Chicago White Sox 2008 Season Preview

Matthew FoustCorrespondent IMarch 15, 2008

Key Acquisitions: Octavio Dotel - RP, Orlando Cabrera -SS, Nick Swisher - OF, Scott Linebrink – RP 

Strengths: The White Sox didn't have much to write home about last season in the way of positives. They generated slightly above average offense at U.S. Celluar and they did hold division teams to 4.25 RPG on the road. Their brightest spots were at the front end of their starting rotation and at the back end of their bullpen. Buehrle pitched well in matching up with opponent aces and Bobby Jenks recorded over 40 saves as the closer. Offensively, Chicago pounded out 190 homers on the year which was good for sixth best in the league. 

Weaknesses: Where to begin…the bullpen should do. The White Sox relief staff was a train wreck in 2007 with the exception of the aforementioned Jenks. They ranked 28th in both runs per inning allowed and walks per inning allowed. The Sox also gave up 5.04 RPG in division play and 5.83 RPG at home to division rivals. Their gloves had as many holes as their bullpen; they committed 108 errors on the season (8th worst in the league). Chicago also struggled against both right and left handed pitching, ranking near the bottom of the league in runs scored against both. Starting rotation lacks quality depth too. 

Summary: While the White Sox have made a number of moves to correct last season's problems it looks to be too few. Certainly they have upgraded at short stop (Cabrera) and centerfield (Swisher) but their bullpen moves may not be enough. Linebrink will certainly help, but Dotel will only be a factor if he can remain healthy and he has not shown the ability to do that in recent seasons. Frankly, they will need more than these two to upgarde a bullpen that finished 28th in both RPIA and walks per inning allowed. However, they will be highly competitive in a race for third between themselves, Minnesota, and Kansas City. How the combination of age and youth affects their starting rotation will likely determine their fate. 

Prediction: 3rd Place AL Central 

Probable Starters

1B: Paul Konerko

2B: Danny Richar

3B: Joe Crede

SS: Orlando Cabrera

DH: Jim Thome

LF: Josh Fields

CF: Nick Swisher

RF: Jermaine Dye

C: A.J. Pierzynski 

Key Players & Trends

Mark Buehrle has appeared against Kansas City 34 times in his career. He has given up 81 earned runs in those 34 games, 31 of which he started, for an average of 2.38 per game. Since 2001, the White Sox are 21-9 against Kansas City when Buehrle started the game (70% win percentage). In 2007 Buehrle had an 8-4 record against division opposition.