Previously, The Fantasy Fix reviewed and gave projections for the 2011 Chicago White Sox rotation. Now, it's time to dive in and analyze the Sox positional players.
Call me crazy, but I am picking the White Sox to win the A.L. Central this year. The addition of Adam Dunn will help an already powerful lineup loaded with talent. I see a progression coming for Gordon Beckham, and Alex Rios seems to be finally starting to reach expectations. Questions remain in the pitching department though, which will be the only thing that could hold the Chi Sox back from a American League pennant.
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Mixed league auction values in parentheses
CATCHER: A.J. PIERZYNSKI ($5) – At age 34 now, A.J. saw a numbers drop in the HR department last year, managing only nine. He has been steady over the last five years posting 500+ AB, which makes me very nervous that he will soon start to breakdown. He will post .270/10/55 numbers, which are decent for your roster as a backup. He should not be drafted in 10-team mixed leagues.
FIRST BASE: PAUL KONERKO ($22) – The once Dodger catching prospect had a unforgettable year in 2010, posting the highest slugging percentage of his career as well as a .312/39/111. Those, my friends, are MVP-like numbers. At age 35, it is logical to expect a regression of some sorts. He will hit in the middle of the lineup, loves hitting at home and will suffer some cold spells. I think a .275/29/100 type season is fair assessment of what his 2011 will look like. He is the 12th first baseman off the boards in ESPN mixed league drafts this year.
SECOND BASE: GORDON BECKHAM ($13) – The former first-round pick was drafted as a shortstop, played third his first year and last year played 126 games at second base. Many are hoping that getting settled into a position will ease his mind and his talent will find its way out. Beckham hit .310 after June 23rd last year and certainly has big potential as a "under the radar" second baseman. Ozzie wants to get him more active on the base paths this year also, so I am going to project him to breakout this year with a .295/15/70 line. If he hits second in the lineup, we can also pencil in 100 runs and 15-20 steals.
SHORTSTOP: ALEXI RAMIREZ ($22) – I absolutely love Ramirez, who won the A.L. Silver Slugger award while leading all A.L. shortstops in the last two years in home runs and RBI. He is also only one of two shortstops the last three years to have 15 HR, 65 RBI, 65 R and 10 steals. He is my top A.L. SS and should be the number four SS off the board in mixed leagues. The SS position is thin, so if you want him he will go in the top seven rounds.
BRENT MOREL ($5) – Brent has been named the opening day starter. He has superior defensive skills to Mark Teahen, unfortunately that does nothing for his fantasy value. He showed a bit of pop in his brief stint with the Chi Sox last year. Getting the starting job helps but probably still not worth drafting in mixed league venues.
MARK TEAHEN ($1) – Teahen played there last year, but his defense is only so-so. Mark will most likely play some OF and become a utility player. Let someone else draft him.
ALEX RIOS ($21) – Rios is a 5x5 stud, just be prepared for a roller coaster six months. Last year he had a .305 BA, 15 HR and 23 SB before the all-star break. After the break a paltry .258, six HR and six SB. Rios' season totals showed .284/21/88 which is solid, especially with the 34 total SB. He is currently averaging as the 16th OF taken in mixed league drafts.
JUAN PIERRE ($20) – Pierre, at 33, is an aging base stealer, so I can honestly say do not expect another 68 stolen base season this year. He will help you in batting average and runs (scored 96 last year). I expect the runs number to jump. He is a solid three category player.
CARLOS QUENTIN ($17) – Quentin made it through a full year in 2010 health wise, but it is growing blatantly obvious that his 2008 blockbuster season was a mirage. He hasn't been able to return to form after the late season hand injury in 2008. Draft him in the mid to late rounds and expect a .255/25/85 line. Make sure you do not over pay for the potential that he seems to never be able to reach.
DESIGNATED HITTER/1B: ADAM DUNN ($25) – If you want power, then he is your man. Dunn has posted seven straight seasons of at least 38 HR and 92 RBI. He also has a .381 career on base percentage. U.S. Cellular Field is a home run hitters paradise so projecting Dunn to hit 50 HR this year is not far fetched. He is the first White Sox player chosen in all draft formats this year. He will go by the end of the third round in 10 team drafts, so if you want him plan on getting him early.
Written by John Marino exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com
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