|C||A.J. Pierzynski||SP 1||Mark Buehrle|
|1B||Paul Konerko||SP 2||Jake Peavy|
|2B||Gordon Beckham||SP 3||Gavin Floyd|
|3B||Mark Teahen||SP 4||John Danks|
|SS||Alexei Ramirez||SP 5||Freddy Garcia|
|CF||Juan Pierre||CL||Bobby Jenks|
|RF||Alex Rios||RP||J.J. Putz|
|DH||Andruw Jones||RP||Scott Linebrink|
|IF||Omar Vizquel||RP||Tony Pena|
|OF||Mark Kotsay||RP||Dan Hudson|
Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.
|Key Additions||Key Losses|
|3B||Mark Teahen||Trade (KC)||IF||Josh Fields||Trade (KC)|
|CF||Juan Pierre||Trade (LAD)||IF||Chris Getz||Trade (KC)|
|RP||J.J Putz||Free Agency||RF||Jermaine Dye||Free Agency|
Top Prospects: Tyler Flowers (C), Dan Hudson (P), Dayan Viciedo (IF)
The White Sox seemed prime to repeat as division champs after their victory in 2008. However, they saw a regression in some key players, most notably RF Jermaine Dye and LF Carlos Quentin. The offense was led by 1B Paul Konerko (.277, 28 HR), OF Scott Podsednik (.304, 30 SB), and rookie 3B Gordon Beckham (.270, 14 HR). Beckham, fresh out of the 2008 draft class, skyrocketed through the White Sox system in less than a full year, and was considered to be a strong candidate for the AL Rookie of the Year as well. The pitching staff was anchored as usual by SP Mark Buehrle (13-10, 3.84), SP John Danks (13-11, 3.77) and SP Gavin Floyd (11-11, 4.06).
Perhaps the most notable events of the White Sox season involved transactions made by the front office. The Sox thought that they had acquired SP Jake Peavy in May for a package of prospects led by P Aaron Poreda, but Peavy invoked his no-trade clause, and remained in San Diego for the time being. Strangely, it was announced on July 31st that the White Sox had acquired Peavy, again for a package of prospects led by Poreda. The part that made this really strange was the fact that Peavy was still on the disabled list recovering from an ankle injury at the time. Peavy’s acquisition kept the White Sox hopeful that if they were close, they could make a late season run at the division crown. This was furthered by the White Sox making a claim on Blue Jays’ outfielder Alex Rios. The Sox knew that they could potentially be on the hook for the entirety of Rios’ contract (some 6 seasons and over $60 M), but felt that the risk for a player of Rios’ quality was worth it.
By the end of August, the White Sox had fallen to 4 games under .500, and 6 games back in the division. At this point, they moved DH Jim Thome in an effort to allow him a chance at a championship run. They failed in their efforts to move RF Jermaine Dye however, mostly due to his struggles at the plate (.189, 2 HR in August). The White Sox finished the season with a 79-83 record, and 7.5 games out of first place.
Team Outlook for 2010
The White Sox went out and made some roster moves that have the potential to improve the team quite a bit from last year. They will look to get full, healthy seasons out of LF Carlos Quentin and SP Jake Peavy. They are hoping for improvements at 2B and CF with Gordon Beckham and Juan Pierre now manning those positions full time. And they are hopeful that the bullpen will be even more improved with the addition of J.J. Putz.
I am not sold that the 2010 version of the White Sox is drastically improved over the 2009 version. Having Peavy for a full season will definitely be an improvement, but I’m not sold that the additions of Mark Teahen, Juan Pierre, and Andruw Jones are substantial improvements over Chris Getz, Scott Podsednik, or Jim Thome. I think that in comparison to the other contenders in their division (Detroit, Minnesota), they simply haven’t improved enough to make a great run for the postseason. I think they’ll do better than the Tigers, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it ended in the opposite order. And it would take quite a bit of luck for them to catch Minnesota.
Fantasy Outlook for 2010
3B/2B Gordon Beckham, SS Alexei Ramirez, and 1B Paul Konerko are probably the best players on offense for the White Sox in terms of fantasy production. RP Bobby Jenks is always going to have value as long as he holds the closer’s role, but watch for either J.J. Putz or Matt Thornton to get a shot if Jenks struggles early on. Jake Peavy is the class of the starting rotation, but he comes with that wonderful risk of injury as well. Buehrle, Floyd, and Danks all can be useful starting pitchers, but I wouldn’t want to have to rely too heavily on them to be near the top of your fantasy rotation.
Prediction for 2010
The White Sox appear to be trying to make another run this season, before some of their better players (Konerko, Pierzynski, Buehrle) get too old to be useful. However, I don’t believe that the moves that they have made will put them over the top in the AL Central.
84-78, 2nd in the AL Central