AL Central Featured MLB MLB Team News — 30 March 2010

Paul KonerkoChicago White Sox

2009 regular season record: 79-83, Third place, AL Central

Major Offseason Acquisitions: J.J. Putz (NYM), Omar Vizquel (TEX), Mark Teahen (KC), Juan Pierre (LAD), Mark Kotsay (BOS), Andruw Jones (TEX)

Major Offseason Losses: Scott Podsednik (KC), Jermaine Dye (FA), D.J. Carrasco (PIT), Octavio Dotel (PIT), Josh Fields (KC), Dewayne Wise (PHI)

Projected Lineup (2009 stats):

1. LF-Juan Pierre (.308 BA, .365 OBP, 0 HR, 31 RBI, 30 SB)

2. 2B-Gordon Beckham (.270 BA, .347 OBP, 14 HR, 63 RBI)

3. RF-Carlos Quentin (.236 BA, .323 OBP, 21 HR, 56 RBI)

4. 1B-Paul Konerko (.277 BA, .353 OBP, 28 HR, 88 RBI)

5. CF-Alex Rios (.247 BA, .296 OBP, 17 HR, 71 RBI)

6. C-A.J. Pierzynski (.300 BA, .311 OBP, 13 HR, 49 RBI)

7. SS-Alexei Ramirez (.277 BA, .333 OBP, 15 HR, 68 RBI)

8. 3B-Mark Teahen (.271 BA, .325 OBP, 12 HR, 50 RBI)

9. DH-Mark Kotsay (.278 BA, .327 OBP, 4 HR, 23 RBI)

Projected Starting Rotation/Closer (2009 stats):

1. LHP Mark Buehrle (13-10, 3.84 ERA, 213.1 IP)

2. RHP Jake Peavy (9-6, 3.45 ERA, 101.2 IP)

3. LHP John Danks (13-11, 3.77 ERA, 200.1 IP)

4. RHP Gavin Floyd (11-11, 4.06 ERA, 193 IP)

5. RHP Freddy Garcia (3-4, 4.34 ERA, 56 IP)

Closer: RHP Bobby Jenks (3.71 ERA, 29 saves)

2010 outlook: The White Sox were stricken with injuries in 2009, hindering their ability to stay in the AL Central race down the stretch.

Their lineup is solid from top-to-bottom, but doesn’t have as much power as it did last season when Jermaine Dye and Jim Thome were on board.

The health of Carlos Quentin will be a key for the White Sox.

The slugger hit 38 home runs and became a surprise MVP candidate during the 2008 season, but played in just 99 games in 2009 due to various injuries, including plantar fasciitis.

If he’s 100%, he’s one of the best hitters in the American League, and provides some much-needed pop to the middle of the order.

Alex Rios, who came over late last season from Toronto, is a player that has shown flashes of greatness in the past, but struggled mightily last season, when he hit just .247 overall.

He hit nearly .300 with 24 home runs in 2007, and he can be a huge bonus for Chicago if he can regain that form.

Another interesting player is Jake Peavy.

The former Cy Young winner came over at the trade deadline last summer in a relatively under-the-radar move.

Due to injury, he pitched in just three games for Chicago, but pitched well, allowing just three runs in 20 innings of work.

John Danks emerged last season as well, and should combine with Peavy and Mark Buehrle to give the White Sox a formidable trio to top the rotation.

2010 Prediction: 88-74, Second place, AL Central

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