MLB Fantasy Baseball Pitching Preview: Chicago White Sox
Can you believe the depth of the White Sox rotation? All five of their starters threw at least 31 starts in 2010, and their fifth starter is either a guy one year removed from an All-Star campaign with the Tigers (Edwin Jackson) or a former National League Cy Young award winner with a career ERA of 3.36 trying to fight past his arm injuries (Jake Peavy). And that’s after teams have to face Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd and John Danks.
Mark Buehrle is my favorite example of a pitcher who is very worthwhile in real life, but only mildly useful in fantasy. He has led the league in hits allowed four times in the past six years (not good), averages just about five strikeouts per nine innings (not good) and hasn’t had an ERA below 3.60 since 2002 (not good).
However, Buehrle will get you wins—double-digit wins for 10 straight years (good), an average of 50 walks allowed per year (good) and almost always a WHIP under 1.30 (good).
In an AL-only league, his value increases significantly, but since you don’t get points for owning a workhorse, don’t expect too much.
I think Gavin Floyd is going to have an excellent year even though his win totals don’t show it (11-11 in 2009 and a losing record of 10-13 in 2010).
Floyd’s ERA has actually gone up since 2008 (3.84 to 4.06 to 4.08), and his WHIP is not great, but his home runs have decreased every year and he has shown flashes of being very good. I think this is the year he puts it all together and blossoms.
John Danks, to me, is one of the more maddening pitchers in baseball. You never know if he’s going to throw a one-hitter (as he did on June 10 against the Tigers) or if he’s going to give up seven earned runs in six innings (as he did on September 19 against the Tigers). He could give up eight runs in four innings and then go out and give up one run in seven innings in his very next start.
What Danks does have is youth (he’s not even 26 yet!), a great arsenal of pitches, and a significant amount of major league experience under his belt (to the tune of 26-plus starts per year for the past four years).
Dank’s has the talent, and the tools—but will he harness than into a more consistent package? I just don’t know…he’s a mid-teens rounder to me
The aforementioned fourth starter, Edwin Jackson, hopes that a return to the AL Central brings back the success he had in 2009 with the Tigers. After a year with the Diamondbacks and White Sox, he is back in the AL full-time.
Edwin put up good numbers after the trade last year (4-2, 3.24 ERA, over a strikeout per inning and a WHIP of 1.21), and is hoping to carry that over into this year. But he’s generally not pitched as well in hitter’s parks as in pitcher’s parks, and Comiskey is anything but friendly to pitchers.
Jackson does have a lot of potential, though, and facing opposing teams’ fourth or fifth starter will do him some good. Keep your eye on him in mixed leagues and try to snatch him on the cheap in AL-only.
Which of the White Sox's starters will win the most games in 2011?
Finally, Jake Peavy could be the great wild card. We know what kind of pitcher he can be—someone very worth owning, though not the star he was with the Padres a couple years ago.
Peavy says he is shooting for Opening Day but is still only 60 or 70 percent healthy right now. He’s worth a flier in AL-only leagues if you have room on your bench to stash him, but in mixed leagues I’d take the wait-and-see approach.
Beyond those five, the only real prospect they have is Chris Sale, and he’ll probably end up at the back end of the bullpen, fighting with Matt Thornton for saves. He’s worth owning in AL-only or very deep Mixed leagues, but I wouldn’t count on much for him as a starter, at least beyond May.
Written by Jesse Mendelson exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com.
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