gordon Beckham

Projected Bench 
C Hector Gimenez**
1B/3B Conor Gillaspie*
IF Angel Sanchez  RULE V  
OF DeWayne Wise*

Projected Starting Rotation 
LHP Chris Sale
RHP Jake Peavy
LHP John Danks 
RHP Gavin Floyd 
5 LHP Jose Quintana

Projected Bullpen 
CL RHP Addison Reed  
SU LHP Matt Thornton
SU RHP Jesse Crain
MID RHP Nate Jones
MID RHP Matt Lindstrom
MID LHP Donnie Veal 
LR RHP Dylan Axelrod

Projected Record
82-80 (Second in AL Central)

Chicago’s success this year will vastly depend on their ability to stay healthy, more-so than other teams, because they have very little depth at the major league level. With any accumulation of injuries they could become the 2012-Blue Jays of 2013. A team that could find some success this year, maybe with an outside chance at sneaking into the wild-card race, but a couple injuries could cripple the team. 

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