Im a little late this year, but after last years amazingly accurate prediction, I thought I would make another go of it for 2013. If you’re wondering what qualifies my 2012 post as being “amazingly accurate”, well check out THIS POST from March 12, 2012 where I correctly predicted the White Sox W-L record for the whole season.
Unlike 2012, March 2012 hasn’t been unseasonably warm. As a matter of fact, March was downright crappy. By this time every year, I am eager for warm weather to come, but this year it’s really bad.
Anyway, back to my post. Its April 2nd and the regular season has already started, so Im a little late, but you’ll have to trust me, that everything I say here is what I’ve been saying for the past couple of weeks worth of Spring Training.
As a whole, I have a feeling of indifference towards this year’s team. Don’t get me wrong, Im glad baseball is back, and I am looking forward to seeing a few games this year. I think we have a solid team, but I just don’t see anything that could change what we saw last year.
Chris Sale is the real deal, and should be great this season (as evidenced by his 7.2 IP of near flawless pitching on opening day). We should see another season of quality pitching, especially from all of the young talented arms on the team like Quintana, Reed, and Santiago. Plus, if Peavy, Crain, Thornton, and Danks can remain healthy, we’ll have a lot of solid pitching.
As with last year, the biggest concerns will be with our offense. I predict a lot of low scoring, one-run losses, especially early in the season. We have a lot of young and unproven bats on the team and several old veterans that take a while to get going on the season.
This will most likely be Paulie’s last season on the South Side, so hopefully he’ll go out on a high note. Even if his production drops off a little from the past couple of seasons, a .275 BA would be a nice way to go out.
Dunn, Rios, and Beckham are question marks again this season, like they have been for the past 2 seasons.
And then theres the unknowns…the Jeff Keppingers, the Conor Gillaspies, the Tyler Flowers, and who the hell is Angel Sanchez? At least with Flowers, I really believe he can be an offensive threat. He has more power than A.J. did, but will he get on base as often? Plus, A.J. gave us an extra every day left handed bat, which we are lacking this season.
I dunno what to think. I really hope that this team surprises me and can put up some good numbers, cause of the offense can have an above average season, and our pitching stays reasonably healthy, this can be a great year. But if you sense a tone of hesitation in my typing, its that I felt this same way last season. Sure 85-77 isn’t a bad record. Anything over .500 should be considered decent, but I don’t want a decent team. I want to see October baseball in 2013 and I just dont think this team has what it will take to get past Detroit. Plus, Kansas City and Cleveland both made some upgrades this offseason too, and Minnesota….well, they can’t get any worse!
Considering how much the Sox struggle against their own division (we went 6-12 against both Detroit and KC last season) its possible we finish above .500 but in 3rd or 4th place. We really need to do a lot better against the AL Central. I think right there will make the deciding factor. You could cross off every inter-league game and every game against the AL East or West, and it will all come down to how well we do against our own division this year.
So, my rundown of the positions.
OF – Rios, De Aza, Viciedo, and Wise – This is a nice combination. All 4 of these players have the ability to be game changers, its just will they? If they don’t we have some nice options in the Minors, with Jordan Danks and Jared Mitchell.
1B – Konerko and Dunn – duuuh, what else can you say here?
2B – Beckham – I still think this guy is a bum. The Sox have given this guy so much leeway, he must remain stellar defensively to counteract his poor offense. The guy is a .238 hitter over the past 3 seasons.
SS – Alexi – Another duuh here.
3B – Kevin Yo….err, I mean Jeff Keppniger? Really? Come on. I know Youkilis was expensive, but he signed for $12m for one season with the Yankees. Dont tell me that Reinsdorf couldn’t have gotten him to stay for $10m. At least he would have helped sell tickets.
C – Tyler Flowers. Yeah, Im sad to see A.J. go, but you gotta give Flowers a chance. He has more power, and there have been moments, where he looks like he could be an every day threat with the bat. I predict he’ll have a solid offensive season. He’ll be around .275 – .280 and belt at least 25 HRs this year (yeah, I know A.J. had 27 last year, but theres no way he’ll repeat that again this season).
SP – Danks is still hurt and thats gotta be really concerning. He is too young to have injuries like this. I know many guys turn it around and I hope he does, but even if he doesn’t, I still feel pretty good with Sale, Peavy, Floyd, and Quintana.
RP – I honestly cant remember everyone’s name off the top of my head, but the highlights are Reed, Santiago, Crain, and I like what I see in Matt Lindstrom. Plus Leyson Septimo looked promising last season, so I think we’re pretty good here and we have a bullpen that can tolerate some injuries.
So, theres my wishy washy summary of the 2013 White Sox. They won’t be terrible, and we’ll probably finish a couple of games above .500, but we wont win the division or even get a wild card. I really am trying not to be negative, but I just havent seen enough to make me realistically think otherwise. Then again, its the teams that fly under the radar that turn heads come September. Had I made a prediction before the 2005 season, I would have not predicted, a World Series, or even playoff appearance with that squad.
I would feel good about another 85-77 repeat, but I think the rest of the AL Central has improved this year, and we already struggle against those teams, so Im gonna predict one less win this season and go with an 84-78 record which should be good for 3rd behind Cleveland and Detroit.