Chicago White Sox: 8 Players Who Need to Step Up in 2012
It is almost over.
This season that has driven White Sox fans near the edge of sanity will end Wednesday, unceremoniously.
Here's what we know so far: Ozzie is gone.
The White Sox will need to make a lot of changes this offseason to prime the club for the playoffs once again.
There are changes Kenny Williams won't be able to make, however. Some of the worst players on the team are under contract for not only next year, but for seasons after that.
These are the players that need to make a change to right the White Sox ship in 2012.
8. Gavin Floyd
Statistically speaking, Gavin Floyd has had a decent year. He went 12-13 with a 4.31 ERA over 30 starts.
Those are good numbers for someone who is unproven. We've seen how good Floyd has been in the past, and this kind of performance doesn't cut it.
The White Sox are at their best when Floyd is at his. The last time the team made the playoffs, in 2008, Floyd went 17-8.
The past few seasons, including the current one, have seen Floyd meander around .500 while not always performing his best.
He will need to change that come next year, because the White Sox desperately need a consistent Gavin Floyd.
7. Matt Thornton
Thornton picked it up after a disastrous experiment at closer, but overall, he still wasn't the Matt Thornton we've come to know and love.
Middle relief is definitely the job for Thornton. I doubt you'll see him trying to close out games anymore, unless it's not with the White Sox.
Should he return to the team next year, a fresh start in his normal position will do him well. This is the first season in which Thornton has had an ERA over 3.00 since the 2007 season.
Thornton is the anchor of the White Sox bullpen. A return to elite form will surely help the White Sox get to where they need to be.
6. John Danks
John Danks recovered well after starting 0-8, going 8-4 down the stretch.
Danks will be the first guy to tell you that he shouldn't have started 0-8 to begin with. This was a guy who has been the second-best pitcher in the rotation since joining in 2008.
For the White Sox to contend next year, they're going to need reliable pitching from Danks all year long.
His resurgence near the end of the season has been promising, but the White Sox are going to need it from beginning to end next year, or they could be in a heap of trouble.
5. Brent Morel
Brent Morel has failed to impress in his first season in the Major Leagues.
His .249 average with 10 HR and 41 RBI are pitiful for the almost-everyday third baseman. The White Sox are going to need all three of those statistics to increase dramatically if they want a shot at success next season.
Morel's defense has been impressive, but that's all the potential we've seen from him. He had a rough time with runners in scoring position and seemed overwhelmed at the plate.
The time is now for Morel to become the player the White Sox expect him to be. His performance this year is nearly passable because of his youth, but next year, should his contract be extended, there will be no excuses.
4. Gordon Beckham
By this point in his career, Gordon Beckham was supposed to have reached the potential the White Sox knew he had after drafting him in the first round in 2008.
Instead, Beckham has declined every year while in the big leagues. This season has been his absolute worst. He's batting .226 with 9 HR and 43 RBI.
While Beckham's defense is world class, his offense is anything but. His contract expires after the season, but expect the White Sox to offer him a one-year deal—they want to see this thing through.
Should the White Sox choose to bring the Beckham experiment back for another season, Gordon will have to prove his worth. Beckham had so much promise coming into the league and looked great his first season. These memories are fading fast.
3. Jake Peavy
How appropriate that "Peavy" sounds like "peevish," the feeling most White Sox fans get when this guy is on the mound.
The story is the same for Peavy as it has been the others on this list. Failed expectations.
Chicago has yet to see Peavy return to his Cy Young form he had while in San Diego. Yes, he's had his fair share of injuries, but when he's been healthy enough to be on the mound, he has been the most inconsistent player on the team.
While Peavy only started 18 games, his record was 7-7 with a 4.92 ERA during the season. He is under contract until after next season. Maybe a contract year will propel Peavy to his former best.
The White Sox are surely depending on it.
2. Alex Rios
You've heard of Alex Rios' well-documented failures all season long. Just in case you forgot, let me brush you up on some statistics.
Rios' 2011 season thus far: .227 average, 13 HR, 44 RBI. All these numbers coming for a guy who played in nearly every game this season.
His RBI numbers have been cut in half since the 2010 season, and his average is down nearly .060 points.
Rios is under contract until 2014 and will make a lot of money in the process. Rios certainly needs to return to his 2010 form, if not better, if he hopes on keeping his job in center field.
Chicago has already put Alejandro de Aza in center a lot since July, something they might have to do again next season if Rios doesn't pick it up.
1. Adam Dunn
Adam Dunn has had not only the worst season in his career, but one of the worst offensive seasons in White Sox history, especially for a designated hitter.
.160 average, 11 HR, 42 RBI.
Even the worst players in the league accidentally find a way to hit .200. Dunn was a premier slugger before he came to the South Side, something the White Sox will need to see again.
He's under contract until 2014, after signing the big deal before the season began. Next season, Dunn needs to pick it up right away, or he might find himself somewhere else.
That beard isn't fooling anyone; we know it's you under there, Adam Dunn. Now it's time to show your real self in 2012.