The long awaited return of Chicago White Sox‘ John Danks is finally here. But exactly how good will the left-hander be after missing more than a calendar year?
I’m willing to bet Danks is feeling a lot of pressure going into his start against the Miami Marlins tomorrow, especially since he hasn’t earned a penny of that $56 million deal he signed last season. For all intents and purposes, Danks was the White Sox’ true ace when he signed that deal, receiving the torch from the departed Mark Buehrle; however, nothing worked out for Danks last season. When he was healthy enough to pitch, he couldn’t get hitters — especially left-handers — out on a consistent basis, creating a hole in the White Sox’ rotation.
Now, however, that rotation is one of baseball’s best this season. Chris Sale has emerged as the team’s true ace, while pitchers like Jake Peavy and Jose Quintana have been nothing short of fantastic. Ergo, the pressure might actually be off Danks, seeing that he is now basically a fourth starter, which I believe is the type of production the White Sox will get out of him.
I feel like Danks’ success — or the lack thereof — this season means nothing. All I want to see from Johnny Danks is consistent velocity, sharp command and the ability to get hitters out. I miss the pitcher that dominated the Minnesota Twins in #163 in 2008. That is the pitcher I hope the Sox will get after he builds himself back up to being the all-star caliber pitcher that he’s capable of being.
So, these are my realistic expectations for Danks: 4.40 ERA, 3.9 BB/9, 6.9 K/9, 4.23 FIP and hopefully a 90+ MPH fastball. If he does that after missing a year of pitching, I’ll be content — and so should you.