Now that Spring Training is starting to get underway, the excitement for the upcoming MLB season is increasing significantly. Many baseball fans are starting to dissect their team’s roster for this season, looking for key impact players. For Chicago White Sox fans glancing at the 2013 Spring Training roster, there is a decent amount of names that may stand out. Players such as Tyler Flowers, Dayan Viciedo and Alex Rios are being called “difference makers” for the Sox this year.
One name that Sox fans may want to circle as well is Alejandro De Aza.
Coming off of his first full season with the White Sox, De Aza will have the same role he had a year ago. The 28-year old outfielder will be the South Siders center fielder and lead-off man. Having to set the table for the meat of the White Sox order, and being called upon to be the leader of the Sox outfield is what makes De Aza’s role extremely important for the Sox success in 2013.
In 2012, De Aza quietly posted great numbers for a player competing in his first full season at the big league level. His .349 on-base percentage was the 4th highest among American League leadoff men. De Aza was also able to swipe 26 bases, and he only committed three errors.
Not only did the center fielder put up respectable numbers last year, but his teammates also noticed how important he was to the team’s progress. White Sox designated hitter, Adam Dunn, called De Aza the best leadoff man he has ever played with. That puts De Aza ahead of Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, who Dunn played with in Cincinnati early on in his career. While De Aza still has to continue to improve and develop his game, whenever a player is getting placed above a Hall of Famer it’s encouraging.
As all of the White Sox players start arriving at camp, De Aza will be a player many disregard when looking for difference makers on the 2013 White Sox roster. However, the Sox leadoff man will be a player that has a direct impact on the Sox postseason chances this year. I expect De Aza to once again be a key contributor that gets little recognition for the White Sox this season, which I’m sure De Aza will be perfectly fine, with as long as the Sox are winning ball games.