In almost all instances, preseason baseball predictions need to be taken with a grain of salt.
This is especially true in examining, and trying to figure out who is going to be playing in the Fall Classic when it's all said and done. Case in point–the Giants were on very few lists to win the trophy last March.
The same was the case before the 2005 MLB season when the 19 ESPN "experts" made their picks on who would be on top at the end. 16 of them chose the Twins, 1 Tigers, 1 for the Indians, and one (Rob Neyer) went with the "South Siders".
Unknown to the baseball world, the White Sox would be one of a select few teams that would go 'coast-to-coast' through the season, never relinquishing 1st place.
Emotional ties to that team will forever be linked between fans and those players, but the years go on, and the thirst to return to the World Series grows for the White Sox.
Some in the White Sox organization have said this is the best team on paper that the Sox have had since winning it all. Paul Konerko, A.J Pierzynski and Mark Buehrle are the only players from that team left, and hopefully can bring the vibes back to the Sox as they go "ALL IN".
When comparing the teams, both have deep starting pitching, and bullpens that some might question yet could be the key in the end.
Who do you think will win the AL Central in 2011?
The infield this season is more consistent than in 2005 with the likes of Joe Crede, Juan Uribe, and Tad Iguchi who would all have career years; or close to it.
The outfield might be close, but this year's team seemingly has more talent. But, the impact that Scott Podsednik, Aaron Rowand, and Jermaine Dye had was paramount to the run they went on.
Alex Rios will need to play a full season of good baseball. Juan Pierre is going to give the Sox what a solid leadoff hitter much in Podsednik's likeness, and Quentin would have to get close to the form he showed back in 2008.
And, at the end of the day they have the same guy in Ozzie Guillen as manager who surely wants to end this mini-drought that the White Sox have fallen upon.
Most analysts may side with taking the White Sox to do big things this season because of the Tigers issues with Miguel Cabrera; the Twins issues with Justin Morneau, and simply the Indians and Royals issues.
The three catalysts to try to capture the "magic" of '05 in my summation are:
- Stay healthy (that means you Carlos Quentin, Jake Peavy, etc.
- All In" means "All In" (make a deal at the deadline if needed to get over the hump; players like "El Caballo" Carlos Lee among others could be on the market)
- Gain a swagger against the Twins.
If the White Sox are to make a run they certainly have the talent. It should be a fun ride.