We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 White Sox Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy Bill Mahoney from South Side Sox.
1) At age 36 and soon to be 37, Paul Konerko’s upside days for fantasy purposes are well behind him and his first half/second half splits from 2012 give us fantasy players pause on investing in him. What are your expectations from Konerko this season and would you draft him for 2013?
Great question!! On drafting the Sox icon, my answer is yes, and no. Nowadays, Konerko is a low round pick, but he is still is a guy that can put up decent numbers as shown by what he did last year. 26 home runs and 75 RBI’s isn’t too shabby, but it is a severe drop off from previous years. Optimists could equate that Konerko’s troubles stem from the lower body injuries he suffered the past couple years, or the wrist injury he got fixed this off-season. I just think father time is knocking on his door. His stats were down in almost every category, from hits, home runs, doubles, and walks. This year, I would expect about a .295 average, but the power numbers will continue to trend downward–think between 16-20. Draft with caution.
2) Alex Rios had a bounce back campaign in 2012, hitting .304 with 25 HRs and 23 steals and it’s pushing him up the draft boards for 2013. Given his inconsistent track record, how confident are you that Rios can come close to doing what he did in 2012 again in 2013?
Alex Rios had a career year last year, setting highs in average, home runs and RBI’s, but I think he’ll be hard-pressed to do it again. With Konerko on the downside of his career, and not sure what Adam Dunn will do, who will be Rios protection in the lineup? Keppinger, Beckham, Viciedo, Ramirez? If we know that, you can be sure that other teams know that as well. Rios is also an impatient hitter as his 26 walks in 605 plate appearances will attest, so watch for him to start swinging at bad pitches if he continually gets pitched around. The stolen bases are nice, and he should put up decent numbers in that category, but I wouldn’t bet your entire draft on him duplicating last seasons numbers.
3) With the departure of A.J., Tyler Flowers is getting a shot at being the full-time catcher for the White Sox. Though the power gets us excited with a .183 career ISO, the 33.8% strikeout rate is going to scare a lot of fantasy players away from investing. What do you see from Flowers in 2013? Is there any reason to think he could hit above .240?
This is a tough one, because I have been in Flowers corner the past three years. However, I find it hard to project who he’ll be. He has had only 273 career at bats, which is too small a sample size to say whether he’ll hit .250 or .190. The strike outs and low average have followed him of late. Just take his final couple seasons in Charlotte where in 568 at bats he hit a measly .235 with 205 strike outs. He has been working with hitting coach Jeff Manto this off-season so he could surprise, but as of early February I would expect an average in the low .220’s. Don’t be surprise if he hits close to 20 home runs though.
4) Gordon Beckham’s career started so promising but from most of the underlying stats, he seems to be trending downward. Is this a put up or shut up year for Beckham and is there any reason for optimism in drafting him for the 2013 fantasy season?
I am of the firm belief that Beckham will turn the corner this season. His numbers in the last couple months of the 2012 season leads me to believe that this’ll be his year. I know .242 isn’t eye-popping but for those waiting for Beckham to find his way, it is a improvement. And 16 home runs put him tied for 7th among MLB 2nd baseman. He has been frustrating, but this year I think he’ll reward Chisox fans for their patience. Just think how much he’d be worth if he could just hit a hard .270.
5) When the season’s over, what will people most remember about this White Sox team for 2013?
A) Chris Sale & Jake Peavy combine to put up Cy Young-type numbers. Unfortunately, by ‘combine’ we mean neither pitches for the full season due to injury.
B) Dayan Viciedo has a breakout season, hitting over 30 HRs.
C) Adam Dunn is re-nicknamed ‘the Big Ass’ as he returns to 2011 form and his career is officially over (or Dunn if you’d like a pun point).
D) Ozzie Guillen is brought back on board with the White Sox, this time as director of public relations.
E) With their states having legalized pot, the Rockies & Mariners get interested in Jordan and John as their scouts tell them they’re both Dank.
With spring fast approaching, I will stay optimistic, so I am gonna say B, although D would be the ultimate. Dayan Viciedo has the ability to mash as we all saw in May and a part of August. This was the young Cuban’s first full season in the bigs and he still went yard 25 times while driving in 78. The .255 average should be in the 270’s in 2013. Like a lot of young hitters, he takes walks only if he is forced to so his OBP will be low. The Sox are banking on him to make the transition from the Konerko era a little less painful. My concern with the guy is his weight. He is listed at 240, and a lot of that isn’t muscle. If he cuts down on the carbs, he may cut down many a pitcher. With fingers crossed and pencil in hand I say yes, 30 home runs for Viciedo in 2013.