Sitting down to eat I notice that the cheese of my enchiladas is oozing out of every corner of the tortilla. How does that relate to the Chicago White Sox? Well like my delicious meal the Sox have talent oozing out of every corner of their organization. Having seen things first-hand for the past 3 weeks, I can give you fans hope for the present and the future.
Last year, anyone who was anyone predicted the team to languish near the bottom of the Central Division. They, whoever THEY are was wrong. Once again, those same they guys are predicting the same fate for the 2013 version of the Sox. They will be wrong again!
Am I going to go out on a limb and say the Sox will win the division? No, but they won’t be a second-rate team. I see the same quiet determination that I observed last year. These guys want to close the deal that they were unable to do in 2012.
Expect the same solid number from Paul Konerko. By solid I mean 25 home runs, not 35, and 80 RBI’s. He is a prideful player and wouldn’t be taking the field if was to just collect a check. Same for Adam Dunn, who looks and acts like a guy ready to explode. He has made it a point to be more aggressive early in counts, so that should, and I am saying should lead to more success, and possible more home runs.
The rest of the infield is defensively solid, if not spectacular. Gordon Beckham is a Gold Glove 2nd baseman. The same goes with Alexei Ramirez, who still makes all the spectacular plays, but can fumble away a routine one from time to time. 3rd base is a hodge-podge, Jeff Keppinger was signed to take the roll, and very well might, but don’t count out the quiet Morel. Morel looks to have added muscle, while his creaky back appears to be a thing of the past. However, herniated disks do have a way of rearing their ugly heads, so until he plays 80+ games there will still be trepidation in the organization. Anyhow, when healthy, Morel can pick it with the best of em. And if he swings the bat like he did near the end of 2011, Keppinger will find himself playing a lot of other positions besides third.
Beckham is the x-factor though. He looked to be figuring things out in the 2nd half of last year, and should be up to the .250′s this year as far as batting average. I do think his power numbers will decrease a tad though. If Ramirez gets off to a good start with the bat, he’ll have a great year. If not, he’ll have a good one. I think we all know what to expect from the shortstop.
Things will get real interesting if Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza continue to mature. Viciedo has the ability to his 40 home runs. I said the ability….and he very well might, if he cuts down on his swing, something I have not seen him do this spring.
De Aza will never get the respect he deserves because he is not a glamour name, but he could swipe 40-50bases. His average will continue to climb as well if he incorporates bunting into his game. Haven’t seen him do that yet, and I don’t expect him to. I can hope, can’t I?
From what I have seen so far, Alex Rios could have an even better year than his 2012 career year. Rios is locked in, and we haven’t even gotten out of February. He is also taking the ball to right on a regular basis, which should move his numbers in a positive direction. Expect a better than average year for Rios, who is 32 and in his prime.
It’s the pitching that really excites me. Chris Sale has the arm, makeup and demeanor to be a big winner in baseball. He is always looking for ways to improve, picking the brains of other pitchers and any coach who has an opinion. Another guy that I expect to explode will be Jake Peavy. Peavy threw a ton of innings, and could very well do it again this year. He also has his swagger back. By that I mean he isn’t wondering if he can come back, he knows he is back, and one of baseballs best. I think he’ll be in the top 5 of the Cy Young voting.
John Danks looks ready to go, but until I see him in regular action, I will reserve judgment. Knowing him and watching him, it’s hard not to pull for him.
I know a lot of people don’t like Gavin Floyd, but his numbers are solid every year. Usually winning in double-digits with a passable ERA. You another guy who was like that? Jon Garland. Garland did have two 18 win seasons and helped the team win a title, but Floyd won 17 games back in 2008. He like, Garland was close to .500 most of the rest of his career, similar to Garland. Anyhow, Floyd says he’s healthy, but like Danks, I’ll believe it when I see it.
Jose Quintana, I want him to win a bunch of games. However, he could be one of those guys who surprises one year, then fades away in his second. I have a hunch that could happen to this guy, but I have been wrong once or twice in my life–haha.
The bullpen is loaded with great arms. From Addison Reed to Nate Jones to Jesse Crain, Matt Lindstrom and Matt Thornton, there is a lot of heat in them arms. I didn’t even mention Donnie Veal or Leyson Septimo or Hector Santiago, who very possibly will make up the rest of the pen. This will be the strength of the Sox and should win them a number of games.
Following them could be Simon Castro, Scott Snodgress, Dylan Axelrod, Nestor Molina, Andre Rienzo and more. The Sox are stacked with good arms who can start or relieve. Not many teams have the plethora of arms the Sox have.
All told, this should be a good year for the Sox. I am saying they will finish second with about 82 wins.
Now back to my enchiladas..Yummy!