AL Central Division: Chicago White Sox
In 2012 the Chicago White Sox hired Robin Ventura as their new manager and General Manager Kenny Williams called the season a rebuilding year. Manager Ozzie Guillen was now in Miami and Ace pitcher Mark Buehrle was also there with him. They traded Closer Sergio Santos and starting OF Carlos Quentin, who was a 2011 All Star, while Juan Pierre left for Philadelphia. Even with barely anyone giving them a shot they almost came away with the Central Division title. The White Sox had surprised the Detroit Tigers, who were clear favorites, by leading the race until they lost 10 out of their last 12 games during the season. They were in first place for 126 days out of the season but ended up being three games behind the Tigers who went on to win the AL Pennant. They have a lot of the same guys as last but lost AJ Pierzynski who had arguably his best year last season from behind the plate. Here is what I think would suit the White Sox best for this upcoming year in baseball.
1. CF – Alejandro De Aza – hit .281 last year in 131 games while stealing 26 bases in his first full season in the Majors. Prototypical CF, has a lot of range
2. 3rd – Jeff Keppinger – Career .288 hitter that hit .325 last year in 115 games with Tampa Bay, can play 2nd, 3rd and SS.
3rd. RF – Alex Rios – Hit .304 with 25 home runs last year in 151 games. Good range in RF and a power arm.
4th. DH – Adam Dunn – Huge power bat who came back strong last year after a terrible slump year in 2011. Will strikeout a lot but will make up for them with home runs.
5th. 1st – Paul Konerko – I think he is the best pure hitter on the team, knows what to do with the ball and when to do it. Had a lot of speculation about becoming a player/manager before last years season. I was contemplating about switching Rios and Konerko but ultimately went with Rios, who I think will have a more complete season with power and average.
6th. LF – Dayan Viciedo – 23 year old that hit 25 home runs last year in his first full season.
7th. SS – Alexei Ramirez – Great glove at SS. Hit .290 with 21 home runs in his rookie campaign but in the past two years he hit .269 and .260 with 15 and 9 home runs. Seems to be struggling more at the plate every year.
8th. C – Tyler Flowers – Unproven player that hit .213 last year in 52 games but I’ve heard a lot about his potential. Nervous about a full work load for him.
9th. 2nd – Gordon Beckham – Career .245 hitter with 49 home runs in 4 years. Can play 3rd and 2nd but is a lot better defensively at 2nd. Only had seven errors last year with a .990 fielding percentage.
Chris Sale was a stud on the mound last year and probably will be again this year. Peavy has been fairly good but I think that he is more of a number 3 starter than number 2, especially in the AL. John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Jose Quintana are going to be the rest of the rotation but they are average pitchers at best. Quintana is only going to be in his second year and could work his way up the rotation for next year. Addison Reed was a surprise last year by earning the closer role in his age 23 season. He completed 29 saves in 33 opportunities but did have a 4.75 ERA. I expect this team to struggle due to higher expectations from their overachieving year last year. They seem to have a lot of players who have been inconsistent in the last few years which usually comes down to coaching. Ventura could get things in motion in years to come but I am not seeing it this year, especially with an improving Royals and Indian teams. They will finish fourth in the American League Central Division.