2014 MLB Preview: Chicago White Sox
Over the next 2 weeks I will be taking an in depth look at the 2014 Major League Baseball Season. I will start in the AL Central and branch out from there in order of expected standings. After all divisions have been dissected I will have a simulation of the season with awards and playoff teams and the winner of the World Series. The first team in the 2014 MLB Preview will be the:
Chicago White Sox
63-99 (2013, 5th in AL Central)
Offense- Runs(29th) Batting Average (19th) On-Base%(27th) Slugging%(25th)
Pitching- ERA(19th) Quality Starts(12th) WHIP(24th) Batting Average Against(19th)
Notable Additions: Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton, Avisail Garcia, Matt Lindstrom, Felipe Paulino, Ronald Belisario, Mitchell Boggs.
They will win if: Eaton, Abreu, and Garcia show they are a core this team can build around for years to come; Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn can turn back the clock and provide needed pop; Chris Sale has a Cy Young caliber season; someone in the rotation fills the bulldog role left empty by Jake Peavy’s departure; Gordon Beckham and Alexi Ramirez return to their All-Star form from years ago.
More Likely Result: The White Sox are in the midst of a rebuild. They have a solid core to build around but many aging veterans at the end of their careers. This team is a few years away from contending but is making progress in the right direction.
Projected Opening Day Lineup:
Adam Eaton, CF
Alejandro De Aza, LF
Jose Abreu, 1B
Avisail Garcia, RF
Adam Dunn, DH
Matt Davidson, 3B
Gordon Beckham, 2B
Alexi Ramirez, SS
Tyler Flowers, C
Manager: Robin Ventura (3rd season)
Player to Watch:
Jose Abreu is the clear choice here. The White Sox invested a lot of money and years to Abreu in the hopes that he could help fill the shoes of the departing Paul Konerko. The Cuban phenom has tremendous power potential and if he can hit consistently he will put on a show in the big leagues.
On a young team with promising young stars still learning the game; it might be easy to pick an established player to put up the best numbers. But don’t overlook Adam Eaton, who will see plenty of pitches to hit in front of the thunder in the lineup. Look for Eaton to lock down the leadoff spot and provide plenty of steals and runs scored throughout the entire season.
Cy Young Candidate:
Regardless of the overall numbers the White Sox rotation has put up over the last few years, Chris Sale continues to impress. This year will be no exception for Sale; who will use his unique delivery to continue to baffle hitters and will show he is one of the best young pitchers in the American League.
Bold Prediction: With so many sluggers on this team how could they not be picked to lead the league in home runs? I’ll go on record to say that this young team will finish in the top 3 in home runs in the American League.
Playoff Odds: Sorry White Sox fans but the playoffs are not likely in future for at least a few years. But if all of the young kids pan out and a few good trades are thrown in here and there it could be sooner rather than later.
Manager Status: Ventura is not on the hot seat. This White Sox team is short on talent and does not appear anxious to replace a manager in only his 3rd year. With more talent added this could be a very good team and Ventura appears to be a great fit as manager.
Expected Finish: Last place