Predicting Chicago White Sox’ 2014 Opening Day Lineup
Chicago White Sox' 2014 Opening Day Lineup
The 2014 season will be a very interesting one for the Chicago White Sox. They will open up Spring Training play against the Los Angeles Dodgers shortly as they prepare to rebound from a 99-loss, last place finish from a season ago. In their bid to shake up the roster, the White Sox made a few nice moves in the winter, and the Opening Day lineup could see up to four changes from last year.
Two years ago the Sox were in playoff contention until a September slump snuck up on them. Within the American League Central, the Detroit Tigers are still at the top, but it also saw the Cleveland Indians come from the bottom and into the postseason last year. The trendy pick for this season is also the Kansas City Royals, but the Sox also have to try and keep up in an attempt to get back to playing postseason baseball.
Chicago will open up at home against the Minnesota Twins, and it will be their fourth different opponent on Opening Day in the last four years. The White Sox finished three games behind the Twins last year and were 8-11 in head-to-head meetings. Minnesota added a few new starting pitchers this offseason to the rotation and the Opening Day start is still up for grabs. The competition could come down to right-handers Kevin Correia and Ricky Nolasco to face the Sox in the opener.
For Chicago, there is no question that lefty Chris Sale will take the mound on Opening Day. Sale is the ace and leader of that staff. This will be year three for manager Robin Ventura, and it will also be the 18th and final year for fan-favorite Paul Konerko. Konerko will be playing in his 16th season for the White Sox in a platoon role, but he could also be part of a vastly improved offense from a year ago. The Sox will feature a few sleepers in the lineup that could have very solid seasons in 2014. Here is how the White Sox could line up behind Sale on Opening Day.
Nick Schaeflein is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.
1. Adam Eaton
Adam Eaton was brought over from the Arizona Diamondbacks. He can handle the bat and also steal some bases for the Sox. He will be a key table-setter for Chicago, bat left-handed, and play center field.
2. Alexei Ramirez
Very quietly, Alexei Ramirez has evolved into a veteran that can still put up strong numbers. He can still slug the long ball, but also can steal some bases as well. If Ramirez and Eaton can cause havoc on the bases, it will really set up the middle of the order. He will bat right-handed and play shortstop.
3. Jose Abreu
The new acquisition for the Sox is Jose Abreu from Cuba. He is big, tall, and can hit. Abreu has the ability to evolve into an All-Star caliber player, and he will also learn from one of the best. He will bat right-handed and play first base.
4. Avisail Garcia
Brought over at the trade deadline last year, Avisail Garcia is billed as mini Miguel Cabrera. In a hitter's ballpark, it will be interesting to see how his first full season in Chicago will turn out. He will play right field and bat right-handed.
5. Paul Konerko
The DH position for the Sox figures to be a veteran platoon this year. On the left side will be Adam Dunn, and on the right side will be the retiring Paul Konerko. Facing a likely right-hand starter, either guy could get the starting nod in game one. But, being that Opening Day will be a home game for the Sox, it just may be the first of many curtain calls for Paulie.
6. Dayan Viciedo
Dayan Viciedo has some pop, but also will try to stay healthy this year. He could become a dangerous hitter if the bases consistently have guys on in front of him. Viciedo will play left field and bat right-handed.
7. Conor Gillaspie
The hot corner is one of the positions still up in the air for Chicago. They have added Matt Davidson this winter, but he will likely start the year in the minors. The starting nod could go to Conor Gillaspie until Davidson is called up. Gillaspie will play third base and bat left-handed in the order.
8. Josh Phegley
It could be argued that the catching position was one the White Sox really needed to address in the winter, but they did not. Last year, the position was toward the bottom in the league in terms of production. Josh Phegley will be the first to try and turn that around this year. He will catch and bat right-handed.
9. Gordon Beckham
Gordon Beckham will round out the starting nine. He is another that will try to stay healthy this season and provide some production at the bottom of the order. He is capable of having hot streaks during certain times of the year, but needs to stretch that out over the long haul. Beckham will bat right-handed and play second base for the White Sox.