Five Chicago White Sox Pitchers To Watch This Spring
Chicago White Sox Pitchers To Watch This Spring
For all baseball fans across the nation, it’s finally here. Pitchers and catchers are beginning to report to spring training. Many baseball fans get giddy with joy on the day their favorite team’s pitchers and catchers arrive at camp. It’s a day where fans can start to smell the green grass and taste the ballpark hotdogs. All fans, from all 30 MLB teams, once again are starting to feel at least somewhat optimistic about their chances in 2013.
This can definitely be said about Chicago White Sox fans. While the White Sox weren’t able to win the AL Central in 2012, they still demolished all of the low expectations given to them last year. And even though the Sox are once again being talked about as long shots to make any noise in 2013, I somewhat doubt a regression from the Sox this year.
The main reason why I believe the White Sox should only improve from last season is because of their pitching. Not only have the South Siders brought back their top starters from 2012, but they also will have a healthy John Danks this year. Plus, all those rookie relievers from a season ago will be back as well, with some experience under their belts. And any baseball fan knows just how far a quality pitching staff can carry a team. Just look at the 2005 World Series Champion White Sox, a team who finished 18th in the MLB in hitting but was 4th in pitching.
With White Sox pitchers making their way to Glendale, Az. and a large amount of the Sox success in 2013 being placed on the shoulders of the pitching staff, I’ve comprised a list of five White Sox pitchers for fans to keep an eye on this spring.
After breaking the Chicago White Sox single-season rookie record with 29 saves in 2012, Addison Reed is poised to once again be the Sox closer this year. While many have already penciled him in as the South Siders closer, Reed still believes he needs to earn the spot this spring. One thing is for sure, with a well above average fastball and a nasty slider, Reed is one of the White Sox most promising arms. If Reed is named the Sox closer again in this spring, which in my mind is just about a sure thing, it will be interesting to see if the hard throwing right-hander can continue his dominance during Cactus League play.
2012 was a break out year for Chris Sale. Going 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA, Sale was even in the Cy Young talks for a portion of the season. The only reason he is a pitcher to watch in Spring Training is because of his late season fatigue. The young left-hander began to slow down during September, and it was easy to see that his first full season as a Major League starter had caught up to him.
In order to build up his stamina and avoid fading once again in 2013, Sale has put on 15 pounds of muscle during the off-season. The added muscle and having already gone through the grind of a full MLB season should be a recipe for success for Sale this year. White Sox fans will want to keep an eye on the now bulkier Sale during camp and maybe see if the added muscle will make him even more dominant in 2013.
After getting an enormous contract last year, John Danks immediately disappointed White Sox fans. At first it was his early season struggles —5.70 ERA in nine starts— that made fans wonder if he was worth his enormous contract. Then it was Danks having shoulder troubles in mid May, and not being able to return for the remainder of the 2012 season that made White Sox fans wish the team’s money was spent elsewhere.
2013 will truly be a make it or break it year for Danks. The left-hander has certainly shown flashes of being a nasty starter in in MLB and has the title of being a big game pitcher to hang his hat on. However, with the money the White Sox are giving Danks —$65 million over five years— being a consistent starter is something he must improve on. As Spring Training gets underway White Sox fans will want to see if Danks is healthy and ready to become an ace in 2013.
A rookie in 2012, Jose Quintana was outstanding for the White Sox. Spending most of his time with the Sox as a starter, Quintana posted a 3.76 ERA in 136.1 innings pitched. Slated to be the White Sox fifth starter in 2013, Quintana is somewhat of a question mark for the Sox. When a rookie pitcher puts up decent numbers it's always interesting to see how he fairs in the year following, now that hitters know the pitcher’s tendencies. Quintana’s success during his spring outings should be an indication of what fans can expect from the left-hander in 2013.
The White Sox had a very quiet off-season. One of the only moves they made was picking up right-handed reliever Matt Lindstrom. With a career 3.64 ERA, Lindstrom should be a guy Robin Ventura can rely on for a lot of innings. With Brett Myers not returning to the White Sox this year, Lindstrom will also have the chance to compete for the setup man role. Having strong relief pitching will be vital to the White Sox winning the AL Central in 2013, and if Lindstrom impresses in camp this spring he may be a crucial part of the Sox bullpen.