1. Chris Sale
2. Jake Peavy
3. Gavin Floyd
4. Jose Quintana
5. Dylan Axelrod (replacing injured John Danks)
Overview: From top to bottom, the Chicago White Sox have one of the top starting rotations in the American League.
With lefty John Danks headed to the DL to begin the season, the White Sox bottom half of their rotation may look a little thin, but don’t sleep on guys like Jose Quintana and Dylan Axelrod. Yes, Chris Sale and Jake Peavy get all the attention and headlines, deservingly so, but I believe both Quintana and Axelrod have the talent to win double-digit games in 2013.
Obviously, for Axelrod, his win total and success will depend on how soon Danks is able to come back. That being said, I believe the 27-year-old right-hander will excel while filling in at the 5th spot in the Sox rotation. Axelrod won’t blow you away with his fastball, but when he’s able to locate his pitches, he has the skill to shut down the opposition.
A rookie in 2012, Quintana was brilliant for the White Sox. Starting 22 games, Quintana posted a 3.76 ERA. If the young starter can build off his rookie success, look for him to break out in 2013.
Gavin Floyd is the man in the middle for the Sox rotation. While this role may not seem like an appealing one to many, I believe it fits Floyd perfectly. My expectations for Floyd this year are exactly what he’s done his entire career: 10-12 wins, with a 4.20 ERA.
When looking at the top of the South Siders staff, Sale and Peavy are arguably the best one-two combination in the entire AL.
Sale, the Sox Opening Day starter, is not only stronger than a season ago, but he’s also much richer. After adding 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason, and signing a long-term deal with the Sox this spring, it’s scary to think Sale could be even better than he was in 2012. I fully expect the lefty’s added strength and confidence to give him an extra boost this season. 20 plus wins and a Cy Young Award are two goals Sale should have in mind in 2013.
The veteran Peavy is also coming off of an excellent 2012 campaign. Although his 11-12 record doesn’t seem very impressive, these numbers are misleading. In Peavy’s 12 losses last year, the Sox only averaged 1.8 runs per game. With very little run support, Peavy still managed to have a productive season. As far as 2013 goes, I foresee Peavy dominating the league once again. The 31-year-old always manages to bring his all when he toes the rubber, making 15 plus wins very attainable for him this year.
With anywhere from 35-40 wins coming from the White Sox top two hurlers this year, the rest of the staff just needs to be above average in order for the Sox to compete in the AL Central. If Danks can come back completely healthy and pitch like his old self, and guys like Floyd and Quintana battle every time they take the mound, not only will the White Sox have a top five starting staff, but playoff baseball will be headed back to the South Side.