Chicago made a big splash this offseason by trading Addison Reed to Arizona for young hitters Adam Eaton and Matt Davidson. They also signed Jose Abreu, possibly the best hitter to come out of Cuba in a long time (sorry Yoenis Cespedes).
Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko both look near the end of their careers. Do they have one final elite season in them or are they running on fumes?
Will Robin Ventura last the entire season as manager?
Here is the 2014 MLB season preview for the Chicago White Sox.
2013 Win/Loss Record: 63-99
Key Additions: 1B Jose Abreu, OF Adam Eaton, RP Mitchell Boggs, 3B Matt Davidson, RP Scott Downs, RP Ronald Belisario & SP Felipe Paulino
Key Losses: RP Addison Reed, SP Hector Santiago, SP Gavin Floyd, 3B Brent Morel & OF Dewayne Wise
Interleague Schedule: NL West + Chicago Cubs
Projected Starters: Tyler Flowers, Jose Abreu, Gordon Beckham, Matt Davidson, Alexei Ramirez, Alejandro De Aza, Adam Eaton, Avisail Garcia & Adam Dunn
Projected Starting Rotation: Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, John Danks, Felipe Paulino & Erik Johnson
Closer: Matt Lindstrom
Fantasy Sleepers: 1B Jose Abreu & 3B Matt Davidson – I usually only pick one fantasy sleeper per team, but there is value in both Abreu and Davidson. Good players on bad teams often get passed up compared to the same level of player on a good team. Grantland writer (and one of my long-time Facebook friends) Jonah Keri wrote a piece on Abreu last year calling him one of the best hitters in the world. ESPN.com currently has Abreu ranked as the #19 first baseman. It could be due to the fact that Konerko decided to play another season and could cut into Abreu’s at-bats. I still think he’s worth a mid-to-late round pick in every league. You can’t pass up on his upside. As for Davidson, he was the MVP of last year’s All-Star Futures game. They got him in the Adam Eaton/Addison Reed trade this offseason. The last two seasons, he averaged 20+ homers, 30+ doubles and .275 hitter in Double-A & Triple-A. The White Sox have a poor record of young third baseman producing in the Majors. Hopefully, Davidson ends the trend. He’s worth a flyer late in the draft.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: 2B Micah Johnson – Johnson could be a guy the White Sox call up if Gordon Beckham struggles late in the season or if either him or Jeff Keppinger is traded…but it’s a longshot. Johnson’s value would solely be batting average and stolen bases. He stole 84 bases in Single-A & Double-A last season. Chicago drafted him out of college, so he already 23 years old. The White Sox don’t have many prospects who won’t already start the season in the Majors. Marcus Semien would get playing time before Johnson sniffs the Majors. Johnson is a guy just to be aware of very late in the season or possible 2015. He could have a Billy Hamilton-type role in which they use him just to pinch-run. Like I said before, the White Sox farm system is atrocious.
Team Analysis: The White Sox had a lost season in 2013. Paul Konerko and Dayan Viciedo couldn’t match their 2012 numbers and the team just had trouble scoring runs. Ace Chris Sale had a fantastic season on the mound, but thanks to low run support, he finished 11-14. The White Sox know their farm system is horrible, so they had to trade closer Addision Reed for young talent (Eaton & Davidson). They did manage to re-stock their bullpen, but with guys who had rough 2013 seasons (Boggs & Belisario). They did manage to sign Scott Downs, which was by far their best pitcher free agent signing. If Abreu lives up to the hype, he could be what they missed last season. Even though I predict a few White Sox hitters to have great individual seasons, I don’t see them winning more than 70 games. I don’t believe Robin Ventura is the right manager. They tried to think out of the box by signing him with no managing experience, but he’s over his head. I actually don’t see him lasting the entire season. If Chicago had an experienced manager, he could get more out of this team. That is why I predict a last place finish in the AL Central.
2014 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 76.5 (Prediction: UNDER)
2014 Projected Win/Loss Record: 70-92 (5th in AL Central)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.