Ranking Most Important Under-the-Radar White Sox Players for Deep Playoff Run
The Chicago White Sox find themselves in a heated battle with the Detroit Tigers for the American League Central division title. The Tigers currently hold a slim division lead over the White Sox, but that could all change overnight.
The White Sox will finish the season with series against the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians. They'll need to play their best baseball heading into the final stretch if they want to be alive in October.
This team has been known to be streaky, and their fans hope good fortune strikes the team in these final few games.
Here are few important under-the-radar players for Chicago as the team fights for its playoff life.
5. Dayan Viciedo
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The slugging left fielder gets lost in a Chicago White Sox lineup full of power. Dayan Viciedo gives the White Sox legitimate pop at the bottom of the lineup.
The White Sox are built the way American League lineups should be built. The team has hitters capable of driving in runs from top to bottom, and Viciedo's ability to hit for power solidifies the bottom half of this lineup.
Playoff heroes are usually the player fans least expect, and Viciedo could be the guy delivering the big hits for Chicago in October.
4. Brett Myers
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Myers' role with the White Sox will increase in importance if the White Sox are fortunate enough to make the playoffs. Playoff games are won and lost in the seventh and eighth innings, when relief pitching becomes essential.
The White Sox will rely on Myers to be their workhorse reliever throughout the playoffs.
The back end of Chicago's bullpen is one of the better combinations in baseball, and the team will rely heavily on this group if they find themselves in the playoffs.
3. Jose Quintana
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The young left-hander surprised the baseball world with his effectiveness when the White Sox brought him up in May. His most impressive stretch came in June, when he threw eight shutout innings in two consecutive starts against the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jose Quintana won't light up any radar guns, but the young lefty is capable of working the corners and getting outs. Quintana will likely settle into a long-relief role if the White Sox make the playoffs, but he's also capable of making spot starts if needed.
The White Sox could find themselves needing a fourth starter at some point, if they are to make a deep playoff run. Quintana has shown the ability to work through some of the most potent AL lineups, and the White Sox should have confidence in him if they need an emergency start out of the southpaw.
2. Alejandro De Aza
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The speedy leadoff hitter has been a beacon of consistency for a Chicago White Sox lineup that's seen its fair share of slumps.
Alejandro De Aza has put up nearly identical pre (.283/.351/.752) and post-All Star (.278/.348/.776) splits, something unheard of in Major League Baseball.
De Aza is also one of the better defensive center fielders in the game. He brings energy and excitement to a team that doesn't have much speed. His 26 stolen bases leads the team.
De Aza's consistency seems to go unappreciated, but if the White Sox are to go on a deep playoff run, more fans will recognize his importance to the success of this team.
1. Matt Thornton
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Matt Thornton has been one of the best late-inning relievers in baseball for the past five years. He's the White Sox best bullpen arm, and manager Robin Ventura hasn't been shy to use Thornton in big moments.
Thornton has actually been more effective than his own closer, Addison Reed. Some managers feel the eighth inning is even more important than the ninth, and the way the White Sox use Thornton, it seems that they subscribe to that line of thinking.
The left-hander is equally effective against lefties and righties, which makes him all the more deadly in late innings.
The White Sox have their work cut out for them in the next few days, as they furiously fight for the AL Central division crown.