MLB Preview 2011: Looking at Alexei Ramirez and the Chicago White Sox on Paper

Adrian FedkiwAnalyst IIIMarch 28, 2011

MLB Preview 2011: Looking at Alexei Ramirez and the Chicago White Sox on Paper

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The White Sox are a popular dark-horse candidate to win the AL Central.

    The x-factor to me is Jake Peavy.  When healthy, he can dominate.  With him healthy, the rotation has great depth, although they don't really have a true ace.

    Chicago also revamped the bullpen.  After several successful seasons as closer, Jenks scuffled over recent years. 

    With the signing of Dunn, he adds more power to the lineup.

    Throughout you will see a number between 7-10 beside each player.  These numbers break the players up into essential categories; here's a rough layout. 

    10: Best player/pitcher in baseball

    9-plus: Superstar, MVP/Cy Young Candidates

    8-plus: Consistent All-Star

    7.5: Periodical All-Star

    7.25: Solid Starter

    7: Average Player


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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    C A.J. Pierzynski: 7.25

    1B Paul Konerko: 8 

    2B Gordon Beckham: 7.25

    SS Alexei Ramirez: 7.75 

    3B Brent Morel: 7

    A.J. Pierzynski (34) 474 AB, .270 BA, 43 R. nine HR, 56 RBI, three SB 

    • Pierzynski is as pesky as they come and a clubhouse leader.  At 34, he's coming off the worst season of his career.  His batting average is normally close to .300.  He's a contact gap-to-gap hitter with limited power.  He's lost range behind the plate.


    Paul Konerko (30) 548 AB, .312 BA, 89 R, 39 HR, 111 RBI, zero SB

    • After a few down seasons, Konerko exploded with a career year.  He was rewarded for his contributions with a three year $37.5 million extension.  He has quick, strong hands and destroys mistakes out over the plate.  He's a bit stiff in the field but has a godd arm. 


    Gordon Beckham (24) 444 AB, .252 BA, 58 R, nine HR, 49 RBI, four SB

    • After a strong rookie campaign, Beckham suffered a sophomore slump.  He's aggressive but has some flaws in his swing.  He tends to get caught in between, but he has a bright future if he can get that fixed.  He converted from third to second, but he should make the transition just fine.


    Alexei Ramirez (29) 585 AB, .282 BA, 83 R, 18 HR, 70 RBI, 13 SB

    • In my opinion, Ramirez is the most underrated shortstop in baseball.  Ramirez has a long, upper-cut swing, but it generates great bat speed.  He's aggressive and loves to pull the ball.  He's smooth in the field, has great range and a strong, accurate arm.  He does tend to make errors on routine plays. 


    Brent Morel (23) 65 AB, .231 BA, nine R, three HR, seven RBI, two SB

    • Morel tore up the minors last year with a .322 average.  He'll get the nod at third.  If he struggles, the Sox can turn to veteran Mark Teahen.


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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    LF Juan Pierre: 7.25 

    CF Alex Rios: 7.5

    RF Carlos Quentin: 7.25

    DH Adam Dunn: 7.5


    Juan Pierre (33) 651 AB, .275 BA, 96 R, one HR, 47 RBI, 68 SB

    • Even at 33, Pierre showed that he still can create tons of havoc on the basepaths.  He led baseball with 68 stolen bases.  He's a table-setter at the top of the line-up.  He tries everything to get on base.  He slaps for hits, bunts, you name it.  He's solid in the field, but has a weak throwing arm.


    Alex Rios (30) 567 AB, .284 BA, 89 R, 21 HR, 88 RBI, 34 SB

    • Rios has an unorthodox, wide stance with his hands positioned low, but it works for him.  He's quick through the ball and drives it to all parts of the field.  He's solid, going side to side to go get fly balls.  His arm is strong, but it can be erratic.


    Carlos Quentin (28) 453 AB, .243 BA, 73 R, 26 HR, 87 RBI, two SB

    • Quentin is very strong and has quick hands.  He torches fastballs middle-in.  He's adequate in the field.  His speed and range are limited.


    Adam Dunn (31) 558 AB, .260 BA, 85 R, 38 HR, 103 RBI, zero SB

    • Dunn is a bopper.  He gets excellent leverage with a long, smooth swing which generates a ton of bat speed.  He loves the ball down and hits home runs to all parts of the field.

Starting Pitching

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Mark Buehrle: 7.5

    John Danks: 7.5

    Gavin Floyd; 7.25

    Jake Peavy: 7.25

    Edwin Jackson: 7.25

    Mark Buehrle (32) 210 IP, 13-13, 4.28 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 99 K

    • Buehrle is the fastest worker in baseball.  He's a soft tosser who pitches to contact.  He has a tailing fastball and a little cutter.  He has good motion and movement with his changeup.  He changes speeds with his breaking pitches.  Buehrle is arguably the best fielding pitcher in baseball. 


    John Danks (26) 213 IP, 15-11, 3.72 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 162 K

    • Danks has been consistent year-in and year-out: 200+ innings with a sub-4.00 ERA.  He's a contact pitcher and almost a replica of Buehrle.  He too is a fast worker.  He throws a low-90's fastball, a sharp slider and a slow curveball.  He has good arm action on his changeup. 


    Gavin Floyd (28) 187 IP, 10-13, 4.08 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 151 K

    • Floyd mixes speeds with his fastball.  He likes to increase the velocity to put hitters away.  He has a solid pair of breaking pitches.  His slider sweeps and his curveball is tight and has good tilt.


    Jake Peavy (29) 107 IP, 7-6, 4.63 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 93 K

    • Health is the key for Peavy.  He's scheduled to miss at least the first month of the season recovering from shoulder surgery.  The 2006 Cy Young winner's bread and butter is his slider, which freezes hitters. 


    Edwin Jackson (27) 209 IP, 10-12, 4.47 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 181 K

    • Jackson has had an up and down career so far.  He's a power pitcher who can dominate when he commands his fastball.  He also has a late breaking slider and a circle changeup.


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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    RP Will Ohman: 7

    RP Tony Pena: 7

    RP Jesse Crain: 7

    SU Chris Sale: 7.25

    CP Matt Thornton: 7.25 


    Will Ohman, Tony Pena, Jesse Crain

    • Crain is difficult to pick up because of his shor-arm action.  He has a mid-90's fastball and has a quick slider he puts hitters away with.


    Chris Sale (22) 23 IP, 2-1, four SV, 1.93 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 32 K

    • Sale is a future starter.  He electrified in limited appearances last season.  He has a hard late-90s fastball with a solid slider.  He also mixes in a changup.  


    Matt Thornton (34)  60 IP, 5-4, eight SV, 2.67 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 81 K

    • Thornton looks like the guy to fulfill the closing duties with Bobby Jenks out of the fold.  He averaged 12 strikeouts per nine last year.  He rides his mid-90's fastball up in the zone.  He also has a hard, tilted slider.

Sizing Up the White Sox on Paper

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. Juan Pierre: 7.25

    2. Alexei Ramirez: 8

    3. Paul Konerko: 8

    4. Adam Dunn: 7.5

    5. Alex Rios: 7.5

    6. Carlos Quentin: 7.25

    7. Gordon Beckham: 7.25

    8. A.J. Pierzynski: 7.25

    9. Brent Morel: 7


    Projected Starting Rotation 

    Mark Buehrle: 7.5

    John Danks: 7.5

    Gavin Floyd; 7.25

    Jake Peavy: 7.25

    Edwin Jackson: 7.25


    RP Will Ohman: 7

    RP Tony Pena: 7

    RP Jesse Crain: 7

    SU Chris Sale: 7.25

    CP Matt Thornton: 7.25


    Adam Dunn, Mark Teahen, Omar Vizquel, Ramon Castro: 7.5



    Ozzie Guillen: 7.25


    INF: 37.5

    OF: 22

    SP: 36.75

    RP: 7

    CP: 14.75

    MISC: 14.5

    Hitting: 59.5

    Pitching: 58.25

    TOTAL: 132.5


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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    This is a very solid White Sox club.  I like the depth in the rotation, and I like how they revamped the bullpen.

    They added a big bopper in Dunn, but will all this be enough to win the division? We'll see.

    Prediction: 85-77, second, AL Central