Chicago White Sox Last Year: 89-74 1st in AL Central, Lost to Tampa Bay in ALDS This Year: 3rd in AL Central
Last year the White Sox were the beneficiary of a favorable coin toss and made the most of it beating the Twins in the tiebreaker game at Chicago 1-0 off a Jim Thome home run. In this offseason they got rid of some of their parts and have tried to get rid of more while adding none. The team is filled with aging sluggers who's best years are behind them but they still have some young talent in the lineup and pitching staff where they can still compete in the AL Central.
Rotation LHP Mark Buehrle 15-11 3.87 ERA 137 K RHP Gavin Floyd 15-9 3.76 ERA 141 K LHP John Danks 14-8 3.45 ERA 162 K RHP Bartolo Colon 4-9 5.14 ERA 123 K LHP Clayton Richard 5-9 5.34 ERA 84 K
CP RHP Bobby Jenks 2.89 ERA 28 SV 43 K
Best Case Scenario: Quentin proves last year wasn't a fluke and puts up MVP numbers again this year. Thome and Konerko still have one year left in them. Dye stays with the team and is able to produce. Floyd and Danks don't regress after breakout years last year. Alexei Ramirez continues to make his mark becoming the best shortstop in the AL. This team contends in the division and wins the AL Central.
Worst Case Scenerio: Thome and Konerko become irrelevent. White Sox can't find any pitching for starters 4 and 5. No true lead off or 2 hitter plaugues them all year. Quentin and Ramirez regress and Wise, Getz and Fields are AAA players. Ozzie Guillen blows up and the clubhouse goes into dissaray and this team finishes below .500 and 4th in the AL Central.
Player Most Important to Success: Alexei Ramirez. He is a Cuban defector who made a huge impact last year. He went .290-21-77-13 in 480 at bats helping make up for the loss of Carlos Quentin in September. He is not currently scheduled to be the number two hitter but he has the potential to be there this year. He is already 27 years old so it is not your typical sophomore year but he has the potential to be a .300-30-90-20 player this year. If he can produce on that level he will help form a very formidable middle of the order with him, Quentin, Thome and Konerko. If he becomes the best shortstop in the American League this will be a team that no pitcher will want to face and may repeat at AL Central Champs.
Outlook: The team unloaded Javier Vazquez, Nick Swisher, and didn't re-sign Joe Crede or Ken Griffey Jr. They also spent all winter trying to unload Jermaine Dye but didn't reach a deal. This team is in the process of fasing out the aging sluggers and moving in the young prospects. This year they are in the middle of the process. If Thome, Konerko and Dye can produce at ages 38, 35 and 33 this team will be very competitive. In the end though this team is too volatile, has no table-setters, and not enough pitching to go with the big boppers in the middle of the lineup to win the division again this year.