Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Season 37 Chicago White Sox Prevew

Chicago White Sox
Season 36:  96-66, Wild Card, advanced to Division Series and lost to Minnesota 
GM: pfontaine

Big Offseason Moves:  Re-signing future HOF'er Magglio Rodriguez.  Even with the team aging and losing some key pieces (Kevin Chong), keeping Rodriguez means huge production at 2B for another 4, maybe even 5 seasons.
Outlook: Age, free agency and a climbing payroll stopped Chicago's 100-win streak at 6 seasons, and the plucky Twins bumped them form the playoffs for the 2nd straight season.

Can an aging team with $125MM committed to ML payroll pull it together and reached the promised land again?

I think it depends.  The White Sox' 2 best teams (by record, at least) in their 6-season, 100-wins run were their Season 32 World Champ team (110 wins) and their Season 34 AL Champ team (112 wins).  Both teams had it all in terms of offense and pitching - they led the league in team ERA both years, and were first in runs in Season 32 and 3rd in Season 34 (they clearly gave up a little defense to get all those bats in the lineup, as they put up with 100+ errors both years...they did have a pretty decent 74/27 in +/- plays in Season 32).

Obviously, "having it all" helps teams contend and increases their chances to advance through the playoffs.

But with the usual attrition you can't have it all, so if you have to pick what do you pick?

Even when Magglio was winning MVP's and the Sox' offense got all the press, I thought the keys to their fortunes were their Big 3 SP's Addison Johnson, Tony Flores and Hector Ayala.  Why, because no position on the field has more influence on the outcome of a game than SP, and if you can rollout out 3 great SP's you have a chance to dominate the playoffs whether you score many runs or not.

One can argue about the dominance of these 3.  They're not Ruben Ozuna or Tony Moya dominant...heck, Flores and Ayala have even had bad seasons.  But Johnson and Ayala have won CY's (not coincidentally in Seasons 32 and 34), and together the 3 of them have the possibility of getting hot for an entire playoff run.

The Sox haven't started well at 8-12, as the offense is struggling mightily.  But keep an eye on those 3 SP's.  It might be as a Wild Card again, but I'd bet those 3 have enough left for at least 1 more playoff push.

No comments: