MLB Fantasy Breakdown: Chicago White Sox

by Bill M on March 5, 2014 · 0 comments

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NOTE: The MLB team write-ups are based on my preparation for my fantasy season rather than trying to breakdown teams with a focus on actual MLB.  The main fantasy format I play is Scoresheet baseball, which is a simulation service, so skills are more important that counting numbers for me.  But, a good player is a good player so the info should translate well to any format.  I hope you enjoy!

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

TARGET: Jose Abreu, Chris Sale

MID-RANGE: Adam Eaton, Jose Quintana, Erik Johnson (dynasty)

END GAME: Adam Dunn, Alexei Ramirez, Matt Davidson (dynasty), Alejandro DeAza, Avasail Garcia (dynasty), Felipe Paulino, RP mentioned

INFIELD/DH

I might be crazy, but the success the Cubans have had the last couple of years makes Jose Abreu A target for me.  Just judging by Cespedes and Puig before him, he’ll probably have a raw approach but with a pizazz that will draw your attention.  The power should be for real as well, and power is at a premium these days.  If nothing else, if you want to make sure you get him, you’ll need to use an early pick because somebody in your draft is going to believe.  Adam Dunn used to be a high end target when he kept a decent BA to go along with the Three True Outcomes.  Big Donkey has struck out over 30% of his at bats his entire career but starting in 2011 he moved from the low 30s to over 40% and then mid-30s last year.  That’s bat speed, and it ain’t coming back.  He’s still good for 30+ HR with health, though, so you can’t ignore him completely.  I like Alexei Ramirez as a late option as a starting SS.  He keeps the OPS around 700 or better, he actually stole 30 bases last year, he makes great contact, and he has well above average defensive range for Scoresheet.  Truthfully, he could be a mid-range pick, but I don’t see him ever having retention value again, which puts him barely below the line.  The White Sox traded their closer Addison Reed to Arizona for 3B Matt Davidson in he offseason.  He’s been in the higher end of the Top 100 prospect lists over the last couple of seasons because he has moderate power, good hit tool, and enough glove to stay at 3B.  There is talk that he’s still in a competition for the starting job in 2014, but he should beat the competition eventually.  Beckham has been stuck in replacement level hell for 4 years since a promising rookie season, so stay away.  C Matt Flowers was once a relatively touted prospect, and he has a minor league career OPS of 875, but the 0.200 BA in 529 at bats in the majors screams no.

OUTFIELD

The most promising player in the ChiSox OF is CF Adam Eaton, who was acquired from Arizona in a labyrinthine three-team trade early in the offseason.  He struggled as a rookie last year after returning from a severe elbow injury.  His career minor league slash line of 0.348/0.450/0.501 for 951 OPS, however, forces a mid-range attention at least.  This rating could be too low.  Alejandro DeAza is probably more attractive in ROTO as he hit 17 HR out of nowhere to go with his 20 SB.  I might be selling him short because he still has CF range, and a 725 OPS guy is fine in CF.  The problem is that the White Sox don’t seem completely committed to his playing time.  With full playing time, he’s probably more of a mid-range pick.  RF Avasail Garcia came over as a prospect last year in the three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston.  He’s bears a striking resemblance to Miggy Cabrera, and he has the same size (6’4” 240 lbs), but the similarities end there.  He’s toolsy so I’m listing him as an end game dynasty pick, but his approach is about as bad as I’ve seen for a guy actually making the majors (nearly 5 strikeouts for every walk).  Don’t expect much in 2014.  Dayan Viciedo is the competition for DeAza.  He has tons of raw power, but his free swinging style does not allow it to play up enough to be worth your time.

ROTATION

Chris Sale is a polarizing figure because of unorthodox mechanics and bone-thin frame, but you cannot argue about his production.  He has the 10th best ERA of all starters in the majors over the last two seasons, averages over a strikeout per inning and just over 2 walks per 9 IP.  TARGET.  In his first full year in the rotation, Jose Quintana showed tremendous skill progression.  He had nearly a 3 K/BB rate, which is borderline Elite.  He’s not a fireballer but has a weapon in the curveball and a developing change.  He’s on the high end of mid-range.  Rookie Erik Johnson has a tremendous minor league profile (2.21 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 1.72 G/F ratio), but the prospect scouting reports say he’s more mid-to-back end than frontline because he lacks a hammer pitch for advanced hitters.  He’s definitely a mid-range dynasty target but expect some hiccups in 2014.  Felipe Paulino throws 95-96 MPH and has improved his components every year he’s actually pitched.  The problem is he’s NEVER healthy.  He probably belongs in the pen, but he’s worth a flier in case this is the year he puts 200 IP together.  John Danks is a recognizable name, but he hasn’t been relevant in 4 years and his velocity is now below 90.

BULLPEN

Addison Reed is gone, and there is no obvious heir apparent.  Nathan Jones averages over 97 MPH on his fastball and 87 on his slider…classic power pitching repertoires.  He also has the peripherals you would expect, but he had a high BABIP and low strand rate in 2013, sabotaging the ERA.  He’ll need to reverse those to be an effective closer, but it appears he has all of the necessary ingredients.  Veteran Matt Lindstrom is still an option as well, and he’ll be a solid set-up guy at worst.  He still works in the mid-90s and has developed into an extreme GB pitcher.

Reach me on Twitter @wjm37 and on email at mwjm37_jds@outlook.com

Sites used in research: Baseball Prospectus, Baseball HQ, Baseball America, MLB Depth Charts, BrooksBaseball, Baseball-Reference, and FanGraphs.

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