The Chicago White Sox have been perennial contenders in the AL Central. They’ve had a lean season and bounce right back the next year. They have relied on pitching during this stretch. It is a consistent way to build a team.
In order for a pitching staff to meet its potential, you need a good game-calling cather. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski has been that guy and he was in Chicago during its recent success. They will be without him this season since he signed with the Texas Rangers this offseason. They will rely on an unproven catcher in Tyler Flowers.
Will the pitching staff struggle without Pierzynski?
Here is the 2013 MLB season preview for the Chicago White Sox.
2012 Win/Loss Record: 85-77
Key Additions: 3B Jeff Keppinger, P Matt Lindstrom, 3B Conor Gillaspie, P Jeff Gray
Key Losses: C A.J. Pierzynski, 3B Kevin Youkilis, P Philip Humber, P Francisco Liriano, P Brett Myers, 3B Orlando Hudson, 2B Jose Lopez
Interleague Schedule: NL East + Chicago Cubs
Projected Starters: Tyler Flowers, Paul Konerko, Gordon Beckham, Jeff Keppinger, Alexi Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo, Alejandro De Aza, Alex Rios, Adam Dunn
Projected Starting Rotation: Jake Peavy, Chris Sale, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Jose Quintana
Closer: Addison Reed
Fantasy Sleeper: CP Addison Reed - The White Sox don’t have many fantasy sleepers on it. I see a lot of possible busts (Dayan Viciedo, Jeff Keppinger), but no sleepers. Addison Reed is your best option. He fell off the face of the Earth in the second-half of 2012, but thanks to MLB Network, I now know that Reed changed his mechanics in the offseason. He moved to the other side of the pitcher’s mound in hopes to hide the ball during his delivery. I think this will work, since that was a major flaw in his approach. I don’t like drafting closers early, but you could wait an extra round later and snag Reed while filling another need earlier in the draft.
Team Analysis: The Chicago White Sox relied on their pitching staff to get victories in 2012. They are bringing back most of their pitching staff, minus a few late season acquisitions (Francisco Liriano, Brett Myers). They added Matt Lindstrom and Jeff Gray to make their bullpen one of the best in the Majors. The White Sox didn’t do a lot in the offseason to add run support. They lost their backstop mainstay A.J. Pierzynski to Texas and Tyler Flowers takes over…which is a huge drop-off. They did add Jeff Keppinger to play third, but as I said in the previous paragraph, I don’t see him matching the numbers he had in Tampa. The AL Central is Detroit Tigers and the rest, so if you have solid pitching, you’re going to be better than .500. They will once again rely on pitching, which isn’t a bad way to go, but they are not on Detroit’s level.
Sportsbook.ag’s 2013 Wins Over/Under Line: 80.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2013 Projected Win/Loss Record: 83-79 (2nd in AL Central)