Whether you’re a manager in a mix league, AL format only, or even a Dynasty/Keeper the Chicago White Sox bring more to the table than the latest belly aching from Texas Rangers’ third baseman Michael Young.
But there’s more than meets the eye when taking a closer look at the Chicago White Sox than you might think. The White Sox offer a bevy of players to choose from in the 2011 fantasy baseball season, and the gamut of value is through the roof.
Want more? Read a little further and see what little gems are waiting for you this season out of Shytown.
Editors Note: As we get closer to the season, these team breakdowns will undergo some fine tuning and obvious updating, so make sure to check back often and look for the UPDATED tag at the top of the article.
Impact Players (Hitters):
- Paul Konerko, 1B: Paul Konerko had one of his best fantasy baseball seasons in 2010, but can we really expect him to duplicate 39 homeruns, and 111 RBI in 2011? Not exactly, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically devalue him either. Remember something, since 2004 Konerko has been nothing but gold for fantasy owners, averaging 34 homeruns and 97 RBI and that’s with a down year in 2008 when he only played in 122 games. Keep Konerko in your forward focus for now, barring any unforeseen injuries…he’s top notch material especially for AL only formats.
- Adam Dunn, 1B/DH: The last time this guy hit less than 25 homeruns was in his rookie year, and in fact, Dunn hasn’t hit less than 35 homeruns since 2003. Dunn is also on a 4 year active streak of over 100 RBI, and don’t even think he’s going to slow down. It is already being expected that Adam Dunn will have more time at first base despite being the team’s primary DH, which is good news for managers looking for a little power in the middle rounds of their fantasy baseball draft (check out his current rank in our first baseman rankings). Just keep in mind that Adam Dunn does strikeout at an alarming rate (183 strikeouts per season average over 10 years…ouch!)
- Alex Rios, OF: Alex Rios offers a little bit of everyting to the manager who is in search of a quality, multi-faceted, player…especially an outfielder. Rios will give you a bit of power (17 HR average over seven years), a good supply of RBI (80 RBI average over seven years) and a ton of speed (25 SB over a seven year average). Rios is the total package especially if you’re one of those owners who builds thier team on the concept of balance.
The Pitching Staff: The following is a preliminary look at the projected lineup and what you could expect.
|1. Gavin Floyd: It’s put up or shut up time for Gavin Floyd. He has always flirted with greatness, but usually ends each season in mediocrity. He throws a ton of strikes, but also gives up a lot of hits so keep that in mind when you go after your third pitcher…right around where Floyd will rank out.|
|2. Mark Buehrle: There’s nothing special to mention about Buehrle in regard to his fantasy baseball value. He’s always been a low end fantasy guy, and he's a noteworthy mention off of the waiver wire from time to time, but nothing more.|
|3. Chris Sale: Now here’s someone you can raise an eyebrow over! Typically, Chris Sale is a bullpen guy, but he is being projected to start in place of the injured Jake Peavy until Peavey is ready for full-time work. He’s a hard thrower, has electric stuff, and will be a dual qualifier as a SP and RP adding to his overall fantasy value. Keep this kid on your radar in the early goings when plucking pitchers off the board, and expect big things in 2011. Great option for those of you competing in Yahoo leagues.|
|4. John Danks: The hard throwing Southpaw has at least one more year in Chicago as he avoided arbitration in January. Last year John Danks afforded fantasy baseball managers a 15-11 season accompanied with a 3.72 ERA and a 162/70 K/BB ratio. Danks does have times digging himself out of trouble, but he will also be playing for employment this year, so he could be a great sleeping giant on the back end of some fantasy baseball drafts.|
|5. Jake Peavy/Edwin Jackson: Jake Peavy is throwing again and while he himself is hoping for a return by opening day, the White Sox have yet to speculate on an actual timeframe, making Peavy a risky call in most fantasy baseball drafts. Couple that with the proverbial “can he ever return to his dominate form” question, and suddenly, you’re putting that shinny toy back on its shelf which is where it belongs for the interim. Edwin Jackson is an intriguing pitcher who can throw a ton of strikes, but is easily hit.If you had to choose between the two, I would go with Jackson as of now, until we know for sure Peavy is healthy AND contributing.|
- 1. Matt Thornton, RP: Nobody ever really gives a ton of love to relief guys outside of the collected few and that’s a pretty short-sighted way of looking at fantasy baseball, hands down. One of those potential sleeping giants out of the bullpen this year is Matt Thornton. Matt Thornton is the proud owner of a three year cumlative 2.70 ERA, and within that same time, afforded fantasy owners an 11 K/9 average. With Chris Sale expected to move to the starting rotation, Thornton becomes even more intriguing.
- 2. Eduardo Escobar, SS: Think I’m crazy? That’s nice, how about if I told you ya might want to keep away from the current shortstop in Chicago Alexi Ramirez***, as he is facing serious bust status with Escobar being the guy in the background licking his chops.
Escobar has been projected to become a full-time SS for the White Sox around now, and while his bat is still developing, his defense and electric speed is nothing short of spectacular. Escobar is worth keeping at the top of your watch list, or perhaps even a late round draft pick for those of you looking for a nice potential keeper. Here are some of his accolades:
- 2009 White Sox Best Defensive Infielder (Baseball America)
- Future Sox Hitter of the Month - August 2009
- 2009 All-Future Sox Team Shortstop
- 2010 White Sox Best Defensive Infielder (Baseball America)
- 2010 Carolina League All-Star Game
- 2010 Carolina League Post-Season All-Star
- 2011 White Sox Best Defensive Infielder (Baseball America)
What You Should Know: If you’re wondering about players such as Juan Pierre, Gordon Beckham, or even A.J. Pierzynski you can stop wondering because they offer nothing short of a season full of fantasy baseball risk. Fantasy baseball owners need consistency out of their roster members, and these players just don’t cut it—sure, Pierre steals a lot of bases, but doesn't do much more. Brent Morel and Carlos Quentin, on the other hand, are nice middle round considerations, especially if Carlos Quentin can stay healthy for a full season.
Did you know that, U.S. Cellular Field has been the best environment for home runs over the past three seasons. Yes, even better than Coors Field. And remember, the White Sox do own power slugger Adam Dunn, one of the most prolific and consistent sluggers in all of baseball. The only minor issue is that U.S Cellular Filed is a tad bit friendlier to left-handed hitters than right-handed hitters, but it's a huge upgrade for a player like Adam Dunn over Nationals Park. If the park keeps trending toward a Top Five arena for hitters, then you can expect big things out of one of the most intriguing teams in the AL Central this season.
*** Despite Ramirez being ranked 7th in our shortstop rankings I still feel Ramirez is facing bust status and here's why: At age 29, Ramriez has yet to produce an .800 OPS or a .340 on-base percentage. As for his supposed "power and speed" , he has yet to produce anything close to a 20-20 season as he's only reached 20 in either of those categories over three seasons once.