MADISON, February 13, 2014 — Over the next few weeks this column will unveil MLB Power Rankings starting with the weakest team and working towards the strongest. Today the process continues by looking at number 25, the Chicago White Sox.
2013 Record: 63-99 with a -125 run differential.
Key Losses: LHP Hector Santiago and RHP Gavin Floyd
Key Additions: 1B Jose Dariel Abreu, RHP Ronald Belisario, Felipe Paulino and OF Adam Eaton
Projected 2014 Lineup:
OF Adam Eaton
OF Alejandro de Aza
1B Jose Dariel Abreu
DH Adam Dunn/Paul Konerko
OF Avisail Garcia
SS Alexei Ramirez
2B Gordon Beckham
3B Matt Davidson
C Josh Phegley
Projected 2014 Rotation:
Best Case: Jose Dariel Abreu proves to actually be the “Cuban Barry Bonds” and slugs his way to 45 HR’s while maintaining impressive on base skills. Adam Eaton lives up to the hype he had generated prior to being injured in 2013 and provides great defense in centerfield with good on base skills in the leadoff spot. Avisail Garcia shows why he was the centerpiece of the Jake Peavy trade last year and improves on his .283/.309/.422 slash line from last year. Matt Davidson, while no Robin Ventura at the plate, solves the White Sox black hole at third base by providing above average defense and not being a liability at the plate. Chris Sale builds on the national attention he started to receive and wins the AL Cy Young as his BABIP dips to .270 allowing him to post a 16-10 record with a 2.50 ERA and 240 strikeouts. Nate Jones steps into the closer role, vacated by the Addison Reed trade, providing a couple of years as an effective closer before he becomes expensive in arbitration. The White Sox finish well above the Twins but far behind the Tigers in fourth place in the AL Central.
Worst Case: Abreu has trouble with major league pitching and the White Sox platoon him with Paul Konerko, who is retiring after the 2014 season. Adam Dunn continues his struggles of the last couple years and fails to hit above the Mendoza line. Chris Sale succumbs to the arm injury that many have been forecasting since he was drafted. The White Sox double play duo of Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez continue to struggle and it takes Manager Robin Ventura until the All Star break to replace Beckham with Marcus Semien. John Danks is not that same pitcher he was prior to being injured and the White Sox are forced to run out a stream of league average or worse starters. The White Sox again finish last in the AL Central.
Prospect Watch: The White Sox made a huge splash to kickoff the offseason in signing Cuban 1B Jose Dariel Abreu to a six year $68 million deal. Although he is not your typical prospect as he is 27, but posted extraordinary numbers in Cuba, a .382/.535/.735 slash line last season, and will likely open the year as the White Sox’s everyday first baseman. RHP Erik Johnson broke in last year and made five starts in September. Johnson posted a 1.96 ERA over 142 innings in the minors and should be relatively free of an innings cap as he logged 169.2 combined innings in 2013. 3B Matt Davidson posted a .280/.350/.481 slash line in AAA and should be able to win the third base job out of Spring Training.