A rival scout sizes up the White Sox
It's going to be a long year for the White Sox. They made the assessment that they're not going to compete with Detroit, and they've got to retool, and now's a time to do it.... With this team in transition, Robin Ventura might be a good manager for them. Even though he doesn't have a lot of experience, he was always a leader as a player, and he's very even-tempered.... John Danks is coming off a terrible year, but he and Gavin Floyd are legit starters. They're going to give you 200 innings each, they've got good stuff, and they compete.... Jake Peavy is not nearly what he used to be—he used to throw 95 with great movement, now it's 90, 91—but he's a fierce competitor.... Chris Sale could be real good, but he still throws like a reliever. It's a good arm, and it's lefthanded, but he goes on adrenaline instead of establishing all three of his pitches.... Addison Reed is a rookie, but he should be an effective closer. It's not a 100-mph fastball, more like 92--94, but he doesn't walk anybody. If you strike one guy out and don't walk anybody, you're going to close 90 percent of games.... Gordon Beckham is playing great at second, and I think he should hit .270 with 15 home runs.... Alex Rios is a very talented player, but he just hasn't made enough contact.... In camp Adam Dunn was hitting balls to leftfield, which I've never seen him do. I think he was behind after his appendectomy last April and should have gone down to the minors and gotten some at bats. If he just makes contact, he hits 35, 40 home runs.... Dayan Viciedo is not the most athletic guy in the world, but I bet he'll hit 20 home runs.
With 2011 Statistics
MANAGER ROBIN VENTURA
1st season with White Sox
Percentage of Adam Dunn's 2011 plate appearances that resulted in a strikeout (177) or a walk (75); he was the only major leaguer with more than 75 plate appearances who failed to put the ball in play half the time. Despite Dunn, 76.2% of Chicago's plate appearances resulted in balls in play, the third highest rate in the majors.
Remember 2007? Justin Bieber was unknown, your house was worth something and Jake Peavy won the NL Cy Young Award. In the four seasons since, Peavy, 30, hasn't made 30 starts or pitched 180 innings, and in the last three years he's thrown 320 innings total. In that time he's been on the DL for a strained left elbow, a strained right ankle, shoulder surgery and a groin strain. The White Sox are hopeful that this is the season Peavy returns to the form of '07, but when a pitcher has this many ailments over this many years, it's fair to ask whether he can physically handle being a starter. Normally converting a starter to a reliever is a mistake; the value of the innings lost in the transaction isn't made up by the increased leverage of the ones he pitches. But Peavy has the fastball velocity and the excellent slider to be a wipeout reliever, and if he's only going to throw 120 innings as a starter—which recent history suggests is the case—the White Sox would gain by having him throw 80 high-leverage innings out of the bullpen.
JOHN BIEVER (DUNN)
BRIAN KERSEY/UPI/LANDOV (PEAVY)