Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The 2011 White Sox Roster: A First Look

Spring Training is in full swing, so now is as good as any time to look at the White Sox roster, and project how it will appear in 2011:
C A.J. Pierzynski, LHB (.301/.391 as predicted by PECOTA)
1B Paul Konerko, RHB (.358/.491)
2B Gordon Beckham, RHB (.328/.419)
3B Brent Morel, RHB (.308/.417)
SS Alexei Ramirez, RHB (.317/.426)
LF Juan Pierre, LHB (.323/.343)
CF Alex Rios, RHB (.323/.436)
RF Carlos Quentin, RHB (.353/.483)
DH Adam Dunn, LHB (.371/.510)
...the bench...
C Ramon Castro, RHB (.309/.439)
INF Omar Vizquel, SH (.298/.303)
OF Mark Teahen, LHB (.326/.396)
UT Brent Lillibridge, RHB (.287/.324)
...And the pitchers:
SP John Danks, LHP (4.01 ERA per PECOTA)
SP Mark Buehrle, LHP (4.51)
SP Gavin Floyd, RHP (4.24)
SP Edwin Jackson, RHP (4.63)
SP Jake Peavy, RHP (3.24)

CL Matt Thornton, LHP (2.82 ERA per PECOTA)
SU Chris Sale, LHP (3.05)
P Jesse Crain, RHP (3.99)
P Will Ohman, LHP (4.43)
P Tony Pena, RHP (4.56)
P Sergio Santos, RHP (4.52)
P Lucas Harrell, RHP (5.44)

One of the biggest changes for the White Sox fielders will be the addition of Brent Morel, the 3rd-highest rated prospect in the White Sox farm system (according to Marc Hulet). Morel should bring his slick glove immediately, and eventually some decent gap power and speed. PECOTA doesn't project an amazing season, per se, with the bat, but he's raked in the minors, so it's reasonable to think he'll add value there in the long run. In the short run, he's better than Omar Vizquel no matter what.

The biggest change in the lineup would obviously be the 3-true outcome machine, Adam Dunn. We've talked before about Dunn in the Cell, and -- suffice it to say -- we think he will excel on the south side.

The rotation looks rather good, though I distrust Edwin Jackson's control and Jake Peavy's health. The top three in the bullpen -- Matt Thornton, Chris Sale, and Jesse Crain -- promise to make the pen look rather elite. If those three -- and only those three -- get used in high-leverage situations (Ohman can act the LOOGY), then the 'pen would be quite effective, I suspect.

It appears Chris Sale will also start the season in the rotation while Peavy continues to mend. It might be interesting to see whether or not Sale can perform well enough to possibly push Edwin Jackson into the set-up role. You never know.

Altogether, the White Sox are sitting well in the division, looking for just an edge here or there to change the three-horse race (between the Sox, Twins, and Tigers) into a game of catchup. I don't think it would be unreasonable for the White Sox to add some depth to the bullpen near the end of Spring Training when other teams start trimming their rosters down.

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