2010 Preview: Chicago White Sox

  • Wednesday, March 17, 2010 6:29 AM
  • Written By: Andrew Simon

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2009: 79-83, 3rd in AL Central. Pythagorean record of 80-82.
Key Additions: 3B Mark Teahen, OFs Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre, RP J.J. Putz
Key Losses: OFs Jermaine Dye and Scott Podsednik, DH Jim Thome, 2B Chris Getz, RP Octavio Dotel
2010 Projections: PECOTA – 79-83, 2nd in AL Central. CHONE – 79-83, 3rd. CAIRO – 81.8-80.2, 2nd

Pitching: 2009 – 4.21 FIP (11th in MLB), 4.35 for starters, 3.92 for relievers
2010 – A full season of Jake Peavy will provide a boost. Freddy Garcia, trying to rebuild his career, apparently is in line to be the fifth starter after posting a 3.35 FIP in nine starts late last season.
Hitting: 2009 – .325 wOBA (18th in MLB)
2010 – Starting Juan Pierre (especially in the leadoff spot) means giving away a lot of outs. Alex Rios and Carlos Quentin have a lot to prove. 23-year-old Gordon Beckham looks like a star.
Fielding: 2009 – UZR of -35.6 (27th in MLB)
2010 – Replacing Dye with Pierre will be a huge help, as even though Pierre can't throw at all, at least he can move around out there. Rios will have to man center field, a position he's played much less than right in his career. Beckham, a natural shortstop, is now at second base after playing third all of last year.

Reasons to Watch
1. Ozzie Guillen: Managers are normally pretty boring, but Guillen is the most notable exception. You just never know what the guy might say (or tweet). Of course, he can sometimes step over the line, but in general I think the game is better off for having a few loose cannons around.
2. Quentin and Rios: The Sox are counting on these two to provide some offensive firepower this season after a rough 2009. Rios hit .247/.296/.395 with Toronto and Chicago last season, while Quentin hit .236/.323/.456 while playing only 99 games due to injuries. If they repeat those types of performances, the Sox likely will be on the outside looking in at the playoffs again.
3. J.J. Putz: From year to year, you generally can rely on relief pitchers about as much as you can on Guillen being quiet. Enter Putz, whose FIP has risen three straight seasons, culminating in last year's 4.19 mark (to go with a 5.22 ERA) in 29 appearances in his first season with the Mets. But he figures to play a major role in the Sox pen this year if healthy now that Octavio Dotel is gone.

Paint By Numbers:John Danks' 14.9 percent line drive rate was the lowest of any qualified pitcher last season, helping to explain his .273 BABIP, which was ninth-lowest. Danks' line drive rates the previous two years were 19.4 percent and 21.8 percent. ... Just how much of a drain was Jermaine Dye on Chicago's outfield defense? His -20.0 UZR in right last season was the third-worst mark of any player at any position. UZR can be fickle from year to year, but this was no fluke. It was Dye's fourth straight season with a RF UZR of worse than -19, which is pretty astonishing. ... Something to keep in mind if Juan Pierre is hitting leadoff on a regular basis: The No. 1 goal in baseball is to avoid making outs, and Pierre is an out-making machine. As an every-day leadoff man, he led MLB in outs made in both 2003 and 2006. His 532 outs in '06 with the Cubs is the second-highest mark in the National League in the past 27 years.

Blog Jog: Matt Klaassen of FanGraphs tries to reconcile Alexei Ramirez' very different 2008 and 2009 seasons. ... Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago discusses Jake Peavy's spring debut. ... Anthony Mazzuca of the Futuresox blogprovides the transcript of a conference call with Assistant GM Rick Hahn. ... Jim Margalus of Sox Machine likes the idea of letting Daniel Hudson pitch as a starter in the Minors to begin the season, rather than as a reliever in the big leagues.

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