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by user Timothy Moreland

This is the strongest rotation in the AL, especially considering Brandon McCarthy can jump in if any of them get hurt or struggle. Buehrle has thrown over 220 innings for the past five years, which is all the years he has been starting. His ERA had risen in 2003 and 2004 but it came back down last year to 3.12. It will rise back up some, but he will still have ace-worthy numbers. Last year was a pleasant surprise for Jose Contreras (ERA 3.61). The cause of this success was in cutting his BBs and HRs. Based on stories of Contreras' pre-MLB success and the dominance he flashed in 2003, things could get even better in 2006. Speaking of flashes of dominance in 2003, Javier Vazquez had a 9.4 K/9 in 230.7 IP with an ERA of 3.24. The next year, in New York, Vazquez let the HR ball get to him and his K rate dropped dramatically coinciding with an increase in walks. This was the perfect recipe for a 4.91 ERA. Last year, in spite of some bad luck (.308 average on balls in play), Vazquez reversed his trends and put up an improved 4.42 ERA. Odds are in favor of Vazquez getting his ERA under 4.00 again and possibly being the best pitcher on this staff. Freddy Garcia's future is not too bright. As far as this year, his production shouldn't take too much of a hit, probably rising to a low-4.00's ERA. That would definitely place him as one of the best #4 starters in the game. If I had to choose a pitcher to be replaced because of ineffectiveness, Jon Garland would be my bet to be replaced by McCarthy. Garland struck out only 4.7 per nine innings. His walk rate was improved last year and that is where his success is decided. If that walk rate climbs back up to where it used to be, then his ERA will surely follow it. The White Sox bullpen is fairly strong, while not deep. Bobby Jenks clearly has the stuff to be a closer(11.5 K/9). Dustin Hermanson was great last year(2.04 ERA) but he is 33 with a 4.21 career ERA. Neal Cotts had an ERA of 1.94 but time will tell if that's for real. I would say no but he will still be a valuable reliever with an ERA in the high-2.00's low-3.00's. Cliff Politte will also see his ERA rise from 2.01 to the 3.00's. In 2005, opponents of Politte hit .208 on balls in play. That number will never stand, especially considering it was .317 off of Politte the year before. Last year, the White Sox got a bunch of career years from relievers past their prime. The same cannot possibly be expected this year.

Projected Rotation

SP Mark Buehrle

<stats> Player=Mark Buehrle Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

SP Jose Contreras

<stats> Player=Jose Contreras Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

SP Javier Vazquez

<stats> Player=Javier Vazquez Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

SP Freddy Garcia

<stats> Player=Freddy Garcia Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

SP Jon Garland

<stats> Player=Jon Garland Type=Pitching Years=2004,2005 </stats>

In the leadoff spot, they have a sterrotypical leadoff man who hurts the team. His OBP of .351 isn't bad but he had no power whatsoever. Podsednik had zero HRs, one triple, and only 28 doubles. This means he was starting on first base most of the time. I would take a small hit in OBP from a different player if it meant they could start on 2B or hit a few HRs. On the plus side, Podsednik improved his base position by stealing 59 bases; unfortunately, he was caught 23 times as well. At least they moved him from centerfield to left field, which he can actually manage defensively. By the way, Podsednik has had leg injuries the past few years. That's not a good thing for a player whose only reason for being on a major league team is speed. Tadahito Iguchi cannot field. He can't even pretend to field. He did fair well from the plate in his first year in America, so it could be interesting to see how he adjusts this year. I don't think he will get any better. If Thome is healthy, we are all aware of how he will hit, 40 HRs with an OBP in the .400 territory. Unfortunately, he is 35 and a back injury can suck a batter's power. Outside of 2003, which must have been a fluke, Konerko has been a consistent star at the plate. He's only 30 and this year should be no different. Dye had a very good year in 2005(.512 SLG). If he can escape injury, Dye will produce similar results again. In CF, they are starting rookie Brian Anderson. He hit .176 in his 34 at bats last year, but I like his potential to hit over 20 HRs this year. Pierzynski doesn't bring much too the plate. He'll have 15 HRs with little else too be proud of. His bat is mediocore, even for a catcher, and A.J. doesn't have too much value on defense. Joe Crede has never reached the potential lots saw in him. His OBP hangs around .300; although, he could breakout for 30 HR, but he's more likely to stick around 20. On the bright side, Crede's defense is not a liability. Juan Uribe showed power potential in 2004 (.506 SLG) but saw that fade quickly (.412 in 2005). Uribe is one of the few players on this team that can actually field his position well above average. He's going to have to cover all of his ground as well as half of the ground Iguchi should be handling. Depending on Thome, the offense could be improved this year.

Projected Batting Order

LF Scott Podsednik

<stats> Player=Scott Podsednik Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

2B Tadahito Iguchi

<stats> Player=Tadahito Iguchi Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

DH Jim Thome

<stats> Player=Jim Thome Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

1B Paul Konerko

<stats> Player=Paul Konerko Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

RF Jermaine Dye

<stats> Player=Jermaine Dye Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

CF Brian Anderson

<stats> Player=Brian Anderson Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

C A.J. Pierzynski

<stats> Player=A.J. Pierzynski Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

3B Joe Crede

<stats> Player=Joe Crede Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

SS Juan Uribe

<stats> Player=Juan Uribe Type=Batting Years=2004,2005 </stats>

Projection: 85-77 2nd in the AL Central...They were not supposed to be much more than a .500 team last year. The White Sox then went on to post 99 wins, 9 above their pythagorean record, and bring home a championship. Again, projections have them below 90 wins. Can they do it again?

Other Moreland Previews
NL East Mets Preview Braves Preview Phillies Preview Nationals Preview
NL Central Brewers Preview Pirates Preview
NL West Diamondbacks Preview Rockies Preview
AL East Yankees Preview Blue Jays Preview Orioles Preview
AL Central Indians Preview White Sox Preview Twins Preview
AL West Athletics Preview Angels Preview Rangers Preview


Mon 03/13/06, 12:10 pm EST

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