Ok, so i’m a bit late. That’s what 46 straight days will do to ya. Here are my thoughts on the 2012 Sox:
Starters wins: Danks 17, Buehrle, 15, Floyd, 14, Jackson, 13, Peavy or other 5th starter 10.
Closer: Thronton, 37 saves
Key to team: Carlos Quentin. We all know what Konerko, Pierre, Dunn, AJ, and Ramirez bring to the team. If they just reach their career averages, the Sox will be in the thick of things. Quentin is the wildcard. Is he the .288, 36 and 100 guy?, or the .240 23, 71 guy? If he comes close to the first number, than I think the Sox will cruise to the AL Central title. Right now, and mind you this is only spring, he looks like a man on a mission. Batting lower in the lineup will help him, as well.
HR: Dunn, 47
I don’t want him to, but I think Konerko will take a step back. 312, 39, and 111 last year was remarkable. I see more of 290, 28 and 92. (Sorry, batting average, homeruns and RBI)
Watch Gordon Beckham bounce back. Last year he was a media darling; never turning down a request. Radio shows, interviews, TV appearances were the norm for the young 2nd baseman. This year he is still just as friendly, but he now knows how to say no. He is focused, larger and, not to criticism him, more dedicated to his job. I’m not saying that he is going to be an all-star, but it wouldn’t surprise me either.
You all are going to love 3rd baseman Brent Morel. The Bakersfield kid can pick it with the best of them. Not since Joe Crede had the Sox had a player who can man the hot corner like Morel. I’ve never seen him make an error, not in games or practice.
Now if things fall apart, I think the Sox will be broken up. It wouldn’t surprise me if the season went in the tank to see Pierzynski, Buehrle, Floyd, Pierre, Teahen, and Quentin all wearing different uniforms by September.
And what happens today? The Sox come out and smack around the Indians on opening day. They led 14-0 before the Tribe rallied for 1o of the last 11 runs of the game. Quentin is still on fire, the ball rocketing off his bat, while Adam Dunn appears to like AL pitching. I know it’s only 1 day, but I like what I see, and have seen.
Bullpen looked shake, especially Will Ohman. He has looked less than good all spring. Pretty much every time he pitched batters were making good, if not great contact. A few more outing like todays, and he may get to enjoy Chicago from the sidelines.
I won’t get too excited.. I’ll talk to you after this opening series with Cleveland.