Thursday, March 27, 2008

Chicago White Sox 2008 Preview

2007 Record: 72-90, 4th in AL Central

Key Additions: SS Orlando Cabrera, OF Nick Swisher, RP Scott Linebrink

Key Losses: P Jon Garland, OF Scott Podsednik

Projected Rotation:
1. Mark Buherle
2. Javier Vasquez
3. Jose Contreras
4. John Danks
5. Gavin Floyd
CL: Bobby Jenks

Rotation Grade: C+ Javier Vasquez is technically the ace of this staff, thanks to the masterful (and often-overlooked) numbers he posted last year. Buherle is an veteran innings-eater who signed a nice contract extension last year, while Danks and Floyd are young guys getting their first shots at starting the season in the rotation. Contreras is really the key to the pitching. If he is as bad as he was last year, its going to be a tough year on the South Side. But if he recaptures the '05-'06 form that helped the ChiSox win it all, the team will be much more competitive. The addition of Scott Linebrink to the bullpen gives uber-closer Jenks additional help to wrap up games.

Projected Lineup:
1. LF Nick Swisher
2. SS Orlando Cabrera
3. DH Jim Thome
4. 1B Paul Konerko
5. RF Jermaine Dye
6. C A.J. Pierzynski
7. 3B Joe Crede
8. CF Brian Anderson
9. 2B Juan Uribe

Lineup Grade: B Leading off with Nick Swisher you say? Sounds like Ozzie Guillen has been sniffing too much of his own bullshit. But I guess it's important for a leadoff man to get on base, and Swisher did learn all that "plate patience" stuff from Moneyball-master Billy Beane in Oakland. However, when rookie CF Jerry Owens returns from the DL after the first week of the season, he may move into the leadoff spot, bumping swisher down to 6th. The heart of the order is solid, as Cabrera should hit over .300 (something this team has been missing), and Konerko, Dye, and Thome are generally reliable power sources. The Sox tried like hell to ship out Joe Crede to the Giants, since he pretty much sucks and they'd rather have top prospect Josh Fields cutting his teeth in the bigs. It should only be a matter of time though, until Crede is out and Fields is in. That doesn't necessarily mean the 7-9 hitters get any better, though.

2008 Prediction: The White Sox should definitely be better than they have been the past two years. However, just like the other AL Central teams not called the Tigers or Indians, it will be an uphill battle. The Tribe and the Tiggers just have too much depth and talent for the other teams, White Sox included, to have any hope of making the playoffs. Short of a miracle, or the rotation posting incredible numbers a la the 2005 staff, the most exciting thing at U.S. Cellular field will be when Cleveland and Detroit come to town, or Ozzie Guillen press conferences.

Projected Record: 83-79, 3rd in AL Central

1 comment:

Young Knuckleballer said...

Good preview, but don't you think there's a bigger difference in the Royals and ChiSox Pitching Staff? I love Vazquez and Buerhle is solid. Their bullpen is also above average. It's your preview though.