Over the course of 30 days (or so) I will be previewing all 30 MLB teams, followed by an overall season prediction post, leading up to the start of the 2015 season. This post is previewing the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox had a busy offseason in an attempt to bounce back from a fourth-place finish in the American League Central last season. Looking to improve the team, they signed free agent OF Melky Cabrera and RP David Robertson and traded prospects for SP Jeff Samardzija, who will fill the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind SP Chris Sale, who has a foot fracture and won’t be ready for the beginning of the season. For the first time since 1998, 1B Paul Konerko will not be on the Sox roster in 2015; he retired following the 2014 season.
The team’s offense was middle-of-the-pack last season, with a .253 team batting average, .708 OPS and 4.07 runs per game. Leading the offense was 1B Jose Abreu, the 2014 AL Rookie of the Year, who hit .317 with 36 home runs. The team also got good production out of young OF Adam Eaton, who hit .300 in his first season with the club. The team’s 4.29 ERA was third worst in the AL. Among starting pitchers, only Sale and Jose Quintana had ERAs under 4.00 last season.
In 2015, the pitching staff should be improved with the addition of Samardzija to the rotation and putting Robertson in the closer’s role. The biggest pitching question mark is when will Sale begin his season. He won’t be ready for opening day, but if he comes off the DL soon after, the team won’t lose much of his production. With Cabrera playing left field — replacing Alejandro De Aza, who played the position for most of last year — the offense should improve a bit.
The White Sox appear to be improved compared to last year, but the AL Central seems to be a competitive division with every team but the Twins looking like they have a chance at winning it. I think the Sox will win more than 73 games they won last year, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to make the playoffs because I don’t think they’re good enough to make up that much of a deficit between themselves and the top teams in the division.