It was a surprising season in Chicago for the White Sox in 2012.
They were entering the Robin Ventura era, Adam Dunn was trying to bounce back from the worst season in his career, the Sox were search for a closer, but they did find a new ace.
Chris Sale was the story of the White Sox 2012 season.
He started off coming out of the bullpen, but was quickly called to duty in the rotation.
The southpaw has been chosen to be the team’s Opening Day starter after going 17-8 in his first year as a starter.
Sale sported a 3.05 ERA, while striking out 192 batters.
Jake Peavy seemed be rejuvenated early in the season, looking like his old Cy Young form.
Despite finishing under .500, his biggest victory was the fact that he pitched a full season for the first time in five seasons.
Like Sale, Peavy was one of the hottest pitchers out of the gate, only to falter towards the second half of the season.
Adam Dunn was another Sox veteran that seemed to be drinking from the fountain of youth last season.
He was coming off of a career-worst season in 2011, where he hit a mere 11 home runs with a .159 average.
Dunn would go on to hit 41 homers, despite a dismal .204 average in his bounce back campaign.
He was one of the most popular “Mr. Irrelevant” candidates for fantasy owners in their drafts last season, which paid off early and often.
Alex Rios was another major surprise for the club, as he was looking to bounce back from a horrible second season in Chicago.
He had career highs with a .304 average and 25 home runs.
The one thing that concerns you about Rios is the fact that he’s had a case of “Josh Beckett syndrome”, where he’s had one good season, one on bad season since joining the White Sox.
If we follow the pattern, 2013 could be an off year.
Rios will continue to be slated low in fantasy drafts, because of the uncertainty and inconsistency that surrounds him.
There’s no doubt that he helped many owners in their playoff run, but Rios hasn’t proven to be that no-brainer draft pick just yet.
Chicago found a lot of new contributors and some rejuvenated ones in 2012, now they’ll look to build upon their revamped roster.
They did lose catcher AJ Pierzynski and third baseman Kevin Youkilis in free agency, which accounted for a good amount of home runs for the White Sox last season, but Ventura is confident in their younger replacements.
Let’s see if Chicago has what it takes to capture a playoff spot this season…
WHITE SOX PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Alejandro De Aza CF He was more of a rental option for fantasy owners last season. He doesn’t bring a lot of power or speed to the table, but he hits for average and generates runs. De Aza is a decent option to consider late in drafts when you’re filling your last OF spots.
2. Jeff Keppinger 3B Don’t let his .325 average in 2012 with Tampa Bay fool you, he’s not that type of player. Keppinger can barely generate 40 runs or rbi’s. Don’t bother considering him.
3. Alex Rios RF Will he follow his pattern of one good year, one bad year? If that’s the case, then this will be a bad year fro Rios. He’s in a solid spot in the Sox lineup, he’s coming off of career highs in home runs and batting average, and he was one of the best second half players last season. Sounds enticing. Just make sure that you don’t invest a high draft pick to get him.
4. Paul Konerko 1B If an off season is 26 home runs and a .298 average, then you’re doing pretty good. Fantasy owners continue to wait for Konerko to fall apart, but it hasn’t happened yet. That’s primarily why he’s slated down draft boards this season. All I have to say about Konerko, is cash in while you can get him cheap.
5. Adam Dunn DH He hit .204 last season, but he also hit 41 home runs. Dunn is one of the ultimate Utility players in fantasy, primarily because it’s either home run or nothing for him. If you just want that random home run every now and then, draft him, otherwise just avoid investing in him as your first baseman.
6. Dayan Viciedo LF He exploded onto the scene with 25 home runs in his first full season of action. He did only average .255, but that was made up by his power numbers. Viciedo would be valued more if he could improve his batting average, but his near 70 runs/rbi’s make him a decent no.3 OF option on draft day.
7. Alexei Ramirez SS First time he didn’t hit double digit home runs, but did steal a career-high 20 bases. He’s never been a top 10 shortstop option, and that’s not changing this year. Look elsewhere.
8. Tyler Flowers C Has lingering back issues, hasn’t played a full season yet, but he’s been a .200+ hitter on average. You don’t need to invest in him.
9. Gordon Beckham 2B He has underachieved since his debut in ’09. He did have career highs in runs, home runs, and rbi’s, but it’s still not good enough to make him worthy of owning in fantasy.
1. Chris Sale Anytime you can go 17-8, sport a 3.05 ERA, and strikeout 192 batters in your first season as a starter, you should be one of the top 10 pitchers to go off the board right? Problem is, Sale has to show consistency before he can be considered a top 10 pitcher. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be considered early, but be wary of the sophomore slump.
2. Jake Peavy Despite his below .500 record, Peavy was a quality starter in his first healthy season since joining the White Sox in 2009. Treat him as a viable option on draft day that you can get in the mid rounds.
3. John Danks Injuries may of ruined his 2012 season, but he wasn’t doing anything great to begin with. Danks has really declined in the past two seasons, his strikeout totals are down, his ERA is up, so don’t invest in him on draft day.
4. Gavin Floyd Can barely crack an above .500 record, doesn’t have strong strikeout totals, and can’t go seven innings even if he wanted to. Look elsewhere.
5. Jose Quintana Only factored in a decision half of his outings, which isn’t entirely his fault. He has enough potential to improve in 2013, but that will require him to increase his strikeout totals and stay healthy.
RP- Addison Reed Chicago was searching for a closer last season, and they got 29 saves out of Reed. His 4.75 ERA has to worry you, but it was his first year. Reed is nothing more than a post-draft closer option.
Jose Quintana was another young arm in the White Sox rotation last season. At one point he was one of the hottest waiver claims in fantasy. He only factored in a decision in half of his outings, finishing with a .500 record. So what impresses you about this guy? It’s hit creative attack. Quintana can be an overpowering strike artist in one second, then change things up on you the next. He’s only entering his second season, he pitches at the end of the rotation, he’s durable enough to make it deep into games, and could’ve had better win totals last season if the Sox offense was more consistent. Quintana is going undrafted in leagues this year, so don’t think about him until the later rounds, but he could be a sleeper in 2013.
Dayan Viciedo is coming off of a 25 home run season, in just his first year as a full time starter. The only issue with his totals is the one with his batting average at .255. If you gave him another six runs, this guy would have 70+ runs/rbi’s in 2012. If you look around the league at some of the big name outfielders, those are above average seasons. If you look at players that can contribute in multiple categories, he’s still fairing pretty well. The only factors that hold Viciedo back from being a mid-round draft choice is his batting average and proving that he can be consistent. He’s one of those players that you can afford to gamble on his upside late in the draft when you’re looking to fill your outfield, but don’t let him go undrafted.