StrategyFebruary 26, 2010

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30 Teams in 30 Days : Chicago White Sox

By Ken Kesterson

30 teams in 30 days continues with a team that has a good a shot as any to compete in the wide open AL Central, the Chicago White Sox. Last season saw a perfect game, an emerging star, a resurging veteran, and two big name trades but on the whole they were disappointing in finishing 79-83, 7 ½ games out of the division.

Offensive Starters

C A.J. Pierzynski.300.331.4255713491504 
1B Paul Konerko.277.353.4897528881546 
2B Gordon Beckham.270.347.46058146373783B eligible only
SS Alexei Ramirez.277.333.38971156814542 
3B Mark Teahan.271.325.4086912508524w/KC
LF Juan Pierre.308.365.3925703130380w/LAD
CF Alex Rios.247.296.39563177124582w/2T
RF Carlos Quentin.236.323.4564721563351 
DH Andruw Jones.214.323.4594317435281w/TEX

Unsettled: Right fielder Carlos Quentin had an inconsistent 2009 after his surprise monster 2008 season. Quentin missed a month and a half of the season with a heel injury and has been prone to nagging injuries his entire career. He carries too much risk to draft solely on his 2008 performance, but he carries as much reward as any outfielder drafted after the top 20 OF can have.

If Andruw Jones thinks Ozzie Guillen will give him 400+ at bats if he’s hitting under .220 he’s mistaken, and Mark Kotsay will find himself with enough at bats to be serviceable in deeper leagues. Also as of press time, they were said to be interested in Johnny Damon, who would find himself 500+ at bats between the OF, DH, and 1B, which would further cloud any value Jones possessed.

Gordon Beckham – The sophomore sensation moves over to 2B this season after a successful rookie season where he led AL rookies in RBI and posted respectable numbers across the board. I expect a season along the lines of 80-85 R/RBI, 20+ HR, and a .280 BA with double digit steals. This makes him a prime target if you miss out on the initial tier of Third Basemen and you’re looking at him with Figgins and Michael Young, I would take Beckham every time. Once he does qualify at Second, your team will also have that extra flexibility.

The Rotation

Jake Peavy (R)9-63.451.1211034101.2w/2T
Mark Buehrle (L)13-103.841.2510545213.1 
John Danks (L)13-113.771.2814973200.1 
Gavin Floyd (R)11-114.061.2316359193 
Freddy Garcia (R)3-44.341.21371256 

Unsettled: With a strong camp, prospect Dan Hudson could win the 5th starter job from Freddy Garcia. The White Sox aren’t afraid to zig when everyone else thinks they should zag, so this should be monitered. The 2008 5th round pick rocketed through the minors with a 10.6 K/9 and 2.65 ERA. He makes a decent flier late in deeper leagues. Perfect game aside, Mark Buehrle offers no fantasy upside. Danks and Floyd need to do a better job keeping the ball in the yard, while Floyd improved last season, he still has progress to make, while Danks regressed going from 15 HR allowed in 2008 to 28 allowed in 2009. His FB% jumped from 7.4% to 11.7%, the latter of which is more in line with his career 10.9% mark. Temper your expectations.

Target: Jake Peavy – GM Kenny Williams made the brazen move of trading for an injured Peavy, and when Peavy returned he made Williams look smart, going 3-0 and only giving up 3 ER in 20 innings. That makes the strained elbow looks like a thing of the past, and I personally will be drafting him somewhere inside the top 20 SP. His numbers likely won’t be as good as they were in San Diego; but I think he can K 180+ with very good ratios, which makes him a #2 fantasy starter.

The 8th and 9th Innings

Bobby Jenks (R)293.711.27491653.1
Matt Thornton (R)42.741.08872072.1

Chasing Saves: Bobby Jenks has reportedly been working hard to get in shape this offseason, as he took a lot of comments made by Guillen about the Sox disappointing season personal in regards to his performance and conditioning. His ERA was over a full run higher than 2008 and he blew six saves in 35 chances. He starts the season as the man in the 9th, but they have a pair of options should Jenks falter early. Matt Thornton has been one of the top set-up men in the game over the past two seasons, and the White Sox signed former Mariners closer J.J. Putz. Jenks’ leash will be short this season.

Final Thoughts

The White Sox are a team that is always playing for the present while being mindful for the future, they only gave up random spare parts in acquiring Rios and Peavy. The Central is a division that is anyone’s to win, and the White Sox should find themselves in the middle of the hunt all season. From a fantasy standpoint, Peavy and Beckham are must owns, Jenks is somewhere near the bottom of the second closer tier,  Alexei Ramirez is a solid option and Paul Konerko is a decent CI option in deeper leagues. The remainder of the Sox rotation is good filler that shouldn’t cripple you, as Floyd and Danks possess some upside.

Stay tuned as the Café continues the 30 Teams in 30 Days series in February and 2 Up 2 Down coming in March!

Ken Kesterson is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Ken in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of bigken117.
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