2011 MLB Preview: Chicago White Sox

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2011 MLB Preview: Chicago White Sox
Norm Hall/Getty Images

9 Innings Blog will be bringing you previews of every Major League Baseball team for the next 30 days. This is in accordance with out "30 Teams in 30 Days" series. Today, we will take a look at the re-energized Chicago White Sox team as the Sox look to regain control of the AL Central in 2011 behind new slugger Adam Dunn.

The team finished second in the American League Central last season with an 88-74 record. They were six behind the Minnesota Twins who won the Central.

The problem with the White Sox last season was their inability to finish what they started. Coming into September of 2010, the Sox were four games out and looking to strike the hearts of the Twins and all their fans while bringing prominence to the club.

They put together a nice seven-game win streak, but only moved a half-game up on the Twins. Towards the middle of the month, the Sox strung together an eight-game losing streak that included being swept by the Detroit Tigers and the division-leading Minnesota Twins.

Also, being without outfielder Carlos Quentin for the last 30 games did not really help their chances either.

However, the White Sox made a big splash in the Hot Stove season this year. The team signed outfielder Adam Dunn from the Nationals who has hit 30-plus homers for the past seven seasons. He’s sure to bring more homers into the launching pad of U.S. Cellular Field.

The only problem I see with the White Sox is what to do with Chris Sale. Right now, Sale is a reliever and a power thrower and was a fan favorite when he made his debut last season. The White Sox plan to use Matt Thornton as closer and Jesse Crain as a setup man. So where does that leave Sale?

Well, there’s two options: Make him a starter or keep him in the pen. There isn’t an immediate rush to make Sale anything at this point. The kid is barely legal.

I’d say use him when you can but don’t waste his talent. If the White Sox feel like he has starter’s stuff, then they’ll use him in that role. I just hope that he doesn’t become another Joba Chamberlain and gets overworked and won’t have an official fit with the club.

Another problem that could arise is the health of Jake Peavy. Peavy has not pitched all that much since being traded to the White Sox in 2008. Since then, Peavy is 10-6 with an ERA of 4.11. I’m sure White Sox fans are dying to see a healthy Jake Peavy, which would make the Sox rotation dangerous.

Peavy is coming back from a detached lat muscle in his back and hopes to be ready by Opening Day, but it seems unlikely.

 

Key Addition: Adam Dunn, OF

Breakout Player: Brent Morel, 3B

Prediction: Second, AL Central

 

Starters

C: A.J. Pierzynski
1B: Paul Konerko
2B: Gordon Beckham
3B: Brent Morel
SS: Alexei Ramirez
OF: Juan Pierre
OF: Alex Rios
OF: Carlos Quentin
DH: Adam Dunn

 

Pitching Rotation

SP: Mark Buehrle
SP: Gavin Floyd
SP: John Danks
SP: Edwin Jackson
SP: Lucas Harrell

RP: Jeff Marquez
RP: Will Ohman
RP: Tony Pena
RP: Sergio Santos
RP: Chris Sale
RP: Jesse Crain
CP: Matt Thornton

 

Bench

C: Ramon Castro
INF: Omar Vizquel
UTL: Brent Lillibridge
UTL: Mark Teahen

 

Top Prospects

1. Chris Sale, LHP
2. Brent Morel, 3B
3. Dayan Viciedo, IF
4. Eduardo Escobar, SS
5. Jared Mitchell, OF

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